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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Production & Post Production Blog

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Final Cut Pro X, Apple - Genius or Screw-up? Featured

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FCP X - Highly Controversial New Version - Will it survive?

Apple faced a huge backlash against the new software version. Its been called a radical new approach (something that Apple has actually had great success with in the past). Online comments ranged from perplexed, to downright rage, as disgruntled FCP professionals feared they were looking at the end of the line.

Even the Choir Questions Faith.

On Forums and boards across the web, FCP enthusiasts (editors) are teeing off on Apple, and actually questioning their choice of editing platforms.  Apple competitor, Abobe reported that a large number of FCP customers have switched to Adobe Premiere as a result. While that appears largely unsubstantiated, what is a fact, is that both Adobe, and Avid, have launched a deep discount cross-grade campaign, the results of which are still unknown.  In late September, Apple released a FCP X update which addressed ~some~ of the concerns of the professional community, but the essential paradigm shift, which is largely the cause of all the fuss, remains intact.

Apple Responds.

Apple did have some bold, and encouraging words on the subject...

Josh Lowensohn of CNET, quotes an Apple representative as stating, "We have a long history of successful transitions: OS 9 to OS X, PowerPC to Intel. We know we've done something revolutionary with Final Cut Pro, and we sincerely think that our professional customers will love it. And some of that is letting them know we will make good on the promises we made, and the (Final Cut Pro X) 10.1 update is the first public indication that we're doing that." (see full article)

Waivers, but Stays Course.

Still, Apple has issued refunds to unhappy buyers, and published a guide called, "Final Cut Pro X for Final Cut Pro 7 Editors (PDF)." I think the guide is a good move, as information is always powerful. A little up front information on what to expect might have helped ease the shock of such a "radical" departure. Explaining it after the fact, in this case, smells like back pedaling to me, and it seems as though the future of FCP is still in the balance. Apple is offering a free 30 day trial for you to decide for yourself.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly.

The good news is that, if you like it, it only costs $299.  The not so good news, for owners of FCP Studio, is that FCP Motion, and Compressor seem to be the only apps left, and your investment in the $1000+ studio package has been nullified.

Editor's Reports Not Good.

Film and video editor Matthew Levie, gave FCP X a 5 day test drive and concluded, "... if Apple's FCP X team really is serious about wanting professionals to use this program... we will need to see it go back to a track-based editing metaphor, at least as an option... they can always add multicam and OMF export and whatever else, and I'm sure they will. But if they add those features while retaining the current editing paradigm, it will still be very difficult to use professionally."

Apple's Game Changing Darling at World's End?

Bringing editing to the masses, as well as bringing the masses to the editing profession, for better or worse, there is no denying the tremendous impact FCP has had on the industry.  It has changed the the way the entertainment industry creates product, and in doing so, very likely changed the nature of the content.  For Apple's ingenious game changer to die in such a fashion would seem an odd end to this large legacy.

Can Apple really pull off the re-invention of the wheel?

Can they deliver an entirely new way of editing that is actually ~better~ than the model we have been using since non-linear editing began (Adobe Premiere, Media 100)?  It's a tall order for sure.  But the other options are just as unlikely.  They can back pedal, and say, "oh sorry, we didn't mean to give you that, instead, here's FCP 8?" --cant picture Apple doing that.

Phone Interference

Maybe the phone business is just too overwhelmingly profitable, to allow them the resources to remain in this niche, which, at this point, is sheerly for the prestige.  Apple likes being the tool of the media, its good for their reputation.  But will that be reason enough for them to allocate the resources to maintain thier commitment to this product, in spite to this current version crisis?

Stay tuned for updates on this story as new information comes out.  I plan on a test drive, myself and will report with my findings.  I welcome anyone who has tested or used FCP X to post your experience, would like to hear your ideas on the outcome.  FCP, genius or screw-up? Will it survive?

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John Cirabisi

Hobbies include: Building bridges, creating synergy, and examining all-things-media. Oh, and crochet.

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