39 Comments

Summary:

Reviewers and video professionals apparently aren’t as enthusiastic about Final Cut Pro X as I was on the day of its release. Of course, I’m not a video pro, but that doesn’t mean the rancor with which FCP X has been greeted is necessarily justified.

finalcutprox

Reviewers and video professionals apparently aren’t as enthusiastic about Final Cut Pro X as I was on the day of its release. Of course, I’m not a video pro, but that doesn’t mean the venom aimed at FCP X is necessarily justified.

The New York Times‘ David Pogue, using info supplied by Apple itself, posted a Q&A Thursday addressing many complaints emailed him regarding his mostly positive review of FCP X. Pogue contends that many of the shortcomings editors are finding in the new pro video editing software from Apple are either issues that the company plans to address with updates or are features that were introduced via third-party plugins and drivers, which will probably be addressed in the same way again, once people have spent some time with the software.

Pogue’s column doesn’t address every complaint, and as you can see in the video below, the issue has grown big enough that Conan O’Brien skewered it on his show Thursday night. But Apple clearly seems dedicated to making FCP X a more full-featured product, with lots of planned additions in later updates, including multi-camera support, one of the most noteworthy omissions from the latest version.

Here’s the thing: In a time when minor aesthetic updates to Facebook’s home page are greeted with petitions that attract thousands of users, is it any surprise that a radically different Final Cut Pro would be met with resistance? Final Cut Pro is an essential tool for many, and one they use every day. Not many liked Office 2007 when it came out either, and many complaints were the same, with users citing an inability to do things or find features.

Apple seems committed to listening to user feedback, and it has always iterated its software products with one eye to addressing outstanding issues, including through iOS and OS X updates. Also, Final Cut Pro 7 isn’t being banished from use. I still know many professional video editors working for large media companies that are now two versions behind, in fact, and so aren’t terribly concerned about what the newest version has or doesn’t have to offer. But I’d love to hear from other video professionals what they think about FCP X. Is this just a case of users requiring an adjustment period for a new product that doesn’t look all that familiar, or is it an example of Apple dropping the ball in a much more serious way?

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. Let the TRUTH be known about Final Cut Pro X.

    Apple has spent the last 10 years aggressively striving to dominate the Professional NLE Market with thier Final Cut Pro branded products and Mac Pro computers. Now with 80+% of the industry using Final Cut as the choice edit software, not to mention all the Mac Pro’s sold to run it, they had achieved thier goal.

    Then, since 2008, video / film editors and industry professionals have seen zero product updates, and were feeling abandoned, all the while being told that Apple was working for 2+years on this new product that was going to revolutionary. All this, as Apple’s business model quickly moves to cater to the consumer market, as their stockholders cheer!!! (iPods – iPhones- iPads, etc….)

    Apple has not been honest and upfront with their loyal customer base of professionals, by chosing to move in a direction that is more in-line with their new corporate strategy, to be consumer-friendly and provide upgrade paths for the iPod, iPad generation. An by this action, have “thrown the professionals under the bus”, and somehow want them to be happy about it.

    If a company has an entire industry loyally following and depending on them, they should first meet the needs of the industry which they have spent so much effort wining over. Professional courtesy demands that developers of products and equipment for an industry, support and grow with the industry. It is expected in every industry. Apple has broken that trust.

    The new product obviously never was intended to be a “truly professional product” as the previous version was. It is 1/4 the price, as has no licensing or serialization, and is based on the iMovie framework. The inherent design itself, with the magic timeline makes it incapable of being used professionally, and only a professional would fully understand that. (Maybe even the “geniuses at Apple don’t even understand that)

    The path was cleatly chosen in the name of company profit and greed. To capitalize on the respected name of “Final Cut Pro”, but make it attractive to consumers. Think about it… they will probably sell more than 6 times as many copies to “consumers” and make a load of money and not have to provide support. Try getting your money back for the current FCPX and see how far you get…. see, no support.

    It would have taken more integrity to create two products, iMovie Pro (as they have done) and then “Final Cut Pro 8”. I guess it would take more integrity then Apple has.

    Final Cut Pro 8 should have been a recode of the original product with the updates needed to make the engine and framework modern, but the user interface familiar and hefty enough for the pros. And then supporting this “Pro” product, even if it was “not as profitable”. Truthfully, the pro market would be willing to pay twice or more the price for a “real” FCPX product that met their needs. At the very least, they could have sold off the existing product to another company willing to take it on. That would have at least given the industry some hope of a continuing product.

    As for me, I am a professional editor and media developer. I have been loyally using and advocating Apple products since the early 90′s. This is a sad day for me. I feel like every one else in this industry, like I have been thown under a bus.

    And now Apple has the gall to say to a desperate industry… that they will make the changes needed to make it work for the pro-industry. That is pure deceit, designed to string along the semo-pros to keep them from jumping ship without spending the $299 first. The real “Pro’s” will be jumping ship within a year. Premiere is already 64 bit clean and looks very attractive on the Mac.

    Shame on Apple for not being upfront with this industry that has been so loyal. The Apple cool-aide has never tasted bad until now.

    RIP – The Real Final Cut Pro!

    FYI – Don’t be suprised if they drop the Mac Pro within 3 years. It’s name doesn’t fit Apples product and marketing strategy any longer, it doesn’t start with the letter “i”.

    Shame on you Apple.

    1. @ Robert

      I could not agree more with your post. I will add that Apple showed us for awhile they no longer care about real pros, only hobbyists when they dropped Shake and have not appeared officially at NAB in 3 years.

      Next PRO app to get neutered will probably be Logic Studio.

      I truly wonder IF Apple will even support Final Cut Studio on Lion! Leaves little choice for pros as they will have no choice but move on.

      SAD DAY for pros that were so loyal!

      1. There is a lot of knee jerk reactions going on here and lots of toy throwing because its not everything to everyone. Apple have said they are committed to giving everything to everyone but obviously technically it was not possible now. Although, they are committed and I am sure they will deliver. If you’re not happy with the new final cut pro, stick with the old one as no one is telling you, you have to upgrade.

        My view is, this is all a bit premature and I think everyone’s expectations were too great. Patience will reward those that wait rather than making a knee jerk reaction and jumping to some other solution. I am sure you wont have to wait long to see.

        With all this said, it is not wrong to bag apple but do it constructively rather than calling someone a cheat, liar and that you have been deceived.

        Finally, Apple offer a product for exceptional value yet you complain because it’s too cheap and would pay double if it had extra features. Had it come out all singing and dancing for double, you can guarantee someone would have b**chted about the price.

        It’s true you can’t please everyone, especially the pro’s.

    2. This is an excellent assessment of the “pro” editor’s viewpoint and sums up very closely to my exact feelings as a Final Cut Pro editor for over 7 years.

      What people don’t realize is that even if Apple adds in multi-cam and some of the other “missing” features, they still have completely run-over the way we work based on THEIR original program.

      By adding this magnetic timeline and eliminating the viewer window, they’ve made it impossible for editors to work int the way that we know how within an NLE. What all the non-editors don’t understand and want to claim we’re complaining without merit or right is that patches and plugins won’t fix this. So,we either have to adapt to what Apple has decided is best for us when they, in effect, fixed what wasn’t broken in many ways, or we have to find a new partner – which to me means giving Premiere a much bigger look than ever before.

    3. Robert you are a true professional I’m sure, but unfortunately, a dying breed. There just is no longer enough money to be made in this market given the investment needed so Apple has no choice but to broaden its appeal. Sorry!

  2. Blake Helms Friday, June 24, 2011

    This change is not even in the same ballpark as a minor design change on the Facebook homepage. Final Cut Pro was a high end professional grade editing tool that thousands of people make a living off of. The new version is a glorified prosumer video editor for making stupid mashup videos. I bought my first modern Mac for the purpose of running FCP. Films like True Grit, 300 and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button were edited on the old versions. I can assure you they won’t be editing films like that on the new version. There are certain features like multi-cam support, live view on a broadcast monitor, XML EDL imports and being able to open previous projects that MUST be in a high end video editor. This is a bad move and will probably end Apple’s days in the pro video market.

  3. Justin Teague Friday, June 24, 2011

    Much of the internet hates any kind of change, I get that. You’re right, it’s amazing how much smoke is blown over every little change of Facebook UI tweaks.

    That being said, these changes which might seem like minor inconveniences to the casual observer, make the product unusable for the video professional. It’s more than just relearning how to do what you do, there is simply major functionality missing. The egg on Apple’s face here could have been avoided if they had called this a Beta release. They have not. As John Gruber often reminds reviewers of Android Tablets and other devices, don’t grade this thing on a curve because of goodwill and promises of great intentions.

    As a professional editor who relies on this piece of software on a hourly basis, that is not going to cut it. As an upgrade to Final Cut Studio 7, it is an inferior product. A downgrade. Perhaps that will change in the future.

    Let’s hope so.

  4. Robert,

    Really?

    When was Apple “aggressively strving to dominate”…I can remember all the complaints about slow update cycles and Apple losing focus from Pro apps for at least 8 years. Heck, two years ago the rumor was Apple was selling off the Pro apps.

    “Professional courtesy demands that developers of products and equipment for an industry, support and grow with the industry. It is expected in every industry. Apple has broken that trust”

    Wow. Guess what? Public corporations are not your best friend from 1st grade.

    I purchased a lighting kit online a few years back. The company has upgraded their light packages and I can no longer get bulbs for my light from them. Have to find other sources, if any.

    Each version of MS Office brought changes to the Excel object model that is heavily used in Visual Basic applications (fancy macros). With each upgrade, we had to test and modify tons of code. There were no conversion utilities from MS.

    I have a central air unit from 1986 in my house. Can no longer find parts. Same thing goes for my Whirlpool dishwasher and my Craftsman lawnmower.

    Companies EXIST to make proftis. Public companies are mandated to do so. Boards decide what markets to enter and exit. They follow the money. In early 2000s Apple needed to Pro market in order to sell hardware. Now that they have much, much larger revenue streams it is true that they don’t need the Pro market as much. But in your world they are forever tied to making products for that market, no matter how little it contributes to their bottom line.

    I agree that Apple should produce a roadmap. Problem there is that Apple does not announce future products. But this seems like a case where it is needed.

    It seems to me that you state the price as a reason this is not a Pro app. Please. Apple is selling Lion for $29.99. Is it not a professional, industrial strength OS? Apple has always known that it is the combination of hardware and software. Now they are making the software more accessible to more folks but the snob Pros make this a bad thing…

    This is 1.0 of a new app. Time will tell if Apple does add in the Pro features like multi-cam, XML and other file exports, better support for large houses with multiple editors, etc. If they do add these back, FCP X will once again prove that Apple had a vision and stuck with it and that Adobe and Avid are stuck in the past.

    If Apple does not add these required features that will mean you are right and they have moved on from the 1% Pro Market. Guess what? That is their decision to make. I think one month’s sales of iPads will make up for the lost sales.

    1. You are entirely missing the point in many respects
      A) You noted yourself that Apple is a business to make money. In that regard it is absolutely MORONIC for Apple to take a product that had over a 60% market share in the non-linear edit market, where professionals willingly paid $1000+ for the software, and then to cut the price by 75%….stupid, stupid, stupid and anti-profit. Apple already had a product (Final Cut Express) in the lower price point to address the needs of pro-sumers.

      B) There was no deadline for Apple to release this product. If they have future “plans” to add in all of these formerly integral features,why not just wait till all of those features (which would only make it current with the OLD FCP) before releasing the new version? Obviously as you can see from hundreds if not thousands of posts, there IS a downside from a business perspective to them doing it this way. How much do you think that Apple would pay to take back all of this negative publicity? How much do you think they would pay just to not have had the Conan O’Brien piece airing?

      C) Apple could EASILY have followed the very successful playbook that Adobe used (and continues to use) with Adobe Lightroom, putting out a Beta version for up to 8 months, soliciting feedback from actual working professionals, and incorporating that into the actual finished version.

      D) Apple for years would put “news blurbs” on their site bragging about FCP being used to edit main stream movies and television shows, so obviously Apple understood the “status” that helped to give to FCP. There is NO WAY that any mainstream movie or TV show is going to be edited on this new release. APPLE had TWO YEARS to get this right, so, what excuse would there be really, that it does not even incorporate features that were available in two year old software??? Do you really believe that there was NO WAY that Apple could incorporate 64Bit and still have the new software read old FCP Projects (which it cannot by the way). Even Microsoft Word, when they redid Word, gave an option to view or output based on previous versions of the software.
      *** This is all yet another stark example of Apple’s overwhelming arrogance and utter disregard for their loyal customer base.

  5. As a professional editor FCP X is unusable. The are several features that are essential for a professional video editing program: multi-cam, track selection, client monitor, edl/omf export and import, tape deck access, and most importantly the ability to open older Final Cut Pro projects. Many post houses have built their entire workflow around FCP. So the fact that older projects do not open in this version is a gigantic loss. If you are in a multi season show and lose the ability to access older timelines, it is forcing more work, and precious time on the editor to rebuild templates that are used repeatedly in broadcast television. I must say that Apple has just handed the professional editing business to AVID. I like both platforms AVID and FCP for different reasons, but as dated as AVID Media Composer’s interface is at least it is consistent. Apple claims that there are updates soon to be released to bring FCP X up to a professional level. Hopefully that is true, because it is a great program. This new version is a beta release at best. Why did Apple release such a half baled version?

  6. What a stupid article. You have no frame of reference. As a professional I can tell you that Final Cut X is no where near even a consideration. It’s really pathetic that you would call the complaints petty, and compare them to facebook page updates! With the new version, I can’t deliver shows to networks that i edited. I can’t color correct them either when they just had an amazing program called Color that basically does the job of a million dollar da vinci. I also can’t even output an omf to get my shows mixed at an audio facility using pro tools. I Can’t even share my projects! If you don’t know about something, don’t blog about it! Idiot.

    1. In many ways your comment typifies the yes, petty, uncouth and downright repellant tone of the FCP X complaints. Because you know, film/video editors are the only ones who depend on a computer program to make their — so only they are qualified to have an opinion or open their mouths in public.

      You clearly have no idea how bad you look, and how each additional overblown, apoplectic comment undercuts your case further. You’d think Steve Jobs personally came to your studio and and erased FCP 7 and FC Studio from your Mac…

  7. Im an Avid editor not FCP, but doesn’t it seem reasonable to think that Apple can and will make these pro features that everyone needs and misses available with a few updates and plug-ins? I mean we can all agree that Apple typically doesn’t have a reputation of “dropping the ball”. Remember how everyone in the universe thought the iPod was the dumbest thing ever? It changed the music industry forever. I know that this isn’t a first gen thing like the 1st iPod, and with the pro user base FCP has they must give them what they need, but obviously if they plan on X to completely replace 7 then they will have to update and include these things. No monitor out? Come on. Apple knows better than that. Im just saying that Apple usually makes huge moves that everyone hates at first but then they turn out to change how we do things forever. Let’s see how this plays out before we keep ranting prematurely. Or, just go ahead and make the move to the rock solid Avid Media Composer……

    1. Larry The Cable Editor Jeremy Friday, June 24, 2011

      @Jeremy

      Than why kill Final Cut Studio and Final Cut Server at release of FCPX?

  8. This is, hands down, transitional. To think that Apple isn’t aware of it’s position in the market and among editors is foolish. I have to scoff a bit at all of the people upset over missing features and constantly refer them back to this spot-on article by Gruber in Macworld: http://www.macworld.com/article/151235/2010/05/apple_rolls.html

    Final Cut Pro X should be viewed with a fresh set of eyes and not as Final Cut Pro 8. I’ll admit that some of the features will break a professional workflow, but that should by no means suggest that it isn’t for pros. Lowering the cost of entry as well as the learning curve does not make a product any less professional or useful, as some are suggesting.

    I believe a lot of Pogue article and think we’ll definitely see multicam and XML return to the feature list in relatively short order. As for some of the more ubiquitous-yet-antiquated technologies (EDL, I’m looking at you), if Apple can’t justify its usefulness they definitely won’t take the time to support them.

    1. @Andrew

      Let me try and make this clear as a person who has edited for a living for 20 years!

      FCPX is not even close to a pro application at this time. IF Apple released this app with another name and did not discontinue Final Cut Studio and Final Cut Server many of us would not be complaining. We can not even buy another seat of Final Cut Studio. This happened basically over night as Apple provided very little information on FCPX before Tuesday!

      I also take task with the so-called lower cost of entry. FCPX, Compressor and Motion is $399. That is the SAME price PROS have been paying for upgrades of Final Cut Studio (that had ALL the bells and whistles we needed) for years!

      Price here has little bearing on the usefulness of FCPX. If Apple wants to ignore pro users thats fine. Pros will move on loudly to AVID or Adobe. Then when few “pros” are actually using FCPX for major motion pictures, TV shows, music videos, etc Apple can rename FCPX to FCX!

      1. The key phrase in your response is “at this time”.

        Though I would consider myself pretty well-versed, I admit that I don’t actually edit video for a living; I work mainly with After Effects and Motion and will say that I’ve benefitted greatly from the newly released 64-bit version. That being said, I’ve owned almost every Final Cut since version 3.

        The great news is that the program that everyone knows and loves so much, Final Cut Pro 7, still works just as well now as it did before Tuesday and will continue to work into the future as Apple incrementally adds the most-demanded features back into X (which I strongly believe they’ll do). Most editors/editing houses I know of aren’t even using the latest version of Final Cut, let alone the bleeding-edge rewritten version, and it usually takes months to transition workflows to a new system anyway. So by the time they actually evaluate it for production use, it may very well have the features they need.

        And in some regards the price actually is much cheaper, even when you factor in Motion and Compressor, due to the fact that an individual gets what equates to a volume license to install on as many machines as they own. Businesses still have to purchase additional licenses, but that shouldn’t be a surprise.

  9. Pogue, acting as Apple’s mouthpiece tried his best to spin this positive by outlining a few WORKAROUNDS that any serious PRO would be able to figure out quickly on their own.

    It is quite curious that Apple itself did not address ALL these issues and missing pro features before FCPX release and ESPECIALLY after its release.

    Apple response so fas is this is it, you will love it, and discontinuing Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Server and Xserves. Sure appears to be arrogant and clueless to the pros needs!

    Sorry, but this time “spin” will not cut it. Quick action is required to the video pros needs OR they will just go elsewhere like Avid and Adobe.

  10. This is not just a minor change.
    I work with media products, both at work and at home. Thank GOD I am not a video/movie editor.
    The omission of multi-tracking and percision controls is devastating.
    Multi-tracking and workflow tools are essential to any type of editing and production. There are just certian capabilities that need to be there with professional products.
    Apple just disolved the trust of thier core audience for this product. This cannot be stressed enough, this will take years to recover. It seems Logic underwent a similiar consumerization, it now looks like a more beefed up version of guitar band as supposed to the professional DAW it was before. Thank god they never had the same impact on the music software market they did on the video market. Ableton, Avid (and several others) dominate the music production market. The consumerization of Apples professional products though is a total mistake be it Final Cut or Logic. (Nobody has mentioned logic because many music producers abandoned the Logic years ago in favor of pro-tools, or more recently Ableton Live. But yeah…they changed Logic too.)

Comments have been disabled for this post