Are Schools that Don't Support FCP X Part of the Problem?
Folks, I've been talking to various friends I went to school with (LMU) about FCP X and although many favor it and just as many if not more still want nothing to do with it (often without ever having used it thoroughly), we end up discussing how schools are not supporting it. Some schools are; high schools at least.
I was just curious about what you all hear and see in your neck of the woods. I recently had to speak/present at LMU about the work I do (industry issues, challenges, landscape, tools, etc.) and found that LMU edit bays only support AVID and Premiere Pro. The same goes for a school in Atlanta (and I am sure many others) where one of my good friends teaches. Though I've noticed high schools may be more open to it; perhaps for budgetary reasons.
Do you think that higher education institutions not offering FCP X as a part of their academic tool set is a disservice and affects market penetration of FCP X? I know I should throw DaVinci Resolve in this discussion too, but that's not what this forum is for. Do do you think it has a lot to do with the admin folks who's typical age(s) reflect the legacy and current AVID world and familiarity of Premiere Pro workflows (like FCP 7) which dictates what tools are supported. I know there's the argument that there's only" high end"jobs for AVID and Premiere Pro abundantly. However there's also plenty of work using FCP X as the primary NLE; independently and at the Hollywood Studio level.
Just something I am thinking about as I dip my toe in the teaching world here and there and of course attempt to advocate for FCP X.
What say you?
[Tangier Clarke] "Do you think that higher education institutions not offering FCP X as a part of their academic tool set is a disservice and affects market penetration of FCP X? "
Might be a disservice to the students. But if the school finds that 80% of the jobs their students are being hired into are Avid or Premiere they are better serving their students by teaching them that, so students are more marketable.
It's not the schools jobs to affect the market penetration of FCPX. That's Apple's job.
There are several schools I know in Europe (and some really big ones) that do the opposite: they ONLY teach FCP X. This is one of them:
The Coordinator of the Postgraduate Diploma in Postproduction of that school (who is a seasoned Avid feature editor BTW) explains why he made this choice.
[Ronny Courtens] "There are several schools I know in Europe (and some really big ones) that do the opposite: they ONLY teach FCP X"
I think a lot of this depends on whether the school is focusing on creative concepts and wants software that is easy for beginners to pick up and gets out of the way of the process. Or whether the design of the curriculum is job-oriented training. If I want to teach students that are geared towards fields like advertising and general media, they don't need "hands on" skills with specific programs or gear. But if I want to teach students who intend to move to Hollywood (realistic or not) and work in the film/TV industry, then I teach with what they will actually be exposed to. Not just NLEs, but also Pro Tools versus Logic Pro X, and cameras like Alexa or RED.
Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com
"It's not the schools jobs to affect the market penetration of FCPX. That's Apple's job."
Michael very good point and I agree. It makes sense to provide students with what will make them more marketable and/or get a job.
[Tangier Clarke] "It makes sense to provide students with what will make them more marketable and/or get a job."
Definitely. And as you can see from Ronny's post, each market will be different. FCPX seems to enjoy much deeper penetration in Europe than it does in the US. I'm not sure why.
Personal example - I work for a production company that uses FCPX for 99% of our projects, but we're the only ones in town that I know of who do. Everyone else is on Premiere, and we're proficient on Premiere if clients request it. If I was teaching at one of the local universities or high schools and wanted to prepare my students for this market - I would teach Premiere.
[Tangier Clarke] "I know I should throw DaVinci Resolve in this discussion too, but that's not what this forum is for."
Not true. This forum is very much about all NLEs no matter how hard some try to keep it on X only.
Recently I was asked by a college to run a half day session on Resolve. The school had been originally exclusively FCP7 then changed to Adobe. X was tried but the decision was made to favour an NLE that was representative of the local market place and X has little market penetration here.
After the presentation the school decided to add Resolve to Premiere. Long term they will likely ditch Premiere but not until the local market reflects that same transition. I discussed the choices they had made over the years with their senior teacher and she said that although they are on Apple hardware in case X was a valid choice they really didn't want to have students learning a system that was unlikely to be found in the wild. Also in the local market a lot of editors have their own system so they were free to choose. However what they wanted from my day with Resolve was to talk about workflow and collaboration.
Most editors who feed their docos to me for grade, online & sound post, regardless of whether they use X or Pr or Avid, are adding Resolve. That way they can handle the porting of the edit to Resolve before coming to me or sometimes they are learning to grade & sound post themselves. So it makes perfect sense for schools to teach the tools that their students will need if they wish to pursue their careers. You can argue that all systems need to be taught but when the school has to justify hardware and software choices, they must consider the reality of what their students will likely face in the wild.
And disclaimer - I don't work for Blackmagic but as a local experienced user, I do these sessions annually at this school.
One other aspect of the issue: When schools are involved, beancounters are always nearby.
Macs tend to be more expensive than PC-based suites; I'm generalizing a bit, but, looking at things the way purchasing and procurement people would; on the one hand you have a single-source for the hardware in Apple with FCPX, no flexibility in pricing, getting them serviced and etc. has only a few options...
... and on the other, Adobe's NLE runs on mac or PC, So Does Blackmagic's Resolve, and purchasing people have way more options for sourcing the hardware on the PC side, maybe making commodity buys at a discount. They can find hundreds of contractors and vendors on the PC support side, heck their own in-house IT people would probably be tasked, truth be told. There are plenty of PC-oriented places out there where macs are looked on as exotic curiosities.
Apple's not helping in terms of making it easy for institutional purchasers to order and get bids.
[Mark Suszko] "Macs tend to be more expensive than PC-based suites"
But remember that there are very enticing educational deals that schools get from Apple.
Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com
I dont think schools are playing a huge role in the bigger picture when its comes to X's adoption.
At least here in Hollywood - X is still a bad word - most people heard it was a debacle in 2011 and simply never looked again. Not one editor I talk to uses it besides myself and the people that I see post here. Ive worked at networks, agencies, trailer houses, and commercial houses. Not one person Ive brought it up to cares. I try to bring it up to every new person I meet as an editor. "oh -have you messed with X at all?" "Nope!" "Never!" Why?!" Are the responses I get.
That said - If I was a teacher - Id teach Avid because if you are working for someone else - in my experience - Avid gigs are higher paid than Premiere ones. Id also be pushing my students to want the top end gigs and lets face it - those are still Avid around these parts. I certainly wouldnt teach them X and push them out into a world where Jobs simply dont exist.
I think a lot depends on the nature of the school and the students. If it’s a “film school” then it makes a lot of sense to teach Avid. If all the students see themselves as future editors in Hollywood then it also makes sense to teach Avid or Premiere.
However, if the students are largely not in the professional video tracks and want to gain knowledge and practice with video editing as part of a broader communication education, then FCP X makes a lot of sense. I’m not sure about the value of teaching Avid to students who see themselves working in social media in the future. Premiere, maybe. But for these students FCP X would likely be the most valuable.
I think at this point if it were me I would teach AVID or PrP, because there are arguably 3 top NLE's and if you learn a track-based one you give them a handle on 2 out of the three, vs X (that is pretty different) would give you 1 of three.
X right now thrives in the "Independent" Market. People who are calling their own shots. If you are a recent grad you are likely not ready to do that, so you will be working for someone else where tracks thrive.
The other note is, young folks just want to watch Youtube all the time. They don't watch that many films or even sports on TV.
Just Youtube, and many of those YT stars are 1. Independent and 2. Using X
I wonder how many of them see themselves doing that. Having a ton of viewers and 5 or 6 iMac Pros that studios I work for don't even have.
Not sure what the future of TV and Film will look like in 20 years.
These are all excellent points and giving me some food for thought. I started out on AVID in school and in the professional space, then went to FCP Legacy for most of my career. The majority of my professional post-production experience has been on FCP Legacy and FCP X; using Premiere Pro from time to time which wasn't that far from FCP 7.
I haven't worked for big Hollywood studios, but have worked for small production companies for all of these now 17 years. Admittedly I don't want to go back to a track-based NLE. I enjoy DaVinci when it's working well. I suppose I am fortunate to have made a good living professionally and independently using mostly FCP (all versions). Perhaps things would/could be better if I sought work that required other tools, but I haven't really had to do that, but it's still good to keep my practice up on the other NLEs and stay up to date with their changes.
FCP X is an interesting tool and they all have their weaknesses. There's value in all of the NLEs and their respective strengths, but FCP X certainly doesn't make me want to use the other NLEs as much. I am sure others feel different. Of course there are features from each NLE I wouldn't mind Apple "borrowing" or rethinking.
The statement above about the schools being market-centric regarding how they implement NLEs makes a lot of sense; especially for those markets that aren't LA, Houston, New York, and Atlanta.
Thanks for the discussion folks. It's giving me a lot to chew on.
Our program- a NJ State University- sends many students to work at broadcast networks in NYC (ABC, Fox, MSNBC, SYN, YES, et.) and several of our Film grads have gone to top Film Schools (USC, Chapman, Emerson). Years ago we faculty decided that exposure to both NLE’s was important since employers in our market use one or the other. Most students HATE Avid, and end up using Premiere exclusively. But they do know how to use it. Some students may get an Intro to FCPX in an Advanced class- depending on who’s teaching it.
I teach them all (along with After Effects, Photoshop, Motion, and Resolve) in a few Advanced classes. So some leave with a full knowledge of most professional media making tools.
Many student do, however, use FCPX on their laptops for personal projects (“It’s so much easier than the others” students have told me).
But the biggest reason most schools don’t teach FCPX is because in order to teach it, you need Faculty who know it. And, sadly, too many faculty are unwilling to learn anything new. For them, the switch from Legacy FCP to Premiere was, and will be, the last change they care to make.
Of course, this is Professor/Instructor specific, but it is my experience from teaching college for 20 years and speaking to faculty at Conferences that faculty adoption of FCPX is the biggest hurdle.
The uni I was working for till last year has huge classrooms with hundreds of PCs. The network has a jukebox system so that different groups can load appropriate software - surveying, pharmacy, CAD, graphics, newspaper systems, etc etc. In the media area they've licensed all of Adobe - they hadn't when I left tried Resolve. The system allows for maximum flexibility with their resources, and of course most software runs on PCs, which they buy bought from various manufacturers. There were a few Macs in the library. Don't know why.
It's all about money.
IMO yes. I taught high school video class at a private school in CT for several years, and the school happily licensed multiple copies FCPX, kids took to it instantly as you would imagine.
But then headmaster heard from a parent "in the biz" that the pros use Premiere or Avid ... and understandably, since they already had Creative Suite licenses on a bunch of Art Department and Library iMacs, decided I should offer PPro as well. I did that for awhile, then they decided one Fall they didn't like their relationship with Apple Edu, and decided to "go professional" and teach Premiere only. This was right around time I was going to leave, and so when interviewing my replacement, they made that the requirement: must know Premiere Pro. And it's been that way ever since.
Mind you, Art Department teachers don't think that way. They pitch their classes for "enlightened amateurs," not "professional artists prep" ... and use old cameras, junky tech etc to teach "expression using the tools at hand." It is only admin type folks who fall for the "pro" argument ... which of course ends up weeding out kids who are not as software fluent. So they end up perpetuating a clumsy out-of-date interface IMO, but here we are.
I teach editing and post-production at Capilano University in Vancouver. We focus entirely on Avid as it's the one being used mostly by the film and TV business here in Vancouver. We do have Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve on some of the systems available to 3rd and 4th year students.
We tell our students that Avid is the hardest to learn, but once you've gotten comfortable with it, learning any other track-based system is easy.
The similarities between Avid, Resolve and Premiere make it easy for students to switch between them. But FCPX doesn't really look or feel like any other NLE, except iMovie.
Before my time, Capilano U used to teach FCP7, when Apple EOL'd FCP 7, the university switched to Avid.
I teach a high school filmmaking class (sophomores through seniors). I choose to teach FCPX because I am comfortable with X having made the transition from 7 to X at the beginning and because I knew all the local universities were already teaching PPro (and/or Avid). I appreciate the idea of students having a larger area of expertise when it comes to software and didn't want them to have to sit through the same "learn the software" class twice. Also, most of my students are going to be self-employed, small ecosystem at the start anyway, which allows them to use the software they want to use.
And speaking of ecosystems, many of the students who actually want to go on in this career started in Apple's ecosystem of iPhone, iMovie and now FCPX. It all makes sense and gives them everything they need without thinking about it. Many of them have come back to me after graduating saying how much they hate having to use PPro for their school work and end up using X for their personal stuff. These guys are the future of independent filmmaking and regardless of their opinions of software are getting exposure to at least two pieces of software that allow them to tell the stories they want to tell.
Having said this, I tell everyone one of my students, MOST especially the students who do want to go to Hollywood (which is a tiny number here in South Carolina) that if they want to cut "professional Hollywood" films right now, they MUST learn Avid. But I also tell them that Hollywood is a super tiny section of the post-production market. It's small and hugely competitive. My student's bread and butter work will more likely come from PPro work that's not Hollywood, which is great that have the universities teach Adobe's software to match this dynamic.
Frankly, I love the idea of diversity in software at all levels. Give high schools the easy software with X, so students can concentrate on learning how to tell a good, solid story, and let the colleges and universities teach the more complicated software and workflows associated with PPro and Avid so they can be more hirable to current companies.
Eventually, it will matter much less. When the students I have now are in charge in 20 or so years, they'll wonder why these older, more archaic methodologies, applications, and workflows are still used, employing more people than are needed, and costing more money in the long run than they need to. They'll demand workflows that we haven't imagined yet, but are influenced by the memory of how easy it was to make their first YouTube video with their iPhone.
Winston A. Cely
ACTC Media Broadcasting Video Instructor
Apple Certified Editor FCPX 3
"If you can talk brilliantly enough about a subject, you can create the consoling illusion it has been mastered." - Stanley Kubrick