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Sean Thomas
Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 17, 2011 at 8:30:48 pm

Some may have already read this:

A Former Avid Employee’s Thoughts On FCPX: “Even though the FCPX rollout seemingly exposes Apple’s hubris, I’m glad they did it.” | Zac Cichy | techvessel
Zac interviews Mike Bernardo, who used to work at Avid
We worked on building “next generation” editor software. New UI, new technical foundation that would take advantage of multiple CPUs and GPUs. Unfortunately these efforts ultimately went nowhere, since the company as a whole was too timid and worried about disenfranchising the existing customer base – exactly the problem Apple is facing now.


My take on this is that Avid doesn't have the balls to move forward because the want to be PC and not ruffle the feathers of the ELITE PROs. The Avid tech essentially is saying that Avid can produce a MUCH BETTER program but they are not going to. That is SAD!

Apple has the balls to move forward becuase they have a long-term vision of where their hardware, OS, and FCP X is going.

It's funny, but I guess it takes an ex-Avid senior software programmer to appreciate what Apple has done.

FCP X: Type A
[spell check OFF]


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Michael Hancock
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 17, 2011 at 9:29:15 pm

Or Avid realized it's not the future of editing, or financially it didn't make sense to pursue this path, or it was a proof on concept piece that was never intended to be released and this guy didn't understand that, or he's an ex-Avid employee and has an axe to grind, or they tested it with full-time editors who said no way, or it's 100% true.

Pick one. Nobody knows which one is right. What's the point of this? If FCPX works for you and you can make money with it, do it. If you can't, move to an NLE that does.

Regarding the "Avid can produce a much better program and they are not going to. That is sad!" bit - I didn't read it that way at all, and that assumes that the FCPX way is better. That's yet to be determined, and is you're interpretation.

That said, Apple could have written a way to bring FCP7 projects forward into FCPX but didn't. They could have included OMF export, XML import/export, multicam, etc...in the 1.0 release of FCPX and they didn't. That's make a lot of people sad too.

----------------
Michael Hancock
Editor


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Craig Seeman
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 17, 2011 at 9:47:52 pm

[Michael Hancock] "Regarding the "Avid can produce a much better program and they are not going to."

It may be that Avid is risk averse. Apple is in a better position to take risks. It doesn't mean Apple made a better decision it does mean the two companies have very different business models.



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Sean Thomas
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 18, 2011 at 12:12:58 am

Exellent points. I completely agree.

I tend to like a company that pushes the envelope and not worry about legacy issues. Apple does it all the time. It hurts a little during the transition, but in the end, the pay off is big.

FCP X: Type A
[spell check OFF]


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Scott Thomas
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 18, 2011 at 7:32:18 am

[Craig Seeman] "It may be that Avid is risk averse. Apple is in a better position to take risks. It doesn't mean Apple made a better decision it does mean the two companies have very different business models."

I've heard different stories over the years. One that comes to mind is one that deals with politics.

Avid had bought SoftImage and with it the DS product. My understanding is that the engineers in Tewkesbury were none too happy about this arrangement. So the development of DS languished for many years, and any interesting hardware got moved over to the Media Composer. (i.e. Symphony Nitris) But fix the bugs in the DS' 3D DVE? Why, there's no money left in the budget.

While I'm no fan of FCPX in it's current form, I can appreciate the intestinal fortitude required to sever the ties to the elder product and with that, any inclination a software engineer may have for self preservation. That cannot be easy.


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Robert Brown
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 17, 2011 at 11:17:41 pm

[Michael Hancock] "Pick one. Nobody knows which one is right. What's the point of this? If FCPX works for you and you can make money with it, do it. If you can't, move to an NLE that does."

Exactly! It seems this debate is getting a little tiring. It's actually the best time ever for something like this to happen because there are plenty of options and the hardware is more flexible than ever. I can use 7 all I want and I would guess I could get another couple of years out of it if I wanted to.

This whole thing has prompted me to look at other software and figure out which direction I want to go but I was already thinking of that just based on seeing what Apple chose to do with previous FCP upgrades and I began to feel it wasn't the right system for what I needed and that they just weren't fixing the things I needed fixed. Instead they "fixed" the best part of the program, the timeline.

But amongst all of the things Apple bunged up here is the lack of a 30 day trial like all of their competitors have. I would download X and check it out but there is no way I'm spending $300 when I know it's not going to do what I want.

As far as the previous comment that Avid is able to do much better but is afraid, I don't buy it. I think what they previewed the other night is what people who do this for a living are looking for. 64 Bit, better performance, more hardware support, more codec support, more storage support, and hopefully a more flexible timeline etc.

They do have to be a bit more cautious obviously because they aren't Apple with revenue from a hundred sources and so they do need to get the nod from their users because that's where their money comes from. But I just don't buy that there is some radically better way to edit that they're holding back on. It's all just sliding clips around in a timeline.



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Ted Levy
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 17, 2011 at 11:42:08 pm

I was at Avid's event at Warner Brothers in Burbank a few days ago. They reaffirmed my appreciation for the company and the quality of its flagship product, Media Composer. I don't want or believe there exists the potential for a much better editing program. Just like a fine musical instrument, Avid's software does and will continue to do exactly what I want it to. Along the way, it naturally has and will continue to adjust to new formats and third party products. But the core editing paradigm has remained and will continue to be the same, because it's designed very well for efficiency and flexibility, and doesn't need fixing.


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Robert Brown
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 17, 2011 at 11:56:26 pm

Yeah I liked what saw. I've made the comment here a couple of times that I thought they should freshen up the UI. Not a total re-design but just modernize it a bit to give it a new look and feel. From what I saw that's exactly what they did. Any rumors about when 6 will get to market?



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Peter Wiley
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:41:54 am

I really like the analogy to a musical instrument. It's an apt one. Another way to say it is "form follows function." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_follows_function)

Apple have have confused design with engineering too much in FCP X. Time will tell.


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Ted Levy
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 18, 2011 at 6:05:48 pm

Thanks. Since Avid throws up no obstacles to working easily, the focus, like with a good musical instrument, becomes about what creative ideas and technical skills the editor can bring to his/her work.


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Sean Thomas
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 17, 2011 at 11:58:25 pm

[Michael Hancock] "If FCPX works for you and you can make money with it, do it. If you can't, move to an NLE that does.

Or stay with what has been working for you for the past few years and wait for v.2


That said, Apple could have written a way to bring FCP7 projects forward into FCPX but didn't. They could have included OMF export, XML import/export, multicam, etc...in the 1.0 release of FCPX and they didn't. That's make a lot of people sad too."


I tend to think that Apple had a lot of pressure to get out a new FCP so they put out v.1 now - where it was. They've already said most of the missing pro stuff is already in the works and will be out soon. 3rd party developers will catch up soon.

FCP X: Type A
[spell check OFF]


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Michael Hancock
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 18, 2011 at 12:56:27 am

[Sean Thomas] "Or stay with what has been working for you for the past few years and wait for v.2"

A great option. But what if v2 of FCPX is still missing key features you depend on? Now you're still using FCP7 and it's been 5, 6 years since a major update? Software evolves pretty quickly these days. You should learn another program regardless.

[Sean Thomas] "I tend to think that Apple had a lot of pressure to get out a new FCP so they put out v.1 now - where it was. "

When they sat down to develop FCPX, they had a list of features that had to be in v01. XML, OMF, Multicam, etc... obviously weren't on that list. It's not like they started writing this software on a whim a couple months ago and someone said, "Hey guys, this is going to be released next week. Wrap up what you got!". It was years in development, and they chose not to include certain things. Chose to. It's not that they weren't ready - they chose not to include them.

About 3rd parties - they're relying on them to fill in the holes. There is a possibility that won't happen, or the 3rd party options aren't as robust and rock solid as they need to be. Something to consider.

----------------
Michael Hancock
Editor


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Robert Brown
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 18, 2011 at 1:13:12 am

[Michael Hancock] "About 3rd parties - they're relying on them to fill in the holes. There is a possibility that won't happen, or the 3rd party options aren't as robust and rock solid as they need to be. Something to consider."

And on top of that it's more money. Automatic Duck costs more than FCPX does by itself! The third party thing is lame. Yeah they have to do some stuff like video cards etc. but this is one of the main reasons people were getting very annoyed with Avid and Pro Tools for example. You had to keep spending more money to do basic stuff when another program included the same functions for free.

At this point there is no way FCX with Motion, and Compressor competes with CS 5.5. If I had to pick one or the other it would be an absolute no brainer.



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Chris Kenny
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 18, 2011 at 2:03:40 pm

[Michael Hancock] "When they sat down to develop FCPX, they had a list of features that had to be in v01. XML, OMF, Multicam, etc... obviously weren't on that list. It's not like they started writing this software on a whim a couple months ago and someone said, "Hey guys, this is going to be released next week. Wrap up what you got!". It was years in development, and they chose not to include certain things. Chose to. It's not that they weren't ready - they chose not to include them."

They chose not to include features in the initial release that were not absolutely necessary to make FCP X a commercially viable product. This is consistent with a well-established pattern on Apple's part, and does not have the implications with respect to Apple's future commitment to high-end workflows that many people have claimed it does.

Looking at one of the most successful technology companies in the world and saying, with absolutely no knowledge about any of the details of FCP X 's development, "It looks to me like they should have been able to get more done in this period of time", is ludicrous. Honestly, it always looks like that with software development, even to developers themselves, which is why so many software projects take much longer than originally anticipated. (Probably even at Apple; the public just doesn't see it at Apple because they don't publicly announce things until they're almost done.)

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Andree Franks
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 18, 2011 at 6:46:11 pm

Interesting comments, but I see a history repeat with Final Cut Pro X... I remember when Final Cut Pro hit and I was running on a Titanium Powerbook G4... most comments where Final Cut Pro (3) that time is not a professional tool and it is made for DV and Weddings... lol now look at use.

I don't believe that the tool is major part in content creation so I will alway have two or more if needed Application on my workstation. I guess I can gave this rebirth of FCPX and see how he grows up.



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Andrew Kimery
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 18, 2011 at 11:47:26 pm

[Andree Franks] "Interesting comments, but I see a history repeat with Final Cut Pro X... I remember when Final Cut Pro hit and I was running on a Titanium Powerbook G4... most comments where Final Cut Pro (3) that time is not a professional tool and it is made for DV and Weddings... lol now look at use."

A key difference being that FCP 'classic' always seemed to be moving onwards and upwards where as FCP X currently looks like a regression. But I guess that depends on what audience the app is mainly targeted for.


-Andrew

3.2GHz 8-core, FCP 6.0.4, 10.5.5
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (6.8.1)



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Craig Seeman
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 19, 2011 at 12:33:13 am

FCPX will be for "Pros." It's starting over so it too will progress and I suspect more rapidly (as it plays feature catchup) than the legacy version.



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Andrew Kimery
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 19, 2011 at 1:32:57 am

I don't want to get into the "what is a pro" debate so I'll just ask, do you think FCP X will sooner rather than later meet and exceed the level of functionality that FCP 7 has? And by that I mean that anything I can do in FCP 7 I'll be able to do in FCP X and then some.

I don't understand the 'either or' stance as a justification for FCP X's current state. Apple didn't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater they choose too. Apple didn't have to leave out some 'soon to be brought back' features they chose to. They prioritized things during development and those priorities are only 'wrong' if one assumes that Apple chose to make an app targeted at a specific user base and missed. Maybe Apple chose to target a separate user base and scored a bulls-eye (or near bulls-eye)? IMO Apple will bring many of the 'traditional pro' features back over time but the traditional pro user will more of an afterthought rather than a primary target.

I don't hate FCP X. I just don't find it useful to me in its current form so I'll stick w/tools that do such as FCS 3, Avid MC, possibly Premiere and maybe LightWorks eventually. If FCP X ever gets to a point to where I find it usable for my workflow I'll pick it up too. For me it's about being pragmatic.


-Andrew

3.2GHz 8-core, FCP 6.0.4, 10.5.5
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (6.8.1)



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Craig Seeman
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 19, 2011 at 3:30:43 am

[Andrew Kimery] "Apple didn't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater they choose too."

They sure did because they had to throw out the bathtub. Quicktime is 32bit. They did not make a 64bit version of Quicktime. They are using AV Foundation. The whole thing had start from scratch since it's based on something unrelated to Quicktime. AV Foundation itself is fairly new.

Consider the move from OS9 to OSX. What they're doing is the media equivalent. It took about 18 months and three OSX version before OSX was very usable. Things might be faster with FCPX but it's going to probably be about 12 to 18 months until it equals much of FCP7. It already exceeds it in some ways do to the new foundation but it's in a very rudimentary state right now.



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Andrew Kimery
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 19, 2011 at 5:00:48 am

[Craig Seeman] "They sure did because they had to throw out the bathtub."

Two quick things off the top of my head. First, I think I made too vague of a statement. Second, I think the phrase "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" is used so commonly that it's apparently lost all meaning. ;)

When I made the baby/bathwater comment the idea I had swirling around in my head was that things like completely redesigning the GUI and introducing a new editing paradigm were not requirements in order to rewrite the app in 64-bit and to change the framework from QT to AV foundation. Apple could have given FCP 10 the familiar look and feel of previous FCP versions and still switched everything around under the hood just like they've done with their operating systems.

Apple chose to craft FCP 10 in the way that they did. It was not something forced on them due to the technical requirements of going from 32-bi to 64-bit. Apple chose to launch with things like "Share to Facebook", iMovie compatibility and iTunes & iPhoto integration instead of things like OMF or baseband video out support. Apple chose to sever the ties that they did.

OS X supported Classic until Leopard was released. Rosetta is finally being dropped w/Lion. People could buy USB Floppy drives. Heck, even iMovie 6 was available as a free download for two years after iMovie 08 came out. And, honestly, besides moving from command line to GUI desktop operating systems haven't change much in terms of user interaction over the past few decades. I mean, someone coming from Windows 3.1 would be able to use Windows 7 or OS X just fine after getting past some superficial differences.


-Andrew

3.2GHz 8-core, FCP 6.0.4, 10.5.5
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (6.8.1)



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Craig Seeman
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 19, 2011 at 5:23:21 am

[Andrew Kimery] "redesigning the GUI and introducing a new editing paradigm were not requirements"

I think the magnetic timeline has to do with how AV Foundation works to some extent. It has to do with the need for gaps (filler) since there can't be any gaps. The timeline itself is a media object of sorts. I also think Connected Clips have to do with how media objects relate to each other in AV Foundation. They could have make the behavior of Secondary Storylines a default behavior as "tracks." I don't think they were limited to a single viewer either. That can be fixed with better 2-up implementation though.

Apple though, tends to be very good with understanding human interaction with computers and GUI. Ease of use/interaction is important throughout. It may be when you put someone in front of something with no NLE habits to unlearn this is what they came up with.



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Andrew Kimery
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 19, 2011 at 7:29:36 pm

I wasn't aware that the underlying framework (whether it's QT or AV Foundation) could have so much impact on the GUI. The geek in me is curious to learn more.

I agree that Apple is very good at making user friendly devices and software but working professionals should want the best app they can get not necessarily the app with the lowest learning curve, IMO (and FCP's learning curve was already pretty low compared to other NLEs). Efficiency, not necessarily simplicity, should be the goal I think. As Alan Keyes said, simple should be simple and complex should be possible.

Only time will tell though and it will be interesting to see what path all the NLEs take, not just FCP X. Maybe FCP X falls totally out of favor w/the traditional pro market or maybe Adobe & Avid come to a realization that Apple was headed down the right path but just pulled the trigger way too early.


-Andrew

3.2GHz 8-core, FCP 6.0.4, 10.5.5
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (6.8.1)



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Craig Seeman
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 19, 2011 at 7:50:48 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "I wasn't aware that the underlying framework (whether it's QT or AV Foundation) could have so much impact on the GUI. The geek in me is curious to learn more."

In fact I think some ways AV Foundation has made some things harder for the programers and I think that's why we're seeing such major holes in the program. Given that it's new it's not like the programers have had years of experience with it like it might have been with Quicktime.

AV Foundation is used in iOS and if FCPX has a cousin it's iMovie on iPad, which uses AV Foundation and not iMovie on desktop which uses Quicktime. Basically I think iMovie for iPad was the programmer's "learning environment" and they're still new at this.

I do think they will bring back some older paradigms as they figure out how to implement. I suspect this might be why multicam is missing. I also think Secondary Storylines can become more "track like" as time goes on.

I also think this is why timecode and time in general plays a different role. Note that you can't do a very simple thing like change the timecode numbers in the timeline. There's no ability to start at a different hour or at 59:00 for example. Apple has said something to the effect that that will be introduced as and export option . . . which means you still won't be able to do that on your working timeline. I think AV Foundation handles time in a completely different manor than Quicktime or any other foundation used in an NLE. This is why clip connections are so important. Time is always relative to other media objects and not on an absolute grid.

I don't think the entire GUI is influenced by or a result of AV Foundation but I do think it's the root cause that they developed the "trackless, magnetic" timeline though.



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Chris Kenny
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 19, 2011 at 9:19:13 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "Apple could have given FCP 10 the familiar look and feel of previous FCP versions and still switched everything around under the hood just like they've done with their operating systems. "

Huh? OS X has a very different UI from OS 9.

[Andrew Kimery] "Apple chose to launch with things like "Share to Facebook", iMovie compatibility and iTunes & iPhoto integration instead of things like OMF or baseband video out support. Apple chose to sever the ties that they did."

Apple chose to launch with a feature set targeted at the largest possible user base and then expand into more niche markets. This is the same thing they did with FCP the first time around.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 21, 2011 at 6:41:07 am

Craig,

It's kinda weird. My primary interest in FCP 10 right now is from my geek side while my editing side looks on w/the disinterest of a husband purse shopping with his wife.


[Chris Kenny] "Huh? OS X has a very different UI from OS 9."
I was being vague again. I was meaning to reference that Apple has taken OS X from 32-bit to 64-bit w/o changing the look and feel. And even though OS 9 and OS X have a lot of differences they still function basically the same way when it comes to the end user. It's only now with Lion that we are starting to see the beginnings of Apple testing the waters of a mouse-less desktop OS w/the public. The magic mouse might be the last mouse Apple ever makes.


[Chris Kenny] "This is the same thing they did with FCP the first time around."
That argument has never held water for me. Apple started from square one w/FCP 1.0 and there's no reason they had to back to square one w/FCP 10. Why make an app that, out of the gate, can pretty smoothly take the torch from FCP7 and then add features that expand it out into a broader market? Seems like a better, less incendiary, way to release an app. Unless, of course, the traditional pro is closer to a tertiary market than a primary one.

A week or so after FCP 10 came out one of the original FCP team members was interviewed (wish I could find the link) and he said that the goal, even back then, was to aim for Avid's market, not the lower end of the market. FCP, like any newcomer, had to rise through the ranks so it makes sense that it was a grass roots type movement that elevated FCP up the post production pyramid. I don't see the benefit of Apple burning those inroads unless they are rather indifferent to traveling those paths again.

I'm not saying that's good nor bad just that that's the way I think it is.


-Andrew

3.2GHz 8-core, FCP 6.0.4, 10.5.5
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (6.8.1)



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Chris Kenny
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 21, 2011 at 7:05:01 am

[Andrew Kimery] "I was being vague again. I was meaning to reference that Apple has taken OS X from 32-bit to 64-bit w/o changing the look and feel. "

Obviously moving from 32-bit to 64-bit is not strictly related to look-and-feel. But FCP 7 wasn't just using APIs that had their roots in the OS 9 era, it also had a UI that had its roots in the OS 9 era. So it's unsurprising that Apple decided to modernize the UI in the process of rewriting the app.

[Andrew Kimery] "And even though OS 9 and OS X have a lot of differences they still function basically the same way when it comes to the end user. "

I think you're understating the differences. People freaked out about the OS X UI. In fact, it was subject to criticisms almost eerily similar to those now being leveled at FCP X -- it was, supposedly, too oversimplified, had too much eye candy (animations, etc.), discarded valuable spatial organization features, removed user control, etc. Some people claimed that Apple had ruined the Mac and that they were leaving for Windows.

[Andrew Kimery] "Why make an app that, out of the gate, can pretty smoothly take the torch from FCP7 and then add features that expand it out into a broader market?"

It's a combination of things. First, as people keep pointing out in the "urgency" thread, FCP 7 was getting old. Apple wanted to get something to market as quickly as possible, and shipping the initial release with more features would have delayed it. Secondly, Apple isn't just interested in today's editors, they're interested in tomorrow's editors. They were clearly asking themselves what they could do to leapfrog other NLEs, and metadata-first organization and a timeline based on clip connections are what they came up with.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Andree Franks
Re: Insight FCP X vs. Avid
on Jul 21, 2011 at 7:14:51 am

[Andrew Kimery] "That argument has never held water for me. Apple started from square one w/FCP 1.0 and there's no reason they had to back to square one w/FCP 10. Why make an app that, out of the gate, can pretty smoothly take the torch from FCP7 and then add features that expand it out into a broader market? Seems like a better, less incendiary, way to release an app. Unless, of course, the traditional pro is closer to a tertiary market than a primary one."

This is not 100% accurate before it was Final Cut Pro it was Premiere.
You know what would be funny and crazy? If Avid and Adobe rolled out a similar product! lol
What you guys think of Smoke as a editing tool??



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