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Complexity vs Ease of Use

COW Forums : Apple Final Cut Pro X Debates

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Eric Jurgenson
Complexity vs Ease of Use
on May 23, 2011 at 2:49:43 pm

It’s interesting to speculate on how “professional” FCP-X will be, but here is the dilemma: at some point ease of use becomes inversely related to the complexity of the feature set.

It is 100% clear that Apple’s prime directive with FCP-X is to make it easy to use by people who only edit occasionally, and would be unlikely to ever master (i.e. feel comfortable with) a full-featured application.

One could envision Apple designing a contextual interface (similar to the Autodesk/discreet approach), where screen information changes depending on what task you happen to be performing. This does allow you to simplify the display at any point in time, but it is questionable whether this flattens the learning curve – if anything, it raises it.

But imagine that the contextual interface could be disabled for the occasional user, leaving a simple (if more limited) set of features. Did Apple take this approach?

My contention is that if this were the case, we would have seen more evidence at the NAB SuperMeet preview – unless Apple decided to leave this advanced functionality turned off for the preview. Highly unlikely for a show catering to professional editors, in my opinion, since this “switchable” advanced functionality would have to be considered a major new feature.

No, I’m afraid it is clear that Apple has simply cut out much of FCP’s advanced feature set. Obviously this is cheaper and easier than the “switched” contextual interface approach that might have allowed Apple to design something simple for the occasional user, while still offering advanced functionality for the professional.

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Peter Adams
Re: Complexity vs Ease of Use
on Jun 11, 2011 at 8:13:17 pm

Im afraid that it is not clear what direction Apple has decided to take since we have not seen the final product and it is interesting to state that it's "100% clear" when it was previously mentioned this is mere speculation.

What is "clear" is that the lower price and short demo of Final Cut X has editors, such as myself, worried that this product is meant for the occasional user and in no way professional. I would venture to say that since Apple has created this application from the ground up, speculation based on a shot demo and screen shots doesn't even qualify as an educated guess since Apple themselves have stated that this app was meant to directly compete with the professional apps from adobe, etc. There is nothing clear......yet.

Am I worried...not really. I expect a program that could be interchangeable between novice and professional, much like After Effects, but even if for some reason Apple has decided to do something unorthodox, I still have Premiere and Final Cut Pro to fall back on.

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