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Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?

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Bryan Keith
Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 12:33:44 am

All of this recent uproar (from me included) has got me thinking. In the big scheme of things, how big of a deal do you think this user revolt is to Apple?

It's certainly a big deal to me, and all the users here, because it directly affects our future business plans.
But for Apple, professional Final Cut users are just a miniscule blip on the radar. It's hard for me to get an objective view because I'm too close to it.

On that Monday morning company status meeting with Steve and all of the top execs....is this Final Cut debacle a minor footnote discussion or does Steve open up his can of whoop ass? (I'd love to witness that moment, by the way)

Opinions?

Bryan Keith
http://www.happylandstudio.com


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Brad Davis
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 1:47:28 am

Time will tell.

No company likes bad press. As history has pointed out they are paranoid about control and expectation of the products. Remember two weeks ago all the cease and desist orders of simple screen shots? The iPhone 4 at the bar fiasco?

And this starting to get traction. The naming issue, the lack of features, the rumored taking down of ratings (though I didn't see it.) The Conan is a kick in the groin. They're kind of forced to support it because conspiracy theories are now abound and running rampant about post production housing dumping the FCP 7 software immediately.

I ultimately don't think Apple is going to abandon the marketplace. They would have no reason to build systems beyond iMac and 13th inch Macbooks because if we wanted a simple word processor system we could go PC. They thing bigger than that. They've also like to indicate the marketing "sexiness" of True Grit and The Social Network being cut on FCP. They would not abandon 15 years of reputation build up and marketing. They also wouldn't abandon 2+ years of development if it wasn't financially profitable.

They have handled this poorly. They can fix this. The issue is can they do it fast enough to get the users before they abandon due to the word of mouth and have to rebuild their reputation again.


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Bryan Keith
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 2:29:12 am

I ultimately don't think Apple is going to abandon the marketplace. They would have no reason to build systems beyond iMac and 13th inch Macbooks because if we wanted a simple word processor system we could go PC. They thing bigger than that. They've also like to indicate the marketing "sexiness" of True Grit and The Social Network being cut on FCP. They would not abandon 15 years of reputation build up and marketing. They also wouldn't abandon 2+ years of development if it wasn't financially profitable.

This is what I'm not so confident about. You're right...they would have no reason to build Mac Pros anymore...I think the line of pro products is on shaky ground right now. FCP is now meant to run on only one display. Imac style! The only display they haven't ditched is the glossy 27" variety. Not preferred by pros. Who's to say that whole "look at all the big movies cut on FCP' marketing push isn't completely altered to "look at all the easy cool travel videos that can quickly and easily be made with FCP". In fact...there is no way they can keep touting the pro work created by their product...b/c there won't be any. You're right...it wouldn't be profitable to abandon the years of development of FCP X. Trust me...they will be making more money as a result of this switch to prosumer crowds.

Bryan Keith
http://www.happylandstudio.com


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Chris Knight
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 2:33:37 am

[Brad Davis] " They would have no reason to build systems beyond iMac and 13th inch Macbooks"
I think you are seeing the bigger picture. Consumers don't buy desktops anymore, and the pro market represents a ridiculously small amount of Apple's revenue. Apple's reputation in the pro industry started eroding when they removed the word "Computer" from their name.



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Brad Davis
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 2:53:44 am

I realizing I'm speaking in convoluted logic because I'm guessing. It would be odd to buy a 4K tower for a $300 piece of software. It makes sense 1.5K desktop maybe. Especially when the competition can get 2K tower for 2K system.

Apple diversified beyond computers with great success. If I was a stockholder in a technology company, I would be wanting to my investment to be pushing the boundaries on all fronts from the high level to the low levels. Also, I think we're dealing with egos and reputations and I don't think that want to cede from their original product line. And FCP got them there and it still a viable product.

As I wrote earlier in a previous posting...We just don't know what it is.


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J Hussar
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 3:03:54 am

I really don't think that Apple thought it would get this big of a reaction. I think they expected some grumbling and then acceptance.

I think they were surprised it caused this much of a problem.



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Chris Kenny
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 4:23:03 am

[Bryan Keith] "It's certainly a big deal to me, and all the users here, because it directly affects our future business plans. But for Apple, professional Final Cut users are just a miniscule blip on the radar. It's hard for me to get an objective view because I'm too close to it. "

Having witnessed a lot of Apple-related Internet freak-outs over the last decade, odds are a year from now this won't even be seen as having been a big deal for Final Cut Pro itself. Realistically, a lot of editors and particularly facilities wait six months or a year before deploying new versions of software anyway. If Apple fills the important feature gaps before that, not many people are actually going to say "Well, sure FCP X looks like a good solution now, but I'm going with something else because I vaguely remember that the handled the rollout badly last year".

A few will actually be pissed off enough leave the platform. More will join the platform over the coming yeas, as a consequence of Apple now having the most modern rendering engine and user interface of any of the major players.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

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


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Sohrab Sandhu
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 5:59:04 am

[Chris Kenny] "Having witnessed a lot of Apple-related Internet freak-outs over the last decade, odds are a year from now this won't even be seen as having been a big deal for Final Cut Pro itself"

Freak-outs Like?



Sohrab

2.66 GHz 8-core, ATI Radeon HD 4870,
FCS 3, AJA Kona Lhi



"The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth-century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging, and hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months, or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen." -- Carl Ally


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Chris Kenny
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 1:02:46 pm

[Sohrab Sandhu] "Freak-outs Like?"

OS X 10.0, Apple charging for the 10.2 update, Apple starting to charge for iTools when it became Mobile Me, Apple de-emphesizing type/creator codes in favor of file name extensions, Apple switching to Intel, Apple telling developers to write web apps for the iPhone (implying no native SDK), the iPhone 4 antenna mess, some App Store content sales terms of service changes made earlier this year, Apple using funny five point screws on iOS devices, the the iOS location cache issue, issues with installing replacement hard drives in new iMacs, and most recently Lion only being available for app store download.

I'm probably forgetting a few.

Some of these might sound fairly absurd, but every one of these issues has caused a fairly serious freak-out in one Internet community or another. You wouldn't believe the long-term implications people can read into a Apple adopting a different kind of screw, or the things they'll manage conclude about Apple's motivations for doing so.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

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


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Peter J. DeCrescenzo
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 6:33:59 am

[Chris Kenny] "Having witnessed a lot of Apple-related Internet freak-outs over the last decade, odds are a year from now this won't even be seen as having been a big deal for Final Cut Pro itself. ..."

You're not comparing the poor decisions Apple made leading up to this week's release of FCPX -- as in, consciously went out of their way by spending millions of dollars to do it -- comparing it to something like a probably accidental design flaw (or alleged design flaw) such as the iPhone antenna issue, are you? Seriously?

[Chris Kenny] "... If Apple fills the important feature gaps [in 6-12 months], not many people are actually going to say "Well, sure FCP X looks like a good solution now, but I'm going with something else because I vaguely remember that the handled the rollout badly last year" ..."

You can fool some people most of the time, and fool most people some of the time, but you can't fool most people most of the time. That's the law. Apple doesn't get special exemption from this law, reality distortion field or no.

Apple will only sell a lot of copies of FCPX (e.g.: meet last week's projections, the ones on their spreadsheets _before_ the sh*t hit the fan) 6-12 months from now if they handle the lie that is FCPX very, very soon, as in weeks, not months or years from now.

Because, meanwhile the semi-smart folks at Adobe & elsewhere will continue to make significant gains in the marketplace, at Apple's expense.

During the next 6-12 months, an increasing number of feature films, TV series, etc. will be created with non-Apple software -- in no small part spurred-on by Apple's stumble with FCPX.

I'm not saying Apple's recent FCPX stumble equals Apple's doom, far from it, but it's probably way too early to predict FCPX equals Apple's long-term win in pro video production.

[Chris Kenny] "... Apple now having the most modern rendering engine and user interface of any of the major players."

Sorry, but that last part sounds like pure marketing blah, blah, blah. Might as well say it's got a "hemi" engine or something. And no matter how much you might like FCPX's UI, the jury will be out for a while as to whether or not its UI is particularly useful or productive for most people compared to UIs which preceded it.

---

http://www.peterdv.com


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Chris Kenny
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 1:21:41 pm

[Peter J. DeCrescenzo] "You're not comparing the poor decisions Apple made leading up to this week's release of FCPX -- as in, consciously went out of their way by spending millions of dollars to do it -- comparing it to something like a probably accidental design flaw (or alleged design flaw) such as the iPhone antenna issue, are you? Seriously?"

About the only "poor decision" I see with respect to FCP X is that Apple shipped the initial version knowing it was missing some features pros needed, but didn't communicate well about future plans.

[Peter J. DeCrescenzo] "Because, meanwhile the semi-smart folks at Adobe & elsewhere will continue to make significant gains in the marketplace, at Apple's expense."

You're claiming this will 'continue', but you have no data to support that it's actually occurring to any significant degree in the first place. I suspect most users are in fact taking a wait-and-see- attitude at this point, not scrambling to switch platforms.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

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


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David Cherniack
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 5:02:24 pm

[Chris Kenny] "Apple now having the most modern rendering engine"

I guess in the sense that it's the latest to be released, that's true.

Is it the best though? And really it's the playback engine that matters, not the rendering engine. I'm a little perplexed why they background render everything to Prores for performance if the playback engine is that good. Also, from what I've seen in the Animating with Keyframes tutorial above, the playback performance appears to be poor (dropped frames) compared to doing the same thing on a moderately powerful Premiere system.

All I'm saying is that performance tests need to be done by independent parties before claims of performance, inferred or otherwise, are made. Nonetheless I found it iteresting that the Apple site made no claims about relative performance compared to Premiere or Avid. They may already know something that the rest of us do not.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Chris Kenny
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 5:12:20 pm

[David Cherniack] "I'm a little perplexed why they background render everything to Prores for performance if the playback engine is that good. "

Faster exporting, for one thing. If everything's rendered already then when you go to export (if you're using 'current settings'), it basically happens at the speed of a file copy.

[David Cherniack] "Also, from what I've seen in the Animating with Keyframes tutorial above, the playback performance appears to be poor (dropped frames) compared to doing the same thing on a moderately powerful Premiere system."

Hardly a good test without knowing specific hardware details (and with the system capturing a screencast while trying to play back). But in any event, raw speed isn't necessarily the advantage I'm pushing for FCP X's engine here. Its big advantage is OpenCL, which means e.g. current MacBook Pros have GPU acceleration in FCP X but not Premiere.

OpenCL wasn't really a viable option when Adobe wrote the Mercury engine. It's a nice example of how "more modern" actually translates into material benefits. (Though of course it wouldn't be impossible for Adobe to add OpenCL support now. Their engine is new enough that I'd guess it has a fairly clean, modular architecture.)

[David Cherniack] "Nonetheless I found it iteresting that the Apple site made no claims about relative performance compared to Premiere or Avid. They may already know something that the rest of us do "

Meh. It's not uncommon for a market leader (which Apple is, by market share) to simply pretend competitors don't exist.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

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


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David Cherniack
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 5:29:20 pm

[Chris Kenny] "[David Cherniack] "I'm a little perplexed why they background render everything to Prores for performance if the playback engine is that good. "

Faster exporting, for one thing. If everything's rendered already then when you go to export (if you're using 'current settings'), it basically happens at the speed of a file copy."


But Chris, by "better performance" I think they mean playback. And it indicates to me that they still may have some optimizing to do on their playback engine.

As far as exporting in Premiere you can always turn on Use Previews if you so desire or not, if you want to render to a higher bit depth than the previews. I see no advantage to FCP-X in this respect.

[Chris Kenny] "OpenCL wasn't really a viable option when Adobe wrote the Mercury engine. It's a nice example of how "more modern" actually translates into material benefits. (Though of course it wouldn't be impossible for Adobe to add OpenCL support now. Their engine is new enough that I'd guess it has a fairly clean, modular architecture.)"

You're coorect that OpenCL was not quite ready when they wrote their CUDA engine but I've been told privately (long before OpenCL was known to be in Apple's plans) that OpenCL was not quite as efficient as CUDA in their internal testing. Personally. though I expect to see it as a playback option in some future release, if only to accommodate those with ATI GPUs.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Chris Kenny
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 5:31:42 pm

[David Cherniack] "But Chris, by "better performance" I think they mean playback. And it indicates to me that they still may have some optimizing to do on their playback engine. "

Have you used the app? On decent hardware most things play back just fine before they render.

[David Cherniack] "You're coorect that OpenCL was not quite ready when they wrote their CUDA engine but I've been told privately (long before OpenCL was known to be in Apple's plans) that OpenCL was not quite as efficient as CUDA in their internal testing."

Benchmarks of current OpenCL implementations show only fairly moderate performance differences.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

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


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David Cherniack
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 6:12:43 pm

[Chris Kenny] "Have you used the app? On decent hardware most things play back just fine before they render."

Just curious...what doesn't play back just fine so far?

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Chris Kenny
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 6:29:05 pm

[David Cherniack] "Just curious...what doesn't play back just fine so far?"

I couldn't give you a list off the top of my head, and the machine I'm using now is a 2007 MacBook Pro that runs FCP X... barely. (It has half as much VRAM as Apple's specs call for.) My impressions were based on using it on a 2008 8-core 2.8 GHz Mac Pro with a GT120; it was pretty decent. If I end up heading into the office tomorrow I'll switch the monitors over to the GTX285 in that machine (normally just used for CUDA in Resolve) and try that. The 285 has 7.5x as many CUDA cores, so I'm imagining that's going to be kind of crazy.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

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


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David Cherniack
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 6:51:40 pm

I use the GTX 470 in Premiere these days. It's great and hardly pops 30% useage when stacking half a dozen CUDA effects on any HD nmaterial. The only time I wish I had more vidram (1.3GB) is when working with CUDA on 5k stills series. (Premiere handles source at up to 11k though you'd need a monster amount of vidram to preview it, let alone the raid speed to push it through).

Check out the performance of the machine at work. I have no doubt that Apple can bring it up to speed if it's a bit tardy in this first release, which I sort of expect because it is a first release.

Honestly, as an 'outsider' I did expect more of the missing features to be present. I'm rather dumfounded in the choices they did make, in the inflexibility of the interface and like everyone else here I'm rather stunned at the pulling of FCS from the market. If I was a user, with my present needs, I'd feel just as upset as many here. But if Apple realy wants to make it a pro app it may take much longer than just a few months that many here are hoping..more like a year or two would be my guess, because it's quite clear they'll be relying on 3rd parties to do the grunt work, and they're not nearly as well capitalized as Apple.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Chris Kenny
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 7:01:31 pm

[David Cherniack] "Apple realy wants to make it a pro app it may take much longer than just a few months that many here are hoping..more like a year or two would be my guess, because it's quite clear they'll be relying on 3rd parties to do the grunt work, and they're not nearly as well capitalized as Apple."

A lot of the 'grunt work' is not that hard, though. If Apple releases an API to access sequence data, and it works reasonably, I suspect I could implement EDL exporting well enough for our internal needs in just a few hours. And by "well enough for our internal needs" I mean "better for our internal needs than FCP 7, which has some EDL quirks that have always annoyed me".

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

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


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David Cherniack
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 7:19:44 pm

[Chris Kenny] " If Apple releases an API to access sequence data, and it works reasonably, I suspect I could implement EDL exporting well enough for our internal needs in just a few hours."

Now while I agree with the first part of the sentence, the "few hours" strikes me as unbridled optimism :)

But I was refering to IO drivers and keyframeable plugins....if keyframable is going to be at all possible - hard to see how it couldn't factor into their plans if they see it as a pro app. But is there a place for that in the present interface or will it need something that's not yet apparent?

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Chris Kenny
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 7:36:01 pm

[David Cherniack] "Now while I agree with the first part of the sentence, the "few hours" strikes me as unbridled optimism :)"

Heh. Well, the Ruby script I wrote to take an FCP 7 XML file and re-link everything it to clips rendered out of Resolve based on reel/timecode only took about 15 hours, and this should be a fair bit easier. (Again, assuming a sensibly designed, well documented API.)

[David Cherniack] "But I was refering to IO drivers and keyframeable plugins....if keyframable is going to be at all possible - hard to see how it couldn't factor into their plans if they see it as a pro app. But is there a place for that in the present interface or will it need something that's not yet apparent?"

The I/O hardware vendors tend to be pretty good about drivers. I mean, people with hardware more than a couple of years old are probably screwed, but that's nothing new.

The plug-in architecture is just a version of FXPlug. Everything needs to be recompiled because FCP X is a 64-bit host, and I would guess there are some other changes that need to be made, but I think plug-ins probably won't be a problem. And I'm not quite sure what you mean about keyframing. FCP X has perfectly serviceable keyframe editing that I would assume plugins would be able to use.



--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

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


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Tom Daigon
Re: Apple big picture....how big of a deal is this really?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 5:34:07 pm

Well, it maybe one of the few times that thousands of disgusted clients asked for a refund on their software. I did and they were very polite and apologetic about the situation. They said it took longer than usual to return my email request since they were experiencing much larger volume of emails to customer service than normal. Im sure that made some impact.

Tom Daigon
Avid DS / FCP / After Effects Editor
http://www.hdshotsandcuts.com


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