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Was FCPX launched 2 years too early?

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Mark Dobson
Was FCPX launched 2 years too early?
on Jan 9, 2014 at 10:56:50 am

Having just completed 3 edits using 10.1 with, apart from a few minor hiccups, no problems at all I'm just wondering if the deeply flawed version of FCPX that was launched 2 and half years ago was released too soon?

Whilst some tried to applaud the logic of the weird Event / Project structure we were presented with as being a huge step forward into a brave new future of metadata driven editing, it would seem that this split within the software was at the the heart of nearly all the problems we have had to deal with over the period between initial launch and now.

These problems resulted in an extremely buggy piece of software, both within itself and as part of a collaborative workflow and can't help but think that we have all been participants in a huge BETA testing experiment. I've liked FCPX from the onset but like many others have struggled with the bugs and problems in order to get jobs in and out of the system.

I think 10.1 is the first really solid version of FCPX and that If it had been launched in it's present incarnation, let's not get into the magnetic timeline issue, it would have had a huge take-up within the top-end users in the industry.


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Mathieu Ghekiere
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early?
on Jan 9, 2014 at 1:31:47 pm

No, not necessarily.

I think FCPX got interesting from 10.0.3 and it got *really* good from 10.0.6, when we started using it full scale on the company where I do freelance work.

Yes, 10.1 made media management better, and you could think that the whole Event/Projects structure was a stepping stone to the Libraries now. And maybe the Libraries are a stepping stone to a new next step? They needed to release FCPX to the public to be able to evolve, to get real-world insights, etcetera.

That being said, I do think that FCPX was released too early. 10.0.0 was a mess. It was unstable. It didn't have roles. It didn't have XML and no way to talk to 3rd party programs. No relink button. No way to just export a small part of your timeline. No RED RAW support. No paste attributes, etc.

That were all big features that came later. I think that if 10.0.3 was the first FCPX they released, it would have been a MUCH better response, and if 10.0.6 was the first, the complainers would have had a LOT less to complain about.


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Erik Lindahl
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early?
on Jan 9, 2014 at 2:24:42 pm

Sounds like OSX-being released onto the world. That said, OSX saw a more rapid development AND Apple kept OS 9 + Classic alive for a long migration period.


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Richard Herd
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early?
on Jan 9, 2014 at 4:09:52 pm
Last Edited By Richard Herd on Jan 9, 2014 at 4:10:53 pm

[Mark Dobson] "that we have all been participants in a huge BETA testing experiment"

I've been saying that since day 1. And we paid to beta test! X could not have gotten to it's current incarnation in 2 years without the beta test program. In the brave new future, all software will be released early and then rented-out. ;)


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Walter Soyka
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early?
on Jan 9, 2014 at 4:12:55 pm

[Richard Herd] "In the brave new future, all software will be released early and then rented-out. ;)"

And then by the time it's good and mature, it's due for a complete re-write, and the circle starts all over again!

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Steve Connor
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early?
on Jan 9, 2014 at 4:19:47 pm

Of course it was sill beta! almost all V1 software is missing features and buggy, it is impossible to get software to any level of maturity without releasing it to the public.

Every single NLE out there has gone through the same process, they just weren't under the same spotlight that FCPX is.

Steve Connor

There's nothing we can't argue about on the FCPX COW Forum


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Mark Dobson
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early?
on Jan 9, 2014 at 4:45:12 pm

[Steve Connor] "Of course it was sill beta! almost all V1 software is missing features and buggy, it is impossible to get software to any level of maturity without releasing it to the public."

I appreciate that FCPX 10.1 is a far superior product to 10.0.1 and that software has to mature through user feedback, however I have struggled to make sense of the weird Event / Project split and it is only now that we have a unified piece of software.

And this is built around a logical hierarchy Library - Event - Project - all held together in a neat understandable, transportable, shareable bundle.

All I really wanted from 10.1 was stability and this I feel has been achieved but it has been a very tough user experience to get here.


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Bret Williams
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early?
on Jan 9, 2014 at 4:48:21 pm
Last Edited By Bret Williams on Jan 9, 2014 at 4:53:08 pm

FCP 1.x probably was too, but it was it's own class. And it didn't have a big brother to live up to. It's competition was $50k plus turnkey Avids/Media 100s, etc. Sure it was missing features, but they were tiered features. IOW it had an appropriate feature set for the time. And an amazing feature set for the cost. It had RS-422 control, proper tape logging, edl support, and other necessary things of the time, but no multi cam, audio mixer and other higher end features that naturally came later as the software matured.

So to release a new version of software that didn't even have the basics that it's big brother did a decade prior, nor the features that had evolved over that decade was definitely doomed to piss people off.

It could have been argued that tape support wasn't needed or EDLs were ancient, but to drop that and drop all the advances of the decade was a hard pill to swallow. Throw in some magnetic trackless timelines and it turned into a true fiasco. (I don't know that I've ever said fiasco. But it seems to fit)

EDIT: So maybe it was launched 10 years too late! The price and feature set would have made perfect sense. DV only tape ingest. No pro features to deal with other apps. No audio mixer. No EDLs... but an advance decent stand alone editor stuck in ripple mode for the consumer at a very decent price of only $299. Wow, that actually makes sense.


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Bret Williams
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early?
on Jan 9, 2014 at 4:32:19 pm

Maybe the $299 price tag was like an early adopter Kickstarter price. Donate $299 and get an early version of the software today!


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Bill Davis
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early? ABSOLUTELY NO.
on Jan 9, 2014 at 5:47:48 pm
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Jan 9, 2014 at 6:21:26 pm

[Mark Dobson] "Having just completed 3 edits using 10.1 with, apart from a few minor hiccups, no problems at all I'm just wondering if the deeply flawed version of FCPX that was launched 2 and half years ago was released too soon?"

Again, this is a push poll.

It presumes that the only editorial style and needs worth considering are those of elite editors who had legitimate complaints about how the original X operated.

I'll state it for the record. X was NEVER "deeply flawed" except in the minds of those who didn't take the time to understand it.

It was wonderful for the vast majority of basic editors with the right gear and an open mind.

I was lucky. My laptop was the correct hardware at the time - leaving me to wonder why so many were having buggy crash fests while I was just having very occasional crashes that never lost me a keystroke - so were ignorable.

What ACTUALLY made X singular was the conceptual underpinnings that were there from day ONE - and are still there today.

; )

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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David Mathis
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early? ABSOLUTELY NO.
on Jan 9, 2014 at 7:02:40 pm

When first seeing this post my initial answer was "yes" but that quickly changed after reading the comments.

I was one of those people who did not understand the new workflow or some of the features. The first version went against everything I learned from experience or from those that taught me.

Starting out with version 3 and working my way through 7 before this version came out was easy to understand. I came from an Avid background. I understood the project, sequence, clip relationship. A concept that would transfer from Avid to early version of Final Cut Pro and Premiere thrown in for good measure. You had tracks, you had bins, all the basic tools were there. You know what they were for and when to use them. Moving on to another NLE was nearly painless. A few things were different but the overall concept, not to mention the basic techniques were the same.

Then our friend X came out and things quickly changed. Everything we knew and learned was out the window, including the kitchen sink. We had to start most of the process over again. No more tracks, features were missing and everything was a big train wreck in the eyes of many. There was confusion, chaos and some anger. I kept thinking this same thought: What has Apple done to us? Later as updates became available and learning the new thought process I began to see the new version for what it really was. It became clear that, even though there was some confusion as to the workflow, that this version has potential. It could be the next great NLE once I understood where it was coming from. I am glad I finally learned to accept it for what it was and had great hope it would become something to look forward to working with. Had my mind not have changed I would have missed out on something great, something powerful.

I really do not think it was released to early. It was a new way of doing things, needed to be out there to be a competitor. Much progress has been made. Anytime some new software comes out there are going to be issues. As history has shown, things do get better.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early? ABSOLUTELY NO.
on Jan 9, 2014 at 7:16:06 pm

I also don't think it was released too early… so much as the release strategy was grossly mishandled by Apple.

The obvious problem was that in it's initial release state it was nothing even close to an alternative to FCP7. It was the combination of new techniques and missing features along with the initial inability to purchase FCS3 which was a major misfire. Sorry to bring that up again but the context is, IMHO even more important than FCPX design and paucity of features.

Apple provided no transition and that was entirely against all previous major changes whether it was OS9 to OSX, PPC to Intel, QT frameworks to AVFoundation. Even .Mac to MobileMe to iCloud all had transition periods.



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David Mathis
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early? ABSOLUTELY NO.
on Jan 9, 2014 at 7:46:53 pm

I agree that the initial launch could have handled better. Apple is not alone in this. Take a look at what Adobe has done and seems to be continuing the process.

Apple took the fork in the road, one that none of us have expected them to take. Then again, when Shake was put on the chopping block that might have been an indication of where Apple was headed. I am just guessing here and only stating an opinion.

Despite a poor launch things have improved. The current release is proof of that and the next update should make things even better. At least that is how I see it.


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Bret Williams
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early? ABSOLUTELY NO.
on Jan 10, 2014 at 4:28:49 pm

I know it's morbid, but in that year a lot of knee jerk reactionary things happened at Apple. I still think a good portion of it was due to Jobs and his health. He was trying to set things on particular paths before he was either too ill or passed. Perhaps he felt like if they didn't cut the cord then with legacy, that his successors would be too soft. But he was wrong. Tim has released lots of stuff before it was ready! No problem. :)


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Bill Davis
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early? ABSOLUTELY NO.
on Jan 10, 2014 at 7:42:55 pm

[Bret Williams] "Perhaps he felt like if they didn't cut the cord then with legacy, that his successors would be too soft. But he was wrong. Tim has released lots of stuff before it was ready! No problem. :)"

Ii think this is revisionist thinking.

I remembre around the year 2000 an NAB chat I had with the late, much missed Ralph Fairweather (who was key among the original FCP evangilists back when 1.0 was released) - and him telling me that the FCP team was literally desperately quashing bugs in the code of v1.0 the NIGHT before it's debut at NAB 99!

V1.0 by the way was amazingly stable - but listening to him, the dev team was nowhere NEAR assured of thateven six HOURS before it's big public debut.

The point is that for all of history in software development, the best you can do is to try to make any complex program's code as clean as possible and then hope for the best when it's released into the wild.

There were a LOT of rapid (for the era) updates, feature adds and re-thinking between Legacy 1.0 and 3.0 as well - adding such fundamental missing items as JKL transport control to the software as it settled in.

Just how the game works, IMO.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Herb Sevush
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early? ABSOLUTELY NO.
on Jan 10, 2014 at 10:12:25 pm

[Craig Seeman] " It was the combination of new techniques and missing features along with the initial inability to purchase FCS3 which was a major misfire."

To put it another way, while FCPX wan't released too early, FCP7 was eol'd too early. That combination was, how should I phrase this ... un-wise?

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Chris Conlee
Re: Was FCPX launched 2 years too early? ABSOLUTELY NO.
on Jan 16, 2014 at 12:03:25 am

I agree, no. It didn't affect me in the least as I continued to happily use Avid Media Composer on every project, just as I had before its release. ;)


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