Randy Ubillos interviewed by Alex 4D
Hmmmm... Interesting tidbits.
As an FCP7 user in the past and FCPX user, it worries me a little bit when he says (emphasis mine):
"The centre of the target, which I still think is very similar today, is software for the aspirational part of the market. People who want to do something good, most of them not making their living doing video - they would like to some day. They are interested in video and they spend a lot of their spare time doing it. That’s the centre of the target."
It seems like Apple has done more to target the high end lately with FCPX (MFX for instance). But I found it a bit worrying (although not completely a surprise)
On the other hand, if you look at what Apple just did with the new Logic Pro X update a couple of days ago, where they bought a company of Alchemy, and not only put it in the product, but enchanced it a lot, and did a huge feature update again, it makes me worry less about Apple Pro Apps.
His plan for the launch of FCPX sounds a lot more reasonable then how Apple did it. FCP7 would have been on the market for another year, and if you bought a copy of X, you would have gotten 7 for free. And it seems like the whole FAQ's they released after the launch were his idea, propelled by Steve Jobs wanting to 'fix' what happened.
I hope Apple learned from that experience. It seems they have, if I look at they way they at least announced stopping the development of Aperture, with promissing at least one more compatiblity update for Yosemite. And by the time the next version of Photos will be there with 3rd party support, maybe with some 3rd party filters/functions/extensions, it will be more of a worthy follow up for Aperture (I don't use it, so I'm guessing).
I have a bit more trust in Tim Cook in that regards then Steve Jobs. It seems communication in general has been more forthcoming under Tim Cook.
[Mathieu Ghekiere] "His plan for the launch of FCPX sounds a lot more reasonable then how Apple did it"
One wonders how he felt when they didn't listen to him. I can't help that one possible reason he left Apple was that he really didn't have the influence he felt he deserved for his creations.
[Mathieu Ghekiere] "FCP7 would have been on the market for another year, and if you bought a copy of X, you would have gotten 7 for free."
I wonder if the opposite would have been better. Buy FCP7 and get FCPX for free. That would encourage experimentation and developing familiartiy.
How many peopling buying FCPX in the early days really wanted to learn FCP7? Or, would that forestall disappointment if they found FCPX didn't meet their needs?
[Mathieu Ghekiere] "They are interested in video and they spend a lot of their spare time doing it. That’s the centre of the target.""
It's possible that he might mean that FCPX would be a stepping stone to more expensive hardware purchases as some subset moves into the professional arena. Such purchases would not only be more expensive Mac hardware but third party tools, thus, encouraging such developers by giving them a large target base. These days I don't think this approach is unique to Apple.
[Craig Seeman] "I can't help that one possible reason he left Apple was that he really didn't have the influence he felt he deserved for his creations."
Me, I doubt it. He was surely used to Steve's caprice by then. That's explicitly one of the things you sign up for when you work at any kind of closeness to him. Randy actually got off easy.
I knew (and know) a lot of people who worked (and work) there, and the general sentiment was "I pray he never learns my name."
My theory is that he ran out of challenges. Or conversely, that he tired of them. LOL
That is, he changed the world at Adobe with Premiere. He changed the world again at Macromedia with Final Cut. Regardless what it was for USERS, FCP at Apple was just a bunch of iterations, none of which were particularly significant or challenging FOR HIM.
X on the other hand, THAT's how Randy has run. I don't iterate. I blow up paradigms and make something new. And after X, what's next? At Apple, the answer is, "Nothing." From here, a bunch of iterations that have crystal-clearly not been the most satisfying parts of his career.
Of course, after changing our world three times, he's more than earned a break. Focus on his woodworking, or finally getting around to learning German. That kind of thing.
[Craig Seeman] "It's possible that he might mean that FCPX would be a stepping stone to more expensive hardware purchases"
That I STRONGLY doubt. The one theme running through his career has been liberation from hardware. Not that third party stuff hasn't been worthwhile of course. Premiere got on the PROFESSIONAL radar once it had meaningful integration with Radius, Targa, Media 100, and Matrox, whose Digisuite remained one of the most compelling NLE platforms until FCP turned the corner into HD....driven largely by third party hardware.
For that matter, the only way that Macromedia was able to show real-time performance in their early demos was using Targa cards on Windows, because no Macs supported that kind of bandwidth. So none of the Mac demos had a single thing in real time.
But that wasn't Randy's interest. His interest was sticking the landing on combining editing with compositing -- ie, breaking down the wall between the world of editing and the world of compositing. And he absolutely did, even if that aspect of FCP's prowess fairly quickly dropped out of the message.
(Except for me at Boris. LOL I spent 150 days a year on the road showing FCP's compositing prowess.)
Geezers may recall that the night before Apple unveiled FCP, Steve spiked the idea of FCP running on 3rd party hardware. That was never his intent, which is why all of the early ads had a DV camera attached to a laptop via FireWire. No hardware, no high-end Mac, no monitors, no I/O. Software-only.
FCP certainly became extensible, but any 3rd party developer can tell you that Apple rarely made them a priority. You could certainly ask anyone who worked at the large number of 3rd parties that Steve helped put out of the game.
There were along the way a couple of ads that showed Mac Pros, but Apple typically kept messaging around Mac Pros and FCP entirely separate.
To this day, there's not a single mention of a Mac Pro on the FCPX page. (Which is harder to find than you think. Try navigating there some time.) LOTS AND LOTS of talk about pro features. LOTS of talk. I hope that we've at least put that part of the debate to bed.
But I'd love it if folks followed Apple's lead and put the debate about Apple wanting to sell expensive equipment to bed. It's simply never been the case. It's been opportunistic, but never part of the core message.
To wit. The only picture of a 3rd party device on the FCP page: ARRI Alexa. Woo-hoo! The perfect camera to make the case that Apple is going for the heart of film and broadcast. (RED has fallen entirely to the fringe of course.)
So, what's the context for Alexa? A LAPTOP.
The same as it ever was. Stick the landing with the messaging again and again and again, for 16 years: FCP on a laptop.
Finally, as I wrap this as-ever too long post, it's worth remembering why Steve bought FCP from Macromedia in the first place. He wanted consumer software to include on every new shiny colored bubble iMac...and tried to buy Premiere from Adobe first.
Adobe wisely passed on what I'm sure was a low-ball offer anyway LOL but THAT's what turned Steve's attention to Randy. He obviously found more than he was looking for with FCP, and was more than happy to take advantage of it...but you can tell what a low priority it was for him in that it never became especially Mac-y. There was nothing about it that wouldn't have worked just fine on Windows, as FCP had from the beginning.
iMovie was something new. And there's a reason why Randy was on that product. It was something new. It was Mac-only by design, and looked and acted in a way that it only could have on Mac. It was something new in a way that FCP **at Apple** simply was not FOR RANDY.
Again, AT APPLE, the near future of FCP was nothing but iterations. Yawn. Randy jumped off that to iMovie. So call that "Changing the World 3.0," after Premiere and Final Cut AT MACROMEDIA.
While FCPX is NOT, and was never, iMovie Pro -- I honestly don't know how that ever entered the debate -- it DID offer an extension of the work he'd begun with iMovie, to create a fundamentally new paradigm...but clearly building on the TECHNOLOGY he'd helped build for iMovie...hence I am willing to concede that FCPX is more like "Changing the World 3.5."
If he is in fact looking for "Changing the World 4.0," it ain't gonna be at Apple.
Oh wait, HERE's where I'm going to end my too-long post: with the observation that Randy's language about "aspirational editing" EXACTLY lines up with Steve's original vision of editing on an iMac, and the earliest advertising around laptops. He ALWAYS wanted to offer the maximum experience of FCP and X on the lowest-end hardware possible.
You can also see THAT in that the only meaningful 3rd party hardware supported was I/O. Red Rocket obviously had some performance implications, but the BIG thing was simply enabling the footage to work at all. And now, no need for it, because Apple is continuing to address the goals that it ALWAYS had: look ma, no hardware!
Again acknowledging that FOR USERS, hardware was part of the story. But for APPLE, it simply wasn't, and isn't.
Randy Ubillos, aspirational editing independent of ANY hardware: game, set, match.
How can you NOT, for better or worse, see FCPX 1.0 as iMovie pro? It was compatible with iMovie. It shared the same paradigms with iMovie. It looked and functioned like iMovie. And the first priority was feature parity with iMovie. It is still compatible with iMovie and today they apparently share the same code base. Maybe iMovie should be called rough cut and X should be called final cut, but in any case FCP X 1.0 was everything iMovie could do, plus some.
During the Alex interview, Mr. Ubillos was crystal clear about how much tougher it is to conceive and code a 1.0 app than it is to revise an existing one.
How is it that anyone can possibly conceive that he'd do the extremely hard creative work of feature conception on the smaller, less risky stage of iMovie - and then NOT use the same creative concepts in X? It's ridiculous thinking.
Creation is HARD. Revision, much less so. We all know that.
That iMovie was to some extent and idea "scratch pad" for things that were more fully developed in X is a "duh" idea to me..
And to the extent they share code, it's a sign that Randy is a smart and efficient software designer - nothing less.
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.
[Bill Davis] "And to the extent they share code, it's a sign that Randy is a smart and efficient software designer - nothing less.
I think it shows that good ideas can start from anywhere. "Consumer", "Professional" when an idea is good, it can be adapted to perform in more than one area. Take GoPro, or the rise of the quad-copter as examples.
I have been given iMovie projects before, from very creative people and agencies, and the iMovie projects are from people sketching out rough ideas in motion. They can get preapprovals and buy in. It's not even a rough cut, it's more of a storyboard.
I can then import the project and get to work. It's been handy on real, paying, professional jobs, and no one feels bad about it.
Thanks for posting.
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf
[Herb Sevush] "Great interview.
Thanks for posting.
Agree and a fun read too ;)
I laugh at the dates and think where I was at the time.
Premiere 1.0 on an LC III for me then on a PC using the PVR.
Fun times but I had Avid, media100, FCP 1-3 in-between.
Fantastic interview. Really interesting thanks for posting.