APPLE FINAL CUT PRO: Apple Final Cut Pro X FCPX Debates FCP Legacy FCP Tutorials

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Walter Soyka
Re: Point Me In the Direction of A...........
on Aug 22, 2011 at 6:17:28 pm

I'm seeing a lot of the early FCP7/FCPX arguments rehashed in this thread, but without the context of the original discussion.

FCP7 was a flexible editorial platform with large third-party support and which not only supported interchange (EDL) but also advanced it (FCP XML). It was built on an outdated codebase, but it offered all the functionality necessary for basic editorial and for participation in "complex workflows" (which seems to be the best semantic resolution to the pro vs. non-pro argument that I've seen yet).

FCPX is a new editorial platform with novel interface and editorial paradigm, limited third-party support, and zero interchange ability (for now). It's built on a thoroughly modern codebase, and while it offers very little functionality necessary for complex workflows, it's a great foundation for future development.

This argument has become about when or whether FCPX will add features. Will FCPX 10.1 add features? Certainly -- but so will Avid MC 6 and Premiere Pro CS6, and both of them already offer basic NLE functionality that didn't make it into FCPX. Which one will be the best? Impossible to say -- not only can you not define "the best," but none of these apps are actually shipping yet!

That said, I think this totally glosses over what really shocked everyone about FCPX two months ago.

FCP was an industry leader, but out of the blue, Apple rebooted the FCP franchise. They decided that an application could still carry the Final Cut Pro name, even if it didn't have post fundamentals like video monitoring, tape I/O, editorial interchange, or legacy format support.

With this move, Apple created a huge gap in the market. If you need video monitoring to do your job, Apple does not have an NLE product to sell to you. If you need multicam, Apple does not have an NLE product to sell to you. If you need to share your work with a colorist or audio specialist, Apple does not have an NLE product to sell to you.

Apple in effect told the entire "complex workflow" segment of the business, "Thanks for your support over the last decade, but we are not currently interested in your business." They either didn't understand how important these features were to the "complex workflow" segment of the market, or they didn't care. Either scenario indicates that they are out of touch with these editors.

This conversation is about so much more than 32-bit vs. 64-bit, or open timeline vs. magnetic timeline. In industry terms, it's about stability, goodwill and trust. It's about how quickly a hard-earned reputation can be tarnished. For me personally, it's about understanding whether Apple understands and is interested in meeting my professional needs or not.

All this speculation is what raised everyone's hopes so high for the erstwhile FCP8 release in the first place, and while I think it's very premature to count Apple out of the NLE game, I think we need to be careful about being overly optimistic about what Apple can cram through development for FCPX 10.1.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
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