Re: [Frameworks] FInal Cut Pro X

From: David Tetzlaff <>
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2011 02:29:15 -0400

> Yes I have been a daily user of FCP since FCP 1, and although the interface of FCP X does sort of, in some ways resemble iMovie, why is it no longer a professional application?

As of now, now ability to open project files from previous versions. No XML import/export of any kind. No recognition of Photoshop layers. Some of the other complaints about missing features appear to be in error, as the features have been moved, renamed, hidden and undocumented, or replaced with similar functionalities that have been misunderstood. However, the list of things acknowledged by Apple and FCPX's defenders remains significant.

> If you own FCP Studio3 why the need to upgrade right now?

None. But that's not the issue. As of the introduction of FCPX, FC Studio 3 is no longer available. Apple killed it. They will be dropping support for it. It cannot be installed on Lion, so if you buy a new Mac now, you won't be able to get FC 7 running without some kind of hack. It's 32 bit only, which limits it's utility in an increasingly 64 bit world.

> Seeing how Apple owns the code for FCP 7, why would one not expect them to further incorporate the professional features presently not available back into the program in future releases?

Because the code-base for FCPX is totally different from FCP 7. The legacy FCP code is now essentially useless. Everything added to FCPX will have to be rebuilt from the ground up. There are two issues here: 1) Apple is trying to push users into a new paradigm, and as such there are some things they have no intention of adding. 2) They put FCPX on the market and killed FC Studio 7 without completing the features they DO intend to add to the app. Furthermore they did not issue a 'roadmap' for development, indicating what they plan to add and when. Bloggers and print journalists have been able to find some of these things out by contacting Apple as part of their coverage of the FCPX controversy/"disaster". But you have to search to find these reports, there are no timetables, no promises regarding the costs of updates, etc.

> This petition is surprising.

Not really. Apple has replaced an app that many people use to make their living with something those people find completely alien. That's going to get people agitated in the short run anyway, whether or not the changes prove to be 'better' in the long run. This is a bigger change than Kodak dropping Kodachrome after killing all the other Tungsten reversal stocks, and telling everybody 'You should use 100D Ektachrome.' And yeah there was still Kodachrome in the pipeline and Dwayne's kept processing it for a decent time, but the writing was on the wall and there were petitions then.

Since I go back not only to cutting super-8 with a Minette, but to assemble-only editing on U-Matic machines, and VHS systems with +/-4 frame accuracy, and doing sound-editing for video on 1/4 tape with a razor blade and a splicing block, if all that existed was FCP 2 running on a G4 I'd be pretty darn happy, and FCP 3 and above are just icing on the cake. But I don't work in 'the industry' which does make certain demands of certain people.

The one thing I have not seen mentioned in any of the FCPX coverage and commentary is how this is going to effect education (mainly 'the education market' but that has some pedagogical consequences, too.) And it seems to me that Apple has seriously shot itself in the foot here. Few schools are in a position to make large changes in technology, since students will be working on things that cross semester and school year boundaries, and it's really a major hassle if the old projects can no longer be opened, or if doing so requires a lot of complicated gymnastics. So if you start with Avid or FCP, you stay with them, even if the other leaps ahead, because its too hard to change. Every once in a blue moon, there's some coincidence of timing and events that makes a major changeover possible, but usually folks stay with what they have until they're forced out of it because the manufacturer drops it or goes belly-up. (There are places where you can still feel the angst at schools th
 at invested in Betamax ED).
But a school may not have the option to just keep running FCP 7. Their old macs may all be dying, and the school policy may prohibit them from buying anything used, so the IT department can only provide them with new machines that run LIon only. Or a growing program may need to add more stations to it's editing lab: sorry FCP 7 licenses are no longer available. 
In 1999 I was hired to start a production program at a small college. They had no equipment so there were no compatibility/inertia issues. I took a gamble and committed the school to FCP, which had not actually been released at the time, on the basis of getting to examine a late beta. That turned out to be the right move, and in retrospect a kind of no-brainer. The expensive proprietary hardware based M-JPEG systems (Media 100 etc.) were clearly on the way out, Premiere sucked, and the other DV players (remember Radius Edit?) were too small to survive. Avid hadn't announced their DV system (MC Xpress) at the time. And even if it had been available, the Avid interface is way too idiosyncratic for use with a general liberal arts student population, while FCP is pretty intuitive to anyone who has used any other timeline based editing system; audio or video. So my small situation was a synecdoche of a larger window of opportunity for Apple. 
Now things are very different. Very few schools are starting anew, or reaching the point where their old technology has become so obsolete that it's about to follow the Steenbecks out the door. Instead, FCP is thoroughly entrenched in colleges. There are Avid shops, and FCP shops, and that's basically it. And now all those FCP shops, where the faculty have been taking crap for 11 years because they're not using the 'industry standard' Avid, (as if that had anything to do with learning how to MAKE FILMS), are staring at an oncoming train. Unless some third party vendors like Automatic Duck rescue Apple from the compatibility issues and soon, schools are going to be saying, 'Well if we have to start all over, do we go with this new thing that isn't all there yet or switch to Avid or maybe just sign yet another contract with Adobe.' I think the vendor room at UFVA this year should be REALLY interesting, especially at the Avid table and Avid sponsored panels, and I'm wondering ho
 w FCP stalwarts like Charlie Roberts and Bart Weiss are seeing things... But I still think Avid is too intimidating for all but the MFA/BFA programs, so the real opportunity would go to Premiere, if Adobe went after it, though I suspect they're too big to have production education customers as blips on their radar... Interesting times for the geeks, one way or another...
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Received on Mon Jun 27 2011 - 23:29:28 CDT