Jun 23, 2011

and.... cut!

The NY Times reviews the new Final Cut Pro X: Apple’s Final Cut Is Dead. Long Live Final Cut.

I've been waiting for this with baited breath for this video editing software to come out. I'm a certified movie editing junkie and I have tapped out iMovie's capabilities long ago. But I never made the jump to Final Cut Pro (or the Express version) because it hadn't been updated in years and it is needlessly complicated. No. Horrifically complicated. Jargonized, cumbersome, and poorly constructed. But that has all changed now.

This update will be interesting to watch. I'd love to have heard the strategic discussions at Apple about this release. Why? Because the program is a massive departure from the old version. This is a bottom up rewrite. It reminds me of when Apple rewrote their OS to version X. The dropped every piece of legacy code.

The professionals are not happy. Their laundry list of complaints is both real and substantial. Most of them revolve around basic workflow problems. An inability to translate partially completed movies to a transportable format that can be sent to other professionals (like color graders) in the workflow process.  Also some professionals have large "add-ins" they've purchased. They don't work on FCPX. It is in effect useless for these people. I can understand their angst. This is a barebones product and Apple knows it. That's why the pricing is so low. And the belief is that over time they will add to it but that doesn't help editors right now. This is really iMovie Pro.

On the other hand this product really is iMovie Pro. It's a souped up version and so for me to make the transition now is quite easy. And that's good because iMovie for all its simplicity is incredible powerful and efficient. I've made over 256 home movies as of today. In fact I rarely take photos now because the "capture of memories" pails in comparison to well edited home movies. I whip one out about once per week. That would be impossible if it wasn't an efficient program. And so I think Apple made the right move here. A ballsy one. One that will lose them tons of professional clients. But 2 years from now I expect them to come back. Much in the way that OS X was a long term investment. Once the program is built out it will leave other programs in the dust. Because I can't imagine anyone thinking the way the old FCP work as being efficient. It merely had all the tools that professionals used.

The bigger problem is the problem that Apple has always had. They don't operate the way commercial businesses want them to. In other words businesses want a roadmap of the products they use. When are they being updated, what is the support, when does the support end, etc. One poor guy just last week completed the hardware installation for the Final Cut Pro Server system that was to house terabytes of their film clips. They spent over $200,000. Well Final Cut Pro Server no longer exists. The investment will need to be repurposed somehow. Incredibly frustrating for an IT group working on a budget. And that's why things like the iPhone and Macs will never really take hold inside large corporations. There is no insight into the future with Apple. It goes against their marketing philosophy. But corporate IT doesn't like surprises the way consumer gadget geeks do.

Anyway I'll grab my popcorn and lawn chair and see how this plays out.

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