Before I begin ... let me say this.
- David Pogue is a fine gentleman who I have met several times. He is smart, he is generous in his knowledge, and he is fair. He is not a shill and his article was trying to be helpful (I commend him for getting Apple to answer questions).
- He is not a video editor. Nor does he try to pass himself off as one.
- I am sorry this response is SO long. It's technical and it's important I be clear and detailed (I've already been criticized and accused of being an Apple hater or colluding against them).
*Updated – 6/24 8:05 AM – I just got a great phone call and a few emails. I am inserting some updates in Orange. I will add corrections and clarifications as they come in (and I can verify).
*Updated – 6/25 5:26 pm (I am adding additional context and links to article). Also be sure to look at the many comments and answers below the article. Please keep posting issues you find (but keep things civil here). The time for anger is past... let's work to get a clear list of issues and give Apple some context as to what we want and why.
Here is the original article – http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/23/professional-video-editors-weigh-in-on-final-cut-pro-x/
*Updated – 6/25 5:26 PM – I won't call this winning, because it is not about that. But David now says "Having read through hundreds of comments from professionals, both civil and uncivil, I’m now convinced: Final Cut Pro X may indeed be ready for the future. But for professional video editors, it’s not yet ready for the present."
Please read http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/24/the-quarrel-over-final-cut-continues/. Stop beating up on David... but do head over and read it. If you work in pro video, voice your support for his reversal.
I would like to briefly respond. But before I do, a brief overview.
- I have been a certified instructor for three of the A’s that make video editing software.
- I have produced Final Cut Pro tutorials which have been given away for free for years as podcasts through iTunes.
- I have written several books on Final Cut Pro (as well as other products).
- I do use other company’s tools (always have).
- My opinions here are based on owning a 10-person video production company which has built its infrastructure around Final Cut Pro for 10 years.
- I am not even going to touch on the challenges of completely retraining my staff and myself on something that is so radically different. You thought people whined when Microsoft added the Ribbon to Office...go look at what editors are saying in the App Store reviews. Remember only people who actually BOUGHT the application are allowed to rate it.
*Updated – 6/25 5:29 PM – The comments below this article as well as the forum over at Creative COW are excellent places to see the confusion. The FCPX techniques forum is a great place to get help too.
Hopefully that’s enough context... Let’s begin. (Red is Pogue’s summary of the complaint. Blue is his answer (with input from Apple). Green is my response.
“Complaint: There’s no multicamera editing. In the old FCP, you could import the footage from various cameras that covered an event (say, a concert) from different angles simultaneously, and then easily cut back and forth between them while editing. It was a star feature of Final Cut, and it’s gone from FCP X.”
“Answer: Apple intends to restore this feature in an update, calling it “a top priority.” Until it does, here’s a stopgap facsimile of multicam editing: If you drag two clips into parallel timeline tracks, you can choose Clip->Synchronize Clips. By comparing their audio tracks, the program aligns the clips exactly. Now, each time you select a piece of the upper video track and press the V key (“disable”), you are effectively cutting to what’s on the lower video track.”
My Take: Final Cut Pro could previously edit up to 128 angles. While that is a tad excessive for most, using three to nine angles is very practical. We regularly cut programs such as talk shows, concerts, and events using this feature. The method described by Pogue is like telling a NASCAR driver to turn over their car, strap one roller skate on, and push as fast as possible with the other foot.
*Updated 6/24 8:27 AM – In order to edit a lot of angles, you used to have to use several hard drives and they had to be really fast. We'd also off the option of using a a flavor of the Offline RT codec, then easily relinking. It was complex (at times), but powerful.
Complaint: You can’t share a project with other editors. In professional editing companies, editors routinely exchange projects. But in FCP X, “all of your project organization is now globally contained in the application rather than in your project file. You literally have to give that other editor your entire computer,” writes one blogger.
Answer: Not true. You can share your project, your files, or both. If the other editors already have the raw video files, you can hand over the project file. The other editors can inspect the Project Library; on its Info panel, they can click “Modify Event References” to reconnect the project to their own copies of the media files.
If the other editors don’t have the raw files, the various commands in the File menu let you move the project file, the media files, or both to another computer on the network, to another hard drive or whatever.
My Take: I am glad that some of my initial fears are wrong. However this command is much less robust than the previous Final Cut Pro media manager. It seems to lack the ability to force a file to reconnect or to invoke a search if the file says it can’t be found. The Media Manager seems to also lack ability to trim media with specific handles to make the media smaller.
Gary Adcock (my genius technical editor) Offers this useful summary
- Duplicate Project — Functions much like the FCP7 media manager did. You can choose the Project only, Project & all References or Project with just used media.
• Move Project — Will move all media and Associated to new volume. This can be used for uploading a field edit to a desktop system. It too can move just project or project and media
• Merge Events — This can combine two copies of the same project into a single Project file. This can be used to bring last night's changes you did on the train into your desktop at the office.
• Consolidate media — The is the clean your desk command.
• Organize Project – This will consolidate media for the scratch disk only.
My Take: With all of these options there are still things missing. Also despite my best efforts to keep project and media split, a ton of files still end up on my internal drive in the movie folder (especially when I use generators). FCPX seems to be always rendering. So when I tweak an effect, it re-renders and those files keep adding up. In the "old days" you'd get lots of precomputes you'd manually clean up on an Avid (or other system). This problem was solved years ago by all manufacturers it seems. Render files are usually smarter these days. Also, being able to work in real-time and experiment is great. But I want to choose WHEN I render. Otherwise I am using machine power and disk space unnecessarily. I like to render when I leave the room. Not while I'm sitting in front of my nonlinear editing system.
You also have the ability to transcode to only two flavors of ProRes (a proxy file or a high quality file). Previously you could manage the project to any installed codec (format) that you wanted (including third-party formats). This made collaboration and exchanging media with others much easier. There are five flavors of ProRes... why can I only choose two of them (let alone everything else).
Gary points out that the transcode settings appear to follow logic.
- That 8-bit material and DSLR videos files are rendered to ProRes 422.
- Animation and Uncompressed codecs are converted to Pro Res HQ if 1920 x 1080 or less
- Animation and Uncompressed codecs are converted to Pro Res 4444 if 2K or larger
- Turn off the Optimize media check box to cut your re-rendering in half
Gary catches a potentially troublesome problem:
"If you start a project by using the “ prefs based on first clip” and then import content, all renders will be based on that content level. I found this out when starting with PR4444 from Alexa and found all of these huge renders on my system."
Complaint: You can’t freely organize your media files. “There is no way to customize the organization of the project media,” gripes one blogger.
Answer: You can customize the organization freely if you’re willing to understand the new keyword tagging system. Dragging a clip into a folder essentially applies a new keyword to it.
My Take: I am glad we have these options. But there are fewer ways to customize the view. You can’t seem to add custom columns. There are collections, but not the simple ability to use folders and nests of folders to organizer. Imagine if you had no folder structure on your Mac hard drive. Just Spotlight. You could only organize by tagging keywords onto all your stuff.
You also can’t organize media while any background tasks are running. Such as rendering, transcoding, stabilizing, etc. Background tasks are frequently happening as things automatically render. Change a color effect, it renders. Adjust the size it renders. In the past you would choose when to render. Now you have to keep opening the Background Tasks panel and canceling.
*Updated – 6/24 8:30 AM – You can make folders in events with a right click on the event in the Event Library. It is very different in appearance than FCP 7, but does seem to work better than I thought. I stand by my lack of creating custom columns as well as the challenges of constantly looking from the far left edge of my screen to the right to see the Events Library and Inspector panels. Wish I could move panels next to each other.
*Updated – 6/25 5:57 PM – Turns out you can also drag keywords into folders (and be sure to learn how to use collections too).
Gary says "I found the keywording for organization is like having Google searching my project, it’s faster and you can sort the materials based on any variety of keywords or even strings of words."
My Take: I agree this is awesome... but I'd also like the ability to use the thousands of projects I've organized already. I'd also like to not let one client see another client's media. The current media browsing seems to be based on the idea that you only have a couple of projects. I may grow to like events... but right now I don't.
Events didn't make it into Aperture (from iPhoto). Projects did. By the way I can have many libraries in Aperture making it easier to isolate client's work from one another (as well as personal projects from work). Maybe FCPX and iMovie could grow a little more distant (as well as over useful documentation like this – http://www.apple.com/aperture/iphoto-to-aperture/how.html that address how to move projects and libraries in).
Complaint: No Reconnect command when media is offline. When media is offline, you get a red screen with an exclamation point. There is no Reconnect Media command, as there used to be.
Answer: True. Then again, the old Reconnect dialog box got people into a lot of trouble; they often reconnected a project to the wrong files, or the wrong versions of files.
FCP X assigns a unique behind-the-scenes identifier to every single video clip. When you reconnect the missing hard drive, your project reconnects to its original files automatically, even if you have moved them around or renamed the hard drive. You can’t reconnect to the wrong thing.
My Take: I am glad that some of my initial fears are wrong. However this command is much less robust than the previous Final Cut Pro media manager. It seems to lack the ability to force a file to reconnect to a new version (such as an updated graphic file) or to invoke a search if the file says it can’t be found. Finding the information is a little tricky and involves opening a panel. It also appears that you also can’t invoke the re-connect command unless the media is offline.
While the command COULD get you into trouble if you made bad choices. It also gave you important controls that professionals really needed.
*Updated – 6/25 6:10 PM – Gary pointed out to me that this seems to be a huge change. Previously Final Cut Pro just remembered the file pathways. Now it is actually polling and tracking media via a database. (based on SQL actually). Updated files are automatically included as part of the metadata management. This also means that when you add a new volume to your system, X will poll it, looking for FCP event or content flags in the media. (He is still trying to find out what this file is called and where it is hiding on the drive).
My take: Again this sounds better, but we need to ability to force a re-connect. We also need to be able to backup that database for safety.
Complaint: You can’t assign audio tracks. “We send all our audio files out for ProTools mixing,” writes one editor in an e-mail. “We always put narration on Track 1 and 2, interviews on Tracks 3 – 6, and so on. So our audio engineers know exactly what’s on which track. But FCP X’s ‘trackless’ design makes that impossible.”
Answer: For now, you can use a utility called Automatic Duck Pro Export 5.0 ($200 to upgrade) to create and manage these tracks automatically when you export to ProTools. Apple says it will restore this feature to FCP X.
My Take: That’s $200 to upgrade from a full version of Automatic Duck (not a $200 upgrade to FCP). It’s $500 new. Gone is also the version to map specific output when going to professional tape formats (a frequent requirement for professional delivery). In fact if its not HDV or DV, tape support seems to be gone all together.
But it's not just ProTools output. Several of the exchange methods are gone. XML is the biggest deal which would allow this tool to continue to communicate with the now discontinued Apple Color, Davinci Resolve, Adobe After Effects, and many other tools that people use for special purposes and collaboration.
*Updated – 6/25 6:16 PM – Gary says that the XML should work in Lion. Also that the necessary hooks are in FCPX already. He says he can also find output libraries for DPX and Open EXR that are already visible. He also feels that there should be some changes in how hardware can be accessed with Lion.
Complaint: No custom frame rates or custom frame sizes. Editors are complaining that you can’t specify unusual frames-per-second rates or frame dimensions.
Answer: Not true. When you create a new project, you can specify any frame rate or size you want, right in the Import dialog box. You can also change the frame rate or size when you export the finished product — if you’re willing to spend $50 on Compressor.
My Take: Sorry ... you are 95% wrong. If you choose custom in Final Cut Pro 7, you have the option to enter just about any size or rate. When I choose custom in FCPX... I can choose from several standard options. But I can’t enter any value. If you choose Other, your choices are:
- 640 x 480 or 960 x 540
- 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, or 30
Final Cut Pro 7 was resolution independent. You could enter custom sizes, pixel aspect ratios, and frame rates. This made it a great tool for producing irregular sized videos for web or presentation use as well as doing things like custom video walls for installations or retail.
Changing the frame rate on export is not what we’re asking for. Being able to work with a setting that matches footage or lets you work with custom settings as needed is gone. You also cannot save you own easy setups or sequence presets that let you store the settings you’ve made for easy access.
Complaint: No support for RED digital cameras. The RED camera is a favorite of filmmakers; it records incredibly high-resolution video directly to a hard drive. But FCP X can’t import its files.
Answer: Apple is working with RED to create a plug-in that will give native RED support to FCP X. In the meantime, you can set your RED camera to shoot and capture video in the QuickTime format, which FCP X imports just fine. Or you can use RED’s free conversion program, which converts its own files into the Apple ProRes format, which FCP X loves because it’s so much faster and easier to edit than the native RED files.
My Take: David, you don’t understand why people choose to shoot RED. The benefit of shooting raw video is the same benefit as pro photographers choosing raw stills over JPEG. Shooting or converting to QuickTime throws away A LOT of information and latitude in adjustments.
What pros wanted was the same level of control they get in Adobe Premiere Pro or Red Cine X. The ability to truly grade color, work with high dynamic range features and more. They also need greater controls on media management and reconnection. The reason why pros are so furious is that Apple and RED had the closest working relationship in the industry. People don’t understand why the program would ship without support.
*Updated – 6/24 8:40 AM – It's not just RED... it's other Raw formats too (like Alexa). A few pointed out that we have 4K sequence presets, but no easy workflow for getting in 4K footage.
Complaint: No ability to pause or fork the Autosave. Final Cut Pro autosaves your work as you go. Editors complain, therefore, that they can’t save different versions of a project as they go along.
Answer: You can duplicate your project at any time, thus freezing it in its current condition. Just click it in the Project Library and choose File -> Duplicate Project.
My Take: David... have you ever been affected when an application like Microsoft Word crashed? Sure you could open up the last version you CHOSE to save ... but sometimes the Auto-Save comes to the rescue and you get back work you would have lost.
You could choose when and how often FCP auto-saved. It also stored multiple versions automatically. This let you go back in time when clients changed their mind. It also could save you if a project became corrupt. While these don’t happen every day ... they happen more than we like. The new method requires you to choose to backup, not set an interval. Isn’t this why Apple invented Time Machine in the first place (which does let you choose how often to backup). I don’t know how Time Machine and FCP project files will work ... but I am less than confident that I will have the same level of control I do now.
*Updated – 6/24 8:33 AM – Several point out Lion's autosave abilities. I can't comment further as I don't have it running since it's not shipping. What about those who can't go to Lion, however?
*Updated – 6/25 6:23 PM – Also, what's big is the ability to run the Restore command which let you choose which backup to use.
Complaint: Can’t specify the scratch disks. In previous versions of Final Cut Pro, you could choose individual hard drives for storing your project’s render (preview) files. But if you didn’t know what you were doing, things could get messy. For example, you might store the project on one drive, and then render files on another; then, later, you would open up the project when the render-file disk wasn’t available. You would have to re-render the whole project.
Answer: In FCP X, the render files are stored on the same disk as the project, so they don’t get separated. You can still store your files on any drive; you determine that by where you store the project file.
My Take: Duplicate the project also starts to spread files out to more folders. Those renders, pre-computes, and cache files are with the project. You choose to duplicate, there’s more to copy. That means time and disk space. In the past, these render files were in a folder of your choosing. Duplicating the project was no big deal as the project just looked at the files in the same folder that you specified. Less time, less disk space (which in my world means saved money, happier clients, and a greater chance of dinner with the family).
Also this level of control is less than before. I could choose to but my project files in one place and renders on another. Like I said before ... most people choose to split their project files to a different location than render files and media files. This is because the project file is usually small, and you want to back it up (or even keep it on a USB thumb drive for easy portability). The media and render files on the other hand need to be on a performance hard drive.
*Updated – 6/25 6:27 PM – A new issue:
A trusted colleague (who asked not to be named) raised a huge potential issue. Personally, I have not been able to fully test this, but this person would know.
- It appears that the new FCPX doesn't work with Apple's (previous) XSAN system
- You can only save to an HFS+ drive.
- This also means no go for most networked storage systems as Events appear to be incompatible with a XSAN, AFP, NFS or SMB volume
Complaint: Can’t output to tape. Videotape is on the way out — you would be hard pressed even to find a camcorder that takes tape anymore — so it’s not built into FCP X. This is one of several ways that FCP X is clearly a program designed more for the future than the past.
Answer: You can buy tape-deck control programs like AJA VTR Exchange and Black Magic Media Express. AJA and Black Magic are two major makers of add-on circuit boards for professional video editing. These apps work with their boards.
My Take: Tape is NOT dead (although we’d like it to be in many cases). Tapes don’t demagnetize though like hard drives on a shelf. They also outlast hard drives in most cases.
TV stations want tape. My government clients want tape. My nonprofit association clients want tape. Tape is typically required by the vast majority of clients that professionals serve (those that make their living editing video).
David... Print is dead. It’s on it’s way out. Could the New York Times stop printing newspapers tomorrow? You may want to (environmental concerns, costs of paper and delivery, those annoying children who throw newspaper and yell that they want their $2 back)? Print is not dead ... neither is tape. Are they dying? Yes... a SLOW and PAINFUL death.
When Apple killed the floppy disk, you could still buy them yourself and hook them up. Even though Apple doesn’t let you burn a Blu-ray disc, they let you buy a burner yourself. The built in the “hooks” that let hardware and software manufacturers connect.
In the past, companies like AJA and Apple collaborated closely. When Apple would ship software, new hardware would be out. In fact, old hardware would have updates that made it work too. These devices often cost $1,000–$5,000 dollars. We have five of these devices in my offices. They are currently serving as paper weights when we launch Final Cut Pro X.
So you say just use the old version. But how long will Apple ship updates and support the old software. What happens when your computer fails and you have to buy a new one. Will you be able to install 5 year old software on it?
Never mind the fact that pro customers feel they deserve to get to use a 64-bit editing application. Why? Because other companies have 64-bit applications on the Mac that edit video quite well AND support the same hardware that Final Cut Pro 7 supported.
Complaint: Can’t export AAF or OMF files. These formats are successors to EDL. They let you export your project to other programs, like Avid, Quantel or Pro Tools, for more sophisticated editing.
Answer: Automatic Duck ProExport 5.0 adds AAF and OMF exporting to FCP X. There will be other companies offering similar export plugins (including EDL, by the way), once Apple publishes its XML programming guidelines (API).
My Take: Why are pros mad? Because all of these formats (as well as EDL and XML were supported). David, how would you feel if you couldn’t get your photos out of iPhoto? You could sync them to your iPad ... you could look at them on your Mac. But printing? Opening the image in Photoshop? Handing it off to a website authoring or page layout tool? Nope.
These exchange formats allow professionals to collaborate. Would you like special effects, great color correction, and a superior soundtrack in your next Hollywood film? Not gonna get it (or at least not yet). We’re told we have to wait for third-party folks. Who all have to rewrite their tools to standards that aren’t even fully clear or released.
*Updated – 6/25 6:28 PM While we're talking about XML export, how about the ability to send to Apple Color?
Commenters on this blog even point out the difficulty in sending clips to Apple Motion (a previously supported workflow).
I also have heard from many plug-in developers crying foul. A couple people seem to have had early access and knowledge. Apple lists two plug-in packages on their site. What about the 100+ companies that had tools working before? We now must wait ... and hope these companies can afford to redevelop and redeploy. We’ll also have to repay for tools that worked just fine because these (often small) companies will have to scramble to redevelop their tools to keep their customers.
*Updated – 6/25 6:29 PM I've been told that some plugins work by "luck" since they were designed with the previous version of Motion in mind. I do not know the validity of this statement. I do know that I have talked and read about many developers who are crying foul.
Speaking of secrecy... there’s a lot of confusion throughout the reseller community that helped ensure local sales and support for Apple products. The training companies seem to be confused and their trainers are too. I am not allowed to say more here.
Complaint: Can’t connect an external monitor. Pros work with Final Cut on the Mac screen, but they prefer to view the actual edited video on a dedicated second screen. While Final Cut Pro X works just fine with a second computer monitor — you just choose Window -> Show Events on Second Display (or Window -> Show Viewer on Second Display) — there are complaints that it can’t connect to an external video monitor (TV), which pros feel offers better color fidelity.
Answer: Just as before, you need a Mac Pro with a video-output card in order to connect a TV monitor. Apple expects that the output-card companies will soon offer the necessary drivers for FCP X; AJA, one of the major makers of these boards, already offers beta versions of such drivers. Apple is working with Black Magic to offer drivers for its boards.
My Take: You have several mistakes here ... but I would make the same mistakes if I tried to talk about the professional printing presses your company uses to make newspapers.
- You do not need a Mac Pro. Several manufacturers made devices that use FireWire connections. They also use the Express Card slot (which seems to be on the way out). We suspect that Thunderbolt will help here too (Blackmagic showed this at NAB this year).
- It’s not a TV. We use higher quality monitors. Often with unusual connections like HD-SDI or professional component connections. We also run the signal out the hardware tools that help us calibrate and legalize the color for broadcast (just like how you have to fix out of gamut images for color printing). The method Apple has now does not let us see a true video signal. It also doesn’t work if you have two computer monitors and a video output card attached. It’s one or the other (at least according to the AJA documentation). Be sure you READ that documentation ... it’s filled with apologies. The signal Final Cut Pro X sends out is not in the correct color space or proper size. David, I’d like you to switch the New York times to consumer inkjet printers... tell me if that would work for you?
- What about the others? There are more companies besides AJA and Blackmagic Design. What’s happening there? The lack of information is what scares professionals. People want a road map ... especially in this economy. I know companies need some secrecy. The keyword is some.
*Updated – 6/25 6:33 PM – Gary Adcock responds with greater detail (Gary has consulted and worked with many hardware companies... those who know of him can more than certify this is his expertise.
Gary says: "All of the hardware solutions currently available are not of a quality that pros can accept. Without the ability to control audio and video timing signals direct from within the application all anyone is looking at is an RGB desktop preview being converted back to YUV by the hardware to make that signal viewable via HD/SDi.
Adding 3rd party hardware output to previous versions of FCP forced the application to respond as a professional tool in regard to timing inaccuracies, issues with low performance storage or color issues when outputting content. In FCPX we have only Apple’s word that the output files would conform to SMPTE standards and Practices.
My Take: For those of you who just had their heads explode... it basically means don't plan to submit anything you do to a broadcast station or even expect it to look the same when you play it back on a television. This is just huge! Even bigger here is the question of which hardware can work and which cannot. Unusually the support has come for only certain products in AJA's line. Some of the newer products have not had anything said about them yet. I'm still looking for info on other manufacturer's as well.
Complaint: Can’t import old FCP files.
Answer: As I noted in my column, this is true; your old projects are stranded forever in the older FCP program. You’ll have to keep both programs on your hard drive, and edit the old projects in the old program. When you install the new FCP, your old copy is safely preserved.
My Take: This is partially true. Many users have reported problems with having both on the same system. Apple even has a very detailed and useful article on the topic (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4722).
This document provides critical information. It’s not called out in the App Store. It’s not called out in the installer. Apple could have released it two days before Final Cut Pro X and said “Get ready for Final Cut Pro X.”
Nope... no communication or warnings on how to avoid potentially large problems. In fact I found out about the new software from Twitter. It didn’t even make it to the Apple home page. The article I mentioned isn’t on the product page or even the support page in a prominent position.
The application is also not “safely” preserved as you have to move things back and rename things if you want to actually use the applications in many workflows. Apple says “Note: Final Cut Server, Podcast Producer, Software Updates for Final Cut Studio (2009), and some third-party workflows and tools may require that the Final Cut Studio (2009) applications remain in their original location in the Applications folder.”
Also, would you accept that you couldn’t open up your iPhoto library with future versions of the application? How about if all the music you imported into iTunes would no longer play and all your organization and playlists were gone. Oh, and what if Adobe decided that Photoshop CS5 (the 64-bit version) couldn’t open up files from the past.
The argument of "finish your project before you upgrade" is crazy. Clients always come back with changes. Filmmakers decided to make updates and re-release. Even hobbyists want to go back and look at something they did and potentially reuse some of their editing. Even if both applications are properly installed, you can’t have them open at the same time. Want to look over a FCP 7 project, you can't launch both apps as it will prompt you to close FCP X.
*Updated – 6/25 6:39 PM – Visit https://discussions.apple.com/message/15469892#15469892. Scroll halfway down the page to this post.
FranklyFilm — Re: FCPX, just the tip of the iceberg — Jun 23, 2011 6:35 AM
Mail form Randy Ubillos, the designer of FCP X
“FCP7 projects do not have enough information in them to properly translate to FCPX (in FCP7 all of the clip connections live in the editor's head, not in the timeline). We never expected anyone to switch editing software in the middle of a project, so project migration was not a priority.
Final Cut Pro X 1.0 is the beginning of a road, not the end.”
My Take: I do not know if this is true. It is on Apple's website. I would assume given how widespread it is being pushed around the net... someone would respond or clarify. I hope this is not true, but I have now heard this same information from different sources more than 10 times. This rumor or statement needs confirmation. This is the DEAL BREAKER for many.
The Bottom Line: Apple has followed the typical Apple sequence: (1) throw out something that’s popular and comfortable but increasingly ancient, (2) replace it with something that’s slick and modern and forward-looking and incomplete, (3) spend another year finishing it up, restoring missing pieces.
These are fair statements. Remember your feelings on iMovie ’08 (http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/17/apple-takes-a-step-back-with-imovie-08/)? Apple reversed course and continued to make the previous version of iMovie available.
With Final Cut Pro X, Apple discontinued to entire Final Cut ecosystem in one swoop. Final Cut Server, Color, Soundtrack Pro, Cinema Tools, and DVD Studio Pro. "So what" you say ... just use the old one.
- But you can’t buy the old one from Apple any more. In fact I have been told that many resellers were asked to ship their stock back to Apple.
- Many were waiting to upgrade from older versions until Final Cut Pro X shipped. Now they find out their computers won’t work with the new Final Cut Pro.Several computers aren’t supported due to their graphics cards. Even machines that are slated to work on Lion may not work with Final Cut Pro X because they lack Open CL compatibility. Here is the list (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4664).
- The exact same time the new product started shipping, the old one went away. Yes, some stores still have inventory, but not Apple (apparently). The existing stock will run out and people don’t know if will be refreshed.
- There was not sufficient details warning people about compatibility issues.
- If you go to Apple’s webpage and try to look up old documentation or links about the old Final Cut Pro, it redirects you to the new page. If you visit the support page and try to download an update to a previous version (often needed after changing machines or doing a software restore). Guess what, its sends you to the App Store to buy Final Cut Pro X. I tried several of the links on the support page (http://support.apple.com/downloads/#final%20cut%20studio). Go see what happens
*Updated – 6/27 12:17 PM – Looks like most of the links are back to working on the support page. That's a GREAT thing.
Professional editors should (1) learn to tell what’s really missing from what’s just been moved around,
I agree, but the training and support industry is scrambling to catch up.
(2) recognize that there’s no obligation to switch from the old program yet
That is correct. But pros were told it would be “awesome.” I guess that word means different things to different people. And if you need to update your old software, most of the links on the downloads page keep sending me to the App Store to buy the new one. Subtle, I know.
(3) monitor the progress of FCP X and its ecosystem, and especially (4) be willing to consider that a radical new design may be unfamiliar, but may, in the long term, actually be better.
Most in the Final Cut Pro community like change. They also wish that the investment in time as well as thousands in equipment would continue to be supported.
David, your article was helpful and answered many questions for me. I know you can reach me on the phone. I raise a few more questions that maybe your Apple contacts can answer.
Will I ever be able to import a layered Photoshop file? This is a common workflow that lets editors easily work with graphics.
*Updated – 6/24 8:41 AM – You can import the file (I knew this) but layers are flattened. Motion supports this workflow, but Final Cut Pro X no longer does. This was a common scenario.
What about volume licenses? How do companies buy multiple copies for the employees to use? Do they really need to set up an iTunes account for each and need to use elaborate combinations of credit cards or gift cards?
What about educational licenses? Apple gained much of its success from students who learned it in school then moved into the workplace. Students always got a discount as did schools. What about them?
What is the intention with the apparent decimation of the previous ecosystem? Are the broken links and missing documents temporary? Will we be able to buy the application in 2 months (or next year)? Will there be software updates ... if so for how long?
Will there be physical distribution? Broadband access is not a reality for much of the world. I have interfaced with editors in Africa where broadband is scarce. I have also talked with several who pay by the megabyte for data (and pay a lot). There are many places in the world where the user will pay far more to download the software than to purchase it. What if I need to reactivate (such as after restoring from a backup) but I can’t get Internet access?
In conclusion, I appreciate your article. You attempted to get to the bottom of things. I hope I have opened some new doors here for you to knock on. Keep making the world a better place for techno geeks.
There are SEVERAL posts in the comments about missing and confusing features. Since I have violated every rule about length of a blog post, I will respond below. Apple (or others looking to develop new products) please see the list below. There are also several other places that have good lists going.
Thank you to all my friends for your support and keeping things civil during these difficult times. Remember to keep the focus on Apple (and not attack others in online forums or blogs). Keep posting and pass this article around to those who tell you that you are wrong. Be civil, reversing a "revolution" won't happen with angry words. The initial shock is over... move past anger. Make your opinion known with respectful words. Apple corporate is the one who made these decisions... address the cause of the problem.
And to leave you with a laugh... the issue made it all the way to the Conan O'Brien show. Most have seen this, if not, go laugh. We all need one right now.