In defense of Apple’s Final Cut Pro X

“Since Final Cut Pro X’s release last week, the editing community has been largely divided by those who love it, and those who absolutely hate it. Take a look at the current ratings for it on the App Store, and you’ll see it earns a 2.5, with most people going with either one or five stars: there isn’t much middle ground on this one,” Ryan Ritchey writes for TheDigitalLifestyle.tv. “Let me try to put this whole thing into a bit of perspective that could bring both sides together.”

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Ritchey writes, “First, it is inaccurate to refer to this as an update, or even really a new release of Final Cut Pro. While it made sense for Apple to keep the name for marketing purposes, had this software launched with a different name, the reaction could have been a bit different… So let’s start to mend the divide by thinking of Final Cut Pro X as a completely new editing application, that just happens to share the same name as one of the most popular editing programs in history. An app by any other name would not be facing the backlash seen by Final Cut Pro X.”

“I have to think that the ratings are largely based on knee-jerk reactions,” Ritchey writes. “When you open Final Cut Pro X, frankly very little of it operates the same way as Final Cut in terms of being able to jump in right away and start on a project. This is new software. That means things are different.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Michael Wohl, one of Final Cut Pro’s original designers, discusses Final Cut Pro X – June 25, 2011
Final Cut Pro X ‘backlash’ coming from competitors scared to death over Apple’s $299 price tag? – June 24, 2011
Conan blasts Apple’s new Final Cut Pro X (with video) – June 24, 2011
Answers to the unanswered questions about Apple’s new Final Cut Pro X – June 23, 2011
‘Professional’ video editors freak out over Final Cut Pro X – June 23, 2011
Apple revolutionizes video editing with Final Cut Pro X – June 21, 2011

93 Comments

    1. I don’t know any pro I’d hire who jumps into something brand new and gets rid of their old stuff immediately. If people don’t like it; they shouldn’t use it. If people think it has potential; they should wait for the patches/upgrades.

      Regardless, people (and especially professionals) should not have torched their old environments. Even if they’d not taken a few moments to read the release notes to be aware of the caveats, spending 2 minutes due diligence on google would have revealed the caveats of upgrading everything. I agree that they need to work, but that is why they should continue working in what they know while they learn the new software in parallel. If they’re hurting because they can’t work due to the upgrade then frankly that’s their own fault.

      Old dogs, new tricks, etc is how we end up with relics running IT departments who refuse to run anything but windows on Thinkpads because it’s all they know, and they won’t take the time to learn something new. It doesn’t mean they need to toss out everything they know and halt productivity while they learn the new tech, but you have to keep moving forward or you’ll wither on the vine.

      That’s not to say that Final Cut X is the future, but to knee-jerk hate it just because it’s not the same is the definition of not giving it a chance and hating it solely because it’s different.

      Just my $0.02

      1. @Kevin – you’re right. No pros I know would suddenly jump mid-project to FCPX and nobody is saying that old FCP can’t still be used, as long as people want to use it.

        So, the FUD from “pros” are not pros at all – they are competitors from Avid, Adobe, and every little editing software maker who are literally QUAKING in their boots at the incredible bargain that FCPX brings. Period.

      2. Kevin, Ditto
        I work at a postproduction contractor so I defiantly qualify as a “pro” user (compositor). We normally don’t even jump at (application) version upgrades (particularly in the middle of a project) or even OS upgrades (sometimes for a year or more) Hell, we STILL USE SHAKE! (often actually) which was EOL’d years ago.

        All of the “pro” users who are claiming the absolute necessity of importing existing projects (are you kidding me? you would switch editors in the middle of a project?) or about multi-cam support (They were thinking of immediately pushing inline multi-cam editing support to a brand new 1 dot ZERO release editor??? (no matter how robust it seemed) -that boggles my mind!!) -I am sorry, but the responses of some of the “PRO users” just don’t see very well though out OR very professional. (which makes me doubt their authenticity, whether by motivation (astroturfers) or experience (Prosumer users like “event” (wedding ect) videographers)
        Perhaps there are a few users that only have a single, and unsupported at this time, workflow that were thinking they could quickly get this new version into production and are disappointed (though I have to believe any real professional would have enough experience and insight to be able to see the forest for the trees.)

        We have played with it (FCP X) for a several days now and it is nothing less than stunning, it is so fast and easy to cut together (+ grade & match) prototype concepts and story lines that it could even partially replace (reduce the need for) our “clientside” suites (which cost an order of magnitude more $ to operate) Perhaps that is what AVID is so frightened of?
        FCP X will truly be a revolution in production and I predict that within 6 mos to a year we will see almost every (contemporary) workflow now available (for FCP7) not only available, but significantly improved under FCP X.

      3. Thanks, Kevin. This has been my biggest gripe about all of the professional editors who have stated that they are jumping ship. Why on earth would ANY production house immediately embrace a new software release right out of the box? Even with minor upgrades to existing software, you would always wait days even weeks to see if there are any new bugs or problems that would crop up. To do an auto-upgrade would be very un-professional.

    2. And how many of these livid pros have actually taken the time to master the app & really what it can do? I’d say none. More likely they’re repeating the same things everyone is saying & just jumped on the band wagon.

      Why don’t we breathe & really what it can do first?

      1. I’m sure plenty tried. They went to import an existing FCP project and quickly discovered that does not work!

        Since car analogies are oh so famous on the interwebs this would be like having a nice new car with no wheels. Sure you can sit in the thing and admire the beauty but its a little hard to get a feel for what the car is really capable of when its sitting there on jackstands!

        1. I’ve said this before: Why the hell should a 7 project open in FCPX? That makes no sense. The entire flippin program has been redesigned. Finish your project in 7 and shut up.

          1. LOL. Typical apologist response… “don’t like it then shut up”…

            Jesus man… Most Windows users are more open minded than the wind bag @ssholes on this forum. haha.

          2. LOL – why should I expect to open my library of Quark 7 files in Quark 9? What on earth should lead me to think I could open my important Photoshop CS3 files in CS5?

            These new Apple fanbois are truly Microsoftian in their low threshold for quality and usability. Apple must be laughing all the way to the bank.

            1. Look at the new interface. Saying there should be an upgrade path after such a radical redesign is a bit foolish. The lead FCP engineer basically said as much when he said the FCP 7 project file does not have the necessary information to create a FCP X project.

        2. – not likely
          The revolutionary thing about this editor (one of a kind) is is’s ability to quickly and easily create a storyline.
          No one, with an once of clue, would want to import an existing project to it “to try it out” and (furthermore) then go on to dismiss it because it couldn’t.
          Either they are unbelievably inexperienced or they are just script kiddies or they have another motovation ( I am suspecting more and more that someone avid adobe has spend a fair amount of PR budget on astroturfing.
          Has anyone noticed that 95% of the 1 star (and come on giving a product like this a -1- star review is absurd in it’s self, but I digress) reviews on the app store have never reviewed anything else. Nothing never another review of anything.
          This same behavior runs rampant on the IOS app store unfortunately (actually buying copies of emerging competitors and giving them one star reviews to “stall” a competitors new product) So don’t’ let any of the astroturfers dismiss this kind of thing out of hand, it does happen and to a company like avid or adobe who routinely spend a quarter million on a trade show, spending 50 or 100 thousand dollars on a PR campaign to stall the launch inertia of a new version of FCP (which was head and shoulders beyond your product) would be downright economical. Or perhaps you think adobe or avid have too much business ethics to do something like that (pay users to give bad reviews to a competitors product)

          yeah me ‘neither.

        1. “Up to day-before-yesterday, Apple had what was arguably the world’s best multi-camera editing system. Today? Gone. I don’t mean it’s not as good. I mean it’s gone. The feature is simply not present in FCP X.”

          Perfect example. That feature is present, it is just done differently.

          This is an adobe fan bashing apple and using lies.

          1. Rather than mindlessly regurgitating reviews, maybe you should take some time to understand why the multi-cam workaround mentioned is a kludge and not useable for anything bu the most basic of edits.

    3. I understand everyone’s frustration here, but for the pros you know, do their existing copies of FCP 7 no longer function? Yes, working professionals need to work, and for that reason alone, they should be the very last group of users to instantly upgrade their livelihoods to radically new software a day after its release. I’m a professional writer, and I refused to upgrade from MS Word ’08 for THREE YEARS because I was comfortable with ’08 and its place in my workflow. I didn’t need all the new whiz-bang crap, and none of it was required for me to earn a living.

      Now, Word vs. FCP is certainly not apples to apples, but the philosophy is the same. Voluntary software upgrades in the professional space should be slow and deliberate. Apple’s not forcing the upgrade on anyone, and Apple has already admitted the software has plenty of pro-level refinements coming.

      The pro community needs to take a deep breath.

      1. Apple hasn’t reached out and deleted FCP7 from people’s computers, but it has been immediately EOL’ed and withdrawn from the roster so a shop can’t buy more licenses if they needed them.

          1. ‘cept this isn’t a new version — it’s a new product serving a different market segment (prosumer). And they’ve discontinued the product in the original market segment (pro)

    4. @jjjj: “The Pros I know are livid. The need to work, not have a new workflow thrown at them.”

      Then they can keep on using FCP 7 (and stfu about FCP-X since they have no interest in it anyway).

  1. For all those who used FCP to make a living, they are now in a situation where they MUST choose their next platform. They realistically CANNOT continue to use FCP7 for much longer, as Apple will no longer support it, there will no longer be fixes and patches. Anyone who uses high-end software for professional work (Quark Xpress, Indesign, Premiere, Avid, Maya, etc) knows how much they rely on tech support for bugs and issues. FCP7 will no longer have this, and that is simply a deal breaker.

    So, if you are a high-end pro user, you are now facing a situation wherein your multi-thousand dollar investment in the FCP7 environment (plug-ins, filters, etc) is quickly becoming worthless, as you must start making migration plans to a properly supported platform. This means choosing the next platform that has functionality you need, as well as roadmap for the future (reasonable expectation of support for many years to come). You also must figure out how to pay for this migration. For many, the new FCP X does NOT have the functionality they need. Apple loyalists among them will likely try and coast along on FCP7, hoping they can survive without tech support for the platform until FCP X matures (feature-wise) to the necessary feature level, so that they can migrate over and stay with Apple. Others will sell their FCP license (together with licenses for all filters/plug-ins) and migrate to a non-Apple solution. Many of those will make sure Apple (and Apple community) clearly hears their voice of displeasure.

    1. Can they not PRETEND that FCP X was not released at all? I mean, if FCP X had been delayed another year, would the sky have fallen in, as you and other critics seem to be implying?

      What is remarkable is that the critics claim to be real pros working in major institutions. These are the very people who one would expect to learn the ropes about new software on some dedicated workstation that is not connected to the regular workflow.

      Even if FCP X was an “update” on previous FCP versions – and I think it’s been made pretty clear from the beginning to everyone who cares for such things that FCP X is a major, major reworking of the old paradigm – wouldn’t real pros spend some time getting to know the program before implementing it?

      And if things aren’t working, wouldn’t they take their complaints privately to Apple and look for solutions instead of making Armageddon declarations in public forums?

      The devil is usually in the details. When you get a little deeper into the complaints, things don’t add up, lending weight to the suspicion that these criticisms appear to have a wider agenda than pure professional angst.

      All I’ve been hearing the last few days is to expect a mass migration of video pros out of FCP into other editing programs. Would these other programs be able to open previous FCP projects?

      1. Of course, they can ‘pretent’ FCP X was never released, but the point is that the FCP they now still own is NO LONGER supported. No professional can afford to work with unsupported software. Apple had always continued to support older versions even after it released newer versions of the same product. Now, they are simply completely abandoning the whole product line, with NO FURTHER SUPPORT.

        That is the essence of all the complaints.

          1. Just because something can be done a certain way, doesn’t mean it should be done that way.

            I’m not saying your shop is doing it wrong–it works for you, that’s great. But many places prefer having modern equipment and a support contract in case things go wrong.

        1. Sorry, but that is BS. Been working for years on a version of FCS that is three generations old. Your hyperbole is so far from reality it’s almost comical. Abdullah is right, they can relax and wait a few months as Apple adds features as if FCP X was never released. Their plugins will still work in old FCS just like they did two weeks ago. These editors are stupid if they upgraded on day one so it makes me doubt some comments too.

      2. Yes. EDLs are the bread-and-butter of moving editorial work from one system to another for online/offline work, color work, sound work, film cutting, etc.

        FCP X doesn’t import or export an EDL.

        I have to assume everyone who believes the outcry from the editorial customers is about having to learn a new system don’t use the product or work in the industry. This is important, use-every-day functionality that’s been left out. Which is fine, since they’re launching a new product in a new segment.

        They’ve discontinued their Pro video editing product line. Dandy, but a little notice would have been considerate, as would NOT making claims that they haven’t.

    2. Another ridiculous point.
      I can remember many shops using old out-dated versions of Media Composer because they didn’t want to pay for upgrades.

      Migration plans should be slow and well thought out, and if you think Apple is going to stand still and not add features you are making a fool’s bet.

      The smarter thing would be to add FCPX, learn the new features and workflow and when it makes sense you transition. Not right away and certainly not until you are completely comfortable with the paradigm… which so many seem to have done.

  2. Kind of a desperate move, linking to this little puff piece. I know he says he’s used it and changed his mind, but I’m not sure one random guy’s opinion is worth all this oxygen… the situation still sucks.

  3. There is also a large segment of the FCP user base that will happily (or initially less so, but still successfully) migrate to FCP X: wedding videographers (and other independent small-time video shooters). The wedding video industry is quite large, and many of them are on FCP. These users often don’t need or use any of the features identified so far as missing from FCP X (as compared to FCP 7).

    I haven’t seen FCP X yet, but it seems to me that it is unfair to call it a glorified iMovie. Feature-wise, it would likely be a glorified FCE, if it is to be called glorified anything. Based on my reading so far, it seems that it is still a professional tool and it is exactly worth the money you pay for it. I have no doubt that Randy Ubillos and his team will quickly build on top of this platform, open it up for extensions/plug-ins/filters, sell truckload to independent videographers to build a solid user base, and soon re-invent all the features that big-time Hollywood really needs. When this happens, I’m sure FCP X will be much more robust code-wise, and consequently less buggy. By the time this happens, though, it is likely that Apple will shed a noticeable percentage of their FCP user base who simply can’t wait.

    1. Actually… I think you are 180° off
      I have a feeling it is mostly the prosumer “event videographers” (wedding and contract corporate video) who are lamenting their years of FCP “expertise” that will be “lost” because of the new workflow in FCP X.

      Anyone who is truly an industry “professional” (has been the industry for very long) likely has been through this again and again. To step up you often have to learn a new system (and sometimes a brand new paradigm)

      Similar to many of the interns we get (AE “experts”;-), who are amazed that high end compositing system have no “layers”, but rather are node and flow based (and require them to learn a completely new way of thinking) The one’s who can’t “get it” will likely do fine editing wedding videos for someone, the ones who can, we keep 😉

  4. I can’t comment on the quality of the software, but it does strike me as odd that they discontinued the old one completely, when for the consumer iMovie they made the old version available for a long time after they introduced the new one. Yes, I know you can still use the old one, but it seems like they would have saved themselves a lot of negative PR at the least if they didn’t make the change so abrupt.

    1. Actually, the old iMovie was not available until there was a huge outcry about the new version and they made the old version available for download again.

  5. Give the software some time. There’s an awful lot more that’s good with FCPX than bad. It vindicates all the effort the OS X team has put into OpenCL, GCD and 64 bit.

    Anyone remember the iPhone 1.0? It wasn’t until 3G that it really began to show its promise. Give FCPX a revision then decide whether to ditch FCP and move on.

    My strong feelings are that Apple missed a masterstroke by not including the ability to load FCP7 and to export XML. It would’ve allowed people to continue with FCP7 and integrate FCPX into their workflow just like the other parts of the FCStudio. I could foresee editing in FCP7 then finishing inside FCPX with all the realtime goodness of the filters, Color Board and Motion templates. The finished project could then have been sent back to FCP7 for output back to tape. This would’ve enabled FCPX to be useful straight away and deflect much of the criticism.

    1. iPhone isn’t comparable, it didn’t replace anything in Apple’s lineup.

      The OS9 -> OSX and PPC -> Intel transitions are comparable paradigm shifts. In both cases Apple continued supporting the older systems via backwards compatibility for several years.

  6. Jeez – how much deeper are Apple and its fanbois going to dig to get themselves out of this unholy mess?

    Pretending to change its name? LOL
    Promising vaporware fixes? LOL

    The graphic design community have already experienced Apple’s new-found appetite for dumping its loyal pro customers in the do-do whilst it goes chasing after the consumer dollar with dumbed-down bubblegum products.

    Any pro looking for a mid-range matte screen Mac… Apple don’t want your business no more!

  7. Wow what a pathetic ‘apologist’ piece.

    He can try to spin it any way he wants “Lets call it a different name” blah blah blah… does not matter, what happened has happened. Apple shipped the thing and called it “Final Cut Pro X” and caused some upset with their core audience.

    This guy thinking of yet another way to make it look ‘not so bad’ does nothing for the group of users who are upset.

    I love the part about ‘more nimble’ competitors. First it just reeks of the typical elitist attitude of “you have any complaints? Oh you must just be stupid and slow!” … Second how are the competitors going to more nimble? They are already crippled since they can’t ‘import’ an existing FCP workflow!

    1. Apple is rapidly transforming itself from the Mozart of the Pro world to Lady Gaga as it dumbs down its professional grade products to meet the expectations of the wider general public which means bubblegum software for the rest of us. Witness the cancellation of Xserve and now this debacle with FCP X.

        1. Ditto- Oh Puh-lease

          This reminds me of the “antennagate” FUD they tried to run up the flagpole (about how the iPhone4 was fatally flawed) to try to kill the launch inerta of the iP4.
          Same players, “a huge percentage of unhappy users” were claimed as well as all the “industry experts” all proclaiming what a horribly flawed flop the iphone 4 was….
          Sound familiar? It should….

          Lets hope this FUD campaign works as well as that one did (ie almost not at all… most could read right through the BS that was being “experted” and “astroturfed” )

  8. Not only does FCX not have all the features that pros need, but by cutting off FC7 and its support, they really screwed the pooch on this one.

    They should continue FC7 until such time that FCX encompasses all the pro features found in FC7. It’s not too late to resurrect FC7. Can you hear us now Apple???????????

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