Former Avid employee on Final Cut Pro X: Only Apple seems capable of pushing boundaries

“I bumped into Mike Bernardo through a mutual friend, Gabe Glick on Twitter,” Zac Cichy writes for techvessel. “Gabe had started a thread on Google+ in which he shared a couple of my tweets regarding my perspective on Apple’s rationale behind FCPX’s release:”

@zcichy: “They are making two bets: 1) A lot of current Pro users will stick with it through this transition period, despite frustration, and 2) that the prosumer video market will boom and take off the way prosumer photography did.”

Advertisement: Students, parents and Faculty save up to $200 on a new Mac.

Cichy writes, “This spurred a great conversation that culminated in this fascinating post from Mike: ‘Even though the FCPX rollout seemingly exposes Apple’s hubris, I’m glad they did it. They seem to be the only company capable of pushing boundaries. I have no doubt FCPX will eventually catch up to where FCP7 was in terms of features and capability.'”

Much more in the full article – highly recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last Wednesday: Nothing Apple has done with Final Cut Pro X should surprise anyone who’s been paying the least bit of attention at any time over the last 35 years and especially the last fourteen.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. – Apple, 1997

For those satisfied with the status quo:

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford


Related articles:
Why Apple built Final Cut Pro X – July 1, 2011
PC Magazine: Apple’s Final Cut Pro X makes serious leaps and bounds past its predecessor – June 30, 2011
Shake product designer explains Apple and Final Cut Pro X – June 29, 2011
Apple answers Final Cut Pro X questions; promises multicam editing and more – June 29, 2011 petition demands that Apple not change Final Cut Pro – June 27, 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


  1. Of course we LOVE Apple for pushing boundaries and showing the world stuff they didn’t realize they needed, badly! But as an editor and post person all Apple had to do is continue to maintain and even sell FCP7 over this period of catching up with FCPX until features were at parity or better. I was at the LV Supermeet and seeing FCPX for the first time and the crowd (and myself) was incredibly enthusiastic and I think people still are. Just don’t give the perception you are, even temporarily, abandoning professional users. Step up to the plate and do the right thing.

    1. I have to suspect that in Cupertino they are re-thinking the decision to immediately EOL FCP 7 and Studio Components. They need to keep these available until Pro functions are added to FCP X.

  2. The introduction of Pro X did not cause the anger and furore that has swept through the professional editing world. It was the immediate removal from sale of the old FC Studio. Long time Apple supporters felt betrayed by the sudden lack of licenses when they have clients needing ongoing support because their workflow is already on FC Studio.

    Apples failure to appreciate the commercial realities that Editing Houses operate under has left a nasty taste behind, and it was all so easily avoidable. Highly creative people may not always possess adequate amounts of business acumen.

    1. … WHY you need continued FCP7 “support” for the short term, and, maybe, what that “support” should consist of, and see if they step up and offer it. You are correct in saying that Apple does not fully appreciate the “Realities” other types of business operate under. Help them. Can’t hurt.

    2. Apple needs to show the same loyalty to the pro users that the pro users showed to Apple during the period from the mid-1990s into the 2000s. Despite a PPC CPU transition, an OS transition in 2000, and processor performance lag relative to Intel processors extending into the mid 2000s, many pro users stuck with Apple. Apple needs to show the same loyalty to those users, even if that means a bit less profit on the bottom line in the near term.

  3. I agree with Peter.

    Don’t give the perception that you are letting go of your Pro userbase.

    With us goes millions on hardware sales as well…. high end MacPros, lots of digital displays, and more.

    While I doubt Apple would miss the cash, would it would miss is the mid level folks who want to work like the pros do. If the pros aren’t cutting on Apple hardware & software, the wannabe’s won’t be either.

    1. You wanker! If you continue to close your eyes to the very real problems encountered by studios unable to buy more copies of the previous version, then you deserve the verbal beating that’s sure to come your way.

      Also, given 7’s well discussed shortcomings, FCP X hardly delivers a roadmap of confidence to the pro userbase following Apple’s recalcitrant communication on when or if certain features may make it back into the product.

      1. If a studio needs more copies of Final Cut Pro 7 then why don’t they just pirate it? At this point it’s abandonware.

        There’s no sense in going BOOHOO I CAN’T BUY IT ANYMORE. Download it and be glad you just saved a lot of money. Apple doesn’t seem to care when people pirate their EOL’d products, either. They’re EOL’d after all.

        1. Your whole post is nonsense. Pros try to abide by licenses they agree to. They may even be subject to audits by the BSA (who don’t care if Apple themselves don’t care–if you can’t prove you have a license for something to those bastards, they’ll fine you regardless).

          And EOL software is still covered by copyrights–it doesn’t magically go into public domain unless the author says it does.

    2. No, but Apple has stopped sales of the FCP 7 Studio. They don’t have to do that. They can simply state that it will receive no further updates. They can wait until FCP X has been made more robust for Pro use before taking it off the market.

    1. When I first saw OSX (before Jaguar), I was appalled that there was no way to launch applications from the top menu bar (like the customizable Apple menu in OS 7/8/9).

      I sent that feedback to Apple, asking them to add it back in to the new OS. And I’m so glad they ignored me.

      1. Feedback from a small minority on a feature may not illicit a change from Apple (especially when Apple has already provided a different method to meet the need – ie: put an alias of your Applications folder in the Dock) but enough voices expressing their displeasure at a change has often times in the past resulted in Apple reversing a decision, like making the old version of iMovie available for Download after the new version was released.

        Regardless, the main gist of my post was to communicate that complaining on this site has a lot less hope of being heard by Apple than actually voicing your concerns at Apple’s Feedback page.

        1. Concerned users should also start posting on the appropriate Apple Discussions forum. Apple doesn’t like public criticism, and has been known to remove unflattering posts from its forums, but a sustained howl of protest cannot be ignored forever, as has been demonstrated many times in the past. For example, the removal of the firewire port from the first 13″ aluminum MacBook led to months of complaints on Apple’s forums and, wonder of wonders, was followed shortly thereafter by the first 13″ MacBook Pro, with the missing firewire port restored.

          The same thing is now happening re. the discontinuation of MobileMe. Will the flood of complaints result in some remedial action by Apple? Who know? But it sure as hell can’t hurt!

  4. Adobe is offering FCP users a 50% discount on it’s suite if you are so inclined. Haven’t used it, so cannot testify to it’s performance.

    I’m sticking with FCP, am hoping Lion doesn’t break it and watching since it is an avocation- not how I pay my way in the world these days.

    Still think it’s iMovie Pro Vista Edition. The new Compressor is 32-bit and breaks the distributed model, WTF is that all about? Compressor cries out for 64-bit.

    1. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: I’m not a video editor, but I know that it doesn’t make sense to abandon FinalCut in favor of a competitor’s product, which is sure to have a learning curve at least as steep as required to learn FCPX. It’s obvious from reading the reactions of working pros that some of them love the new program, and many of the biggest complainers haven’t really taken the time to master the new interface before launching their attacks.

      To all the professional video editors out there: It’s your livelihood that’s at stake. Do what you have to do, but don’t reject FCPX out-of-hand just because you’re pissed at Apple.

      1. You’re missing the point, the learning curve between FCP, FCPX, Premiere, Avid MC, and others is trivial. Switching between them is trivial as well.

        What isn’t trivial is when you have 10 years and millions of dollars invested in projects that can’t be converted or imported.

        Ironically, FCP can be imported into Premiere, and coincidentally almost every FCP user already has Premiere installed as part of Adobe Creative Suite.

        Many studios need to make sure their FCP projects are compatible with live software that they can buy licenses for. Our company for example will most likely convert to Premiere for this, so our editors will need to be proficient with it anyway.

        The hand that Apple has dealt us is one where FCP doesn’t really exist as an option and Apple has no solution. All of our work in essence is no longer in “FC” format, but rather Premiere compatible format.

        So to turn your point around, why would a studio go from Premiere-compatible to FCPX if it means throwing away millions of dollars worth of projects?

        If editors need Premiere for their library of projects, why bother learning or using FCPX when it lacks the features they need now?

        I LOVE FCPX, but until there is FCP importing, it’s just not an option and we’ll need to start migrating to Premiere.

      2. Devil’s advocate here… You know, if people took that advice, they’d never switch away from Microsoft.

        Every argument you made could be applied to a Windows / MS Office sufferer. Win7 was a drastic change over XP, Office 2007’s ribbon was a huge change over older versions. So if it meant massive retraining anyway why not switch to Mac/iWork (or Linux/OpenOffice)?

        The twist being that while Win7/Office2007 broke some older features, they were still fairly backwards compatible. And the older versions were still sold for some time in case customers wanted more licenses.

  5. I loved Apple for pushing boundaries when they promised to re-invent compositing and motion graphics with Shake nee’ Phenomenon – then they killed it. I loved Apple for purchasing the expensive but awesome Color and bundling it with the Final Cut Studio – too bad they end of life’d that product too. Perhaps someday FXP X will have color correction to rival their discontinued product. But there is nothing from Apple that I can buy today. Check back in a few months.

  6. “If I had asked existing car owners what they wanted, they would’ve said, ‘cars that could be driven on existing roads so we wouldn’t have to repave the entire country'”

    –GM, Toyota, Nissan, Mercedes, Volkswagon, etc…

    That’s where MDN is flat out wrong in it’s take. It’s not a “new way of doing things” issue. It’s having millions of dollars worth of projects that you can’t buy software from Apple to access because they simply won’t sell it anymore.

    Ironically, you can better import existing FCP projects into competitive apps from Adobe and Avid.

    I LOVE FCPX, and so do many other Pros. We’re to wait for missing features we need, but we *need* FCP to be live and some level of import.

    Apple could do the right thing here by fully communicating and giving a simple app that took assets from a FCP project and organized them in FCPX while placing them on the timeline.

    This would be a very simple piece of software that they could crank out cheap and fast. They could charge whatever they wanted. We’ll expense it. It wouldn’t need to be a full converter, just getting the rough cut without transitions or effects gets you 90% there and would be worth a lot of money to many studios.

    If nothing more, Apple just needs to do something to say something other than, “We don’t want you any more”. Right now, Pros feel like confused puppies wondering what we did that made Apple go out of their way to abandon us.

    Yes, we’re crying. You’d cry to if you worked on a Mac most of every day for over 10+ years and it was taken away… From Apple itself!

  7. Here is the larger point you are missing MDN. Your Henry Ford quote assumes Apple did make things better for professional editors. Your logic assumes (by using that quote) that Apple did indeed replace the “horse” with the car with FCPX. Not really so. FCPX does change things and innovates some aspects, but at the cost of alienating everyone that even knows the high end of the business. FCPX “innovations” for the moment are the same changes that guarantee no major film company, or network show can even use it until all of it’s dead ends are fixed! And calling Avid and Adobe the status quo? Really? I don’t normally side with these guys, especially against Apple. That said, Premiere can open an FCP7 project, FCPX does not. Adobe and Avid raised the bar while FCP7 stayed untouched, and unchanged for years. They moved forward in large ways, without sacrificing years of UI knowledge, plugins, workflows, etc. Apple did not. Apple re-wrote it entirely, making it something that seasoned editors had to re-learn entirely. All the while taking away critical elements like XML, Multi-Cam, Tape workflow, true monitoring, and more. Calling them part of the past, doesn’t make it so. This is not a missing floppy drive, it’s a much larger problem to working editors right now. FCPX is wonderful in many ways, and thankfully will force change in ways we need. However, it’s clearly geared toward a much larger user base, both in price, and function. That’s cool, and I get it. It will do wonders for those who haven’t made a living with FCP7 yet. The ones that do however, will use FCP7 or one of it’s competitors for a while, until all of this stuff is finally addressed. Call the competition the “Status Quo” all you want. In some ways you’d be right. But for those of us who “cut” for a living, and need to collaborate with others who do the same… “Status Quo” will be preferred for a while in the face of FCPX. Keep up the normally good work though MDN. I love you guys!

    1. Agreed. The switch from horse and carriage to the car was a paradigm shift. FCP 7 to X is not. A big upgrade, yes but NOT a paradigm shift therefore the tools used by pros in the incumbent system MUST be a part of the upgrade system as well. To extend MDN’s Ford analogy, it would be like Apple getting rid of paved roads because they introduced a better car as opposed to switching from dirt roads which were for horses to paved roads, which were for cars. And the paved road’s editing equivalent is: multi-cam, XML, project migration, tape workflow, flexible media linking and other features that are indispensable- like a carpenter’s hammer and screwdriver.

      Yes, FCP 7 for some will be in use for a while but some do need to add new licensed workstations and now cannot. It’s great for Apple to release this for amateurs and lower level pros and bring them up to a theoretical higher level of functionality but you can’t bring the top level pro work down to simpler, consumer-friendly level and pros know this. It’s like Autodesk trying to make Maya more prosumer-friendly by eliminating MEL scripting, OBJs and support for Mental Ray. That would lead to a riot in the cgi world. And that’s why some pro editors feel like rioting.

      These tools are not optional. We must have them and we must have a road map from Apple, which includes a smoother transition from 7 to X.

  8. Having used Final Cut Pro since 1.0 in March, 1999 for tv pilots, documentaries, independent features, and now broadcast tv…

    I gotta say that I love the new FCP X.

    It’s like butter. The effects are deep. The color and audio mastering is phenomenal. No more waiting for importing or rendering until final output. The things I didn’t think it could do are actually quicker in this new version than the previous ones.

    We have 20 Final Cut stations with loaded Mac Pros and 30″ screens, we shoot onto memory cards and export into the RAID.

    It’s a no-go for us until there is Multi-Cam, since half of what we do is synced cameras, but for all other footage I’m using X.

    A bit of a learning curve, but worthwhile IMHO.

  9. Apple clearly botched the rollout of FCPX by positioning it as a FCP 7 replacement now instead of the foundation for a future FCP 7 replacement but make no mistake. FCP X was built from the ground up to be a PRO product:


    “But step back from missing features and look at what Apple has done. They’ve re-written FCPX with an architecture that only pros need!

    Key features include:

    64-bit architecture. Addresses more than 4GB of RAM. Aunty Em doesn’t need that, but pros already do, even if they don’t know it.
    Multi-processor support with GCD. Rumor has it that a new 16-core (32 virtual cores) Mac Pro is due next month. The old FCP saw almost no benefit from more than 6. Grand Central Dispatch brings multi-processing to the rest of us.
    Background GPU & CPU rendering. Takes advantage of the incredible performance of modern GPUs and multi-core CPUs.
    4k media support. How many 4k consumer camcorders are there? None – and there won’t be for 10 years.
    Object storage. 99.9% of pros have no idea what this is or why they should care, but as video content and archive capacity explodes, this is the only way to fly.
    Cheap scale-out storage. Xsan costs $999 per seat today and next month it is free! Including the Xsan cluster file system in OS X Lion and in OS X Lion Server for $50 is huge for video shops.”

    1. You may have a point, but try reconnecting offline footage with X in comparison to 7 – or modify a clip in an external editor and see if you can reconnect it. It’s a pity things that weren’t broken have been “fixed” and the timeline for features we need, is vague and unclear.

      1. I agree with you. Apple fixed the foundations of FCP, that’s why things that weren’t broken are now broken or simply missing. The foundation for a new amazing superstructure is there, but Apple has only built a single level building and some of the electrical and plumbing and parking garage is still missing.

  10. At some point, FCP7 (and Premier and Avid) will have to rewrite their products for 64 bit systems. Apple is the first to do so, but it also took the opportunity to rethink editing. From all accounts I’ve seen, the new process will be faster and easier once you learn it, but that’s the catch for seasoned editors.

    The real problem is that Apple elected to release FCPX with missing features that pro editors have come to rely upon. And that’s the error Apple has made. There was no urgent need to release FCPX now – those who need FCP could have simply waited to upgrade to Lion. Apple should have taken a few more months and completed the features list to at least be on par with FCP7.

    Apple should continue to offer FCP7 licenses to existing license holders, but perhaps scale back support beyond initial installation, etc., if necessary (don’t know that it is). That would help Apple preserve its pro customer relationships while giving it time to improve FCPX (and for its pro users to learn and convert over).

    1. Learning FCPX really isn’t an issue. It took me an afternoon on a single project to figure it out on my own to the point of being reasonably proficient at it. It really is that easy, which is why I like it. Unfortunately if you have years of FCP projects, FCPX isn’t an option, since you can’t import.

      Every pro I know is either going to Adobe, since Premiere is already in the Creative Suite they have installed and can import FCP projects, or going “back” to Avid.

    2. Apple was not the first to rewrite for 64-bit; Premiere has been multicore capable and 64-bit since last April.

      Avid claims they’ll be 64-bit later this year sometime.

  11. Another voice in favour of FCP import ability.

    There are many studios that keep templates, assets and processing for years and keep re-using them season after season. The effort involved in converting all this into new FCP X format would simple be too much.

  12. It’s time for SJ to write a letter to the pros admitting that this was a royal FUBAR, but one that can be fixed EASILY by putting FCP7 back on the market until FCPX is ready for the pros. Also, an apology wouldn’t hurt. Within a year or so, FCP7 can be retired again and a feature-rich FPCX can solidify Apple’s lead in this space.

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