Saturday, July 02, 2011

FCP X: TERMINAL

i have never owned a PC. never.

two decades ago i switched directly from Commodore Amiga computers to Macs because Macs were the only platform that gave me pro video capabilities. (in those dark days, pro video software - Avid, Premiere and Media 100 - could not even run on a PC.)

ten years later, Apple introduced Final Cut Pro. as an editor, i was really attracted to some innovative features that other programs did not have, and: it was cheaper and sexier than the others.

Apple developed FCP into a full featured production suite which satisfied most any professional need, and continued to innovate and expand the product line so that any serious editor using FCP would stick with it, and invest in Apple hardware as well.

so for the past decade, i have continued to buy upgrades and invest in "muscle car" Macs. my system cost about $11,000, the Final Cut Studio software was $1,300. practically every project i have edited for the past decade has been on FCP including a feature length documentary (which won several awards, thank you).

like many others, i have been waiting for the new FCP release for two years now. (i was ready to plunk down the cash for it this past paycheck.)
Apple blew it. the new FCP X is severely limited when compared to Final Cut Studio, and it cuts off many work flows which are standard operating procedure in this business. for instance, FCP X can't capture or output to tape without some third-party workarounds. (yes, i KNOW videotape is dead. try telling that to a client on a deadline who is waiting to deliver - get this - a finished HDCAM videotape.)

worse news is that FCP X is completely incompatible with any existing FCP project. if you started a project in FCP 7, FCP X won't open it. Apple has eliminated the EDL (edit decision list, an ancient but ubiquitous file format containing every in and out point of every edit on the timeline) or any ability to export files to Avid, or Pro Tools, etc.

for many people who edit weddings, for instance, FCP X will be great. if the project is imported and outputted on the same system, fine. but for anyone who has had to work with an audio house, or work with other editors or even other editing platforms (meaning almost all professional editors) FCP X STINKS.
the other limitations have been well documented here and here.

every other pro editor i have spoken to is now considering Avid, and wondering why we should pay a premium for Apple's hardware when PC platforms are so much cheaper.

i once worked for Panasonic selling pro gear to broadcast clients, and someone in the company gave me some perspective: "sure, Sony and Panasonic make a profit with the broadcast gear, but it is pennies compared to what they make with consumer gadgets". Apple gets this logic, and maybe they have decided that all the coding and development and third party integration just ain't worth it compared to the massive profitability from ipads and iphones.

Apple, it seems, is abandoning the professional and broadcast market, and after years of investing time, money, and infrastructure in Apple - we are PISSED. unless they fix this FAST - professionals will abandon Apple - forever.

PC's aren't sexy, but we got deadlines. jobless ain't sexy neither.

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