Conan O'Brien's video editors like the new Apple Final Cut Pro X

Video Link [via The Next Web, thanks Susannah Breslin and Eric Mittleman!]


  1. The situation is truly a mess, especially given that Apple halted all sales of Final Cut Studio at the exact same moment as launching iMovie Pro, er, I mean Final Cut “Pro” X. As an Apple VAR who has spent the last seven years switching some very major broadcasters over to Final Cut Studio (from Avid), I’ll just say that this is a clusterfuck of epic proportions, and it boggles the mind that Apple could have handled this situation so poorly. The lack of VERY basic features such as, say, the ability to open up an older Final Cut Pro project file with the new version, is just insane.

    I don’t think anybody was expecting a feature-complete version of a brand new, totally re-written application. But to halt sales of Final Cut Studio, which was working great for many people (despite its lacks) is just a major middle finger to all their customers, partners, etc.

    I wouldn’t be super-surprised if Apple back-peddles, and makes Final Cut Studio available again through some channel (much as they did with iMovie when iMovie ’08 came out and was lacking many features). But then again, it wouldn’t surprise me if they DIDN’T do the reasonable thing, either.

    Good thing there’s Premiere Pro, which has support for the vast majority of AJA and Blackmagic I/O hardware (unlike Final Cut Pro X, which has NONE) and can also open up Final Cut Pro XML files (again, unlike Final Cut Pro X).

    When even David Pogue is saying that Apple has really messed this up, it tells you something. The fact that they so unnecessarily messed things up is particularly appalling. All they had to do was continue to sell Final Cut Studio, while they took the time to get important features into the new application. You can’t fault anyone for getting the feeling that Apple is deliberately backing away from the pro market, with a move so lame as this.

    1. Seriously, they should consider not relocating into the great donut and instead free up some space at one infinite loop spinning off some businesses. I just had a hilariously bad customer service experience with apple. Product is fine, but the shipping and subsequent communication was a clusterduck.

    2. As a professional editor with 20 years in the business and my own post company in the Chicago area, I’d say you nailed it, Nicky.

      Appalled and a little scared would describe my state of mind at the moment.

      People not in video production might not realize what a blow Apple’s dunderheaded actions could be to our industry nationwide. There are a lot of companies that have built their business models around this software. We’ve had little choice, considering Apples aggressive marketing and pricing strategy during the last decade.
      Now they seem to be just walking away from us.

      This could be Avid’s chance to get back in the game, or Adobe’s if they can convince me Premier is finally a professional tool. We can only hope.


    1. It’s an add for Team Coco, sure, but not exactly a ringing endorsement for Apple software.

  2. Conan editors FTW.

    So many flashbacks of noobs telling me why premiere pro is laughable in the face of the mighty final cut. Cue me telling them the operation and functionality of both is nearly identical.

    …all the while much of the industry kicks along on their AVID setups.

    1. Actually teapot, it’s probably the old folks that would tell you Premier sux.

      Years ago it was an atrocious piece of work, then Adobe shut it down and re-booted it, it’s much better now.

      We’re looking at it. It’s only this last rev (5.5) that has really felt like it might be up to snuff. We’ll see.

  3. The nice thing is there’s a lot of good standard-definition Final Cut-specific gear coming up on eBay from people rage-quitting Final Cut. I’ll be using FCP Studio 3 for a while yet, since I’m not working with RED footage, but Avid is going to be my next upgrade. And likely not on a Mac.

    This is truly the most bone-headed move I have ever seen a major company pull – especially one that makes professional software. But let’s remember – they killed Shake and the Xserve. They’ll probably kill XSan since Final Cut Server was about the only software I know of that actually used it, and that’s now in the memory hole.

    As an IT dork getting into video editing and production, I’m uniquely qualified to speak on this – it seems like Apple wants to completely ignore business networks, and focus on home users. It’s like making OSX talk to Microsoft Active Directory was the extent of catering to business use that they were willing to do. Their server operating system is really not compelling except as a fileserver for a pile of Macs, and a workgroup web server. And you can do all of that in Linux, with rackmount gear, for a lot less money.

    I’ve got a number of friends who do pro audio – soundtracks, electronic music, mastering and CD production, and they’re starting to get really concerned about what Apple will do to Logic, after rogering the pro video community with no lube. Fortunately, Aperture is equally useful as is for prosumer and pro photographers, so I don’t think they’ll break that. For now.

  4. I haven’t had the opportunity to play with Final Cut for Apple since 2001, but I remember footage wasn’t compartmentalized.
    If you dumped one piece of footage, it was dumped from all other edits as well. Is this still the rule?

  5. I finally got around to playing with FCPX over the past few days and really dig it. All the kicking and screaming from “Pro” editors (how’s that operationalized anyway?) reminds me of the reactions of the old neckbeards to the first Mac.

  6. Reminds me of when most MIDI editing was left out of the “Express” version of Logic 7 ($300) – you had to buy the Pro ($1000) package. (MIDI editing dates back to the Apple II era.)

    Either the people who do the deciding about what stays in tech packages at Apple are left over from the Sculley era … OR Jobs want to make REALLY REALLY SURE that PCs are extinct.

  7. Another example of Apple getting a whole lot of fuzz because they happen to be big in the media biz, regarding something that most people could not care a partial fart about…

  8. I’m not in the editing biz, but it certainly annoys me to see Apple screwing its customer base like this. It really really seems insane. My buddy insists that the desktop OS is sliding towards something resembling IOS rather than a full featured operating system and I am starting to agree.

  9. I’m a film composer, and one of the better decisions in my 8-year career was dumping the mess that Logic had become in the hands of Apple. I’d been a Logic guy for 10 years before that, but after I had to put up with an increasingly sluggish and dumbed-down UI, tons of third-rate gimmicks hastily wrapped around an ancient MIDI core, and a signal flow backend that clearly wasn’t designed to accommodate larger projects (in the last version of Logic that I used – which was 8, I think – doing anything in the mixer of my orchestral template regularly caused 25-second lags), I felt not even the slightest hint of separation pain when I made the jump.

    Actually, I think the final straw for me wasn’t so much the quality of the software itself, but the ridiculous lack of communication from Apple. To say they’re out of touch with their pro user base would be a massive understatement. With no roadmaps, no official statements, no public bugtracker, no acknowledgement of outstanding issues whatsoever, and the always-looming possibility that they might just silently abandon the entire application line overnight Shake-style, depending one’s livelihood on their whim felt like juggling chainsaws.

    Bottom line, I can relate to the FCP guys who feel left out in the rain now. And at the risk of sounding vengeful, I think Apple deserves the shitstorm. It’s one thing to get rid of a market segment that you don’t deem profitable enough, but the way they do it strikes me as disingenuous and unfair.

  10. What I notice, is that ‘Team CoCo’ used this video to demonstrate a couple of realities. First, they aren’t happy with the differences. Second, they got over it by making this video and have apparently learned to handle the software so well it looks like they haven’t.

    1. This is a comedy segment. You don’t really believe they actually switched to FCPX, do you? Even if it were everything editors had hoped for, the chances of a high-throughput post shop like Conan’s adopting it right away would be zero. For all we know, they might just as well be Avid users.

  11. I don’t want to see this debate become framed as the dynamic young supporters of FCPX vs. the old stick in the muds who can’t cope with change.

    As a “pro” user – and by that I mean someone who makes their living with this software cutting television commercials, I have no qualms with the new UI or features. My complaints, and that of the other “pros” I work with is that Apple has eliminated all the I/Os – no tapes, no EDLs, no XMLs, no OMFS, hell, no monitors for chrissake, that allow your edit to move seamlessly from the offline to any of the subsequent programs that get the project finished – Pro Tools, Flame, Smoke etc. That and the inability to open the hundreds of projects clients paid us hundreds of thousands of dollars to work on – is a real problem.

    You can say that Apple intends to add these features “later” or that this is some sort of political move to get all the artists and technicians to move Apple programs exclusively – except that the new “pro” features like the integration of Color, are a joke.

    I think the real issue is the lack of transparency on Apple’s part that leads to industry wide insecurity. No snarking intended but they could have released “FCPX” as what it truly is – iMovie Pro and spent another 6 months on what would have been FCP8. The choice not to leaves a lot of people rightfully speculating that Apple is pulling out of the desktop-based, pro-market in favor of portable prosumer technologies for home users. Which is their prerogative, but since a good bit of the television / web / and movies you see were edited by pros using FCP7, it was silly of Apple to assume this techie little debate wouldn’t spill out into the “media”.

    Without resorting to “rage-quiting” – I figure either Apple releases the necessary updates to FCPX in the next six months or so, or whole companies will migrate back to their AVID roots.

  12. FCPX is great news for the consumer/prosumer independent film maker – it’s a powerful innovative, cheap programme. It’s also great news for Avid, now battled-hardened from its previous tussles with FCP.

    Avid will consolidate its hold on the mid to high end, (pro editors working on a whole variety of different projects and commercial facility houses) which it nutures and understands. Apple has lost them in one move. FCP X simply does not meet their needs in so many key areas, and abandoning FCP 7 just adds insult to injury.

    Whatever Apple does now, it can not reclaim that territory, simply because Apple has shown what it’s really interested in is the mass market, not the pro market. Those sort of pros will never trust Apple again.

    Pro facilites are conservative through necessity, not choice. Editors and clients expect things to work in a certain way and across different facilities and there’s no tolerance for things going wrong. Apple’s arrogance – you’re going do things our was because it’s better – just doesn’t work in this context.

    Which is all a great pity, because FCP was the nearest thing to a universal editing programme, as relevant to the high end as it was to the low.

  13. Seems to me there’s more money in having all the imovie folks switch to ProX then worrying about the “professionals” who make their money the old-fashioned way at edit houses. As an old-fashioned editor, I find the features in the new software that are for less-seasoned editors to be distasteful to me, but I understand why those people would like those features. (I mean, I find it distasteful that others in my field actually keep snapping on in FCP all the time instead of just hitting n when they need it. And this new things has, WOW! Magnetic Editing! yikes.)

    – Gardwitz


    i’ve been a loyal adobe user for over ten years. never cared for avid’s gui. fcp seemed to fall into that mac vs pc category where mac users felt superior to everyone else which is why i never hopped on that wagon.

    premiere ftw!

    1. For this industry, these days, you’re probably right.

      But the irony of your statement is that Adobe started out as Apple’s lackey during Jobs’ *first* tenure. All Adobe products — Acrobat, Illustrator, Photoshop, even the first few versions of Premiere, came out earlier and better on Macs. It was painful to wait six months for an inferior Windows version, if that was even an option!

      But changes of management change corporate behavior in an extreme way sometimes. Eventually Adobe flipflopped completely.

      Which brings us back to Apple. Dear Leader couldn’t hire people with vision; they make for bad lackeys. Look what happens when lackeys run the show. As long as Jobs could muster the strength to butt back in occasionally, he could prevent complete self-destruction, but his death will destroy Apple. It won’t be pretty, and it’s a direct consequence of his decisions.

  15. Apple maintains the facade of “We’re too cool to ever back-pedal, so if you don’t like this piece of cutting edge awesomeness we’ve foisted on you, then you suck and why don’t you just go back to Avid, bitches!”

    But I suspect behind the scenes, what happened was this: a little over one year ago, the FCP codebase had become so large and unwieldy that migrating it to the latest OS X technologies was untenable. E.g. no matter how you refactor it, you just can’t break the render pipeline into GCD chunks. In fact, simply maintaining the beast — fixing bugs and adding small features — had become laborious (and all the younger developers protested at having to use C++ at Apple for christssake!)

    Well, luckily the “B team” (comprised of 2 or 3 bored junior developers who decided to “fuck it” and go Rogue with their ideas) whipped up a prototype “re-write” that takes advantage of GCD in the render pipeline and has a cool feature called magnetic timeline whatever.

    So the FCP management floats the idea of a re-write, demos the prototype, and upper management and marketing propose “Well, can you get this to us by next June?” which is impossible because the complete re-write of a very mature software project will take a couple of years to do just right. But the Rogue junior developers receiving copious hairpats from Randy Ubillos himself, agree to a meager 9 month deliverable target.

    Of course the Rogue Team is now faced with the fact that: they’ve got half a year til beta, all they’ve got is a hastily thrown-together prototype, and now the “A Team” Senior Developers they left behind to bask in the Steve Light are “welcoming” them back by peeing in the espresso machine, hacking their email, and gluing tacks to their chairs (all figuratively of course).

    So when 7 months rolls around, guess what? They are not even at beta yet. They’ve got 1/10 of the original features, and they’ve been implemented so hastily on top of a non-extensible prototype. Management is calling for beheadings — they’ve already developed millions of dollars of marketing for the release.

    So Ubillos himself steps into the ring and takes charge of it. They cull the features which are irreparably broken (multicam) for a later release (that will be $100k in marketing alone), and test the remaining features hard and fast, and they get their designers to pump life into the UI.

    Ship it! Whew!

    What will happen is this: FCP 7 will silently become available via obscure download (“for legacy users”). Meanwhile, in 4 months, FCP X will release an update which will fix the top 10 user gripes (and introduce a whole bunch of bugs). Internally, some disgruntled older developers will be scapegoated and they will resign. Ubillos will hairpat himself because he’s, after all, quite awesome. And the software industry, once again, will learn absolutely nothing.

  16. Well, I’ve been working with NLEs from 1996 (Miro DC30 anyone?). I’ve tried and worked pro with them all – Premiere, Avid and Final Cut and I still use them depending on the client I’m working for at the moment (I’m “The Caretaker” for several production houses. I’m the guy you call at 2AM because you need something done yesterday.)

    However, for my home projects Edius is where it’s at for me.
    But don’t tell that to anyone. Hush is the word.

  17. Well, I’ve been working with NLEs from 1996 (Miro DC30 anyone?). I’ve tried and worked pro with them all – Premiere, Avid and Final Cut and I still use them depending on the client I’m working for at the moment (I’m “The Caretaker” for several production houses. I’m the guy you call at 2AM because you need something done yesterday.)

    However, for my home projects Edius is where it’s at for me.
    But don’t tell that to anyone. Hush is the word.

  18. Miro DC30! Hah! I do remember those. Don’t miss ’em.

    Funny, about an hour ago, I wrote a trouble ticket to our tech guys regarding Avid 5.5x’s trouble defaulting to selected partitions on Isis in the FF media creation pop-up window when actually creating a FF.

    Boy do I suddenly feel like that’s griping about a speck of dust.

    I’ve used FCP, profesionally, at work, on certain projects deemed more appropriate for that platform, I’ve used it on my own projects at home, I’ve used the older versions of Premiere, and I’ve used Avid most of all, from the old six figure towers of hardware to the latest, sleekest, minimal hardware setups, producing final cuts and generating EDLs and OMFs that make their way directly to TV. We deliver half hour shows nearly every week.

    To me, there really is no contest. Avid is best. And I like FCP. I do. But it just won’t do what Avid does, and what it does do, it does with a lot more fussiness. And now boy am I happier than ever that some of our employers have had sense enough to stick with what works.

    1. Yeah, DC30 was something :) Had to crack Premiere at one point to make it really work with it (that and my immense 4gb scasi2 drive actually catching fire while I was holding it were the warm fuzzy memories of my late adolescence :) )

      Anyways, hail to Avid. That’s definitely my 2nd favorite. The only things holding it back from my no1 spot are the interface idiosincracies it has… Damn it, it is older than Windows lol!

      Really check out Edius. It’s lost some of its “amiga” charm from version 5 but it’s still developing in the right direction for the “goal-oriented” crowd. Premiere is a “windows that edits video” which is ok in a way if you’re not too fussy with the end product quality or have the money to burn on hardware boxes. Final Cut I always found beyond the pale. It was the feel of it I couldn’t stomach (border-less preview windows? wtf?). It was almost like “we’re not actually doing that evil uninspiring techie stuff like editing video, no we’re apple, we’re creative”. I fell in love with Edius’s 0,0,255 prev-window border… I finally know where all my pixels are at!

      Nuff rant, cheers!

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