Apple offers refunds to upset Final Cut Pro X users, but "rage-quitting" exodus grows


As you may have heard on the internet, the recent update of Apple's popular video-editing software Final Cut Pro has left many professional users very upset. Today, there's news that Apple will offer refunds to customers who are unhappy with Final Cut Pro X, or as some are calling it, "Final Cut Fail."

But as some working video editors have noted, this alone doesn't solve the problem for those who've built their businesses and creative lives around a product and company they now feel has abandoned them.

I found one positive review by a former working non-linear video editor, here at Macworld.

Here's a thoughtful review from Larry Jordan.

"This launch has been compared to Coca-Cola launching New Coke - resulting in a humiliating loss of market share," he writes."With Final Cut Pro X, however, the situation is worse -- with New Coke, only our ability to sip soda was affected. With Final Cut Pro X, we are talking losing livelihoods."

Longtime FCP user Aaron-Stewart Ahn, who, among other things, directed this music video we featured on Boing Boing from Death Cab for Cutie, ranted to me on Twitter this morning:

Bottom line for me is: I literally could not use FCPX to produce my work.
That last Decemberists video shot on RED
for various tech / workflow reasons would not have been possible using FCPX. Now it is literally impossible to edit a studio motion picture in FCPX.

I wish a journalist would get in touch with Walter Murch. He was the first to edit a movie, 'Cold Mountain' on Final Cut Pro. He could not, with FCPX (no EDL support).

It's dead simple: Apple should've released it as, say, Final Cut X. A reworked FCP Express / iMovie with glimpse to come for Pros.Every professional editor I know who makes film for broadcast / film agrees (if you're in the web-only ecosystem, you're kinda ok).

But basically, I believe it's part of the road to Apple abandoning the pro market. It's too small a market. A huge shift happening, there.

I switched to Mac over a decade ago expressly for Final Cut Pro. And a decade of work wouldn't have been possible without.

That said, everyone seems to forget that editors adapt to tech constantly. A good editor is technology-agnostic and has innate skills.

As Boing Boing commenter james4765 noted in a previous FCPX thread here, there is at least one upside to the apparent exodus by disgruntled FCP editors to Avid or Adobe Premiere.

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.


  1. So terribly sorry to say something so true that sounds juvenile… but this is AppleMac for you. A company which can’t care less about being friendly to its customers, plus users who won’t get caught dead actually reading a manual, learning something computerish nor – god forbade them – wait a second before buying EVERYTHING expelled by The Brand.


  2. I must have missed the part where people were forced at gun point to upgrade to the latest version.

    1. If you are using an industry established workflow, fcpx is of no use to you, but the fact that Apple have discontinued FCS3 is the gun to our head. No professional who has built a business on a specific platform will continue with it once it becomes “abandonware”.

    2. Well, they officially stopped supporting FCP7, so you would eventually need to “upgrade”.

  3. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if Apple didn’t pull FCPS3 from the shelves. Pro editors can keep using that tool for a long time — long enough for Apple to address the shortcomings of FCPX before pros *have* to make the shift. Apple must have had some inkling of this. FCPX is the first version of FCP that can run simultaneously with the older version (like QTX and QTPro 7).

  4. I couldn’t be more happy that Apple doesn’t have a thing to do with the Creative Suite.

    That aside, I really feel for these people – you research software, buy hardware, and work for years in the industry making connections with people/companies who use similar configurations and then Apple just drops this change in your laps like it’s no big deal? Hell, it’s like losing your job.

    1. I’m not entirely clear why it is like losing your job. The final cut pro you had yesterday still works today and will keep working into the future. Yes this seems like a mess, and a lot of people will change software the next time they need to upgrade, BUT today… you are fine.

    2. “… and then Apple just drops this change in your laps like it’s no big deal? Hell, it’s like losing your job.”

      I do think this was a tactless move, especially the removal from sale of F C Studio 3, but I don’t think it’s that big a deal for professionals. If you are a professional you already have FC7, and there is no reason you can’t use it for years to come.

      But if you are new to video/film and you want to become a professional, Apple seems to be suggesting that you look elsewhere for the tools.

  5. The only thing that surprises me more than Apple’s silence on this issue is the lack of response from AVID and Adobe. Now’s the time for a marketing blitz, guys.

    1. Adobe did something and they are offering its software, to final cut editors, with a generous 50% discount. The offer is valid until 30 september.

  6. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t understand the drama here. Can’t editors just use their old FCP and not “upgrade” to FCPX? And then just wait until some of the missing features are reinstalled?

    As for Apple going after the consumer market with FCPX, I don’t see that as being that a good strategy, at least not at a $300 price point. They’d sell 10,000,000 at a hundred bucks, but probably a small fraction of that at $300. The economics of software (and most digital products) suggest a high volume/low price model.

    1. “While I can understand the frustration, why can’t video editors continue using the previous and well-loved version of FCP?”

      It’s because FCP is too slow especially when editing h.264 video files. With Adobe Premiere Pro, you can edit those files natively and thanks to its using CUDA, performance is just sooooooo fast. With FCP, you have to transcode them which consumes enormous amount of time and disk space.

  7. I’m more of a prosumer editor who bought the FCP X on the first day. I had no idea it was iMovie Pro, not an upgrade of FCP.

    But just curious, should I get a refund and give up on the upgrade path, or should I sit tight and expect Apple to fix the mess they’ve dumped in our laps?

  8. What kind of a bone head suddenly looses their livelihoods over a new crappy version of software? (nobody) Does their computer suddenly stop working? Does the old version of the software suddenly stop working? I doubt it. The system in use can be preserved for 7-11 years with care and used equipment from eBay & SmallDog. I have a friend and former boss who has been doing outbound calling with old Macs for the last 15 years! Gov. Regulations have been their biggest challenge. Not keeping the systems alive. Sure it’s a bummer but nobody says you HAVE to upgrade. I’ll bet the next rev will be much better.

    1. Not this time, but so the old “versions” will stop working (i.e not exist) once the world starts to switch over to Cloud Apps and SaaS. This is just a bell-weather of things to come…Long live the Fat-client PC and sneakernet!

    2. The “rage” is not because editors woke up and they were forced to use FCX, but that they were — as of this writing — given a big F-U by Apple.

      There was a lot of anticipation ahead of the release of this upgrade/update/whathaveyou and hope that this version would build and expand on the FCP foundations — ability to address more than 4 gB of RAM, make use of 64-bit memory addressing, fix the @#$@#$@ rendering engine and on and on. The light –we thought– that was the end of the tunnel is a train.

      The missing support XML, EDL, OMF, tape, RED, export issues and others frustration and unfulfilled expectations should be matched with other questions about what happens around hardware upgrades (say to a Thunderbolt-compatible new MacPro that will be Lion-only) and how will FCP 6/7 (I’m actually running 6) be viable there?

      So, no obviously the world did not end when FCX launched, but a lot of the work of people who rely heavily on Final Cut doing certain things suffered a major shock and unexpected questions about what their next 9 -16 months is going to look like were raised.

      Tell me how much you enjoy a lot of stress and uncertainty added unexpectedly to your career?

      There is a company that will step in to the vacuum, make some money, hopefully build a product that works as needed and we’ll all move on. In the meantime, there is always the chance that Steve Job will pull his head out of his ass and reconsider this, but I’m not holding my breath.

    3. I love the Anonymous comments from people who have never used the software. This is very serious situation. A Uni or Company with a network full of FCP work stations cannot install this software and are stuck on FCP 7 with the prospect of no support. Final cut X is not usable, you cant network it, you cant practically use it on a laptop as it copies everything locally, the FX suck especially color, its promise of Background rendering is a joke, you cant read an OMF, so you cant interface with protools or Logic (No OMF), you cant read anything you did on a previous version and if you collaborate it wort read your file organisational structure and it wont run on a three year old MAc. If you have 10 machines in a facility, its 1 big fat disaster. A lot of people have based their lively hoods on the fact that Apple tempted them away from Avid and now they have been dropped like a sack of Crap…Genius Bar? More like the Zombie Ranch.

    4. The reason editors are upset and feel abandoned is because new camera systems with new encoding and codec compression streams are coming out every few months and most HD camera’s that were sold even 2 years ago are obsolete and no longer professionally hired. Without old final cut being supported, Editors will find themselves unable to cut a clients project without paying for a conversion of the material or buying another box/software that can do this + taking the extra time/money/hassle to do it (think 100 hours of documentary footage) Essentially it means they will eventually be forced to abandon the software just to keep up with new footage being shot.

  9. Even tho’ I’m a dedicated Apple Fanboy, I have enough sense to not rush out and buy / install ground-up reworked software from Apple (or any company). I wait until the early adopters sort through it and Apple’s subsequent point releases.

    While I can understand the frustration, why can’t video editors continue using the previous and well-loved version of FCP? Sure, you want shiny new features, but with software, it’s wise to wait until Apple sorts out the mess. (If they don’t sort it out…that’s your signal to look elsewhere for editing software.)

  10. Not the first time people have lost their jobs due to going with Apple upgrades. Slow Leopard brought a lot of less-than-bleeding-edge equipment to a dead standstill through stupid, elementary mistakes like not “nice-ing” background daemons doing spectacularly unimportant things.

  11. Not surprised. We went looking for a rack mounted OSX server and low and behold…Apple has stopped making that pro gear as well.

  12. Just a lowly iMovie user myself. After reading the article, though, it’s easy to see how Apple seriously nerfed FCP for pro users.

    Is Apple trying to force pro users away from FCP? If so, what’s the new pro product they’re supposed to buy, ’cause surely FCP X is not it.

  13. So, isn’t the lesson here: don’t build your businesses and creative lives around someone else’s proprietary product?

    1. Well, sure, easy for you to say! But show me a non-proprietary nonlinear digital video editing product that’s worth building a business around?

      1. Well, we have a solution then, albeit not a super-short-term one. The rage-quitters can get themselves a Kickstarter going to have one built.

        1. I wonder what stupid “crowdsourcing can solve all problems!” ideas like this should be called. Internet Pollyannas?

    2. Matthew, the problem is that in high end production there need to be standards. When a finished film needs to be delivered in multiple tv formats (NTSC & PAL & SECAM HD and SD in different formats) and film prints and digital projection files and web standards. Likewise, all of this data needs to be combined with sound and prepared for thousand of film prints which need to be color timed, as well as color correction that needs to occur for digital release. Likewise this must be all easily accessible for home video versions, for tv versions, for airplane dubs, etc.

      What people in the industry need, and have been budgeted for, is a pipeline that allows all of these separate facilities to be able to share the film to the highest standard of accuracy while working on these different aspects. Therefore you need a standard that’s cross compatible.

      For decades it has been the EDL, which FCP has now abandoned.

      Yes, movies will go tapeless and filmless in future. But we’re not there yet, despite what FCPX would have you believe.

  14. Is Apple abandoning Pro users?

    Earlier this year Apple discontinued the Xserve, their rackmount server offering. This was a huge, enormous blow to those of us who have built a livelihood around offering professional IT support and services based around Mac OS X Server. We were given four months notice and then… poof: No more Xserve.

    Apple is making a tremendous amount of cash from consumer products and media sales. Even though Apple has led the way for many years in creative media production, it’s becoming clear that pro users are now a drop in the bucket as far as revenue is concerned, and thus not worth Apple’s time.

    Use Apple products for digital media production? I’d say make plans to get out early. This is what we get for being loyal users for so many years…

    1. There are actually people who built a business model around Xservers? Seriously, who would separate their business from somewhere between 90% and 99.99% of the server market share? (Xserve is lumped into the 10.8% market share that falls into the “Other” bucket)

      I have worked in Infrastructure Ops my whole career, and the only place I have even seen one of these is at Microsoft. Someone there told me that Microsoft was the single largest consumer of Xservers, using them to develop / port software to OS X Server I dont know if that is true, but I believe it, having seen a couple of the Mac labs there.

      On topic, I think Apple realizes that its talents lie in consumer products, and we will continue to see them move away from Pro/Enterprise level products.

      1. I administrate both OS X Server and Widows Server boxes. I really do prefer the OS X Server devices.

        Why? Because OS X Server is geared towards small to medium sized businesses, for starters. Also, if you look at the cost of software Apple is way, WAY cheaper. Microsoft hides their true costs with things like CALs and different licensing structures. You end up paying way, way, WAY more with Windows Server.

        Then there’s included open-source software like Apache, MySQL, Postfix, Spamassassin; they’re all rock-solid products bundled and auto-updated. I can configure them through the GUI, and if I need additional functionality I can just poke around on the command-line or in the config files.

        OS X Server is a GREAT platform. If the IT snobs who paid X-thousand dollars for their M$ certifications could get over their rabid Apple-hate for a moment and actually look at the platform objectively they might realize that.

        1. Hah okay, that makes way more sense than solely being an Xserve shop…which is what I thought was going on.

          As far as IT snobbery, as a consultant I follow the dollars, and that means following market share. If 70-80% of servers out there ran on steam engines, I would be selling coal-shoveling solutions.

        2. Seriously? Do they even still make Xservers?
          First, there are plenty of WAMP options for Windows Server.
          Second, Windows Web Server is inexpensive. (Of course the license cost is not as inexpensive as Linux per server to install.)
          Third, Apple forces you to buy their incredibly expensive hardware. Microsoft only supplies software. Linux appliances are somewhere in between.
          Finally, countless Linux-based appliances and distros (as well as Microsoft SBS server) are very appropriate for small to medium sized business.

          It’s not about snobbery. It’s about what businesses can afford, find people to support, and what the users want. Apple hardware (server or otherwise) is expensive and do not have real advantages in most small to medium businesses. Outside of the graphic arts business its all about Linux and Microsoft.

      2. “I think Apple realizes that its talents lie in consumer products, and we will continue to see them move away from Pro/Enterprise level products.”

        As a longtime “pro level” Apple user, my biggest fear is that they think that the future of the company lies not with powerful workstations, nor with iMac-level consumer products, but with iOS. I don’t want to see a future where all Apple software is iOS-optimized and the idea of a Mac Pro with a separate monitor, keyboard, and mouse to click on things is a rarity.

    2. Agreed. Love for corporations always ends like any bad romance. They’re only into us for our money… that’s why it’s not shocking when we get dumped for someone wealthier.

      The easiest example: They off the same level of *ahem* support to grannie’s iPod than to the $2300 Mac Book “Pro” user… The sale of a few thousand Mac Book Pros is still dwarfed by their iPad/iPod Megalith Megafortress from Planet Doom.

    3. People bought X-Servers? Really? Even Apple didn’t run X-Servers. It’s a real shame that you have no transferable skills.

  15. “this alone doesn’t solve the problem for those who’ve built their businesses and creative lives around a product and company they now feel has abandoned them”

    I have no sympathy for lazy video editors. It’s absurd to think someone would build a career around skills exclusive to one software package, like a mechanic who refused to learn to service anything but Kia Sorentos.

    1. Well, guess you haven’t noticed that exotic Apple cult that’s been growing in the shadows for the past decade or so…

      Agree with you. If you’re a real pro you need to be at least informed if not proficient in all the tools your trade might require you to use. If it is customary for the camera operators to be able to work with all the major camera formats and manufacturers, I don’t see a reason why editors shouldn’t be able to do so.

      If I’m presented with a choice I go Edius, but I’m able to switch to any other NLE system in a few minutes since I do like to keep up to date and check up on the other systems ocassionally if i didn’t have the opportunity to work pro with em in 6 months or so. Damn, I still like to occassionally do some A/B roll work. :)

      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!

    2. This has nothing to do with building “skills exclusive to one software package”. What you and everyone who says pro-editors should “just adapt and re-learn” don’t get is how completely broken the Final Cut Pro X UI model is for professional workflow. I’m not even talking about the missing features that can maybe get cobbled back in. I’m talking about a fundamental UI design philosophy that breaks from the foundation of NLE user experience in ALL non-linear systems. FCPX is literally unusable for many core tasks an editor needs to do. Apple’s new workflow may be better for some specific things, but it’s impossible for them to anticipate every situation. They have made a serious mistake positioning this as a pro product. An open tool like Final Cut Pro 7 is like a musical instrument. An instrument adapts to your individual style and as your proficiency develops, you become more and more free to fly. Once you have the basic skills, going from say, cello to viola is not that big a deal. With FCPX, Apple’s taken an open, professional editing instrument and turned it into the kind of canned, preset-driven instruments you find in Garageband. Great for quickly throwing something together but not what you want if you’re highly skilled and used to complete freedom. That, the fact that so many essentials are missing, the fact that we’ve invested a decade in time and money in this platform, and getting no indication from Apple of what their future intentions are, is why so may of us are upset.

    3. You’ve got it backwards. This is like being a mechanic who only has access to three different brands of tools, and each one requires a substantial financial investment to own/maintain and a massive investment of time and energy to master. Then one day the company that you’ve been getting your tools from decides to phase out a quarter of the tools necessary to fix most cars, and significantly downgrades a bunch of others, but you have no choice but to upgrade your tools to stay current with tomorrow’s cars. Instead, you’re now stuck with tools that are only applicable to Kia Sorentos.

      It’s not lazy, it’s making a substantial investment in a technology and a workflow and then having all that eradicated by a company that cares SWA about you as a customer. People will move to another product if Apple doesn’t fix FCP, but that doesn’t make it what Apple did any less obnoxious.

      1. If people move to another product that is actually good I want to know about it! Why are there so few options? Surely there is demand here.

    4. With the limited number of pro nonlinear editing suites available it seems more like someone specializing in Japanese imports or European sports cars, of which the world is full.
      As for lazy, it may be a job you do sitting down, but as someone who is just learning FCP, I wouldn’t call spending 10+ hours per 1 minute of finished screen time lazy. You wouldn’t call someone who spent a month working on a painting lazy, why call an editor that?

  16. They’re not going to fix this.

    First Apple cuts Xserve, then cuts Final Cut Server, then gives us a Final Cut Pro dumbdown… If the speculation about ARM processors in their MacBooks (running iOS) is true it’s pretty obvious which direction Apple is heading… They’re moving us into the all-mobile/embedded system iOS world.

    We’ll probably see the last gen of Apple Mac desktops (running the last iteration OS X) somewhere in the next three years. We’ll all be living together in the iCloud as one big iOS happy family, watching our Apple iTVs (with screen, not just the set top box) and using our iPads and iPods.

    For those of you thinking that the fact that you have a business model will make Apple care, it won’t. Just ask those who had business models build around using Xserves and Final Cut Server. Apple doesn’t care because the money you spend on those products doesn’t even touch the revenue the mobile line and app store generates. The ship has already changed direction. You’re sailing toward a different port.

    -Sent from my iPad

    1. It was in my lifetime Apple was the undisputed platform for professional print publishing. Before that it was education.

      There simply is not the same scale of money available in creating content as there is advertising it.

      Apple has no plans on updating its professional movie tools, such as Shake, to current or future standards. There are maybe 10,000 professional editors and 100,000’s of amatuers who want to make better youtube videos.

    2. @mark.leaman you are absolutely right.

      @Alvis, sorry, but you could not be more out of touch.

      FCPX will find the niche’ that Apple intends, and it probably won’t be me anymore. That’s fine.

      Certainly we will adapt. Of course any good business, especially a tech-based one like Post Production, must be flexible and, to a certain extent, tool-agnostic. But in order to actually RUN a Post business you must invest time and effort and lots and lots of money and training to become an expert in the tools you do choose. It’s not like choosing between Honda or Ford, it like choosing between boats and airplanes.

      I edited on Avid for over 10 years before the state of the art dictated the switch. Whatever.

      The real betrayal is in the abandonment of FCS3. The not insignificant investment in hardware and (now unsupported) software is what’s the most damaging to our business. Sure I’ll sail to a different port, just don’t shoot holes in my boat till I can climb back into my airplane.

  17. Outside of this very post, I’ve read nothing about Final Cut. If you didn’t preface those words with “Apple,” I might’ve thought you were talking about a Pink Floyd album.

    It must be a niche market, and thus probably isn’t worth a marketing blitz from the competition. They’ll just take in the disgruntled editors and make quietly make customers of them, hopefully without all the advertising bells & whistles that may seem insulting to their new, disenfranchised clients.

  18. I too wonder if there’s a requirement that all users immediately stop using old versions, and purchase the new. But this seems to be part of the Apple Consumer Experience; buy, rebuy, rebuy, ad infinitum. It’s odd.

  19. I know some professional video editors, and I know a good bit about their workflows. Came close to taking that professional path at one point. While some complaints are very real, the rage-quitters…well, it strikes me that their actions are truly the result of unreasoning rage.

    Apple has pointed out that some features are not missing. Third-party tools are available or soon-to-be-available to address other functionality that has been unbundled (a very valid decision, especially given the broadening of the target audience and new price point). And that the rest of the features will shortly be implemented in an update. They probably weren’t ready to ship, and Apple’s big mistake here is sticking to a deadline instead of pushing it back, for once. Continuing to sell the suite might have helped, but not much really when you consider that it will soon be replaced.

    I believe that the editors real gripe is that with the broader audience, the “deprofessionalization” of their craft through improved technology is driven forward once again. They have been dealing with this for a long time, and advances (some real, some nothing more than hindrances in disguise) in broadcast and cinema are the only things that have allowed most of them to continue to be “elite” in any sense. Graphic artists and designers have dealt with this longer because their tools have been easier to push to the masses. It has resulted in a glut of designers whose work is not valued (for many of them, for good reason). The same thing is happening to video.

    Running to harder-to-use tools just to protect the difficulty level of their workflow does not make them better at their craft. It actually makes them less productive and creative, and serves as only a temporary barrier.

    The best editors will adapt to the environment and continue to produce really outstanding work (better and faster, whether or not Final Cut Pro X is involved or not), and will be paid accordingly.

    1. You say that third-party tools are available. Well and good. However, for long-term FCP users, part of the reason to go with FCP was that one got a complete range of tools to use for a fraction of the cost of AVID, the other major non-linear digital editing program, and the systems were often as good or better than AVID systems, and major patches weren’t often needed. Some of the things that are missing from a supposedly pro-level application are, for editors (especially those who deal with external colorists and audio engineers), deal-breakers.

      Heck, the inability to go back to old projects, something that commercial editors have to deal all the time, is a HORRENDOUS oversight. I’ve had clients come back over a year after their last major commercial development and want to change something. Not being able to access those projects means that any updates from FCPS to FCP X means the materials have to be built from scratch. Would you buy a new version of Microsoft’s office, if it meant you couldn’t look at your old documents at all? I doubt it.

      My wife actually makes an excellent analogy. FCP X is like buying a vehicle, and then having to install 3rd party seat belts to be able to use it. It’s counter-intuitive.

    2. let me ask you a simple question. can you edit a studio motion picture, that needs to be released theatrically (digital and film), home video, blu ray & dvd, cable, internet streaming, etc. ad infinitum and saved as a project that can be altered in future given unforseeable needs and archiving – on FCPX?

      No, you cannot. Give me specifics on how I could, and you’ve solved everyone’s problem.

      Likewise, you have no clue whether or not EDL support (do you even know what an EDL is and where I would take it) will ever come to FCP from now on, and all previous projects made in FCP are not and as best as you can discern from Apple’s statements, never will be.

      So now you’ve got to go spend minimum 20k on a whole new software / hardware setup for one single workstation. And put in the time to learn it which any good editor will undoubtedly, but it takes time. And find a way to convert years of FCP projects via XML to whatever you’re going to use now. And continue to put out projects while doing this.

      When you talk about functionalities that are missing that will be restored shortly, you don’t offer specifics, because there aren’t any. Jannard and Red have said that Apple have not talked to them about getting Redcode functionality in FCPX as of yet.

      Your false equivalency of thinking that people who have actually succeeded as editors crave arcane complexity and difficulty is pure b.s. They work to competing standards set by worldwide broadcast and theatrical exhibition and web video. You do not understand their workflow at all. And in fact over the years they have made great strides in pushing the industry to standardize and make the task easier for everyone, while continuing to work at the demands of commercial filmmaking which every year asks for more, for less.

      Yes, FCPX is forward thinking to a filmless future which is inevitable. But it’s insisting that you adopt Apple’s way of working, and no one else’s. The beauty of previous FCP and other solutions is they remained flexible to deal with all both present and future.


  20. Everybody made such a huge deal out of the rack-mount Mac server being disco’d, but how many do you have actually deployed? In my IT world, I’ve seen inside hundreds of server rooms, and have seen 1,000’s of servers racked and deployed. I’ve been to creative agencies, mac-only shops, graphic printers, etc. Places where Apple has huge presence.

    I’ve seen maybe 5 XServes in all my work. Nobody was doing anything on them more than what the MacMini server, or the MacPro if you needed the FC HBAs for their functions. I’ve seen many more MacMini’s racked up on shelves in the data center than XServes over the years.

  21. To those saying “Why do you need to upgrade? Why not wait?”

    That’s all well and good until you need to add another suite or hire an additional editor – you can no longer buy the version that still works!

    1. Well, since they clearly aren’t looking for the newest version, there’s plenty of hardcopies available of older versions on Amazon.

  22. Every time a major application is re-written and re-designed, it upsets users.

    And every time, they get over it.

  23. The truly irritating thing is that the same creative types who kept Apple going through the lean years with their rabid adherence to the Mac experience are the same ones being screwed over by the company now.

    Oh well. Perhaps this will lead to someone finally developing a decent open-source pro quality editor for the Mac…

    1. And the independent Mac stores that kept them afloat for as long as they did during the dark years were boned when the Apple retail stores opened up. The authors of, well, a whole lot of different applications were boned when Apple made their own versions of software they had been making a living at. I’m sure there are a whole lot of other examples out there from Apple and every other company in the world.

      Corporations, like Apple, don’t owe anyone a living. They owe their shareholders ROI, that’s it. If they will make more money by screwing over a small subset of their loyal users, they have a duty to do so, and they will. No company will do any different.

      The only thing you can do is try to purchase from people who are relatively open about their future plans and product roadmaps, and if possible buy stuff that’s standards-compliant so you can swap one thing out for another if necessary. This goes for hardware as well as software.

      1. Oh, I agree with you completely. The only thing Apple owes it’s consumers is to deliver what we want to buy. If they decide the pro film community is not one they want to serve, that’s their business.

        That works both ways. I work at a film school and am involved in purchasing descisions. When it comes time to replace our current FCP-stations, or adding licences, the only thing we will be looking at is what is the best tool for our students. Unless FCPX undergoes a radical overhaul to make it a serious pro tool again it won’t be in the running.

        And no, I’m not mad or filled with rage. A little disappointed, though. I’ve been using macs since the 90s and FCP since it first came out and I’ll miss them. But I’ll get over it.

  24. Yes, “AppleMac”. A company that literally built their business around the idea of computers that are consumer-friendly, and has made customer service a massive priority over the years. Things like the Genius Bar in the Apple Stores, the no-questions-asked return policies for AppleCare customers, and award-winning tech support that’s been a deciding factor for a lot of PC owners to give up on the crap they’re dealt by Gateway and Dell.

    They may be dumbing down their pro products in very stupid ways, but claiming that Apple isn’t consumer friendly is just troll-bait.

    1. Oh, please. You need more than a Genius Bar to be consumer friendly.

      After all, Apple’s Ivory-tower decrees like “You aren’t holding it right” illustrate a very fundamental “screw the consumer” attitude in their heart.

      1. I disagree. Since you bring it up, the whole “you aren’t holding it right” quote took on a strange life of its own, but it had a lot of truth to it. To cover the antenna on the iPhone required a very bizarre way of holding the phone, gripping it in a strange clench to effectively cover the entire phone with your hand. What Apple was saying was: Yes, we know there’s an issue. The antenna’s external. Like Android manufacturers did, we put the active area in a spot that very, very few people would cover with their hands. Here’s a free cover that fixes the issue. If you refuse to use it, and insist on holding your phone in a way that you’re aware will lower your reception, then, well, it’s kind of your fault for holding your phone wrong, and kind of silly to complain about it.

        Now, this whole FCPX thing is quickly becoming a PR debacle, and showing that without Steve around to guide the tiller, Apple’s not very agile in responding to complaints from their former core consumer, the pro market. They need to realize damn quickly how important the pro market is to them.

        1. Boy, someone has a pro-Apple revisionist memory.

          The “you are not holding it right” debacle was nothing like the “Yes, we know there’s an issue”. It wasn’t the bizarre way they were being held. People were touching the sides of the phone and the phones were dropping calls. Period. The bumpers were damage control—especially in light of lawsuits starting to pile up and create a class action. What Apple said was a very consumer unfriendly “the consumer is at fault” kind of statement. Jog your memory and review:

          Ok. Forget about the iPhone. What about battery issues with the iPad? No problem, your new iPad will be replaced for $99+shipping with a refurb (in approximately 1 week) and all of your data will be gone.

          Having problems with your iPod nano sparking and smoking? How many people had to complain before Apple finally admitted there was a problem?

          Want to run Adobe Flash on your iPad—just say no. (It’s not like it’s a commonly used format). Just because Steve jobs doesn’t like it, now everyone with iOS cannot have it.

          Sure every company has problems with products, but I would certainly put Apple in the non-consumer friendly department. Apple is a fair-weather friend. They love when you love their products. Unfortunately, that’s where the love ends. Sure, for now, they are better than the likes of Dell. (At least nobody has demonstrated that Apple has intentionally sold defective products.) If that’s where your bar is for consumer friendly, then yes, Apple is consumer friendly.

          1. Yep, there’s always a way to spin things negatively or positively depending on your point of view and choice of tools, you’re right.

            @spincycle: Yes, a bizarre way.

          2. re: “Sure every company has problems with products, but I would certainly put Apple in the non-consumer friendly department”

            It seems to me that for awhile Apple hasn’t cared much what their customer’s want – they give them what Apple wants to make and you will shut up and like it. Now – most of the time that works out ok. Most of the time what Apple makes and what customers want gel together. Then there are head-slappingly stupid PR moves for when their products have problems Jobs and Co. get all “How dare you question the great and mighty Oz!”

  25. It’s my impression that graphics/video pro users were the only ones who kept Apple afloat, in the pre-iPod age. Remember those sorry sad sacks in Palo Alto back in the 90’s? The only people remotely interested in buying macs were serious designers.

    Apple says thanks! Don’t let the door hit you on the way…

  26. Doesn’t anyone else think that all this hubbub will be completely forgotten once Apple puts out a couple of updates they promise are coming with support for EDL and Multicam, etc?

    Yes they got bad PR from releasing without that kind of support, but they also got bad PR from the iPhone 4 antenna thing, which no one talks or cares about anymore and iPhones still sell en masse with no complaints.

    A few months from now you will see tons of formerly complaining editors happily using FCPX and conveniently forgetting how much hate they were spewing because they love the new FCPX experience now that it has the few features they needed.

    1. No this is not a hubbub that will blow over. Apple have clearly demonstrated that they are not that interested in the mid to high end pro market, so that market can no longer trust Apple to deliver.

      For many in this area Avid remained the first choice but FCP became a close rival. Now no one with a serious editing facility will want to invest further in FCP and Avid will clean up. I think it is too late for Apple to correct this situation – even re-introducing FCP 7 wouldn’t help as it is certainly in need of a makeover, just not this one. The fact that Apple don’t seem to realise just what they have done wrong demonstrates how little they understand the pro market.

      That’s not to say FCP X won’t be a huge success. Apple will make loads of money out of it but they will lose the prestige of the mid to high end. The real loss is to students and colleges and those starting out – where FCP for a moment seemed a near-universal editing programme now they need to choose between a slick prosumer programme and the industry standard.

      1. Read David Pogue’s follow up review where he points out that a lot of the “missing” functionality is actually just in a different place in the UI.

        Also read that Apple is going to add a lot of the missing functionality in updates coming soon.

        I still bet pros will be loving FCPX a few months down the road once they get their panties out of a twist and get used to the new UI (and missing features which will no longer be missing).

        1. With respect, I read the Pogue article and he admits that he is not a pro editor, and therefore doesn’t quite get the issues (and few of his ‘solutions’ work).

          It’s not just the missing features, it’s Apple’s attitiude. This release demonstrates that Apple, if not out of touch, is certainly not focussed on this market. In one move it has shown it is shown it is interested in the mass market rather than being an industry standard. That may be a sound commercial decision, but for all the pro editors I know FCPX is a bad joke.

          Who cares? Well, when FCP came on the scene it was liberating. It was a kick in the butt for the overpriced, complacent Avid. Individuals could afford to buy a piece of software that, if not quite an industry standard, was becoming a close contender. Now there is a rift between doing things the way the industry wants to do it and doing things the way Apple think you should be doing it. It’s going to be very, very hard for Apple to reverse that shift.

  27. I’m an Avid cutter, but use FCP too.
    I started to like FCP but I don’t like I movie and not even if it’s a PRO Version like FCPX.
    AVID is going to make it, that’s the truth and Apple has lost the trust of many people who belived in it and started to belive in it (like me)
    Working for Television is hard, because you have to be fast and the software in combination with the hardware has to work safe all the time. Changing any of these tools constantly and loosing quality will create a terrible atmosphere in the Postproduction, apple is responsible but doesn’t give to much about it.
    Sure, Television will change and morre and more movies are watched over the Internet, so it’s becoming more and more a tapeless filmproduction. Maybe that’s what they are based on.
    But the future has not arrived yet, and they somehow forgot that some companies are working only with FCP!
    Apple is behaving irresponsible!

  28. So they are using the QuarkXPress product model?

    My buddy edits indie films and other projects with final cut pro. I hope this doesn’t fuck him over.

  29. Apple has basically destroyed Final Cut Studio if the features of this new release are allowed to stand.

    The Destruction of Final Cut Studio (dramatization)

  30. So, what can we take away from this?

    Always use free software, even though it may be lower quality. Support a free project with your money instead of buying proprietary licenses. In the end, it will be a better and cheaper solution for everybody.

    1. “Always use free software, even though it may be lower quality. Support a free project with your money instead of buying proprietary licenses. ” – A fine principle but it doesn’t play in the context of a commercial editing house. Clients expect everything to work and if doesn’t they get angry; there is no mercy for ‘lower quality’. And even my most anarchic, anti-capitalist editor friends want software that works the way they expect to work – they may be working for almost nothing, but they don’t want to waste their time either.

      Nevertheless, maybe it is time to take open source Lightworks seriously…

  31. damn got it posted to the wrong thread, having a dodgy connection here.. where’s the delete button?

  32. I’m in total Apple denial.

    I predict Apple will re-release FCS3 (albeit via an obscure download buried somewhere on their server), and that they will continue to make FCPX more feature rich to the point where the Pro community will re-think the rage-quit.

    I think that in this case marketing got way ahead of engineering, and they basically fucked up. But it was something that needed to be done — FCP is an OLD OLD OLD codebase.

    I don’t see them abandoning one of their flagship titles, especially not in the fat years.

    (This reminds me of the Aperture debacle, another example of marketing dick-swinging exacerbating engineering incompetence)

  33. So the mythical “sheeple” who use Apple products and do everything Steve Jobs says… and buys all Apple products without thought are all… WHAT??!

    So how do you explain this one, Apple-user-hating trolls?

    Well, as a longtime Apple user, this is absolutely no surprise to me. Apple users have long demanded that Apple provide them with the best offerings suited to their needs or threatened revolt. Many detractors have no clue about this because they’ve never been involved in the Apple community through various discussion boards, etc.

    The reason you’re confused by this “sudden” revolt from these poor, Apple-using sheeple… is you were ignorant of us Apple users in the first place.

    I will say this. Things have gotten worse in the community since more Windows users with their lower expectations have switched over (not all switchers, mind you… but many). But, the core community still DEMANDS the best.

    This is the Apple users that I can relate to and admire. And, Apple? We made you… and we can break you too. This isn’t a threat. This is a promise. I doubt investors would enjoy a heavy drop in nearly 30% of all Apple’s sales.


  34. > To cover the antenna on the iPhone required a very bizarre way of
    > holding the phone, gripping it in a strange clench to effectively cover
    > the entire phone with your hand.

    Really? It did? A “bizarre” way?

    Because I can demonstrate signal attenuation on my iphone in 5-10 seconds, one handed, holding it just the way I always do…when trying to talk on the device. I know, that’s a deprecated usage mode for a mobile phone these days, but I think it’s probably still fairly common.

  35. So call me a dink, but what happened? “Final Cut Pro 3” suddenly deleted itself and stopped working when “Final Cut Pro X” was released? I can understand the desire to try something new, but I have never worked in an environment where a new 1.0 version of software is released and suddenly *BOOM* all workstations are just upgraded. It’s always been staged in and on a logical schedule.

  36. David Pogue at the NYTimes has written an excellent follow-up article to his initial review of FCP X. He answers specific questions from professional editors and does a nice job of setting the record straight on some very technical questions.

    Final Conclusions? A lot of what is being touted in forums as “unavailable” is actually available. A few specific items (like old school EDL’s) have been depreciated, but many of the items are just in different locations in the UI, or have third-party work-arounds. There are several other items (like multi-camera editing) that Apple says are in-progress and promises to release soon. Where possible they have offered work-arounds.

    I’ve spent 25+ years working in video editorial and broadcast design using systems dating from “quad”-desks up to modern NLE systems. What I see is a trend from editors who are fluent in a plethora of non-proprietary systems, to editors who work only in a few specific systems. Twenty years ago an editor who only knew only one or two systems would be unemployed because EVERY edit suite was a collage of cobbled together tools. One company might be using CMX, another Sony, and yet another something unique. Often, changing jobs meant you would have to retrain yourself from scratch on editors, switchers, DVE’s, AND Character Generators.

    The trend to specialized tools like FCP has left many editors behaving like print designers who used to only know Quark. Those guys hated anything non-quark and would balked and complained at every update.

    Any post house worth its salt approaches software updates with great trepidation. They test, review, install test edit-suites, train their employees, and run the software through EVERY possible scenario before approving it for daily work. Especially if it is a facility that caters to agency clients. Even as a contractor I would install the system on a test computer and learn the ropes before jumping off the editorial cliff.

    But perhaps Apple should write all this in the EULA and make you sign-off on it before you load the software? Oh wait… they DO!

    1. Thank you!

      Watching designers transition from Quark to InDesign is so painful because the improvement is vast yet they refuse to acknowledge it because they are stubborn about a different UI.

      I bet a few months from now once people are used to the new FCPX UI you will see far fewer complaints.

  37. Amazing how Final Cut Pro 7 just stopped working and walked off in a huff.

    Apple botched this launch – big-time. But that does not make Final Cut Pro 7 any less useful today than the day before the announcement.

  38. I think this article by the wonderful post-producer Rich Harrington sums up why this is disappointing:

    As a pro editor myself I can’t no longer trust in Apple, not because FCPX is flawed but because their secrecy tactics makes no sense to me when I’m having to invest money for equipment and software only to be eventually EOL’d without even 1 day notice.

    This whole secrecy thing is just unacceptable. It’s not like a movie when you don’t want spoilers, you really NEED TO know. Big and small companies need to know why and when they will have to invest money.

    Yes my FCP7 still works as it did yesterday but I guess I don’t have the patience to be holding my breath and wait without any reasonable road-map from the makers of any NLE suite.

  39. This take on the FCPX situation comes from Ron Brinkmann (“Part of the initial design and development team that produced the digital compositing application Shake (acquired by Apple in 2002]” while also continuing to work for them aftewardr as Shake Product Designer until that piece of software was also terminated) and he gives us an invaluable and illuminating perspective on the way Apple sees the professional market. I’ll just quote a bit that I found particularly striking:

    “And really, from a company perspective high-end customers are a pain in the ass. Before Apple bought Shake, customer feedback drove about 90% of the features we’d put into the product. But that’s not how Apple rolls – for them a high end customers are high-bandwidth in terms of the attention they require relative to the revenue they return. After the acquisition I remember sitting in a roomful of Hollywood VFX pros where Steve told everybody point-blank that we/Apple were going to focus on giving them powerful tools that were far more cost-effective than what they were accustomed to… but that the relationship between them and Apple wasn’t going to be something where they’d be driving product direction anymore. Didn’t go over particularly well, incidentally, but I don’t think that concerned Steve overmuch… :-)

    And the features that high end customers need are often very very unsexy. They don’t look particularly good in a demo. See, here’s the thing with how features happen at Apple to a great extent – product development is often driven by how well things can be demoed. Maybe not explicitly – nobody ever told me to only design features that demoed well – but the nature of the organization effectively makes it work out that way. Because a lot of decisions about product direction make their way very far up the management hierarchy (often to Steve himself). And so the first question that comes up is ‘how are we going to show this feature within the company?’ All the mid-level managers know that they’re going to have a limited window of time to convey what makes a product or a feature special to their bosses. So they either 1) make a sexy demo or 2) spend a lot of time trying to explain why some customer feels that some obscure feature is worth implementing. Guess which strategy works best?”


  40. This makes sense. Apple has been consumerizing their products for years. They will happily lose 10,000 professionals to gain a million consumers. They made Final Cut into iMovie HD Pro.

  41. The big issue with this is that Apple has long been pushing Final Cut Pro as an industry standard to the point where it’s the only editing tool a lot of film schools are teaching.

    If it’s no longer performing to industry requirements and instead marketing itself to the half-finished screenplay apple fetishests, that’s a skill set a lot of people have had lopped off at the knees so the shaven head and horn rimmed glasses crowd can pretend their film makers.

  42. Boy are there some computer amateurs in this thread.

    Historically all software has been released too early. The end user de-bugs it for the programmers. Cheeky eh? In any case FCP X has the code for missing features inside it. They’re just parts of FCP X that are not working YET.

    If you don’t know how the software industry works, you’ll have to learn the hard way. NEVER NEVER NEVER EVER buy software UNTIL three months have gone by. At least. NEVER. EVER.

    1. I agree with you about waiting (i.e., I’m running Mac OS 10.6.6 instead of 10.6.8 right now and will only go higher once I see more suckers, er, users test it)

      But, as far as FCP X goes… there aren’t just buggy features…. the features are completely missing. This should still be in beta or maybe even just an internal alpha at this point.

  43. OK, if “Final Cut Fail” is the best these editors can come up with, maybe this is for the best.

  44. Now that FCP7 is abandonware the copy protection will be publicly cracked and it’ll be available for everyone. right?

  45. I think that in this case marketing got way ahead of engineering, and they basically fucked up. But it was something that needed to be done — FCP is an OLD OLD OLD codebase.

    That hammer was old so I replaced it with a bowling ball.

  46. Why don’t we see more discussion about *why* the pro market matters, if not for the miniscule sales compared to consumer sales?

    Part of the “cool factor” of Apple products is that pros use them. Pro photographers, pro graphic designers, pro filmmakers. Even pro programmers, whether they’re programming for OS X and iPhones or not (they’re popular among all developers, even Linux and Android developers!)

    So abandoning the pro market is unwise not because they care about the sales from them, but because there’s a “trickle down” effect – many of those consumers Apple loves to sell things to want what the pros use, so right now they buy Apple (doesn’t matter if they use iPhoto and iMovie or whatever instead of the pro software). And, if people are developing on OS X, there will be more cool software for OS X that consumers may want. And the consumer tools (including iPhoto et al.) benefit from trickle-down from the pro tools.

    In the photography world, there’s already a shift to Windows starting – mainly because of Adobe, who seem to be focusing on the Windows versions of things like Photoshop lately.

    I, personally, will stick with my Macbook Pro and will probably buy another when I need something new because I like it (both hardware and software) way more than anything else. I only do a bit of video editing, just for fun, but I do lots with photography. If they go too much further down the consumer-only path, though, they will lose me and many like me. And perhaps they won’t care, but it will be a huge shame to those who like their current offerings as there doesn’t seem to be any other company able to rise to the challenge. I can only hope that if that happens, it will backfire and they will start to lose marketshare in the consumer market too. And then they’ll shift back (and yes, we’ll probably go ahead and trust them again ;)

  47. It was actually not Walter Murch who first edited a feature on Final Cut Pro, but Sharon Rutter, the editor of The Rules of Attraction. Cold Mountain was the third feature edited on Final Cut Pro.

  48. Apple’s doing the same thing to software developers – beginning with charging you just to develop for iOS and scaring off third party dev tool vendors, now they’re charging for their development tools, forcing you into their proprietary App Stores where they take 30% of your gross, and trying to levy serious restrictions on how much you can charge for in-app subscriptions in AND OUT of the App Stores (under pressure from regulators they’ve loosened up on this one).

    I’m not sure what their strategy is, but it seems to be at the expense of all professionals. I used to be a total fanboy. My next computer will probably run Linux.

  49. Apple’s doing the same thing to software developers – beginning with charging you just to develop for iOS and scaring off third party dev tool vendors, now they’re charging for their development tools, forcing you into their proprietary App Stores where they take 30% of your gross, and trying to levy serious restrictions on how much you can charge for in-app subscriptions in AND OUT of the App Stores (under pressure from regulators they’ve loosened up on this one).

    I’m not sure what their strategy is, but it seems to be at the expense of all professionals. I used to be a total fanboy. My next computer will probably run Linux.

  50. This is why you shouldn’t become dependant upon any one piece of software, which of course is the complete opposite of what all Apple users do because the Apple eco-system is designed in such a way that there is only ever one real package for each purpose.

  51. Apple really gets obsessed with things like controlling the “experience” of the end-user that they tend to overlook obvious/important functionality because it doesn’t fit in with their paradigm of what people should want.

    For example: you can’t just remove the stock market app from an ipod. What percentage of the population follows the stock market?

  52. It seems like the big three (Apple, Microsoft, Google) are just in a race for the bottom – a rapidly accelerating race.

    It’s become a bit like politics, where more and more people choose the ‘least evil’ choice rather than what they actually like.

    Even good old Ubuntu totally screwed the pooch in their 11.04 release – all the Ubuntu message boards discussing Unity read much like this one-backlash against dumbing down in order to gain popular appeal.

    Hopefully this is just a stretch of temporary collective insanity…

  53. I know I’m a little late here, but I still want to chime in:

    I’ve been a Apple loyalist since 1992. I supported the through their dark ages (between 1996-1997), purchasing as much Apple gear as I could in order to ensure Apple stays alive. QuickCam? Mine. Apple printers? Got! The first iPod? You know I bought one! … But despite years of Apple loyalty, the last new computer I purchased was a Windows 7 laptop. Why? Well…. you know that feeling of abandonment you Final Cut Pro guys feel right now? Well I’ve been feeling that way since 2007 when Apple released the iPhone. I was expecting it to be like all previous Apple hardware: does it great, does it right and does it well right out of the gate. But nope; the first iPhone–and frankly, all iPhones up to the iPhone 4–could barely do half the shit my Palm Centro (running Palm OS 5) could (like no copy-and-paste, no video recording, no MMS, etc). That’s not the Apple I remember…. instead it’s some new, shitty Apple. The same shitty Apple that released Final Cut “Pro” X.

    If anyone was in denial over the fact that Apple has turned into this new shitty Apple before, well, the proof is in the pudding now.

    …I guess now I have to redefine myself. I’m an Apple Computer Inc. Loyalist. But fuck this new “Apple Inc.” company. I can’t even blame it on Steve Jobs, considering that Jobs’ was still relatively SANE up until the release of the iPhone. Now he’s truly gone off the deep end, and I just hope that once Jobs retires, a sense of rationality and sanity returns to Apple.

    1. Well, for all the whole image of awkward, nerdy Bill Gates vs Cool Steve Jobs, from all accounts Gates could play Jobs like a violin.

      So it becomes interesting that Jobs stopped hiding being shitty around the point Gates decided to go do other things.

  54. And this is just the latest lesson demonstrating why you should NEVER use commercial, closed-source software. Doing so makes you a sharecropper (in the sense outlined years ago by Tim Bray, see and the owner can put you out of business at any time.

    “But there isn’t anything…”

    Riiiiight. That’s exactly what’ve been said about open-source software for 30 years, even before the term “open source” entered the common lexicon. It is the plaintive whine of those who are either defending the status quo or who lack vision — both classes of which may safely be dismissed from any further consideration. Everyone else knows that (a) there probably is and (b) there certainly could be.

    Stop whining, sharecroppers. Pool your resources and instead of pissing your money away on closed-source software, instead of wasting your time trying to rescue this obvious failure, back a project that can be everything you want, that’s open-source, that’s a community.

    1. And what do I tell the million-dollar client who doesn’t give a shit what my open source philosophy is when I tell him that my software can’t accomodate the millions of dollars in industry hardware that everyone else in town uses? I just lost a job because of my open source beliefs.

      There’s this idea that the film industry can just switch overnight to stuff. It can’t. We still have to support film projection tools and even magnetic film for sound sometimes. We still have to support big theatrical dub stages with big mixing consoles that accept certain kinds of timecode and video files and not others. We still have to support exporting XMLs and EDLs and OMFs to the people we send our work to because that’s what we know will work no matter what version of the software they’re using. It took ten years for HD technology to become mainstream (I was there when it first started and no one supported it and it was a pain in the butt), and to this day we still have folks like Spielberg who want to edit on Moviolas – and we have to accomodate them by translating those edits into digital space with – you guessed it – EDLs, XML, and OMF.

      Open source is a nice personal philosophy to have and it’ll make us all pure when it comes to our software consciences, but it won’t pay the bills and it won’t help us do our jobs. We’re not coders and we can’t write our own software, and the coders who do write open source aren’t editors and don’t know our needs (and often don’t care about them when we tell them). It’s not as easy as “abandon your closed source ivory tower!” and frankly that’s more than a little patronizing.

      Hollywood is a VERY specific place with VERY specific needs that don’t apply anywhere else, and on top of it they have the burden of having to support legacy technology into the infinite past. People who think they know about video editing because they’ve cut together some stuff for film school have no idea how deep the rabbit hole goes. It’s a whole other level.

  55. I don’t use FCP much, but I work in film/television editing and have primarily used Avid. But I just wanted to defend the professionals who are upset. A lot of commenters are saying essential that’s why you shouldn’t use closed-source commercial software. But there is NO choice in the matter when it comes to professional film/television. Really — there is Avid and there is (was?) FCP. That’s it. The market is too small and the technology to complex, it would seem, for any open-source platform to step in.

    And not being able to do OMF or EDL? That’s unforgivable.

    Yes, it’s true — these editors and filmmakers can use the old version, but eventually they will need to upgrade. That’s why they’re pissed. And deservedly so.

    I would say that is Avid’s advantage — it really has only one product and that product is Avid. Avid has no iPods, iPads, OSes, clouds, music, or any of that stuff.

  56. I had an Apple ][ at 13, then hated Apple for stopping the Apple ///, then had a FatMac in college, had a Quadra 9600, had a Duo, had a portable, then left for linux and windows, and now I’m back for the past couple of years with a MacBook Pro. Whole family has macs and iphones. Not counting my HTC Evo. Apple consistently over the years has done a lot of dumb-headed moves, but they now have enough cash they can afford to fix them quickly. I don’t get why they don’t do that right now.

    If Apple would just put the previous version back on the shelves temporarily until the new version comes out it would solve everything. It would even be okay if Apple provided a downloadable version, or license key you could buy online. Threatening people’s livelihoods sounds like it might promote piracy. Pretty dumb move from Apple. I can see all modern studios, film schools, etc. already starting to make new decisions.

    Look Steve can’t do everything, fire whoever decided to stop selling the old version and put someone else in who will make Apple seem visionary. If it is just to sell iphones you don’t need spiffy architecture, Steve. Treat creative types (and creative business types) the way you’d like to have been treated when running Pixar and if you instill it in your personnel we’ll see a new age for Apple guaranteed beyond your term.

  57. An actual Hollywood professional chiming in here:

    I’m not a picture editor, I’m a sound editor. For 4 years I worked at one of the major post sound houses in Hollywood on big name prime time television shows. All the work I do comes from picture editors exporting to me. Many of them use FCP, many use Avid.

    So my take is this: the lack of OMF exporting is totally insane.

    Pogue is wrong. It’s not an archaic technology. That’s like saying text files are archaic. Text files are merely simple and cross-compatible. The ideas behind them are old but that doesn’t make them obsolete.

    When I get material for a new episode for me to edit sound on, it comes in an OMF file. I use DigiTranslator in Pro Tools to convert it to a Pro Tools session that I can work in. I keep a copy of the OMF just in case I ever need to refer back to the pre-sound edit material.

    Without an OMF file that Pro Tools can read (and 99% of reputable sound companies in this town use Pro Tools) this software is completely useless. If Apple is smart they will add that support in pronto, and ditto for XML and EDL stuff, because honestly, it’s not that hard to support these old formats, it’s not like they’re inventing some amazing HD compression algorithm. We shouldn’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for a 3rd party add-on that will mimic what EVERY OTHER EDITING SUITE AVAILABLE does on its own, especially if it’s a feature that we absolutely need or else we can’t function.

    Now look, the original FCP didn’t OMF export either (and when it first started it was really bad with it). So it took a few iterations to get it down. So I have my hopes up that Apple will wise up and include the critical cross-compatibility exporting options that will allow purists who still shoot on film and want to finish on film to use EDLs to conform their film prints to their computer edits, OMF so that any of these films can have a Hollywood-caliber soundtrack, and tape export so that in the end we can put them all on beautiful HD tapes for better storage. It takes time.

    I will say that anyone who is upgrading now and is upset about their livelihoods going away is a little silly. Pro Tools went up to v8 a while back and my house stayed at v7. I haven’t worked there in a year or so, so they might still be there even though PT is up to v9. You just don’t upgrade your software immediately, you do it when you need to because that’s what you need to get the job done.

    In any case, the new bells and whistles would be really great – if we could use them in projects that will then export to other workflows we’ve been using for 10 years. You can’t just upend everything and expect people to adapt or die – there is literally millions of dollars in color-timing hardware, mixing boards, big theatrical dub stages, foley studios, ADR studios, tape duplication, printmaking, an entire ecosystem of infrastructure that you have to accomodate if you want to play with the big kids. Apple might be taking their ball and going home, but they also might have just rushed a product to market without adding those important connecters in. Time will tell.

  58. Last comment before I stop:

    Software is supposed to serve the user and make our lives and jobs easier. It should cater to our needs because we are the users, and not the other way around.

    The idea that Academy Award and Emmy Award winning editors who have used products like FCP and have workflows that work for them should quit their whining and adapt because Apple decided that their workflow is archaic and should no longer be supported is crazy. Software should serve and assist, not define.

  59. Apple also bought the pro-compositing system Shake, then after a few years stopped developing it.

  60. As a working professional who uses Avid and Final Cut both on a daily basis in the world of film and broadcast tv… who cares? Yes, editors are absolutely right in trashing FCP X. It sucks. So what? Don’t buy it. Our lives are not threatened by Apple’s blunder. If you guys want to teach Apple a lesson, then stop buying their iPads, iPhones and iShit. Fuck them- they certainly don’t give a fuck about you. The criticism, I understand. The whining of “boo-hoo, my life is at stake..?” What planet are you guys on? Keep using FCP 7, or Media Composer, or whatever the next revolutionary tool is that comes out.

    The sad part is, you’re not going to stop giving Apple your money, because you’re all addicted to their “lifestyle.” Which is also why Apple is not going to change their ways.

  61. It’s times like this that I’m forcibly reminded of observations over the years that Apple fans have more in common with a cult than any sane grouping of people. There are a whole cadre of people jumping to Apple’s defense, with no real knowledge of the professional editing world, telling the people who make the advertisements, shows, and movies that entertain a large portion of the country that they’re “being babies” and to “just adapt to the future”.

    There have been a lot of responses in this thread from people who have far more experience than I, talking about the features that are absolutely needed in order to work in Hollywood or a major television or cable network.

    I’m going to put on my other hat, as a software developer. I produce tools for the music retail industry (yes, yes, I know – another dead industry). It’s a very specific market, that has a lot of requirements in how you handle inventory and sales that general point of sale software and e-commerce systems just doesn’t do. If we took our custom web framework away and told them to make their e-commerce system work on WordPress or Magento, there would be howls of rage. People pay lots of money for professional software, and to completely change it, with no warning, is just incompetent product management. You can add new features to your heart’s content, but existing features must be removed with care. Not with an axe.

  62. What most of you folks don’t realize is that when you cannot even open older, legacy projects in new edition software, clients are not happy.

    A true upgrade allows for forward migration of projects.

    While it is not a formal promise to do so, PROFESSIONALS rely upon this simple fact when buying software. So in essence, the inability to tweak a project three – six years out is not unheard of.

    Without the ability to do so, it is truly a middle finger to a professional community…. And yes, clients will leave you and bad-mouth you if they have to redo an entire long format project instead of altering a small section.

    For those who aren’t in the professional field, please stop baiting with comments about how dumb it is for an editorial house to lose jobs, when you really don’t understand the mechanics of the business from all angles.

    I came from the world of analog editing, and frankly would be happy to return if software manufacturers stop allowing projects to migrate forward as FCP Xhas done.

    The unwritten contract between client and vendor is broken and I say shame on us for following Apple in the first place, but what is done is done.

    Apple did this once before in the mid nineties with legacy architecture no longer supporting add on hardware boxes. We should have learned.

    And keeping old software is fine, but that will only work for a few years… Because codecs and technology will change

  63. ad in my inbox

    ATTENTION Apple Final Cut Editors:
    This Could be Your Last Chance to “Crossgrade” to Avid Media Composer 5.5 for only $995 While Supplies Last


  64. I am not sure why everyone is so surprised Apple is only concerned with the high volume consumer market and has been working toward that exclusively for a decade.
    They could care less about the working pro when there are billions more “Prosumers”.Most companies in all areas of our industry make there money this way now.

  65. Well, now I will be using a Windows machine at 1/6th the cost of a Mac, which I had to use for Final Cut Pro.

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