By Jay Fidell
This will supplement my exuberant article about Final Cut Pro X last week.
Since then, there’s actually been a fair amount of bad news about X. The first and most influential was an article in the New York Times right after the rollout, scoring X as deficient in multiple ways, mostly in the lack of functions included in Final Cut Pro 7 but cut out in X.
The article gave various workarounds for these deficiencies, but that wasn’t nearly enough for the professional editors. Why should they need workarounds in a new product when they didn’t need workarounds in the old one? That’s not progress - it’s seems like just the opposite.
Many professional editors have come to rely on Final Cut Pro 7, more than Avid or Premiere. When you use a program for your everyday work, you really get invested, not only in the cost of acquisition, but in learning it. You know all its tricks and foibles and develop a relationship with it. As long as the provider keeps it reasonably current, and doesn't mess things up, you’re not likely to give it up. Some professionals are now talking about giving it up.
The non-professionals, however, haven’t gotten nearly as aggravated about X. They are willing to put up with the loss of some of these functions because they haven’t used them and wouldn’t use them anyway. They use the baseline functions, and those work well enough for their needs.
The complaints aren’t about bugs – Apply fully intended the offending changes. So the question is why did Apple drop the old functionality? Some things were out of use so dropping them was justified. But other things were in general use so it’s hard to figure why Apple dropped them. All Apple had to do was ask the professionals and it could have avoided the current backlash. Now they risk losing them.
Sure, some heads will roll at Apple. But couldn’t this have been avoided? Why would Apple cut out its professional users? There no clear answer, except perhaps that the whole company may see itself as having moved away from professional software like FCP and into consumer products like the iPhone and iPad, where the big money is. Even so, it’s not smart to run your steady followers down.
There are those that say Apple just wanted to roll out something fast, intending to fix it later, but that also doesn’t seem smart when you consider that they’ve set it up so you can’t run X and FCP 7 at the same time and when they simultaneously announced they would be dropping FCP 7 all together. Maybe they want to force us into X, but why do that if X isn’t really ready?
Larry Jordan, popular video software instructor, first on Lynda.com and now in his own name, is ordinarily loyal to Apple. In his newsletter this week, he called Apple out. Jordan has created a training series for X. He released it for $99 the same day X came out. Whether X is good or not so good, and that won’t be settled for a while, Jordan’s training is pretty good and he’s going to make lots of money on it, if he hasn’t already, now one week after the rollout.
Remember X uses 64 bit and for me that’s the dispositive point. Before, we had to wait for hours to render a project, now you don’t’ have to render and you can output a file in minutes. That in itself is worth the price of eggs. And that’s not the only thing – the more I learn about X the more I like it, even though some of the changes take getting used to. I think many people, even some of the professionals, will do come around, and with a little patience they’ll get their missing functions back too. A rocky start, but soon enough it could be the world’s favorite.
All in all, Apple took a huge and long-term black eye on this rollout. That could certainly have been avoided. Its reputation is now tarnished, and to make it up Apple had better work overtime on the fix. But at least part of what I said last week is still true: we're in a new place for video editing. This product may not have covered all the bases, but it’s clearly the new way for NLE. For me, I’ve decided to get into X now, use it and hope for an early update. I still think I’m right.