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Final Cut Pro X review: Apple Pissed Off 5,000 Pros to Please 5M Amateurs

Published: 29/06/2011
By: larry

The title of this post is a tweet by Daniel Jalkut, of Red Sweater Software. Last week Apple released it's long awaited Final Cut Pro X. The release has film editing Hollywood and broadcast pros (like the video editors at Conan O'brien) taking to the streets with pitch forks. Daniel's tweet (Final Cut Pro X review: Apple will happily piss off 5,000 professionals to please 5,000,000 amateurs) says it all. The Hollywood film editors that have been using the previous version of Final Cut Pro are pissed because of everything that has been left out but users like me, formally a iMovie user, think FCP X is the greatest thing since sliced bread. What's going on here? How could Apple make such a mistake? Speculations are all over the map.

I don't think this was a mistake. I think Apple make a calculated decision to change the focus customer base of FCP X. This release is targeted at the huge numbers of people that are moving into area of creating web video with DSLRs. Apple is very good at strategic positioning. They understand that web video is the future and they are positioning FCP  to dominate this part of the market that is exploding.

This all has the Hollywood and broadcast video editors  looking at Adobe Premere Pro, Avid or sticking with the old version of FCP until Apple adds back the currently missing features into FCP X they need. Yet most of the video editors that are not creating feature films and TV programs see FCP X as everything they need: fast, the next step beyond iMovie and easy to learn.

I am a long ways from learning FCP X but so far I am very impressed. It is lightning fast, feature rich and very easy to learn if you are a iMovie user.

Christian Fitzpatrick, the "president of PlatiumHd.TV production" says, "What I love about it is it's speed. This is a program that takes advantage of every skerrick of power that modern Macs have. I've already cut a couple of vids in there and Wow! it is so quick, it's rather unbelievable."

I think this strategic move buy Apple is another confirmation of how big the trend for creating web video with HDDSLRs is.

Update: June 30, 2011: Apple answers FCP X questions.

6 comments on “Final Cut Pro X review: Apple Pissed Off 5,000 Pros to Please 5M Amateurs”

  1. "I think this strategic move buy Apple is another confirmation of how big the trend for creating web video with HDDSLRs is." I think this move by Apple is another confirmation that Apple is a consumer electronics company and has allowed its professional applications to languish.

    There's nothing wrong with that, its just different, they are adding shareholder value and they have left behind the professional users in favor of a much larger prosumer market and as a professional user who has invested in their development it kind of pisses me off...

    In 2002 we sold a company that I was one of the founders of to Apple that created the software that Motion was founded on [and by the looks of it parts of FCPX], so I know more than some, not as much as others about Apples professional applications.

    I have not used FCPX so I can't speak to its performance or usability, but I will say this, no matter what NLE or hardware you use the slowest part of the editorial process is making the edit decision, the human intervention, so much of the future debate will be about workflow. I have no doubt that for a single artisan working alone finishing their own projects FCPX will be very good, that's what Apple does "push this button and it will edit it for you." But if you collaborate with others for color correcting, effects/graphics and audio or you want more support than the "genius bar" can provide then it might not be the right choice.

    Regarding the 5,000 versus 5,000,000 comment, Apples pretty late the the "web" video party, Adobe has a much larger install base thanks to Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects and they have done an outstanding job of integrating these applications not only at the image processing layer but also at the interface level, if you can use Photoshop and AE its pretty straight forward to learn the rest of the production suite.

  2. I haven't had a chance to download FCPX yet, but from what I've heard, it's pretty amazing. I can say from my perspective, the one thing that is hobbling me is speed. This week I shot over 50 video tours and processing and editing these along with new work I get every day is almost crippling - I have several machines here just churning away like crazy. The thought of speeding up this process dramatically is something I've been dreaming and salivating about for months! Real time rendering and no transcoding 5D footage will save me TONS of time. So am very anxiously looking forward to this new version. Yes, I have to relearn everything, but the [supposed] benefits make it absolutely worthwhile for this particular business.

    For anyone looking to get up to speed, take a look at Israel Hyman's free online tutorials on FCPX. He always does a good job of explaining and demonstrating things regarding all aspects of video!

  3. Here is another great look at FCPX:

    I just edited a video with it and absolutely loved it coming from Final Cut Express. Video shot with a D7000 on this page:

    It says it autorenders in the background - which it does and that is nice, but you have to have a mean machine for it to work well. I use a Macbook Pro with an I7 processor and 4 Gigs of RAM and immediately realized that I needed at least 8 gigs (the limit of my machine) for it to run smoothly and even that slows down with HD clips when there is a lot going on in the movie.

    It also processes the movie more quickly than in Final Cut Express. If you do a lot of editing real estate videos, it's a pretty big step forward. Plus there are a great many more transitions, themes, music, etc...that aren't in iMovie or Final Cut Express.

  4. Why not apply that argument to everything else? Canon could take the 5D and strip out RAW etc and remove all the buttons to be replaced by a funky touch screen and much lower price. This would annoy a few thousand professional photographers but would appeal to the mass market.

    Why not just make iMovie much better and bring it up the level of Final Cut Express with the iMovie interface?

    I'm glad this has happened because I'd hate to see them try and turn OSX into something completely different. I also worry they might forget about the professional market of graphic designers, publishers, photographers, video editors etc and focus purely on the consumer market in their hardware and software offerings

  5. Any more info on what need for FCPX to run efficiently would be appreciated. I have a read a report or two that you need a lot more than Ryan suggests. I have no first hand knowledge. I am just ordering an iMac and wonder if it will be sufficient based on a couple things I have seen online.


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