Maccast 2011.07.16 – Final Cut Pro X

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Podcast

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A podcast about all things Macintosh. For Mac geeks, by Mac geeks. Show 357. When Apple released the latest version of Final Cut Pro they created quite an impact although it may or may not have been the one they wanted. The Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) release was very anticipated and had a lot of hype. When it shipped many in the high end pro video market cried foul. In this episode I invited three video pros, Richard Harrington, Ron Brinkmann, and Chris Fenwick to come on and help the average Mac Geek make sense of why this release was such a big deal. The changes impact not only those in the video community, but also bring insights and revelations for the rest of us as well.

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There are 11 comments on Maccast 2011.07.16 – Final Cut Pro X:

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  1. Dave | Jul 17 2011 - 09:57

    Great Show! I generally prefer the “Deep Dive” type of show once in a while, as the topic calls for it. You are now starting to do the “MacBreak Tech” format–deep dive but in the roundtable format–which is very cool.

    The discussion reminded me of an important point that Steve made at his last address: He officially demoted the Mac to be only a peer of the iOS products. Now, iOS devices make up the clear majority of their business!! That’s one critical feature that is completely different from when FCP was young and healthy. Now, pro apps make up a small minority of a minority business for Apple! We know where their new center of gravity is–and it absolutely isn’t with high end apps running primarily on Mac Pro-class computers.

    Perhaps it is that the pros need to start looking to smaller companies that can serve their niche better than Apple can right now. In exchange for the personal service and support that they talked about, they now need to think about the Avid price point rather than the FCP price point.

    To get that big price break that they got when Mac was the center of Apple’s world, they do need to align their needs in rough sync with the mass market. That actually happened for awhile but I wonder whether it will ever happen again.

    I’m guessing that we are going to get more of the “back to the Mac” theme in the product line rather than less. The panel was bit disparaging about catering to the “soccer dad” type of audience, but that audience is just as tough as the pros, just different. For the soccer dad, you need to figure out how to keep him from freaking out after just one look at the interface. Steve likes that challenge a lot better, so I think that’s where they’re going.

  2. kybluegrassboy | Jul 17 2011 - 11:19

    good show. didn’t like to be referred to as a “soccer dad” though. comes off as “holier than thou”.

    just saying.

  3. Chris Fenwick | Jul 18 2011 - 05:29

    yea, that would be me calling people “Soccer Dads”… short cuts and generalizations always get you into trouble… (did catch that? that was a tiny joke). In actuality i could careless who is ‘at the helm” or what level of “professionalism” is behind an edit. All I meant by the term was that there is a whole class of people that edit that are not required to interact with others in their workflow, as many us do who collaborate on projects.

    That being said, there are PLENTY of people who work in ‘a sandbox’, not interchanging files and timelines with others that do AMAZING WORK… i often highlight some of it on my blog.

    A while back I highlighted a video by a kid who did a whole piece about a snowblower… what can i say, it was a fun cut.

    So I apologize if I offended anyone… i REALLY didn’t mean to. Besides… the “Soccer Dads” now have a tool that they can clean my clock with… (Now I just have hide all my clients from you.)

  4. Brad Schurman | Jul 22 2011 - 05:55

    Agree with a lot of points of your guests, but also think some of them are giving far too much leeway to Apple.

    There is no excuse whatsoever for Apple leaving out major key chunks and features whether they wrote it from the ground up or not. Im talking several of the essential, expected functions and indicators that one NEEDS in vid edit software. Inexcusable omissions.

    As for the ugly excuse for a timeline, you could see how Apple thinks it knows better than video editors in what an interface should be when they tested changes to iMovie after HD. Also unacceptable. There is a standard timeline and operation to things, and if they want to augment it thats one thing, but to tell the whole industry ‘tough, this is it now’ is far beyond egotistical.

    Apple used to be the ruler of consistency and standards, and held outside programmers to guidelines so intense that I can start my Mac SE today and intuitively know how to run it, based on how awesomely consistent the designs are. I fear we are seeing the end of ‘reliable consistency’ from Apple.

    “Change for change’s sake” (can you say key command changes?) seems to be what they are going for. It also looks to me like they are abandoning the professionals to advance the consumer enthusiast markets: what reasoning other than cash is beyond me. But as someone else pointed out in another podcast once, “Apple is not your friend, never were’. They will do whatever they want and if you dont like the road they are taking you on, jump now before they ride you off the cliff.

    Leaving no FCP7 purchase alternative was likewise offensive. I will not be upgrading, and am happy to not do so. Their loss not mine, given the huge holes in FCPx.

    They can write the underlying code from scratch and still have traditional, standard interfacing… is what I am saying. They deliberately did things the way they did, there was no accidents. Given how they dealt with the Xsan, FCP server and many other GOOD concepts and executions versus bad ones like the hockey puck mouse and other designs, I would say ole’ senile Steve needs to go before he causes more hassles.

  5. Brent Wheeler | Jul 25 2011 - 11:23

    I have been listening to your show Adam close to the very beginning. This show was very good. Richard’s Comments where mostly spot on. As a wedding videographer Final Cut X is still unusable for me. I need multi clip support. It’s a big reason you would hire a pro instead of Uncle Bob to do your wedding video. It also hides any mistakes by being able to jump to different cameras when someone steps in your way or you move the camera.

    I am using Final Cut Pro 6 and while I have FCPX I am still using 6 until I can multi clip in FCPX.

    I wish you could combine the best of both programs… You would have a great prog then.

  6. tj mac | Jul 26 2011 - 11:09

    DTM – and I run a 100+ professional environment … that’s $40k gone, plus the infrastructure. If apple thinks that I’m gonna stay on apple hardware just to get kicked in the nu*s whenever they decide to follow the bucks, they can take their 200 iPhones and use ’em un politely.
    Thanks for the career,
    see ya apple/

  7. TK | Jul 27 2011 - 06:53

    I’ve been using Macs since the beginning, FCP since version 1, and making video as a hobbyist and then professionally much longer than all of that. These days I teach (hardest work I have ever done) and I work daily with the upcoming media producers who will begin to own the industry in 4-8 years.

    I look at FCPX and I’m really excited. What I am seeing as a teacher is that the new video/photography combined professional will be a breed different than what we have seen before. These kids think differently than I do. I’m an analog linear brain. These new kids finally think truly digital and non-linear. They make content differently than I would. They throw out any adaptations of conventions and build anew. I think these approaches are “wrong” and “crazy” but it somehow works for them.

    We’re already watching huge shifts in the photography sector in hardware, workflow, and output. How we make and consume imagery is changing rapidly, shaped by an irreverent younger population that doesn’t care that “that’s how we’ve always done it.” The same is beginning to hit the video sector in an even bigger converging wave. Like the birth of the computer, the birth of the Web, and the birth of social media, most of the population will not get it until they accept it as “it’s just the way it is.”

    Apple is doing what Apple does best. They’re planting a flag out on the horizon and saying “in the future we think everyone will be here.” Occasionally they hit it wrong and have to go at it again later. But despite all the flapping and many pros feeling abandoned, I don’t think they’re going to miss on this one.

    “What, that iMac thing only comes with USB? That’s just stupid.”

    Been there, done this, many times before. Grab a surfboard. Time to ride yet another tidal wave.

  8. Brad Schurman | Jul 28 2011 - 12:59


    Let me say this.

    The written, notation based system musicians have used has been around for centuries and its given us amazing product by the way of Led Zepplin and Beethoven. Notes and musical score are standard, fundamental foundations and should be and will always be around as the basis to the entity we call MUSIC. The Written Notation and Musical Score Approach: Once you learn it, it is intuitive, efficient and makes sense, and from there you can do anything with your understanding. Musical App programmers know this, write for this (or should) and do not go mutilating its essence the sake of ‘pandering to sales or ego’. Changing the established ‘interface’ of Music and forcing everyone to suddenly change workflow/thoughtflows to something inferior, trendy and abstract is absurd. Parallel this to the Video Sector. (“If its not broke dont fix it”. You can sense my disgust at the ugly, stupid interfaces of Apple Vid software after iMove HD or FCP prior to X, right?).

    This is what ‘apple’ is doing with their branded product pro market in the last 14 months (deleted Xsan, FCP Server, FCP Pro to X retardism, etc etc). At first they followed a historical path, got ‘us’ hooked, provided AWESOME product in functionality and price, then suddenly abandoned it entirely. Abandoning the smallish dedicated ‘pro’ market for the common, more numerous, more profitable market denominator (re: ‘hip, trendy and shallow’), regardless of standards or 10+ years of refined, practised, consistent FCP interface-and-function heritage, is beyond comprehension and a HUGE mistake.

    Steve clearly regards anything beyond 5 months of history to be irrelevant and abhorrent, an approach he worships as the ‘path to changes in all areas of life’ (denying and hating Newton, PowerPc platform, pre-Intel i-series CPU, or anything expired after it hits ‘end of service’, etc).

    His mantra seems to be less and less of ‘learn from historical successes and improve on them without sacrificing simplicity and universal standards’ and more leaning to ‘what brings in the most cash regardless of anything else’.

    The consumer ‘imovie/FCP Express’ paths and standards with the “FCP Express/FCP Studio or Pro’ progression has been intentionally sacrificed to have an ‘imovie/FCP-X shared inferior level’, substandard marketplace position. Adobe will soon be the winner of the video software sector, mark my words.

    Unacceptable. Tossing out Visual Pros for the sake of pandering to affluential consumer wannabes is vile in any ethical realm. Their loyalty will extend only to a few hundred beyond their extended debt limits, Steve. As well, you should be maintaining the two vastly DIFFERENT OS/iOS markets and the previous consumer/prosumer/pro markets; that approach would have served you well. You should not eviscerate Apple’s successes and loyalties, unless you never were considerate in the first place.

    This is what Apple did to the consumer video market with versions after iMovie HD. There is room to pull this kind of crap in the consumer market, but not in the higher levels, not without dire irreversible consequences.

    This is also what he is doing with Lion and future OSX for desktop machines, following the popularity of iOS interfacing instead of developing the two entirely unique platforms separately.

    (OMG I CANNOT BELIEVE they are doing away with folders/files GUI because that is what works best on ultraportables like iPhone, just because its ‘popularity’ is so high, forsaking the advantages to the socially intuitive file/folder realm we are comfy with in the PHYSICAL world as well as the electronic Macintosh OS interfacing world…)

    The video industry and film industries have similar conventions and principles to the Music sector since its origin, too. You still get ‘free hand’ crap music and crap visual arts, but that is in spite of the standards in place that people must learn to do it RIGHT before they do it ‘freehand’.

    (In the two yr. photography college course I took, they taught us the ‘rules’ so we could later ‘break them’ in second year; we werent allowed to go ‘breaking rules’ first year; this was EMPHASIZED. I chaffed at it in the beginning, but with a MATURE outlook as to the methodology, I FULLY accepted the approach as the BEST way to master photography and enhance my ‘artistic’ side without compromise). Without using an industry and cultural standard FIRST in the learning process, you will fizzle out in failure as some weirdo fad. There are very few GENUINE global and social paradigm shifts that deserve changing humanity as a whole for: (telephone vs. telegraph, car vs. horse/buggy, etc). FCP-X IS NOT A CREDIBLE PARADIGM SHIFT that deserves any validation whatsoever.

    One thing SHOULD remain the same: the standards used to produce such work, and the easily-cross platform-shared, already-established universal video workflows that are known worldwide by varying languages and cultures. If FCP-X is NOT universal, is NOT industry standard, does NOT supply Pros or prosumers with the consistent interfaces and functions common to the market sector, and breaks the majority of secure and reliable standards and interfaces FCP is known for all these years on some sort of new age hippy like whim, then it is NOT a video editing product worthy of my attention. As one FCP analyst put it, “if it doesnt improve upon all areas of the previous FCP version while maintaining consistency, then who is this product REALLY targeting?” Not the FCP7 crowd, that much is OBVIOUS.

    Given the reviews of what Apple deliberately changed, intended or left out of this product, it ranks in the same league as all versions of iMovie after iMovie HD (more leeway in the consumer market, so I never objected publicly. Its a nice ‘toy’ for consumers and can SOMETIMES be used for unique clips for FCP use, I believe).

    If Apple decided “we are going to reinvent music and get rid of semitones, visual notation and stanzas and make you learn to use telepathy and color swatches to write, perform and record music with our hardware/software models”, I would drive down to Cupert. myself and kick Steve in the balls and turn to WindBlows, SERIOUSLY. Unfortunately I cannot afford to do this at this time after the actions he has taken recently. Sigh. And I KNOW he doesnt care about my ‘feedback’ entries via menu or webpage; there is no money in it from me to care.

    “Steve” has decided to pull this crap with FCP-X. It is some form of video editing software, but it is NOT worthy of even Beta release given all the features (missing multicam, labels, formats omitted, all the keyboard commands it ruined, etc) that were industry standard for the last 10+ yrs of FCP, and is NOT following ‘professional conventions’ of timeline and GUI interface the rest of the world of video editors expect and demand.

    That said, I WILL NOT upgrade to FCP-X, recommend it, or give it any respect. Ever. Changes back to norm are ESSENTIAL at this time. When “steve” gets off his high f’ng high horse and stops pretending to direct the world in ways he and his software engineers see fit, and actually comes around to industry standards again, then I will CONSIDER using FCP-xx.

    FCP-X has not ‘sold’ me with feature-hype in this release, which says I cannot use any of the tape based Log/Capture I currently use, use plugins I invested money into over the decade, import previous FCP project files, or shoot Multicam style. Im frustrated and STUNNED at this ‘pre release approach’, and horrified he didnt keep the FCP7 avenue open to gain even more revenue as a result of the shock response he created.

    Im not drinking the purple poisonous koolaid this time steve, nor are any REAL professionals locally admitting this is anything more than a beta release step back in FCP offerings (I am only PT advanced amateur with a day job).

  9. Eric | Aug 05 2011 - 02:42

    this was an AWESOME podcast. Not only did it hit on what the marketing strategy of Apple is, it specifically points out how professional’s must beware of Apple for they may just cut the strings on a program you may depend on. Apple is clearly a consumer product company and us professionals must remember that.

    The bigger picture is hinted on if you listen to this cast! Used Car Salesman approaches. “look at this new and shinny” while they don’t tell you about the removal of the leather seats and put in pleather!

    EASports is a company that creates the Madden Football Series for video games. They are a parallel in showing this style of marketing. Although they blow it even advertising their ‘features’ that don’t work on release, they remove things without telling the public. BUT they are a consumer device, not a professional one.

    Great Podcast! Great interview! Universally interesting even beyond Mac!

    thanks Adam and everyone!

  10. Adam Christianson | Aug 05 2011 - 02:41

    Thanks Eric. I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast.

  11. Ryan Talbot | Sep 08 2011 - 11:47

    Loved this podcast / I have already switched to Adobe and i really love it but apple really screwed us on this release . “Us” meaning even the little guy like me- the one man band who cannot do a lot of things i have been used to – I CAN’T DO IT – i’m very interested in learning new software – i do every day almost and i’m not complaining about new tech and new ways to do editing-Some things CAN’T be done in this release SOOOOOOOO Adobe family of products here i come – this was sooooooo obvious it was made for the mass market and that’s fine but i invested tons of money in my hardware and software based on continuing work with apple and that’s a lot different then buying an iphone . People with ipads and iphones did not buy mac pro towers,hard drives,ram,decks,monitor speakers and a lot more stuff to support their device but i did all that to support using Final Cut Pro at its best . I have a full time job at a tv station ( who has also decided to cut out of apple products all together due to this latest release ) – so this has hurt the little guy and the big guy .And please understand we can’t cross our fingers and HOPE they make these critical changes to Final Cut Pro X because money needs to be made right now and who knows HOW LONG that will take if EVER! -and they will say well you still have final cut 7 and to those people i say yup i have a wicked old software that’s way out of date and behind other software titles in features and if i ever want to get another job somewhere “professional” i better stay clear of Final Cut Pro X so i have to use something that is more future proof . okay my rant is over – love the podcast – you and mac pro users are my favorite!!