Videoguys by Gary Bettan
We first published our Options for Final Cut Pro owners back on June 6th. Two weeks before FCPX was released. We had high hopes for FCPX, based on the Sneak Peak at NAB, but as time wore on, and we heard less and less from Apple, we became concerned for our Pro customers. In June FCPX shipped and our pre-release concerns were spot on. Now it is several months later and so many professional editors feel abandoned by Apple and are leaving FCP. They have taken advantage of the aggressive crossgrade programs being offered by Avid and Adobe.
On 9/20/11 Apple released their first update to FCPX 10.0.1. While it shows some progress, it doesn't address the main issues and reasons so many Pros have left Apple for Adobe and/or Avid. Below is the original blog post, with new FCPX information added to reflect the latest information.
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If you are a Final Cut Pro editor, unless you've been living in a cave up in the hills, you have heard all the hype about FCPX, the next generation of Final Cut Pro. I'm intentionally not calling the product Final Cut Pro ver 10, because it isn't a next version of Final Cut at all. It is a completely new application. They could have called it Norman or Wolf or Orange, because it is a brand new editing app called FCPX. When it ships it will be version 1.0 of FCPX, and with it will come all the bumps, hiccups, work-arounds and compatibility issues that every 1.0 software release encounters.
BINGO! And there are lots of issues. Apple has posted there own FCPX FAQ which talks about some of these issues, but they don't really give any concrete answers. Over a month later and the jury is still out. Many Professional editors and post production faciliies have begun migrating to alternative NLEs, mainly Avid & Adobe. Both companies are running very aggressive crossgrade programs offering 50% savings or more to FCP owners. Just go to the Videoguys blog under the keyword FCPX and read what is going on in the real world of professional editors.
This is not to knock Apple or FCPX. I raved about the FCPX Sneak Peak in our NAB report. And, like millions of you, I will buy and download it from the App store as soon as it is released. But, I do not have any illusions or false hopes about what to expect. It's going to be a fantastic new tool to play with but I would NEVER expect it to replace Final Cut Pro right out of the gate. I do not expect it to work with my capture hardware, my plug-ins or even my existing projects. Apple's silence says it all for me. Apple won't say they'll work so why should anyone think otherwise. That is simply an unreasonable assumption. As great as Apple is, and as brilliant as their engineers are, you simply can't expect it to be able to replace or even improve your existing video editing workflows on day one. I'd love to download FCPX and to have my MXO2 Mini, and my Boris and Red Giant plug-ins work, but my gut tells me different - IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!
FCPX has NO 3rd party hardware support. AJA, Matrox, BMD & Motu are all left scrambling. AJA has posted a workaround for preview and capture, but it's nowhere near what pro's expect or need. My gut tells me 3rd party hardware support will be Thunderbolt based.
You can NOT import existing FCP projects into FCPX. It looks like it's going to require other vendors like Automatic Duck or Boris to come up with utilities for this. While we never recommend upgrding to a new version or hardware mid-project, how can Apple expect pros to not have to go back and re-edit or use older projects?
Most plug-ins do not work inFCPX, although some do. With a switch to 64 bit code this is actually understandable. What I can't figure out is why Apple chose to not give their developers a heads up on what FCPX would require or be able to do? Now that FCPX is here, I do expect to see most plug-ins eventually supported. It's just a matter of time.
No Multicam in FCPX. This one is so important for Event Videographers. It has been reported that adding multicam to FCPX is a top priority for Apple. I hope so. If not then not only is Apple walking away from the professional post market, they are also walking away from the Event market segment as well.
- The FCPX 10.0.1 page includes this very important information: Coming in early 2012: Muticam Editing & Broadcast Quality Video Monitoring! This is the next big step and the update that I think will show us just how serious Apple is about the Pro market. The 10.0.1 update is a first step, and a baby one at that. The fact that Apple has now committed to adding Multicam and I/O is huge.
So what is a poor FCP editor to do? We suggest you follow these 4 easy steps:
Step 1: Purchase and Download FCPX.
For $299 I think it's a pretty safe bet you are going to find enough goodness in it to justify the expense. In fact, I'm pretty sure many of you will LOVE it. But I can also guarantee that a sizable amount of Final Cut Pro editors will hate it. You won't know until you try it, but don't expect it to take your current NLE workflow to the next level, not right away. Be prepared that most, if not all of your 3rd party hardware, software, plug-ins and other parts critical to your current FCP workflow, will not work correctly upon initial release. I'm sure they will eventually, just not on version 1.0
FCPX 10.0.1 Update: I still feel good about this advice, but at this point you may still want to wait for Apple to post another update (or two). Apple's Richard Townhill, senior director of applications product marketing was quoted in in Studio Monthly
"We're making good on our promise that we're absolutely committed to our core group of professional users," said Townhill. "The fact that we're able to deliver these key improvements — the most requested from our pro editors — so quickly, through the incredible infrastructure of the Mac App Store, just goes to show that we are committed to making this application deliver on what we promised."
Well, not quite. Rich is a great guy, but these are NOT the the top requests from Pro editors. I still can't fathom why Apple can't figure out how to allow FCP7 projects to be imported into FCPX. I am extremely impressed and excited that Apple chose to add the coming in early 2012 statement. Multicam and I/O are a major step in the right direction.
FCPX is worth learning. There are tons of cool new features and performance in FCPX. It is a new way to edit video, that is very powerful and automated, perhaps too automated for some, but a huge benefit to others. It's only going to get better as Apple starts addressing the issues. I really hope that Apple has changed course and is re-committed to professional editors. If and when Apple makes FCPX an NLE that professionals can use, you don't want to be on the wrong end of the learning curve. Apple has released a Final Cut Pro X for Final Cut Pro 7 Editors White Paper with the following introduction:
Final Cut Pro X is a revolutionary editing application that includes many new concepts and features that are different from those in previous versions of Final Cut Pro. This document—structured according to the major parts of an editing workflow—uses the Final Cut Pro 7 application for comparison to discuss how to complete important tasks in Final Cut Pro X.
We posted a very informative video on our blog that gives a very detailed history of FCP and some great insight into the potential of FCPX. (Special thanx to Tekserve & Manhattan Edit Workshop who sponsored the event and to Evan Schechtman of @radical.media and Outpost Digital for presenting)
Step 2: Keep using the current and final version of Final Cut Pro.
Even though it's the last version and we know we'll be saying goodbye to an old friend, it doesn't magically stop working for you just because Apple launched a new NLE called FCPX. If your current FCP workflow is getting the job done, you have no need to switch to FCPX or any other NLE at this time. But, let's be honest, as much as we love Final Cut Pro, we know that there are some things that other NLEs now do better (including FCPX). Since Apple has moved on to FCPX, we will never see stuff like native format support for AVCHD or other HD formats, we won't get true 64-bit computing or GPU acceleration or the ability to fully utilize all the RAM and cores in our current Mac Pro. Yes, FCPX will have it, but it's not going to happen for Final Cut Pro and we know you have a lot of time, money, equipment, and other resources invested in Final Cut. So what other options do you have?
OK, this advice may not work for you. Why? Because Apple pulled FCS3 off the market. No warning, no chance for dealers to stock up. They simply killed it. I have no idea if this is a permanent decision, but I hope that Apple will reconsider. I have many customers looking to add additional seats, or independent editors that just got a new MacBook Pro or iMac and want to add FCS3 to it. Today you can't. Unless Apple changes their mind on this, I think the message is clear - FCP is dead, move on to something else.
Step 3: Consider your alternatives. Give Avid and Adobe another look and consider adding one (or both) while they are looking to entice Final Cut Editors like you with special promotions.
Avid Media Composer 5.5
Check out Avid Media Composer. Download the trial version here. If you like it, Avid is now offering a Final Cut Owners the opportunity to "crossgrade" to Media Composer for just $995! But Hurry! This offer expires Sept. 30th, 2011. You don't have to give up your current Final Cut Pro, you just have to prove you own it. Even better ,you don't just get Media Composer, you get the full Production Suite of 3rd party software!!
GREAT NEWS! Avid has officially extended this promotion through September! Videoguys have increased our stock to support the demand for this great offer! We've also put together a bundle with Boris FX' FCP Transfer utility (MC5.5 Crossgrade w/ Boris FCP Transfer $1099) which lets you move projects to and from Avid and FCP7 with ease.
I know many of you left Avid for Final Cut. But remember why you left Avid. You left because it was too expensive and it didn't support affordable 3rd party I/O hardware.
Well a lot has changed over the past couple of years. Avid now supports 3rd party hardware. Although it's limited to the Matrox MXO2 Mini, MXO2 Mini with MAX and the AJA Io Express, Avid has said repeatedly that they are committed to becoming even more open and that support for the rest of the Matrox & AJA hardware is just a matter of time. It's no longer a question of if, but when - and I think FCPX has sharply accelerated that timetable.
Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium
Check out Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium and Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5. Download the trial version here. If you are a video editor you most likely own and use Adobe products all the time. Photoshop and After Effects are two tools most editors and videographers depend on, day in and day out. Like Avid, Adobe is going to make you a fantastic offer to Final Cut owners to switch to Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium. You do not have to own any previous Adobe products (but it's OK if you do). If you own Final Cut, FCPX, Avid or any other NLE you can SWITCH to to the full Production Premium for just $849 now through Sept 30th, 2011.
Now lets talk about Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 and how far it has come over the past few years. This is not your father's Premiere, or the Premiere you may remember from even five years ago. Premiere Pro is a screaming fast 64-bit, multi-threaded, GPU accelerated, native format eating, video editing monster. No other NLE before or since taps into the power and performance of today's computers like Premiere Pro CS5.5 and the Mercury playback engine. The Mercury Engine allows you to work with multiple layers of HD footage in their native file formats in real-time. AVCHD, DSLR, RED, P2 are all no problem. Mix & match them in your timeline, with multiple layers of video, filters and effects. Hit the spacebar and watch it play. Full speed, full resolution. If you have an AJA Kona card or Matrox MXO2 you get full speed, full res, HD output straight from the timeline.
Step 4: Edit, make videos, make money!
Competition is good. The big winner is you. Thanks to FCPX you now have more affordable options than ever. We don't have to crown a champion in this NLE war, because you, the editor get to wear the TRIPLE CROWN!
Do the math. FCPX $299, Avid Media Composer 5.5 $995, Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium $849. For around $2,000 you now have the ultimate collection with all of the very best tools available on the market, all working side by side on your Mac Pro, or MacBook Pro or one of those sexy new iMacs with Thunderbolt.
Videoguys Special Offer: The Ultimate Avid & Adobe Bundle for Final Cut Editors - Buy both Crossgrades for just $1744! You save an additional $100!!
As for your old reliable FCP - it still keeps on chugging. Now you can use whichever tool is best for the job, and you can work on projects no matter who started them or what NLE the client or producer thinks is best. You won't ever loose a job or miss an opportunity because your edit suite has no limits or boundaries. Any format, any NLE, any project - you have no technical limitations - the only thing stopping you is you're own creativity and imagination.