Looking Forward While Looking Back

DVInfo.net by Bill Davis

What FCP 1.0 might tell us about FCP X (and why the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1893 is still instructive today)

It’s now more than a week since the great FCP X “mad dash” began, and the dust is far from settled. Time, I believe, for a useful look at Final Cut Pro history, to see if there are lessons in the past that can help us understand where FCP X might be going.

I was around for the release of FCP 1.0 in 1999. I bought it a few weeks after the initial release at NAB that year and remember being pretty excited… at first. It was stable, relatively easy to learn, and I got to explore it without the world looking over my shoulder telling me what I should or shouldn’t be thinking about it. Mostly, the experience was pretty good. However, considering the software’s later success, it’s easy to think it was a big hit right out of the gate — but that’s not how it happened. FCP had a reasonably rough journey from where it started to where it is today.

I remember being in countless online discussions in that first decade where others told me that I was flat out stupid for choosing it. It was “amateur software” they argued, no way ready for “prime time.” Sound familiar? The truth is that in the weeks directly after it’s release, it was a bold choice. It went against the established wisdom of nearly the entire professional video editing industry.

But to our credit, we early FCP editors were equally bold. We felt like pioneers, and no one could tell us what we couldn’t do our new software. We just wouldn’t listen. As FCP matured, we lived through revs that were annoyingly crash-prone, and spent time grinding our teeth (sometimes for months) waiting for FCP to catch up with other programs that had better titling and graphics integration, better media management, or longed-for features like Multi-Cam. read more...

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