Should You Upgrade to Final Cut Pro X?

Studio Daily by Beth Marchant

We sat down with Apple to get some questions answered and find out what we might be missing

You've no doubt been reading a lot about what's new, what's missing, what's inspired and what's still mystifying in the radically overhauled and rebuilt Final Cut Pro X. So have we. On Thursday I met with Apple and brought with me the litany of concerns voiced by current FCP 7 users in comments and in posts on our site, on Twitter, and in the great Web beyond. In two hours, I saw the specifics of a platform and environment with tremendous potential in action and got many of my questions answered. Apple's two product specialists also had plenty to say before the demo about the depth (54% of the NLE market in broadcast as Avid and Adobe battle it out for second place) and breadth (2 million paid users to date) of its use. I expected that, and it's all true. Then they rolled out the most recent customer feedback numbers. Ninety-four percent of Final Cut Pro 7 customers are satisfied with the software, the highest the company has ever had for its 12-year-old product.

Somehow I think those numbers would be very different if users were surveyed today.

But just as Apple is acutely aware that many of its pro customers are alarmed by what they can't see inside the new release — and therefore think are irretrievably and intentionally missing — Apple has a bigger story to tell, and in the longer, detailed telling, knows this too shall pass. The criticism is intensifying and the adjustment may take much longer than Apple would like, however. Just last night, Conan O'Brien's editors offered this amusing spot on what the release means to them:

Final Cut Pro X is indeed very different, and different always takes some getting used to. For busy editors, this shift is not well thought out and timed — but if not now, when? Apple's specialists reminded me that most NLEs in use today were built in the 1990s, as Final Cut originally was. Adding updates to an outdated platform, one intrinsically linked to physical media, is the easiest way out. Instead, Apple reckoned, an expanding file-based universe deserved a 64-bit, Cocoa-automated editing tool completely rebuilt for file-based media, no sticky tape strings attached. read more...

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