What a Long, Strange Year It's Been!

Creative COW by Walter Biscardi

Until April of 2011 it all seemed too easy. Avid was on the ropes, Adobe was an afterthought, and Apple was on the way to world dominance with Final Cut Pro. In the 18 months leading up to NAB 2011, Apple had the most incredible run of momentum that the industry had ever witnessed. All they had to do was deliver the knockout punch with an enhanced Final Cut Studio 4.

Because the post production community is kinda small, I had a pretty darn good idea of what we were going to see when Final Cut Pro X was unveiled, but I thought, "I have to see it to believe it." It was hard for me to fathom that Apple was going to take 12 years of professional software development and start over with essentially version 1.0. What we saw was even worse than expected: it was clear the tool was aimed squarely to a much more mass market, consumer / hobbyist audience than the post production market.

A complete reboot is a fine decision for a consumer-focused product, a movie franchise, or even a videogame franchise, but the professional world responded with a resounding, "Let's see what else is out there." Or more accurately and concisely, they responded with a resounding "WTF?"

Make no mistake. Apple released EXACTLY the software they intended to release. This was not merely a "1.0 and we'll add things back to it later." This was years in the making, and what we saw in April of 2011, and what Apple released in June, is precisely what Apple felt was going to change the post production industry for the better.

From a business perspective, Final Cut Pro X presents some significant challenges. First, everything about it is different from the industry norm. As a concept, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but when you go so far as to even change all the terminology, that creates problems, particularly with media management that completely and utterly changes what we have considered "a project" to be for all these years.

Also, the creative field is a collaborative one. With FCPX's closed architecture it was not possible, for example, to send a project to Pro Tools for sound mix. For those who say "Well, Apple is going to put it all back," my response is, "It should have never been removed in the first place if this was truly designed for professionals." read more...

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