Just as I was finishing up the second edition of Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video to send off to my publisher, the long heralded FCP X hit the streets. Then took its almighty fall. I quickly updated several chapters in the book. Now, as the controversy around the release of FCP X continues to roil, here are the firsthand updates I have obtained.
LAFCPUG – June meeting
My fly-on-the-wall-editor-friend who attended the FCP Users Group meeting in LA reported that the “anger in the auditorium was palpable. People felt abandoned.” My friend, who uses FCP exclusively in his business worried for all the professionals who make their living using FCP and now appear left in the lurch. He told me that editors who were fervent FCP’ers were planning to jump to Avid and Adobe Premiere Pro once the support for FCP 7 was gone. Apple at first discontinued this pre-X version but due to the immediate hue and cry, changed its mind.
This animated video sums up the issues.
The main issue is that X supports only a tapeless workflow and Apple has no plans to change this as it considers file based workflows the way of the future. Sure but the present now requires editors – and therefore editing systems – to interface with tape and film and no one sees these formats disappearing overnight. The future will require systems to talk to these mediums – legacy tape formats are still routinely used. So X appears to be a giant leap back to a prosumers who don’t touch tape or film and iMovie users. The speed (64Mb), the magnetic timeline, and all the annotative, new wave features don’t compensate for the lack of X’s ability to interface with the gamut of third party plug-ins editor regularly use or to allow for hand offs to others such as colorists in the post production food chain.
Conclusions for now
Those of us who have edited on film and tape as well as digital systems are used to systems being up, down, in, and out. I always say, a better mousetrap – or at least one that’s more popular and accessible – is always around the corner. It’s not about rejecting change; it’s about rejecting what is not workable for creating films or videos. Also, it would be much appreciated if Jobs and his minions thought more about jobs and less about Jobs’ profits.