Final Cut Pro 10: “There’s a Third Party App for That!”

There a great new article on Post Magazine’s website which you should read in its entirety.   There’s some interesting  statements in there about Apple’s thinking as they released and are now updating the software.   Here are some of my takeaways from the article:

Apple, for its part, wants it known that they are interested in providing a tool for the pro community and feel this 10.1 release starts to do just that…. says Richard Townhill. “We really are committed to this marketplace, and we really want the professional customer to continue to use Final Cut Pro as they’ve always done.”

Ok, first off, the 10.0.1 release STARTS to provide a tool for the pro community?   Isn’t this the tool that was design for professionals by professionals and introduced at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in April 2011 as the new professional video editing tool?   You don’t START to provide professional features with your .0.1 release.  You START by providing a very professional base tool for the professional editor when you release your newest product built on an 11 year heritage.

Second, we absolutely cannot use Final Cut Pro as we’ve always done.  We cannot move old projects forward, we cannot do broadcast quality monitoring and there are multiple other things we simply cannot do.   The reason we cannot do these things is because of the way Apple wrote the application.


On completely re-writing the app as FCP X: They say, “in order to take full advantage of the Mac hardware, we needed to completely re-write Final Cut.”

Absolutely they did, which is what Adobe has had to do and what Avid is doing now.  But they are both doing this in a way that doesn’t disrupt the tried and true workflows used by thousands of editors around the world.  At the same time, both application have either already added tremendous metadata tools, search and find tools and many other things that you expect as a software matures and moves forward.

So yes, re-writing the application from the ground up was great.  Alienating much of your user base with this new tool, not so good.


But can you import XMLs of FCP 7 projects into FCP X? No. “The formats are actually different, so this is a laws of physics sort of problem.

He goes on to describe how it will just be physically impossible to move an FCP 7 or earlier project forward into FCP X.  It sounds like Sequences will be able to move forward but not entire project structures.   That’s a huge problem for me and many others.  If we have to revise a project, especially long form projects we want the entire project structure as it was in the original.  That’s easily accomplished in Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5 so I’ll might as well move the project into that app and work in the 64 bit architecture and I can add a ton of metadata tags to the material as I work.  That moves the project, intact, forward and it allows me to add more information for footage retrieval in the future.

That’s the best of both worlds.


While Townhill believes “there is fairly good color grading in FCP X now that covers needs of most generalized editorial process,” he recognizes that some pros are looking for higher-end grading tools.

Yeah, we’re looking for a really good high end tool that goes by the name of Apple Color.  You guys hear of it?  It used to be around there somewhere.


At one point in the article Townhill notes that Apple is responding to feedback and changing the application quickly to meet the demands of the Post community.  The strange thing to me is that Apple was given much of the same feedback during the beta testing and it was roundly ignored.  Pages upon pages of information was fed to Apple with pretty much everything that has been said publicly since the application was released.   In all cases, Apple ignored the suggestions moving ahead with the product as they developed it.   NOW that there’s a tremendous outcry, NOW Apple is “responding to the Post Production community.”   Maybe if they had responded to the people who were testing the product, they could have avoided this entire fiasco.


So it looks to me like Apple’s original plan was to just release FCP X as a prosumer product that really didn’t need the full fledged Post Production community blessing because there are millions of consumers out there and only a couple hundred thousand Post Pros.   If it was truly aimed at the pros, then Apple would have listened to the pros during beta testing about all the things that were badly missing from the app.

But with all the subsequent negative press on the product, Apple is desperately trying to backtrack and figure out how to add the extremely basic functions that it left out by “skating where the puck is going.”  (read the article to understand)

If Apple was truly dedicated to the professional editing community they would have taken the two to three years to deliver something that built upon their 11 year legacy.  I just see what they’re doing now as creating a whole box of band-aids to make the product cobble along and sort of kind of do what the product has done for the past 4 years at least.  Apple is admittedly leaning heavily on third party vendors to fill in what they call gaps, what I call chasms in the software.

I think the new slogan for Final Cut Pro X will be “There’s a third party app for that!”

One Comment

  1. Walter, I agree. It’s a darn shame. I have now moved on. All new projects are Adobe CS 5.5. The transition was way easier than I could have hoped. No looking back for now and I really don’t care where Apple thinks the hockey puck is going.

    David (aka @Techwizard)
    Formerly Apple FCP Certified Pro

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