FCP X Transition
List of missing features
List of features returning in forthcoming updates
Apple’s response comparing Avid and Premiere to FCP X
Great hour-long talk about the history and context of FCP X.
Exhaustive, daily updated list of FCP X opinions, how-tos, and resources
About FCP X and The Apple Way
I’ve seen that article and it brought up some good points—before Apple updated the FCP X website with “Built from the ground up for professional editors” in large text across the middle and posted the list of coming features.
My issue with the FCP X release had mostly been that Apple had not communicated whether FCP is undergoing a market shift. In my opinion, it is not. 4K support is not for prosumers. Its resemblance to iMovie is misleading, its depth and power are impressive. Many of the early gripes about the interface are simply wrong, and on a superficial level at that—just switching from the arrow tool to the position tool puts you back (mostly) into FCP 7-style editing, where you can overwrite and gap clips just like in the old version. Tape IS supported, even device control and timecode, just not cueing or layback. There are of course nagging problems and yes, I still agree that not building a FCP 7 importer is a huge mistake, but I don’t believe that Avid is going to make a killing here. I was skeptical before, but I do believe that Apple is leapfrogging its competitors here.
On a whole, the workflow is 1000 times better and most of the simplification of settings and controls makes perfect sense to me. Things like sequence settings, which I frequently even see pro editors mess up, are now much more intuitive.
With any product Apple makes, you have to buy into the Apple philosophy. On the plus side, Apple products will always be at the cutting edge of ways to use technology to approach an old problem in a new way. Their products will always look polished and work from day 1, although they may not have all the features you want until later (iPhone couldn’t copy/paste until Apple found an elegant way to do it on a touch screen—and their implementation is still the industry best). On the minus side, they’ve never been quick to react to industry standards, or let the corporate market dictate what they do. They are capricious about abandoning technologies they think are outdated because they’d rather move the market (floppy drives) or focus company resources on the emerging technology (file-based cameras). Sometimes their business decisions totally screw a group of people who become dependent on some piece that Apple bought and discontinued (Shake, to a lesser extent Color). But they are not a company which is bogged down by having to support legacy architecture (Blackberry, who is mostly shriveling up and dying from supporting enterprise customers who don’t like change at the expense of adopting new technology, and Microsoft, supporting old versions and technologies in Windows) or who follows a “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” strategy like Avid (who saw their business chip away as their software was doggedly old fashioned as easier and cheaper solutions leapfrogged it). Apple is very much a product of the personality of its founder. The price you pay for visionary products is suffering the (calculated) whims of Apple’s arrogance towards its customers. For as long as this business model makes sense to them—people keep buying their products because they’re good, not because they’re going to be supported forever—that’ll be The Apple Way.
So‚ the question for editors is this: do you want to work with the most innovative software, or the software that’ll be around forever? Looking at the current market for flatbed editors, to me, the answer is simple. Many technologies now start at the bottom and work up. Smartphones are a great example, average customers were buying them way before businesses caught on to them. This will be a similar case. Prosumer and indie filmmmakers will love FCP X because it’s easier to learn than 7 was. I fully expect that it will work its way up as it becomes more developed. Investment in Apple technology will always be a risk (as the pro IT world discovered when Xserve got canned last year); for companies like studios who have an interest in keeping things the same for as long as possible, perhaps Avid and Adobe are better choices. But for my work, for independents, and for schools—I still think FCP is the way to go.