Did Apple screw up with Final Cut Pro X?

Oddly, despite the modern aesthetic of Final Cut's new interface, I still very much appreciate timelines and the classic editing look of Premiere. I don't think we need to design this for babysitters, folks.

Final Cut Pro X early reviews not good - Apple blocks the masses

Final Cut Pro X early reviews not good - Apple blocks the massesWith Final Cut Pro X, Apple must be a really nasty hang-over. Either that or licking its wounds. Both are new territory for a company that is the witting eternal star of tech and pop culture. Negative reviews?! … for Apple?! Say it ain’t so!

Consider me surprised by the harsh response to the new editing software released this week. After all the hoopla earlier this year and Vegas and the live demos that brought oohs-and-aahs I had high expectations for the $299 “App.” So much so in fact that for the first time I began to contemplate a switch from Adobe Premiere Pro (with the requisite change to Mac hardware as well). But now I’m kind of glad I waited for the dust to settle before making any knee jerk reactions about our edit bay.

Did Apple screw up with Final Cut Pro X?

I guess the easy answer would be a Sheen-like: duh! yeah! hello?! Scanning headlines last night and again this morning reveals a percolating backlash of discontent. Who moved my cheese, bro? The biggest offense seems to be the new dumbed down UI which is being dubbed “iMovie Pro” which is to say it’s very consumerish. In the eyes of the pros — remember, FCP has been used by Hollywood for years — this is like giving James Cameron a viewmaster to work on Avatar 2 and 3.

If the reports are true, Apple is now acting decidedly un-American, and blocking information by squashing the uprising.

The negative torrent of negative reviews on the App store has apparently become too much for a company used to 4.5 star glory (Aperture). It’s response? Block the reviews! Next: a burning caldron of oil. How’s that for non-linear loyalty?

Despite that minor drama, the app still only has 2.5 stars (out of 5) on the app store with 727 ratings as I write this.

Heads will roll in Cupertino, no doubt.

One thing I find peculiar is the decision to release only one version of the software. The one-size fits all might’ve seemed clever at the time, but by placating prosumers, pros and even advanced hobbyists all with the same package, Apple has backed itself into a corner. Who then should primarily drive the product direction, and who will product managers prioritize for their roadmaps and product plans? There are just a few Academy Awards worth of difference between Francis Ford Coppola and the guy who cut a video of his cat piano-syncing to Barry Manilow.

Then there’s me. To switch or not to switch?

I thought for sure today I’d be heading for an Apple store to pick-up a 27″ iMac i7 and hurrying back to download FCPX. Magnetic timeline!

But now Adobe CS 5.5 including After Effects and Premiere Pro is looking mighty sweet about this time. Oddly, despite the modern aesthetic of Final Cut’s new interface, I still very much appreciate timelines and the classic editing look of Premiere. I don’t think we need to design this for babysitters, folks.

The adventure continues. Next up, I’ll share the specs of an i7 rig I’m looking at buying for the Stark Insider edit bay. Looks like it’ll be Microsoft (Win 7) and Adobe (CS 5.5) ftw!

My Warp Stabilizer Test

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  • Cisneros627

    Was there anything really wrong with the user interface in final cut?!  I love the way the software looked and felt and ran.  the only thing they needed to do was make it 64 bit.   add some native codecs and 4k.  and the color grading inside fc is cool too, whatever.   but that is it.  why do we have to reinvent the wheel.  The wheel works!

    • Johnkinnoln

      Unfortunately, the negative reactions to this is normal. Don’t be afraid film people!! Just embrace it and move on. 

  • Cisneros627

    for $300. I’ll take everyone elses word for it.  

  • FlorisKotze

    Yip. As one of those editors who grew up on Media 100, hit puberty with Symphony, and enjoyed FCP studio, Ive lost a good friend. As one of those who gave them a 1 star and want my money back, it’s too late. You’ve made the correct decision. Hindsight, i wish I had it.

  • Mike F

    I haven’t had time yet to really play with it yet, and ignoring all the nonsense about the UI and if it’s really just upgraded iMovie or not, my first impression is that several features that are absolute requirements for professionals have been left out.
    Griping about the UI is easy… And largely a distractor. There are bigger issues – no external monitoring, no integrated use of any capture/ingest cards, no EDLs, and an almost fatal flaw by itself – lack of ability to open or import existing FCP projects. I’m sure there are more missing features I’ve not covered yet. All that being said, the underlying platform has a lot of promise, but if they don’t solve some of these issues, they’ve probably seen the last feature edited on Final Cut and lost much of the pros along the way. If you’re starting out as a user from
    scratch and have a tapeless workflow – this could be a good solution for you. An existing user with hundreds of previous projects? This is a nightmare.

  • Neleditor

    Apple should have spent more time preparing pro editors for this radical change and less time promoting how wonderful this application would be.  I bought the app and I am trying to learn it.  Yes it is different from FCP 7.  When I moved over from Avid to FCP4   6 years ago I was frustrated.  That’s because I thought that since I was a Pro Avid editor that it would be easy to pick up FCP. It wasn’t until I took some training that it clicked in.  I think it will be the same with FCP X.  Look change isn’t easy, I hate it but if we want a better editing application we have to start somewhere and I think this is the start.

  • Dylan Debusk

    Isn’t it customary to try something before reviewing it?

  • Alirod2011

    The new final cut is a disaster for pros. Apple should change this to FCE and make a new FCP that isn’t a joke.

  • Shane

    Calling it iMovie Pro is an insult to iMovie HD as well. I’m not a professional editor. I’m a creative director who wanted to be able to save some cost by editing web content (webisodes) on FCPx. I will always go to my professional editors for broadcast content. But FCPx absolutely blows even as a consumer “app.” I’m currently siting here nearly 3 hours in to trying to upload a 4-minute video to YouTube. (I bailed on two attempts at Vimeo uploads when I could see it was going nowhere.) Apple has jumped the shark. I’ll be looking at Android phones as soon as my iPhone contract nears expiration.

  • I’ve found this serious user petition for Final Cut Pro X

    There are two main objectives for this petition:

    1- Request the addition of 10 key features necessary for the new software to be used in environments such as TV Stations, Feature Film Editing, Production and Post Production Houses

    2- Release Final Cut Pro 7 as a free download to those who bought version X, in order to provide a legal way for us to keep using the product when adding new editing stations, while these 10 key features are not in place in the new software. (Same as they did with iMovie)

    Please help us take the message to Apple! Click on the link bellow to sign the petition