Apple Is Listening

Posted on by Larry

I’ve been inundated with comments on my two most recent blogs on the release of Final Cut Pro X:

#1: Ain’t Nothing Like It in the World

#2: Apple’s Challenges (with FCP X)

Late last night, Apple published an FAQ answering some of the questions that have been raised during this discussion. Notice that for the first time, they are using words like “not yet” and “coming this summer.”

I recommend you read this.

Also, yesterday I heard a reasonably substantial rumor that Apple has decided to re-release Final Cut Studio (3) back into the market. I checked with my sources at Apple and was told this was NOT true.

I still think this is a serious mistake and urge Apple to reconsider – it does not hurt the launch of FCP X to also sell Final Cut Studio (3).

By the way, I want to reiterate something I said last night at the LAFCPUG meeting – it is way too early to make any final decisions on Final Cut Pro. FCP X is in its infancy. Apple IS listening to the discussion. To my way of thinking, Apple totally blew the launch of FCP X and needs to move quickly to fix things. Before you make any final decisions for yourself or your company, wait a bit. My suggestion is a month.

At the end of that time, passions will have cooled, Apple will have time to respond, and we will all have time to think. It is always better to make decisions with a cool head after thinking about it for a while.

The situation many editors find themselves in is difficult, but not hopeless. Give this a little time to play out.

I’ll have more later this week – still trying to wade through all the email — thanks to everyone for writing.

I am always interested in your comments.


P.S. By the way, I read every email and every comment, but I am just buried in trying to answer them all. I’m sorry if I haven’t gotten to yours yet.

36 Responses to Apple Is Listening

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  1. DavidH says:

    Larry, your title.. “Apple’s listening” is more aptly written —
    “After Trying Earplugs and Looking The Other Way, Apple Finally Admits They Can Not Shut Out the Noise”

    I read the whole statement. Pretty lame and seems to be written by an outsourced PR writer rather than anyone actually working on Final Cut Pro X. So, in summation, when you get to the bottom of the I read a company line that says, grudgingly, arms twisted…. Okay, Okay, we will “look into” some solutions for some of you really whiney people, but this is a page that was written several months ago, anyway.

    Larry, Sorry, but my earlier tongue-in-cheek comment in your Apple’s Challenges blog imagining how Apple internally set goals for the new FCP X was pretty accurate, according to a former Apple employee. Ron Brinkman is an example of a guy who tried to develop Shake for the broadcast industry even after Apple bought Shake.

    Steve Jobs did not come from our industry. He does not care about you and never will.

    You had better heed the warnings, anything done to “improve” or “enhance” FCP X will not be worth hanging around for. Steve’s vision says that FCP X is TOO COMPLICATED ALREADY!

    Doesn’t anybody not producing FCP X Training videos not see this??

    Steve Jobs does not have time to sit down, even in a show-me-what-you-got demo, to learn or use or play around with Final Cut Pro X. Its bells and whistles are already in CONFLICT with the core philosophy of Steve Jobs. Make it simple for all the techno-challenged in the world.

    Get rid of the Buttons! What is UP with these blankety-blank FCP users?

    “See”, says Steve Jobs, “I TOLD you this market was a NO=WIN! Turn them over to the 3rd-party Plugin and Utilities houses like Automatic Duck! C’mon, people, haven’t you seen that we are going into the iCloud! We got competition hitting the iPhone, hassles with iTunes, synching all our Cloud apps, major music issues and licensing challenges up the kazoo and you honestly want me to give a …. about some Hollywood type whining about losing his livelihood?”

    C’mon, people, all of us sucking at the Apple fountain of Holy Water… I like my Macs, five of them staring me in the face, but…. time to face reality.

    From what I see over at Adobe, those guys are real video and editing nerds. Total whiz-bang slack jawed post production geeks. Look at their videos, their materials, the plain pandering to the post production market. They are dying to get YOUR approval!

    Adobe is panting to have you, Mr and Ms Professional Editor, pet them on the head and say “50 seats please”. Their whole marketing, on-going and geeky up the ying-yang “Hello again, Professional Editor, it’s another day and I want to talk to YOU once again” is begging Post Production houses and editors to make the Adobe video editing tools the ‘INDUSTRY STANDARD” and they are SAYING this from the top management on down.

    What I see at the Adobe site is so completely different, and refreshingly promising compared to the few tidbits of information I get from Apple.

    When you go for information do you go first to Apple? NO, you go to third party trainers and course developers who do their best to fill in all the information that Apple does not deign to address directly to the post production community.

    Look around folks. Where on the site do you see anything but slick marketing pieces? It is an App store and Mac laptop store and nothing more. It does not talk to Professional Editors in the myriad of ways Adobe keeps plugging away with articles and videos. I am more and more impressed with Adobe.

    And I think all of this new found attention is going to be translated into even more robust solutions at Adobe as they see this as their chance to switch the market away from Final Cut Pro.

    And Apple, as you must see, has yet to respond.


    Former Shake product designer Ron Brinkmann weighs in on Apple’s Final Cut Pro X release. The latest release of Apple’s video editing software has received much criticism from professionals due to absent features. Brinkmann was on the original team that developed Shake image compositing software prior to Apple’s acquisition of the parent company. Brinkmann continued to work at Apple from 2002 until 2007 as Shake Product Designer.

    As Brinkmann explains, Shake was “entrenched in the top end of the visual effects industry” with most major motion pictures of the era using Shake in some fashion. After Apple acquired Shake in 2002 there was concern about the company not willing to cater to the market, and sure enough the entire software was end of life’d a few years later. Brinkmann bluntly sums up Apple’s attitude towards professionals:
    And back then the same questions were being asked as now – “Doesn’t Apple care about the professional market?” 

In a word, no. Not really. Not enough to focus on it as a primary business.

    Brinkman goes on to explain that there are maybe 10,000 “high-end” editors in the world while the market for an easier to use more casual product is “at least an order of magnitude larger”.


    The market size, however, isn’t necessarily the only reason. Brinkmann offers an interesting anecdote about how the high end market tends to be 90% driven by product requests from the big customers. Apple doesn’t work that way:

    After the acquisition I remember sitting in a roomful of Hollywood VFX pros where Steve told everybody point-blank that we/Apple were going to focus on giving them powerful tools that were far more cost-effective than what they were accustomed to… but that the relationship between them and Apple wasn’t going to be something where they’d be driving product direction anymore. Didn’t go over particularly well, incidentally, but I don’t think that concerned Steve overmuch… 🙂

    Apple’s hierarchy is also described as one in which easily demo-able features tend to be easier to promote within the organization. He goes on to say that in the case of FCP, Apple would rather introduce more easy to use features for the broader audience even if it means pushing out some items for high end editors.

    Still, he is complimentary of Apple’s products and describes them as an “incredible bargain in terms of price-performance”, but that “if you’re really a professional you shouldn’t want to be reliant on software from a company like Apple.”

    In the end, he says “your heart will be broken. Because they’re not reliant on you.”

    Does that not sound like THE NAKED TRUTH?

  2. Phil Davison says:

    There’s a lot I could like, or learn to like in FCP X, but what really irritates me is that is seems to be prescriptive in the way the magnetic timeline works.

    I came to video editing after editing audio on protools – three-point editing on tape-to-tape machines always seemed old fashioned to me just because I never did much of it, and I took to non-linear editing as non-linear from the start.

    But now the magnetic timeline seems to be forcing me into assembling a scene from the start, as if I was working with tape. I work with dramatic material – each clip will contain lots of good bits, and lots of rubbish, and the new paradigm seems very clumsy. There are lots of non-linear strategies I’ve evolved over the years that just don’t work when your clips all pile up on the left.

    The only advantage I can see is that the timeline prevents me from having an accidental one-frame gap – but that’s not a mistake i’ve made in the last ten (or twenty) years anyway.

    There’s also the problem of colour correcting – if I’m cutting together a conversations between Sam and Kate, and the light is a little different on Kate, it would be a simple matter to cut the scene so that all of Kate’s clips were on the same track – basic stuff – so that i could easily apply the same correction filters to all of her shots.

    Another obvious problem is exporting audio stems – music and effects with no narration for example. Organize your editing with it on the right tracks and it’s all easy. Tagging each clip with metadata?

    The other issue I have is the demise of colour – as far as I can tell, the abilities of FCP X are roughly the same as FCP7’s three way colour corrector, just working in a different way. That’s great – and it’s often all I’ll need, but compared to the Color app, well, it’s a blunt instrument, mainly because Color had curve controls. I notice that Premiere has a luma curves control and AE can do subtle colour correction.

    Basically, I’d be happy if, as someone else pointed out above, they would just give us the option of a ‘classic’ timeline (which might make the opening of FCP7 projects more possible).

  3. Rob Moragas says:


    You’re a brave man and I believe your measured approach is a good one. At this stage I am backing off FCP X and as you said give it a month. It has been crashing on me too often which is a shame.

    I also hope FCP 7 is put back on. Maybe they would even do it at a new bargain price 🙂

    I think for me the main difference between FCP X and FCP 1.0, 11 years ago is that back then apple where a new player in editing at a professional level and so even though it was frustrating, people were patient to allow FCP to stabilise in it’s ensuing versions. The problem with FCPX is that apple now have a massive market from “Super Professional” massive budget companies to those that want something a little bit more than imovie and not too expensive. FCP X the Beta or developers pack is fine (and i do say this tongue in cheek rather than in a spiteful manner).

    If they re-instate FCP7 and say “look FCP X is the way forward but keep using 7 until it’s closer to what the upper pro market needs. In the mean time. help us to make it better than FCP 7 and if you like imovie you will love FCPX for all it’s extra functionality…thanks Steve Jobs 😉 ”

    Rob Moragas

  4. Brandon Kraemer says:


    Do you have any inside knowledge about what SAN support would look like and the ability to use a workgroup to access the event database structure? It was suggested by a fcpx beta tester that it would have to be in the fcpx API and that it was possible that we wouldn’t see that kind of enterprise support. Apple mentioned nothing about this in the FAQ document.

    I can see having my project files in a cloud… but not the media that myself and 6 other editors share.

  5. Walter Lutz says:

    Hi Larry!

    I was at last night’s LAFCPUG meeting and was, in fact, the person who wrote the question about needing to purchase FCP7 upgrades where I work. We have been locked into PowerPC G5s due to budgetary/depreciation rules, and so we couldn’t move on from FCP 6 because we don’t have Intel based Macs. We will be able to purchase new Macs with the start of this Fiscal Year in July, but, alas… we need some of the “norms” that are only available pre-FCPX, and, thus, we will need FCP7 for our new Intel based Macs. (I’m assuming that our versions of FCP6 will not run on new Macs. But maybe this is a false assumption on my part?)

    So… I was delighted to hear the other speakers last night imply that FCP7 may indeed be available again — especially since we just tried to buy the upgrades from an online reseller and our order was cancelled after-the-fact because Apple demanded they return the product. So… your exchange with your Apple contacts is particularly disheartening. If we can’t move-on to FCPX because it won’t work for us “as is,” and our old FCP6 systems are becoming obsolete due to the Intel switchover years ago… Apple has truly put us between a rock and a hard place.

    Please beg them to offer FCP7 as a holdover until FCPX is ready for primetime!!! At least for us loyal FCP users who are stuck with FCP6. Maybe they can only release the FCP7 upgrade version? That would be a good way to keep loyal customers who got stuck due to no fault of their own, but rather the poor timing of both purchases and Mac product-revamps. A Final Cut Studio 3 Upgrade Only Option would be a great bridge for those of us hoping to move to FCPX, but only when it can support our needs fully… as Apple has acknowledged that it doesn’t quite yet in their own “FAQs”

    Thanks so much for all your info sharing! It was great to listen to all of you last night.


  6. Claes says:

    FCP6 came out in April 2007, by which time Intel Macs had been around for some time. It therefore runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel Macs and should be fine to continue to run.

  7. Walter Lutz says:

    Thanks Claes! Fingers crossed. 🙂

  8. Craig Seeman says:

    Apple has had a long history of managing transition, OS9 to OSX and “classic,” PPC to Intel and Rosetta, Shake being available for a long time after EOL was announced, MobileMe having a year long grace period on the move to iCloud, even iWeb and iDVD are still part of the iLife 11 box in the Online store although absent from the App Store. These transitions sometimes lasted well over a year.

    Some people have said it’s the same old Apple stubbornness but, given the above, what Apple is doing by pulling FCS2009 is completely out of character with their past and even recent practice with transitions. I can’t believe they would even begin to think pulling FCS2009 would drive people to FCPX at this point in its development. I can’t help but believe something else happened that forced a change in proactive. We’ll never know though.

    FCPX has great potential but I think the current moves by Apple have critically (but hopefully not fatally) damaged its chance to grow. It’s as if the infant was separated from its parents before it had chanced to be nursed and weened and accepted amongst its sibling.

  9. Paul Escamilla says:

    Larry, I cannot agree with you that professional editors should take a wait and see approach. Why? Because we did wait, and we did see. And what we saw was that Apple has ZERO, and I mean, ZERO, respect or concern for the professionals who have used Final Cut for years.

    And how can any professional even begin to consider moving forward with Apple products after this? Are you saying we should trust them? Why? There are other programs out there that will get the job done. Premiere and Avid and others. Adobe and Avid have long traditions of making tools for professionals. That is what they do. If there were no other alternatives at the moment, sure, wait and see and hope that Apple will change its tune and its business strategy and its attitude towards professionals.

    But, as I said, there are other alternative you can use TODAY to get your professional work done. Will there be a learning curve? Yes. But if you move to FCP X, there will be an even steeper learning curve.

    So a steeper learning curve that leads to a non-professional application? Or a shallower learning curve that leads to a professional application? I think the choice is easy. And i think its a disservice to any editor to suggest otherwise.

    Just today I talked with an editor who used to be my assistant editor. I asked him if he plans to switch to Avid or Premiere Pro now. He laughed and said, “Is that really even a question?”. Then he told me that he just edited his first short film in Premiere. I asked him why he didn’t use FCP, since he knew FCP better. “I shot with the Red camera. Premiere supports Red. FCP doesn’t. It didn’t make sense to use FCP”.

    I asked him how it was to edit with Premiere. He said, “well, obviously, I’m more comfortable on FCP, but got everything I needed done in Premiere. There’s no way in hell I could’ve used FCPX for this project.”

    He told me I’ll be fine with Premiere. So I downloaded a trial version and began to cut with it. I’m glad I have a 3-day weekend to play with it.

  10. Ron Priest says:

    FCPX’s FAQ now on Main Page!

    I’m happy to see that Apple has placed a link to their FAQ on the bottom right of its main page! I just noticed that today. Maybe Apple is listening?

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