“Because It’s Here” Is Not A Good Reason

Sometime in the next few weeks, Apple will release macOS Catalina – the latest version of the Mac operating system. Each of us looks forward to the next evolution in technology, but, perhaps we need to temper our enthusiasm. At least for a bit.

Catalina is a major update, notable not only for what it gives, but what it takes away. With this update, we will lose the ability to run 32-bit applications such as the well-loved QuickTime Player 7. We will also lose the ability to run media that use codecs based upon frameworks provided by QuickTime 7.

But, even if nothing was going away, I’d still urge caution before you upgrade.

Last week, Hollywood was brought to its knees with an upgrade to Google Chrome that caused Avid Media Composer – and the Macs running it – to stop working.

Who would have thought a web browser would crash an editing system?

Technology today is highly sophisticated and tightly integrated. Firmware, operating systems and applications are deeply linked. What seemed like a simple upgrade to a web browser was far from simple. In fact, for those editors on a deadline, it became a crisis!

I am sure that Google tested its upgrade prior to release. But who, in any testing suite for a web browser, would have thought to test it against video editing software? It would seem as though they would not connect – except, in the real-world – they do.

I know that Apple has spent years developing Catalina, along with months and months of testing. But, no one really knows what’s going to happen until the software is released.

Because all our careers rest on delivering high-quality projects on time, it would be foolish for any of us to upgrade the instant that Catalina is released. It will hurt none of us to wait; at least for a bit.

In fact, my general advice is to wait until the .1 update is released before upgrading. This allows developers and the folks who aren’t on deadlines to test the new software, find the remaining bugs and fix them before we update.

Over the years, I’ve come to dread those emails that start with: “I was just about to export the project I’ve been working on for two years, when I upgraded the OS. Now, I can’t export. What do I do?” Sigh… There’s no good answer for that; and it is way too late to say: “You shouldn’t have upgraded.”

So, to get ready:

Then, do nothing until the .1 update is released by Apple. (This idea of waiting after an update is released is good advice in general.)

The downside to waiting is that you won’t be able to take advantage of all the new features in the operating system.

The upside is that you are able to keep working while you wait.


17 Responses to “Because It’s Here” Is Not A Good Reason

  1. Brian Thomas says:

    Great advice, thanks Larry. I was just wondering if you or someone else might know if there could be a way to run the 32 bit Adobe Encore (DVD authoring) under Catalina..? Some sort of Virtual Machine on the lines of Parallels or VMWare Fusion?

    • Larry says:


      No. It can’t be done.

      If you need encore, don’t upgrade.


      • Or if you need Encore, keep your current config and run Catalina on a new box.

        • Larry says:


          Yup. I still regret giving up my old G-5 Mac Pro. It was the unquestioned champ at creating DVDs using DVD Studio Pro. Nothing else has come close.


        • Brian Thomas says:

          Thanks for the responses gentlemen.

          Actually Larry, having read your recent review of the Wondershare DVD authoring software, I bought it and it looks pretty good for my purposes. All I need is the time to get really familiar with it and make the inevitable compromises to my happy workflow. Nothing quite like being torn between interesting new OS features and the warm feeling of sticking with the familiar!

    • H Nelson says:

      Brian, my two main computers are still a Mac Pro 5,1 & Mac Pro 4,1. I bought them both when they were new, but nowadays either can be bought used for a couple hundred bucks and their usefulness for running older software (in addition to being highly upgradable) cannot be overstated. I use a KVM to switch between the two & it works like a charm. 🙂

  2. ladypartstv says:

    I have a bunch of old AVI and mpg videos. (a) will I not be able to do anything with them in Catalina? (not even throw them in a converter? I have to have them converted in advance?) (b) I am considering getting Compressor. Would I be able to convert them in Compressor or do I have to use a video converter for that purpose? They are so old already that any tip on how I can preserve every tiny bit of quality (and try to upscale) would be great! Thanks so much!

    • Larry says:


      Correct. You will NOT be able to play or convert these once you upgrade to Catalina. So, you need to convert these before you update.

      Compressor is not a good choice for AVI files, however Adobe Media Encoder is. Another converter would be ffWorks.

      What I would do is convert them to ProRes – if you are on a Mac – or GoPro Cineform if you are on Windows. Don’t up-rez, convert to a new codec at the same frame size. Then, once you have a converted file, you can experiment with up-rezing. The primary key is to be able to play these files in the future.


      • ladypartstv says:

        Thank you so much, Larry. I’ve been converting using VideoProc. Are you familiar with it and have an opinion? I’ve actually just now realized there was a ProRes422 (and even ProRes 4444) option there. Before I spend more money on a new software, it would be great to know if the software I already have is sufficient.

        Thanks so much again!

        • Larry says:

          I have not used VideoProc, but just looked at its website. It supports an enormous number of codecs – but none of the high-formats: ProRes, DNx, GoPro, or any RAW or Log formats.

          For AVI files, transcode into the highest bit-rate H.264 files that you can. And don’t use VideoPro for up-rezing.


  3. Mason Pelt says:

    I still haven’t upgraded from High Sierra. I’m not overly worried about security and I’ve been burned by apple updates in the past.

  4. Richard Hendrickson says:

    From what I am seeing AVI containers are OK on Catalina as long as the codec passes muster. I have two trail cameras that output AVI video. They both record with Motion JPEG OpenDML video codecs with slightly different frame sizes and rates and linear PCM audio. One camera’s files get autotranscoded by QTPlayer for compatibility
    , and are marked incompatible by Compressor, but the other’s are not.
    And to deepen the mystery, Catalina running with VMWare Fusion, will readily open either file with QTPlayer and no warnings. Unfortunately Compressor won’t run in Fusion as Fusion does not support Metal.

    I was looking for a method to continue to transcode the files in Catalina eventually as I will continue to use the trail cameras.

  5. Catherine Brady says:

    Looking for Final Cut Pro training in the SF East Bay.

  6. great post, thank you so much for sharing.

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