The Future of Non-Linear Editing?

Posted on by Larry

I received the following email today from someone who needs to remain anonymous. However, I trust them and their opinion and wanted to share their thoughts with you here as a way to continue our discussion.

While I don’t agree with all of this, it does spark an interesting chain of thought.


P.S. I did not write this, nor did I ask it to be written. I have obtained permission to share it with you.

– – –

Apple says that FCP X is about the future of NLE. After thinking about it, I think they are right.

It’s not just about the GUI or features per se… but the fact that our culture is going mobile and our work along with it. A new generation is growing up and moving them from iMovie to FCPX will be easy. Also the new generation will invent their own workflows and their own content and their own way of doing things. Apple may have jumped the gun in a way that made it impossible for a percentage of the current editing community to go along, but those folks are not the future. Not in the same way a 16-year-old iMovie whiz is.

Look at the big picture. Sales of standard PCs have fallen while portable products have been flying off the shelves. This is no fad, it’s the future.

Watch as the system requirements for NLE on the Apple side look more and more lean. Apple owns both hardware and OS, my bet is that they will leverage that to guarantee they are ahead of the curve in performance requiring smaller and smaller hardware overhead. It’s in this way, as the new generation of editors comes up, FCP will take back it’s place as the de facto platform for any level of project. I’m absolutely convinced (as is Apple) that sooner than you think, a teenager today will be working on an episode of “Extreme _____ Makeover” using an iPad__ with lots of storage on board. I already saw someone using an iPad as a 2nd display for FCP X and how some functions were already touch screen enabled. Those pissed off edit suite owners may be pissed off at what Apple has done, but just wait till all those up-and-coming digital kids start to see those very expensive edit suites as dinosaur grave yards.

That’s where Apple is headed and a powerful, sleek FCP that uses iCloud technology along with all the other new technologies is where the future really is. Does anyone remember those $250,000 edit suites that got replaced by a $1,300.00 Final Cut Studio, back in the day? Well, Apple is doing it again with one major change, this time they are obsoleting themselves before someone else does.

It really is the future, or at least it’s headed in that direction.

109 Responses to The Future of Non-Linear Editing?

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  1. Don B says:

    LOL Phil. And not all that far from truth:

    “U.S. balance now less than Apple cash”

  2. Bill Dawson says:

    Yes, todays 16 year old is tomorrows pro movie editor. I am also making a safe assumption that all editors were at one time the age of 16. I also think that computer devices will continue to get faster and smaller. FCPX on iPad? Maybe, but could also be the wizbang edit app on the XYZ handheld device. Can we trust Apple?

    Apple has demonstrated they will ignore the pro edit community (and other communities for that matter). What makes the 16 year old think that Apple will not ignore them tomorrow?

  3. Nivardo Cavalcante says:

    The Future of Non-Linear Editing?

    Who decides? us, not Apple.

  4. Bruno Borello says:

    The biggest insult in this FCPX fiasco is that Apple has treated the professional user the same as the consumer user. Consumers don’t rely on their software or hardware for business and to make a living. Apple has shown complete disrespect for the professional by not being clear about their new product, not showing the road map of what is coming or where it’s going, being secretive or deceptive, and not addressing professional concerns. Why can’t they just address the professional questions right now? What do they have to lose? Their silence causes this widespread speculation and mistrust. Are they so arrogant (because of their financial success) that they just don’t care? The fact that they have been silent is disturbing. Again, the professional market should be treated differently than the consumer. They can stop all the rumors and speculation by just speaking out. Silence is quite revealing.

    We have used FCP7 and love Apple products. But this has been disturbing as a professional user.

  5. Dick Applebaum says:


    The simple answer is neither… technology will decide — in the larger scheme of things!

    If you have creative talent, the tools are important, but do not define the product you deliver.

    If you are a technician, you will adapt to the tools which allow you to be competitive and survive.

    I do not have creative talent, nor am I a good NLE technician…

    But, I entered the computer field in 1956 — when there were less than 50 computers in the entire world. I have participated in, and observed the effects of, applying [computer] technology to processes. The processes included everything from payroll, selling carloads of oranges, “growing silicon” for electronic chips, Army war games… and, yes even a little NLE editing.

    Here are the “big lessons” I have learned:

    — Some will seek out new technology, embrace it, then exploit (what they can) to their (and others’) advantage.

    — Some will resist technology until it overtakes them.

    — Some will do nothing.

  6. Leo Hans says:


    “The Future of Non-Linear Editing?
    Who decides? us, not Apple.”

    I love FCPX approach, so why should I can’t go there? Just because you don’t like it?

    There are some people bashing FCPX, but they are not all the pros. There are a lot of pros that find FCPX foundations really impressive.

  7. Frost says:

    I would bet that more than 90% of the people here that are bashing up FCPX havnt spent more than 2 weeks actually giving it a fair go. I admit after being a long time FCP user it was very frustrating taking the jump. But now that i pushed through that barrier i love it, my edit times has dropped, but still keeping the quality up if not better. When ever i jump back to fcp 7 i am frustrated by it.

    This is the future.

    and also i bet that half of the editors out there are just wedding video editors, corporate film makers ect. i bet that there are only a handful of people here that actually work on holiwood films or anything of that level that requires something better than fcp 7 and x.

    So for the so called pro’s out there that are dissing this out, actually give it a fair go, take some tutorials and stop dissing a great product.

    Sure jump to more unstable softwares like your cs5.5 and your avid. But your not going to be anywhere near as happy and impressed as this.

    if anything you will spend more time installing those programs, re-learning them, getting all your effects turned over. only for the fact the timeline looks the same. yeh smart choice.

    and who said you have to go to fcpx, last time i checked it didnt delete fcp7, so shut up and just use fcp7 until a few improvements have been made.

  8. Peter Wiley says:

    At the end of the day, the future of editing depends on the future of the broadcast and motion picture industries. Both have undergone and are undergoing enormous changes.

    For a number of years “Hollywood” has made more money via cable exhibition and DVD sales than ticket sales in theaters. Indeed, in some ways theatrical releases are advertising events for the DVD release. Now streaming movies threaten the DVD cash-cow. At the moment there are lots of people and companies trying to figure out streaming distribution. No one knows how it will work out, but consider recent reports about Apple’s rumored plans to release its own HDTVs. A recent Apple TV update added the capacity to buy and stream “TV shows”. The new Mac Mini does not have a DVD drive.

    The advertising model that supported broadcast TV is drifting in the direction of obsolescence, as explained by Bob Garfield ( )

    You Tube is trying to encourage better content and bought a video production firm ( )

    HTML now has a video tag.

    What the guy says makes some sense. FCP X may indeed be aimed at this new world that is coming much faster than most think. Wether it’s the tool that wins the space is anyone’s guess.

  9. Graham White says:

    @Frost … Your assumptions and your comments … give an insight into your level of professionalism. I’d hardly call the ability to export an EDL, an OMF, or to monitor [video] externally, features that only “Hollywood” editors require.

    The fact that you don’t value these things, doesn’t preclude them from being a part of a collaborative workflow used by many in the industry – wedding videographers amongst them.

  10. Nivardo Cavalcante says:

    You edit a video, does not mean being a video editor. There is a lot of learning to be a professional editor, assembly concepts, colorize, know how to cut a scene. I know, and I am an editor who needs to assimilate it all. Apple to make a profession, hobbyist.

    • Larry says:

      Nivardo: I’m a bit confused about your last sentence: “Apple to make a profession, hobbyist.” Would you elaborate, please?


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