When you’re a large company, like say … Canon, you might often find it hard for one department to talk to another. There may be many people working on many different parts of a project in different parts of the country or even different parts of the world. But you would think that when it comes to actually releasing a product that it wouldn’t be too difficult to have some central point (or person) of contact who can track a release data and pull the trigger on information only at the appropriate time. This problem isn’t unique to Canon but it was on display just over a week ago.

I’m speaking of a product that Canon has officially announced, the Canon EOS MOVIE Plugin-E1 Final Cut Pro (a name only a large company could love). It enables importing of DSLR footage through the FCP Log and Transfer tool. Announced is the important word here since in this business of creating hardware/software/product many items are announced long before they ever ship – that is if they ship at all. Just ask RED.

Last Friday, February 5, Canon’s public relations department sent out a little email. The subject was this: “Canon’s EOS E1 Video Plug-In for Apple’s Final Cut Pro was Released Today.” Now that’s quite an exciting headline for users of Canon EOS cameras and for me personally as an owner of a 7D. And in my mind “was Released Today” is quite a different thing than just announced. The entire email seemed to make it quite clear that this tool was ready for the world:

As the day went on, the FCP download site was never updated with the plug-in. Meanwhile that same day, over in San Francisco, Canon was prepping to be a presenter at the Final Cut Pro User Group SuperMeet. Canon had announced (but not yet released) a new codec and video camera they there were showcasing at the event. But they would also talk about this FCP plug-in as well. Their wording at the SuperMeet was that it would be available “in the next little while.” There was even an Apple representative there as well who spoke for only a brief instance and said virtually nothing that hadn’t already been said by Canon. Imagine that, an Apple representative doesn’t talk about anything. I thought that maybe Canon had worked it out where the download would go live during the SuperMeet announcement but from what I understand about the Apple FCP download page you really don’t have any control over that.

So the day ended with no actual release of the FCP plug-in. In the next day or so, word going around Twitter was that this little tool wouldn’t be hitting the world until March. Peter Wiggins provided this link to an actual Canon webpage that stated just that. At least that’s some official word from Canon. Of course I would have thought that a Canon PR announcement via email could be somewhat trustworthy as well but as you work with large companies like Canon (and some smaller ones as well) you learn to take words from PR with a grain of salt. They often jump the gun and might be a bit overly excited about a product. But, to be fair, that’s their job: to be excited and get others excited as well.

I mention this only as a little piece of advice to Canon, or any other company announcing a product, it’s okay if you want to announce a product before you actually ship it as that’s quite typical. But if you’re going to say it “was Released Today” (especially in an email headline) then it might be worth checking with the department responsible for the engineering and the actual release of the product before sending out an email blast pimping that very fact. I know it’s a big company and release dates can always change at the last minute … but come on … couldn’t you at least make a phone call?

So let’s forget about the pr hype and check out the official Introducing EOS Movie Plugin-E1 for Final Cut Pro webpage from Canon USA. There we can check out specs and screenshots on the plug-in up until it ships. Whenever that may be.