The post-production Internet has been all a-Twitter for the last 24 hours after Apple Insider posted some nutty story about Apple scaling Final Cut Pro to fit more of a consumer market. After the FCP fanboys went ballistic the great, silent behemoth that is Apple actually spoke today about this very topic, telling CNET that “Final Cut Pro is the first choice for professional video editors, and we’ve never been more excited about its future,” Apple spokesman Bill Evans told CNET. “The next version of Final Cut is going to be awesome, and our pro customers are going to love it.”
I think that the most surprising thing in this whole iFCP (or Final Cut Prosumer) development is the fact that Apple actually commented on a future product. That in itself is highly unusual. And apparently Steve Jobs himself emailed again on the subject. Couple that with recent Apple job postings looking to fill some Pro Apps job vacancies and you have an indication that FCP isn’t going anywhere. And if you need an even more reasoned response then Phillip Â Hodgetts has reasoned it out better than anyone.
Now, rant begin …
It’s about time we all stop speculating on what Apple is going to do, what Apple is thinking, what Apple is having for breakfast this morning and get on with our professional lives. Steve Jobs does not care about you and your video editing career. No matter what his little emails say and no matter what buzzwords he uses to describe a new FCP release, he does not care about you and your video editing career so stop quoting these emails like you know Steve personally.Â He runs a publicly traded company and will continue to develop FCP if, and only if, it makes sense for the bottom line of his company. The perception right now is that it does still make some kind of financial sense for Apple to develop FCP so at some point in the future we may get a new version that is both “awesome” and “kickass.”
But you know what? Who knows when that might be. If they really are just hiring Interface Designers then it seems it might be a while before we get that awesome, kickass version. If you need a better alternative than FCP then you’re free to move to Avid or Adobe if you want to stay on the Mac. There’s even more choices if you are willing to jump to the PC. And I would encourage you to do just that. There are modern, quality tools that are out in the world right now. Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 is shipping and Avid Media Composer 5.0 is less than a month away. And both of them shared something similar earlier this year that Apple hasn’t ever done: Adobe and Avid both showed and discussed these new versions before they were shipping, giving editors and post-houses information to make a more informed buying decision. Adobe and Avid both care more about your video editing career than Apple does. Let me repeat that: Adobe and Avid both care more about your video editing career than Apple does. Who do you trust to be by your side in the future?
One statement I’ve heard repeatedly both on Twitter and in discussion forums is something similar to this: “Yes Final Cut Pro is feeling a little old now but I expect the next version to be really great.” Of course you expect the next version to be great. WE ALL EXPECT THE NEXT VERSION TO BE GREAT. That’s what software is supposed to do, get better with each new version. It happened with Adobe: CS4 to CS5 has been a great improvement. It happened with Avid: Media Composer 4.0 to 5.0 is a huge upgrade. It didn’t happen with Apple: FCP 6 to FCP 7 was a whole number but was in itself a minor update. Maybe it’s safe to assume Â that FCP 7 to FCP 8 will be a huge update. But we have no idea whenÂ it will come so if you think FCP is old and ragged then stop complaining about it and move to a better tool. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to complaining about FCP’s shortcomings but I feel that’s part of what makes blogs like this an interesting read. Plus I have moved on to other tools that are better suited for many of my editing tasks today.
And finally: attention Apple fanboys: Just because Apple doesn’t make the product doesn’t mean it’s not a good product. Apple has not hung the moon, Apple does not make the world go around. There are valid alternatives out there in the post-production world to FCP and it might be time to explore some of them. Stop acting like the world will come to an end if Apple ditches or revamps FCP beyond recognition. The world will continue to turn and media will continue to be created. You’ll either continue to use your old version of FCP or move to a new and better tool. If not one of those two options then you might have to find another profession. We can thank Apple and FCP for helping pushing post-production to where it is today but the future is still uncertain.Â And a word of advice to the professional editors out there wading through all of this stuff: don’t read the FCP-related comments posted in all of the Apple rumor websites. Many of those people appear to be idiots who don’t know anything about Final Cut Pro and what we as professional editors need.
To summarize: The next version Final Cut Pro may very well be awesome and kickass when it finally gets released. Since we have absolutely no idea when that might happen let’s all shut up about it either use FCP the way it is or move to other tools. [But why do I fear this isn’t the last we’ve heard?]
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