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Final Cut Studio 4: The Inside Scoop (from MacSoda)

Final Cut Studio 4: The Inside Scoop

While MacSoda implies they have a solid inside source – it certainly reads that way – there are some points that just don’t fit.

It’s highly unlikely that the next studio release will happen in early 2011, or even 2011. As I noted in the comments on the article, it seems very, very clear that the QuickTime we know will get a complete foundation change. Final Cut Studio would need many of those changes to be able to replicate Adobe’s Mercury Engine performance (along with the need to be 64 bit Cocoa and use Open CL and Grand Central Dispatch). It will need those changes for native support of anything other than QuickTime, which is why everything in FCP needs to be wrapped to QT, if not transcoded.

Every indication is that the move of AV Foundation from iOS to regular OS X will happen with OS X 10.7. No announcement has been made of 10.7 and past behavior would suggest that it won’t be announced until WWDC next year, with a most optimistic shipping date of September 2011. Allow at least six months for any applications to be finished on that platform and for a typically 2-3 month beta testing period and it’s virtually impossible to have a release in 2011.

According to job advertisements, Apple were hiring interface designers for ProApps just a few months ago. Presumably by now the jobs have been filled but that would be the beginning of a large amount of work that cannot be done in just a couple of months. To rework the ProApps (Interface) Kit will go across all applications and, again, that’s not trivial. MacSoda seems to think there won’t be major interface changes, but there are already reports of iMovie ’09 elements being included in Final Cut Pro’s current builds. (AppleInsider, and my article, Why Apple Insider Couldn’t be more wrong.)

Randy Ubilos has never been one to shirk from making major changes to interfaces, viz. iMovie ’09 which completely dropped the iMovie ’08 interface. Randy does know that editors don’t like change, but he also knows that you can’t make major improvements if you can’t make changes. Lots of people at LAFCPUG wanted features from iMovie ’09 in FCP when it was demonstrated in LA.

The comments about code rewriting, architectural changes sound plausible enough, although through the lens of someone who has never written code nor understands the procedure. (My day job is mostly a Product Manager for OS X applications in professional video mostly around Final Cut Pro, so I do have some insight into the code-writing process.)

Then there’s much that’s conjecture but I think is reasonable although the comments about Motion and Shake aren’t part of them. Apple is not embarrassed about Motion. What Motion is designed to be: a motion graphics tool for editors, not professional motion graphics designers who will use the more-powefull (and much harder to learn) Adobe After Effects. And so they should, After Effects is a powerful tool. Those folk use Motion as a “plug-in” to After Effects because Motion does some stuff that After Effects doesn’t. Shake, on the other hand, was a specialist compositing (not motion graphics) tool for special effects compositors. While it’s sad that Apple appears to have killed Shake and it’s kind, the purposes of the two programs – as anyone who really knew what they were talking about would know – is so dissimilar that it would be counter-productive to have both functions in the one tool. Shake was node-based; Motion (like After Effects) is layer based. Fundamental differences. I’d like a Shake replacement because the VFX industry needs it. But that’s not who Apple, mostly, make tools for.

Most tools are Perato apps. My word. The Pareto Principle is also known as the 80/20 rule. In my opinion, other than Final Cut Pro (and maybe true of Final Cut Pro too) Apple make the tools that 80% of people need, 80% of the time. Pages is not Word (but I prefer it because it’s less antagonistic than Word); Numbers is not a competitor to Excel in the professional market, but it’s a dmaned fine spreadsheet that meets my needs perfectly. Keynote is simply superior to PowerPoint in every respect – they got a hit! Motion is not After Effects, but it’s much more accessible than unlocking all the power that’s in  After Effects; Soundtrack Pro is not ProTools nor does it pretend to be (although I’m told that Logic Pro competes strongly with ProTools). Apple make the Perato apps, and they make them very accessible through thoughtfully designed interfaces so that more people get productive. And in business, productivity equals dollars.

Fun Fact: Shake was not really a full-functioning application in the normal way we think of it. The GUI essentiallly built a script that the compiler (the part that did the work) put together. A Shake project was essentially the scrip that would run to produce the result. And a lot of the power came from third party plug-ins bundled.

I think he’s right that the next release will be re-architected to take advantage of the new foundations of QuickTime; 64 bit Cocoa, Grand Central Dispatch and OpenCL and be performance competitive with any other NLE, including Premiere Pro CS 5 (and CS6 no doubt).

His DVD/iDVD comments are interesting but appear to be lacking in anything other than conjecture. I expect DVD Studio Pro to either go away (most likely) or stay in the package as it is. There will never be Blu-ray authoring for OS X. My friend and conspirator in The Terence and Philip Show thinks DVD Studio Pro will be replaced with a “Publish to iTunes” button, but I’m skeptical, simply because of the legal issues around copyright that won’t be checked with an auto-publish button (although in fairness, an iApp-like review process would address that). There’s also the need to distribution material in other places than via iTunes – for Event videography for example.

As for Compressor. We’ve had, what, four releases, with three interface overhauls over the life of the product. If they’re not happy with it yet, hire some folk from Telestream, who do seem to be able to do an encoding engine right. (The new version of Episode coming is a very nice redesign btw).

Then we come to the comment  that:

Native RED support hasn’t come yet due to bickering between both Apple and RED… neither will compromise the licensing negotiations, so native RED support is a technical go, but a legal stalemate. Whether or not the legal issues will be resolved by the next major release is uncertain.

Native RED support requires a media foundation other than QuickTime. Period. There is no way native RED support – i.e. use of R3D native in Final Cut Pro as it is in Premeire Pro CS5 and Media Composer via AMA, simply cannot be done with the current version of QuickTime. We already have what can be done and that is a quick rewrap of the native R3D codec into a QuickTime container. As for the rest of the comment: Apple have had the closest relationship with RED of any NLE.

And really, the only quibble I have with his final paragraph –

That’s all I’ve got for now. I know I haven’t posted in a while, but hopefully this information will tie everyone over until the release hits. Just know that Apple has not abandoned their pro apps in the slightest… there’s a team at Apple working on them just as hard as the iPhone team works on the iPhone. Apple wouldn’t be employing dozens of people with large salaries if they didn’t think there was a future for the product. The fact is this… Final Cut Studio 4 is coming soon, it’s a major, functional, flashy upgrade, and should make the long wait for a “real” upgrade more than worth it.

– is that it’s unlikely to be “soon”.






43 responses to “Final Cut Studio 4: The Inside Scoop (from MacSoda)”

  1. Tom Wolsky

    Excellent, concise, lucid explanation of the situation, and so much more than just holding up a wet finger in the wind.

    One small point, it’s the Pareto Principle.

    1. I’ll double check. I had checked and though I’d got it right (since I also though tit was Pareto) so I got it wrong trying to get it right.

  2. Philip

    One thing the VFX industry does not need a new Shake we happily have Nuke which is pushing the limits of High Performance Computing in both compositing,stereoscopic and OFX plugins based on GPU’s.
    Nuke is used by every small and major player in the VFX game.
    As much as the rumor would like to never die Apple has long long given up on the VFX market as compositing apps go. Motion is the little engine that could have been but it has been plagued with horrible workflows,closed architecture(no scripting) and just buggy at best .

    1. I totally agree Motion was never designed for VFX and it would be foolish to try and force it into that role.

  3. Philip,

    The Pareto Principle link is dead.

    You do realize, you’re giving this guy more traffic than he’d EVER get on his own!!! (until, maybe, one of the MacRumor sites get the Google Alert)


    I will say, your thoughts on the timetable for all of this make me very very sad. 🙁

    – pi

    1. I’d rather face the facts than live in some fantasy world.

  4. As one of the five people who actually bought Shake, it seems to me that the only element of that ridiculously unfriendly program that could plausibly be ported over to Motion would be the far superior chromakey tool.

    Also, I would venture to suggest that rumors of the death of DVDs has been greatly exaggerated. My corporate and agency clients would be very surprised if I were unable to provide them with DVDs of finished projects. For Apple to jettison DVD Studio Pro would be a big mistake.

    The bigger question seems to be whether Apple will wind up being a day late and a dollar short. I’ve spent the last 10 years using Final Cut.

    Does it make sense for me to continue to put up with Apple’s gamma-shifting, price-gouging, the-customer-is-always-wrong attitude, just because I know the program like the back of my hand?

    Or would I – and the rest of us – be better off jumping ship to products made by Adobe – a company that focuses exclusively on the needs of creative professionals?

    1. Everyone has to make a decision on whether or not they change applications. They’re only tools, not friends or family. Apple have never disappointed their core customer (who is usually not the specialist, but the majority – hence Perato . I expect the next version of FCS to be a major re-imagining, but in the meantime choose whatever tools work best.

  5. Kevin

    Thanks for sticking up for motion. What’s with all the hatred for that program? I am a VFX artist, and while admittedly Motion’s not as deep as AE, its practical deficiencies for me have more to do with the absence of a couple key 3rd party plug-ins than it does with Adobe having authored a better program than Apple. I increasingly use and prefer Motion as a compositing application over AE in projects not calling for those specific 3rd party plugins. And I’ve turned some other effects artists on to Motion as well. Its grouping functionality is much more elegant than precomping, and its playback is unquestionably faster.

    You got to autosave every minute though, as it sure as hell crashes.

    I just hope Motion makes it through a few more Studio updates. It gets slammed so thoroughly by everyone, that I fear it’s not going to get a chance to mature or even be seriously considered as a professional application.

    I disagree with your opening sentiment that macsoda’s article reads like they have a solid source. The whole article reads like forum-commenter/cheerleader baseless conjectures.

    I appreciate you sticking up for motion. What’s with all the hatred for that program? I am an VFX artist, and while admittedly Motion’s not as deep as AE, it’s practical deficiencies for me have more to do with the absence of a couple key 3rd party plug-ins than it does with Adobe having authored a better program than Apple. I increasingly use and prefer Motion as a compositing application over AE in projects not calling for those specific 3rd party plugins. And I’ve turned some other effects artists on to Motion as well. Its grouping functionality is much more elegant than precomping, and its playback is unquestionably faster.

    You got to autosave every minute though, as it sure as hell crashes.

    I just hope Motion makes it a few more updates. It gets slammed so thoroughly by everyone, that I fear it’s not going to get a chance to mature or even be seriously considered as a professional application…

    I disagree with your assessment that the next FCS is due in 2012. I think it will be much sooner. 2010 is still a possibility in my mind, honestly. If FCS3 showed us anything, it’s that Apple is willing to release and charge for an inconsequential update. I don’t see why you see them as exhibiting such restraint this time around.

    1. I’d like to know why you think 2010 is a possibility. I’d like to know why you don’t think there’s a new QT coming that is essential for features people want in FCP (native support for RED, MXF etc). This release (FCS 2009) was an interim release because they had to put out something because it was going to be a long time till the next release.

      If you’re going to tell me I’m wrong, at least attempt to put some evidence behind it.

  6. cseeman

    Philip, there’s one point you overlook IMHO. While it’s true to incorporate all the improvements you mention it will take OS 10.7 and substantial integration with new QuickTime technologies, you don’t mention the possibility of an interim release. I don’t think Apple will wait until 2012 for the next release. There are likely some improvements that can be introduced with current technology even if they are minor.

    1. A minor release won’t cut it. And if they’re working on a major rewrite, there’s nothing much you can do in the interim because you’ve demolished much of what existed and haven’t yet got the foundations for the new building. You can prefab quite a bit, but until the foundation is there, you can’t really start building. (That foundation being AV Foundation in this case).

      It is theoretically possible that the ProApps team could bundle up all the AV Foundation frameworks into the App but that would be a lot more work and then require undoing when the OS and QuickTime catch up. Combined with the fact that the interface designers are just coming on board (if those ads were really interface designers) for a project that is at least a year long, and I realistically can’t see how it could be done before 2012.

      Just to be clear. This is a realistic extrapolation of the public data points NOT what I personally would want to happen.

  7. Andreas

    I believe (with zero inside knowledge) that Apple will stick very much to their 2 year update cycle. It would really surprise me if they don’t. That means a new release in summer 2011.

    The assumption that the Final Cut Team has to wait for a new OS release is something I really cannot believe. Mac OS 10.7 isn’t due before 2012 and I would wonder if that isn’t focused on touch integration.

    1. Do you want native RED support, or AVC-I or native XDCAM with no need to rewrap to QuickTime? Like Media Composer and Premiere Pro? Then they have to wait for the new version of QuickTime that’s not due until the next OS revision. To do it right, requires work outside the ProApps team.

      10.7 will be primarily the port back to OS X of all the new (and very efficient) frameworks from iOS. Remember they’re quite close siblings, almost identical other than the interface layer. If you want the changes people want in Final Cut Pro, they have to build on a new foundation: the old foundation isn’t up to the task – it just can’t be done.

  8. axl

    2012 sounds far away. I think Apple will (just as in the case with Motion 1 and Core Image) put the necessary tech inside the apps and then when it have matured put it in the next big release of Quicktime and Mac OS X.

    1. Core Image was developed by the OS team and the Motion did not have any idea it was being developed. Motion independently wrote code to use the graphics card and it wasn’t until they rewrote (more work for no advantage) effects to use FXplug that they used Core Image at all. Two completely independent development paths, one in Santa Monica, the other in Cupertino with no communication between them.

  9. Jerry Hofmann

    Well reasoned as usual Phillip. I know just enough about coding to be dangerous, but what you’ve written here sure makes sense to me. FCP 7 is built on an extremely old code base, and with the news of the UI job postings and Mr. Ubilos being back on the Pro Apps team, there is little doubt a major upgrade is in the works. (At least Apple wants us all to think so.)

    The timing you reason out seems about right to me too. Apple will do what is best for Apple, and what’s best for Apple is a MAJOR upgrade not easily done, nor quickly achieved. FCS will need to leapfrog the current offerings from Adobe and Avid IMHO to remain the leading software in use out there.

    Touch screen support may likely part of this scenario I think… iPads, iPhones, and iPods are pointing directly at what Apple has in store for us all seems to me. Way back in about 1985, I attended an Avid international user group meeting. At that meeting Peter Faciano spoke of a day where an editor would use his fingers to drag things around an interface (his scenario didn’t include a screen, it was more like a hologram). The crowd went wild with the idea. We’re just about there, except we’ll still have that screen for a while longer…


  10. Sorry everyone, as a programmer, Philips assessment is strong. My assessment even before Philips deeper understanding of Apple API,s was exactly along the same time line.

    FCP simply has hit a MASSIVE WALL with all these new core elements it has to now support to move forward. All these low level key areas of the technology that have to be re-written. The bug cycle alone would be a very long time, then add the fact they are overhauling 3-4 key areas. its just gets worse.

    I would see them rushing a crappy buggy as hell version out end 2011, but really, you will need to wait a year before it is production ready. And its not Apple style to do this. (So again 2012)

    Adobe going CUDA was a huge deal.
    I must admit, I am moving away from FCP as Adobe CUDA capabilities are a killer app. No transcoding, no rendering. Just play the time line. Also the GPU accelerated transcoding as well. etc, the features just keep coming. FCP is years from them.
    As this type of kit should pay itself of in a year, its a no brainer to kit up with some, got forbid, Windows 7-64 Adobe/Avid stations. The hardware , with expensive CUDA card, is also near 1/2 th cost of equivalent Mac systems. (I’m costing one right now)

    Personally I expect a lot of these false reports of FCP4 coming soon.. to keep the faithful from switching.. “Just a little longer.. don;t jump ship”.. and it will drag on and on.

    But unfortunately, the writing is on the wall. They have a HUGE amount of work ahead of them. 2012 is the realistic time frame. If they do it sooner, it is because they put it top priority, and thats simply not going to happen. iOS is the focus now.

    On the Motion area. I myself find it much harder to understand then AE. Motion interface does not make sense to me. With AE I can stumble my way around and get what I want. Motion takes me a LOT longer. One of my big issues with going to Adobe tool set was that I love how Motion works in with FCP with inserting lower 3rds etc. With all the nice free animated titles you get.
    Going AE, I was a little worried by the lack of free animation assets, BUT, after having a look around, there are sites that have extremely cheap AE project bundles. AE seems to be the industry standard so in effect, I not have a massive tool-chest of cost effective assets of better quality then those I found in Motion.
    I am very happy.

  11. Dustyn

    Reading these comments I find it interesting that everyone is talking about jumping to Premiere. But what about Avid? Anyone looking at the new version of Media Composer and thinking of going back?

  12. Duane

    Philip, you state in your article that “Apple were hiring interface designers for ProApps just a few months ago”. That may be, but I know they were hiring product testers for a six month stint starting in August 2010. How do you reconcile those conflicting timetables?

    1. I don’t try an reconcile conflicting timetables, I collect data points. Today I’ve had two data points that do tend to suggest “early 2011”. IN which case it wont’ be a complete rewrite and won’t be the product people want it to be. There’s just too much of “QuickTime” that’s missing Cocoa frameworks. The old 32 bit C-API quicktime has more than 500 Classes and more than 10,000 methods (to define it in modernish terms); QTKit has 24 Classes and 360 Methods. AV Foundation at iOS 4.0 had 56 Classes and 460 Methods and gained four more Classes in iOS 4.1. Note that iOS 4.1’s media foundation is already more comprehensive than the 64 bit version of QuickTime.

      Even though they will leave out Filters, Transitions, Wired Sprites and probably QT VR that’s a lot of QuickTime that doesn’t exist in 64bit Cocoa that needs to be. Including any ability to write QT Metadata to a QT file. (C-API only). Final Cut Pro needs that to maintain a feature added in 5.1.2.

      So, maybe the will be an early 2011 release. No-one would be happier than I for the next version to be fabulous and out in early 2011, but given that QT currently lacks a fair chunk of what FCP needs to run 64 bit Cocoa, and the current QT makes it incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to provide native MXF support or native R3D support. So any 2011 release will be compromised by the lack of development in QuickTime.

      I was told today by the person who received it, that they had an email ostensibly from Steve Jobs that said the next release would be early 2011.

      If it is 2011, it won’t be a fully rewritten Final Cut Pro (insufficient time). If it’s a fully re-imagined Final Cut Studio, it wont’ be 2011. Or they’re doing something miraculous not based on OS X foundations or QuickTime (but that would require a bigger rewrite).


  13. Bill

    If we wait for 2012 for the next version., the earth will be flooded and lots of earth quakes I am told, Not much editing then.

  14. Mitch Ives

    As usual Philip, a well reasoned analysis. I wished you were wrong, but I suspect that you’re right. The whole thing leaves me rather sad. Frankly early 2011 would already have been too long. Late 2011 way too long, and 2012, well what’s the point really?

    Not to put too fine a point on things, but Apple simply waited way, way, way, (one more) way too long to get started… and didn’t put the same stock in it as the iPhone and iPad.

    By 2012 most of us will have switched. In this economy, with these challenges, we can’t continue in an environment whether other (much faster) tools put us at an economic disadvantage.

    In addition, Apple really blew it by not listening to us and realizing that whatever they think doesn’t matter. If we think DVDs are necessary, then they are. End of discussion. Clicking your heels together and wishing it would just go away is a bad business strategy. If I already have to move to Adobe to get that. While I’m there, why wouldn’t I look around. Anyone in sales knows that you never, ever, force your customer to start dating someone else.

    I’m sure what they will release will be impressive. But, at the end of the day, it’s a case of simply waiting too long. Hey, Apple nails it right most of the time… sooner or later they were going to have to have a “Titanic” episode, and I think this is it.

    Thanks again for the well reasoned analysis Philip…

  15. Philip Ohler

    Frustrated by the slow creeping development of FCS and also frustrated by Apple’s veil of secrecy on apps that people base their business on. Why is secrecy so important here? I’m certain they will lose many users to Adobe and AVID due to their silence.

    1. Apple’s secrecy serves them well in the consumer end of their market. It serves them less well in the Pro Market.

  16. Nadav

    Nice post, but IMO there’s no way Apple will wait for 3 years to upgrade FCS. Pro Apps users (and there’s over a million of them) are usally very “upgrade aware” and for the upgrade profit Apple will put something on the market. What it will be is the question but it will be there. Perheps multiple cores, better RT engine, something…

    As for “The death of FCP” talk, it’s bs. Final Cut is a billion ways deeper NLE than Premire. Yes, Premire is better at importing, but when it comes to editing, the task of – In, Out, Trim and others, Premire is nowhere there. Even at Avid’s bad days people stuck with it cause it had superior editing tools. Same will be with FCP.

    FCP is a very very strong tool. Yes it can be better but no one doubts that at the task it’s meant to serve – EDITING – It is a great tool. It dominates the indepent market, controls film schools around the world and gains more and more high end industry editors.
    And with such a base it won’t die.

  17. So Nadav, which of the points I raised are wrong? What’s the counter-argument here, other than your “IMO”? Just wondering what I’m missing.

  18. Nadav

    As I said, I don’t think Apple will wait 3 years for a software update. Business wise it’s a stupid move and Apple, for the most part, are not…

  19. I’m sure Apple are no happier about the long release cycle than any of us, but if they do release a version of FCP that isn’t 64 bit and isn’t Cocoa throughout (and probably needs native support for RED, MXF etc without converting), then I think Apple will be eviscerated (and rightly so).

    Yet they cannot build that application with the current QuickTime. How will they manage that so there’s a release in 2011?

  20. to many divisions

    you talk of the QT team

    that engineering division does not exist anymore
    hence the everlasting Gamma issue

    sure there may be a new FCP

    but having let most of the Pro Apps teams go,
    Motion recently Aperture

    They will have to start again.

    Maybe they should buy SGO Mistika!
    That will put them back on the map

    I think they have forgotten Grand Central for Game Central

    Its a shame as they marketed FCP to the top of the stack

    It has allowed everyone access to video and changed the business just as they changed Print

    Lets hope FCP X is a cloud based JAVA App so my granny is OZ can make the edit
    and I can approve!

    The Dark Night

    1. What a weird response. BTW, Apple let 40 QA engineers go, not the whole pro apps team. In fact I wonder if you read my post at all, based on the response, but whatever

  21. to many divisions

    ‘Most of the ProApps team’ is an exaggeration
    But the 40 from Santa Monica..
    If these were QA then cool
    I thought the motion team worked out of Santa Monica.
    If you know otherwise then I retract

    Plus Aperture’s departures still leaves quite a few I’m sure from the 120 strong engineers.

    I do read all articles, especially as Apple themselves pointed me to the recent Mac Soda one.

    We all say the same thing.
    We want a new app
    The old app needs to be rewritten
    We hope Apple is still interested

    As Apple really is the go to product that has won the hearts and minds of everyone, it would be great to see the editor survive.

    FCP 6 is really quite long in the tooth, 7 being a major dot release rather than a new product.

    However Apple has also managed to get its hardware everywhere on the post scene.
    So whilst it has the lead on products like Smoke and Resolve it can continue to be a key player without having an editor.

    So while we wait for the new version which we all hope will come,
    I wish they would just get one of their team to fix the Gamma

    Your article is great.

    Lets hope Apple gives us some info about what is happening

  22. Well, let’s clarify that no-one has officially confirmed the 40 that were laid off. No-one has ever suggested that they all came from Santa Monica but that belief could have come about because the one source – a tweet – came from someone who used to work there.

    Keep in context that Adobe let go 600 people that year, and Avid 100. Apple Pro Apps only let go 40. Media Composer and Premiere Pro still got out the door.

    The MacSoda article was pure conjecture without a shred of source – in fact no source is even claimed.

    Apple will never give information about what’s happening until they’re ready to release. I don’t like that any more than anyone else but it’s a fact of life.


  23. Dan

    The new FCP will have to come out next year. Apple has no choice if it is to maintain credibility. Why? Because of Adobe’s release schedule. Adobe typically updates their products every 18 months. That means that CS6 will come out around October 2011 at the earliest. If Apple waits to release their Final Cut update until 2012, they will still be behind Adobe.

    1. And if they lose 10% of their current marketshare they’ll still have 45% of the professional NLE market. I’m sure Apple are aware of Adobe’s schedule and work, but it will have zero effect n what Apple’s doing, for all the reasons I outlined in the article. A lame 2011 release will be more soul destroying than waiting another year to do it right.

  24. cseeman

    If the underbelly is part of 10.7 which may be previewed today and FCS4 is being developed contemporaneously (certainly an assumption on my part), I’d think it could arrive a lot sooner than 2012.

    If FCS4 is dependent on 10.7 and compatible with 10.6 I’d have to think FCS4 will arrive around the time 10.7 hits as the foundation will have been built and another FCS update will follow with additional features as integration improves.

  25. Final Cut Pro is probably NOT being developed contemporaneously. You can’t build on a foundation that doesn’t yet exist. Once 10.7 is close to final you can start to finalize code on top of it.

    I doubt FCS 4 will be compatible with 10.6 because 10.6 won’t have the new QT.

    Think of building a building. You can prefabricate parts of the structure but you can’t start building until you have the foundation. QT is the absolutely fundamental foundation to FCP. Until they have 10.7 in near-final form….

    6-8 months after 10.7 is Final (and released to the public) would seem about right for a new Final Cut Studio. It takes that much time – even if they were finished internally the day 10.7 ships – to do their own quality assurance, beta testing, marketing and product production (DVD replication).

  26. I really enjoy this post, so thanks for writing everyone. I wanted to offer one other view and that is simply this:

    As far as people switching, I don’t think as many people will as this discussion seems to indicate and I’ll tell you why… Any NLE system takes time to truly learn. I’m not talking about open it up and do some basic editing, I’m talking about actually being a real editor and knowing all the ins and outs of a program. Most FCP users learn it well and I don’t think they’re going to want to just jump to Premiere because they may or may not have to wait a little longer for the next version.
    I for one won’t switch unless Apple announces that it’s going to be several years before they upgrade. A little patience is not a bad thing and overall, Apple has never disappointed us here in the pro world (IMHO). I think we all want certain things, sure, and most of us see what COULD be done, but I have a fair amount of faith in Apple to make FCS 4 into something amazing and release it sooner than everyone thinks. Lion is coming out next Summer, I don’t see why FCS 4 wouldn’t come out at the same time, which means only a 6 to 8 month wait. That’s no big deal. If they’ve been developing 10.7 this whole time, the FCS studio has been working with them as well.

    I am open to Apple surprising us with something amazing.

    And if they don’t and they take a big crap all over us… then Adobe WILL get a lot of new business. 🙂


    1. That you think a complex application like Final Cut Pro (or the whole studio) could ship so soon after the OS is completed shows a certain naivete about how software needs to work. The earliest FCP could ship after OS lock off (any OS lock off) is six months. Take a month or two to final QA to make sure nothing changed in the final OS that broke something the engineers did in the apps. Then 2-4 months of beta testing. Then product production – another month.

      And “Summer 2011” could be as late as September 20th and still qualify. Earliest Lion could be done would be June or July 2011 at WWDC, but it’s more likely, based on past behavior, that it will ship a couple of months after WWDC. We’ll have a better idea when they actually ship developers a beta. Figure a minimum of 9-12 months from first beta of an OS to final release.

      Remember that FCS 4 would not be due, on the normal two year cycle, until July 2011. That’s the earliest FCS 4 would have ever been delivered, even if they are not doing a huge rewrite (which I believe they are).

      I hear your point about the learning though. I’ve spent a lot of time inside Premiere Pro and think the majority of features are actually better implemented than in Final Cut Pro, and yet the familiarity factor (and proficiency factor) makes it hard to actually switch for work.

  27. Russ Bradbury

    Firstly Logic Studio is no way like Protools 8 or version 9 which we are testing right now. AVID wised up and decided to use a whole lot more cores on these go-whizz 8/12core machines. Well done AVID.
    Guess the IOS implementation is taking a lot of Apple’s time but as far as I am concerned (and many others) is when will?? Steve Jobs and crew finally get their act together harnessing the real power of the hardware which they are keen to sell us all. I look after dozens and dozens of Mac Pros and just love them they are an IT guys nightmare..little to no maintenance!!!
    As someone who has just had an HP Z400 fully loaded running Windows 7 fatally crash on me yesterday running an NLE application (December 9th) I am not particularly amused, but at the same time not particularly surprised by this.
    This is not a rant either about Microsoft vs. Apple but in my extensive experience I have spent thousands of man hours fixing Microsoft based apps and am pretty good (or bad) however you look at it on Exchange which I detest with apps. like Outlook very close behind.
    So to get back to the discussion at hand I am not a FC Studio expert but use it at home as my hobby and am liking Motion a lot. To my way of thinking the market at least in London is AVID vs. Apple as people have too much personal and financial investment in one or other of the systems. It was also interesting that a percentage portion of web traffic in North America will be iPad related. As an interesting point I was in John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City last week and ALL 3 people behind me in the queue were buying iPads!! This interested me.
    So your future market in London anyway will be really high end Fx work being done in places like The Mill and Framestore and some of the other top places.
    Then you will have this huge infrastructure of media content being made in tiny offices/people’s front rooms bit like the demise of the recording studio business. Drive past Abbey Road studios sometime when you are in London and look at their car park on a weekday?
    To me all the stuff done in Motion and AE looks all the same anyway. To be distinct you HAVE to go high end.
    So sorry guys out there having the “rug pulled from underneath your feet” but there are a lot of record producers from the 80s ..90s…earlier this decade feeling the pain too..but we can blame that one on Protools!!
    To finish off I believe the first release next year will be much more functional than a huge re-write. It was quite significant but a chap I got to know well (FC qualified etc) who ran a forum I very much liked was constantly bombarding the Apple FC team with “feature requests”
    About 3 months ago he got “sucked in” to the Pro Apps team and has disappeared off the map…Interesting!!

  28. Yuri

    Thank you Philip for the post.

    I do find a lot of people go to crazy with the updates for pro apps. I believe that the only thing that FCP is lacking at the moment is the h264 editing. I think that the RED and high end stuff is not as important due to the workflow – an assistant can transcode the rushes and the editing can happen in the offline mode. May be less convenient then native editing, but not inconvenient enough to change a workflow.

    Where H264 is different is in the youth market – all the new filmmakers are shooting on the DSLRs and have to suffer from transcoding, so Apple is potentially loosing its youth market – something they have been really concentrating on.

    I have a set workflow with FCP and people around me do too, so it would take something really drastic for all of us to change. An update not happening for a bit longer then usual is just not drastic enough (making FCP like iMovie is).

    1. Interesting thing: turns out that when you edit H.264 DSLR footage in PPro it takes forever to export (and it’s as smooth as we’d all like). So whether you transcode first (via L&T) and have a pleasant edit experience, or you edit native and transcode later – it’s going to take roughly the same amount of time. And not necessarily get you higher quality.

  29. Jonathan

    Predict a feature that will be in the new version of Final Cut Pro and win a FREE upgrade to Final Cut Studio 4!

    Just go here:
    And add a comment with a feature you predict will be in the next version of Final Cut Pro, and you’ll have a chance to win the next Final Cut Studio 4 upgrade!
    Also, look over the other predictions and vote other people’s comments up or down by clicking the balloon!
    The earlier you post, the better chance you’ll have, since you’ll have more opportunity for others to vote your comment up! Read the contest description before predicting!
    To the forum hosts: I thought this forum would be the best place to post this announcement, please feel free to move, and my apologies if I posted in the wrong place!