Final Cut Pro X: Do the features tell us anything about the target market?

In a review of FCP X’s multicam feature (new to 10.0.3) Scott Simmons claims:

It’s far and away the easiest and most powerful way to setup and manipulate all the angles when prepping for the edit.

I completely agree with Scott. Before the release of multicam in FCP X, I joked that Apple needed to make it “idiot proof”, which was my way of saying that multicam was now used by people who did not necessarily follow the traditional path to multicam. This started me thinking about the feature set and what, if anything, it might tell us about who FCP X is designed for.

Shortly after FCP X was released, I attempted a similar analysis based on the demographics of the video editing marketplace. That remains an interesting perspective.

Multicam

Let’s start with multicam. Who needs it? Particularly who needs to switch up to 64 angles? Multicam is certainly popular in event production but those folk are equally well served with Premiere Pro CS 5.5’s four angle multicam. 64 angles puts it into Media Composer territory and solidly in the realm of reality TV production where 16 concurrent cameras (or more) is common, particularly with challenge-type reality competitions.

Sure, simplicity of use (and the ability to mix and match formats and manage multiple clips in an angle) is a bonus that no-one should complain about, but all pointers are that this implementation is solidly aimed at “big” multicam projects. An activity that was difficult (and required specialized knowledge) in FCP 7 has become very easy in FCP X.

Merged Clips

Another feature I tend to associate with high end production is Merged Clips from dual system (separate recordings of audio and video). Indeed, we’ve made software that batch syncs dual system that’s sold largely into the high end. Merged Clips in FCP X are incredibly easy – the antithesis of FCP 7 Merged Clips. Clip metadata is used to get sync close, and then audio waveforms are used to finish the alignment.

While the use of dual system is definitely increasing – driven in part by the easy ability to merge clips (both in FCP X and using DualEyes) – the people who use double system workflows care about the quality of audio, not normally something the “YouTube” producer appears to do!

Media Storage

Taking a leaf out of Media Composer’s “we’ll manage the media locations for you” approach, FCP X adopts both “leave the media where it is” and “we’ll manage locations for you” approaches. If you want to manage media locations manually, you can (and in Media Composer you can use AMA for that purpose). If you prefer FCP X to manage it for you, that’s fine too.

Since media locations in FCP 7 were a constant battle, with many a tutorial and DVD created to break down the confusion, simplifying – and borrowing from Media Composer – the project structures is a definite positive, regardless of the type of work you do. (And if that’s using centralized storage, that’s fine as well.)

Broadcast Video Out

I think the intent here is obvious. There is a subset of FCP X users for whom ColorSync is perceived as not being adequate. Now, I think it’s a major step up for the majority of users who never had a video monitor in FCP 1-7 or if they did, was an uncalibrated “television”. I wrote – before Broadcast Video Out was announced – that I thought ColorSync was an excellent solution and I still do. The first opportunity I had to compare the iMac display against a broadcast video monitor (Rec 709) confirmed what I theorized: there was no visible difference between the two.

Regardless, there are those who must have that video output for a calibrated monitor. The target is rather obvious: broadcasters and those producing for broadcast. Another “high end” feature for “high end” production, but one that does not have wide appeal outside of that niche.

Speed (64 bit, Linear Light Engine, No rendering, Keyword Collections)

Something of an intangible “feature” but one I hear consistently: FCP X is faster to edit with to get to a result. Whether it’s metadata tagging or the Magnetic Timeline, the lack of time wasted in rendering or some combination of them, for those who make the mindset shift to FCP X, it works faster. It was Bill Davis’ third bullet point in his recent Five Ways I Think FCP-X is Changing Editing for the Better post, and it’s something I’ve written about before.

Who needs speed? Who doesn’t? The people that don’t need speed are those for whom editing is more hobby than professional work. Those editing professionally need the job done as quickly as is possible commensurate with the level of quality the project requires. (That is not a single data point, by the way.)

That’s only five features from FCP X, but those five alone clearly define FCP X’s target (and suitability) as being for those who edit professionally, and at a high level of production complexity and quality. Why would Apple have invested in these features if FCP X was only for “YouTube videos” and “prosumers” (whatever that term may mean)?

34 replies on “Final Cut Pro X: Do the features tell us anything about the target market?”

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  1. Well said, Philip.

    The arguments FCPX’s opponents have used to try to pigeonhole it into a “prosumer” application continue to slowly fall away, and I would bet money will have completely evaporated by year’s end. After that it will be about a preference for “how” you want to edit, not whether the tool is up to the task.

    Every time Apple reinstates a feature into FCPX, it comes back better, smarter, faster, and easier than before. There is still work to do in audio and mixing, multi-user and shared storage workflows… and of course refining and stabilizing the software. But Apple has shown it has an aggressive timetable for updates. By my math we may see 10.0.4 as early as the end of March.

    More exciting, I think we’ll continue to see real integration of all of Apple’s devices. We already have 3rd party apps for location slating. I wager we’ll see iPads as keyboard alternative control surfaces for audio mixing or colour correction. Tomorrow, will likely see the release of a 1080p capable AppleTV, which along with 10.8 Mountain Lion’s built in Airplay Functionality, would allow for wireless (non-color critical) studio monitoring.

    Colour me excited.

  2. Hey Philip,

    Good post. Most of the reasons I’m not using FCPX professionally are no longer at the roadblock/dealbreaker level. There is a certain professional resistance due to known workflows and established paradigms, and any professional FCPX “resister” that doesn’t at least admit to that should be viewed with great skepticism.

    Having admitted that, I’m still just an FCPX tinkerer. I like it’s choice in media management. I really like it’s selective native/transcode tools and the cool tricks it pulls in swapping that stuff out for you. I like a heck of a lot about it for an NLE I don’t use. LOL.

    Right now the broadcast monitoring performance with my Blackmagic HD Decklink Extreme 3D is a little sluggish even on an 8-core Mac Pro tower that, while not “brand new” (heh…that’s a dig because there aren’t any new Mac Pros in the world…), seems to deliver the broadcast monitoring experience I desire in other apps. So, there’s that…but it’ll probably improve when it comes out of “beta”.

    So the short answer is “I dunno”. I’m not feeling it right now, despite a lot of cool stuff. Unlike some pros who chose to just be mad at Apple and write them off, I’m just sort of watching and tinkering. Not ruling it out.

    Fair enough?

    1. Someone posted a comment on Twitter a while ago which I’ll paraphrase as “If it wasn’t called Final Cut Pro would we be trying so hard to make it work?”

      It’s a great question because there are heaps of great editing applications on the market (Sony Vegas springs to mind) which meet the demands of their market really well but don’t suit broadcast work as well, and we don’t care and don’t try to find ways to make them work.

      The fact that FCP X’s limitation are no longer deal breakers is great, but does it matter? Do we need to make it work? We still have FCP 7 working for the moment, Media Composer is a really viable option for many and Premiere Pro is just getting better and better.

      It’s good that FCP X is becoming a better tool for broadcast, but it’s not essential that it does. Is it?

      1. No, not essential that it does broadcast at all. Just interesting that some of the features that are there do seem more focused toward those workflows. I’m not saying that it’s the only market (that would be foolish because of its size) but I do see many signs that Apple – within the Pro Apps – believe FCP X is suitable for at least some broadcast shows.

        As for multicam – it obviously wasn’t trivial as Premiere Pro only gained four angles when they did multicam. 64 seems like a nice “digital” number! Broadcast monitoring is a very targeted feature.

  3. You seem to be implying that the target market for FCP X is, in fact, broadcast production. I still think that’s unlikely.

    As you’ve rightly observed in the past the size of that market (broadcast/film editing) is very limited. It’s also very demanding. While there’s no harm in Apple providing (or returning?) some of the features that are essential for this market, I certainly don’t think the needs of broadcast professionals are high on the development targets list.

    64 cameras in multi-cam isn’t to support the needs of reality production, it simply because once you have any multi-cam support it’s trivial to extend that to whatever arbitary limit you choose. You do, however, have to put in some limits for the sake of assumptions in programming, so 64 is a good top-end that’s unlikely to limit anyone.

    Merged clips is obviously something that’s been important to film editors for a long time where dual-system sound has been the standard literally forever. But it’s inclusion in FCP X is probably less to do with that and much more to do with the DSLR explosion and the sudden requirement for dual-system sound on those shoots. If the requirements of film were a driving force there we’d also see support for things like multiple axillary timecode, keycode and sub-reel tracking.

    The media management thing is a good step and does help address one of the biggest issues that’s faced FCP editors since 1.0, but the way it’s been implemented is a lot more like the library from iTunes or iPhoto than Avid’s system.

    Broadcast monitoring is obviously a concession to the broadcast and film markets, although from what I’ve heard it still leaves a lot to be desired. It’s also more than simply having reference grade monitoring, it makes it possible to plug the suite into larger SDI-based infrastructure – client monitors, tape machines, etc.

    There are definitely thing in FCP X that are beneficial to editing as a whole, but in general I still think the workflow in the software is often too prescribed to really challenge Avid and FCP7 for the broadcast market. While it works fine for many tasks there are others that require significant changes to the approach and methods and are therefore unlikely to be immediately appealing to those users.

    I think, instead, that a lot of FCP X’s features are targeted at hobbyists and “content creators” – people who are paid either by independent clients or an employer to shoot, edit and deliver video content for the web etc. People who have to finish everything all by themselves in one box.

    That’s a growing market. Many companies now employ in house content creators to produce videos for YouTube and their own websites. Almost every product launch or conference can now be expected to have a key video… Etc etc etc.

    For those people FCP X makes great sense. And they are a huge and growing market. They are happy to work with what FCP X offers and they aren’t a demanding client base. These things can’t really be said for broadcast post-production – we’re a demanding bunch who will complain loudly if things don’t suit the way we want to work.

    1. Dylan, you can hardly hide your contempt… 🙂

  4. Now, if we could get true professional realistic color correction tools, I’d be 100% sold. But, Apple doesn’t seem to think color correction tools are all that important.

    1. I doubt there’s much more work to be done *within* FCP X for color – for those who need more the focus seems to be on working with Resolve closely (it’s not perfectly there yet).

      I still think audio mixing is needed; selective copy/paste of attributes and probably more things. But I want a good audio mixer, not a dedicated DAW built in.

  5. I am a content creator, and have been for forty years. My clients have always been corporate or institutional, large and small. We produce company overviews, histories, new product introductions, motivational meeting openers, and more (no weddings.) This is a large, and largely misunderstood, market.

    We started in slides for meetings (by slides I mean large multiple projector slide show extravaganzas, not Powerpoint), in the 1970’s, ten years before video became viable for the corporate client world.

    When video became affordable for my company, we embraced it while others stayed in slides– Affordable market differentiation was the key issue. As a company that wrote and produced everything we did, and based in the midwest, budgets were often tight. But tight budgets do not lessen client demands.

    For a few years we had to cut on 3/4″ and go to a post house, bump it up to 1″ or 2″, and layer effects on top (or occasionally conform a project, if it needed it and the budget allowed.) As soon as there were cheap-ass tools we could afford in-house that made our projects look better, we went for them.

    We adapted non-linear as soon as we could afford to… starting with Matrox stuff and Speed Razor. (Premiere was on version 1 and I did my first edit on that, but it was painful.) Toward the end of the 90’s we were working on Sony Vegas and beefed up PC’s, augmented with Boris Red. We liked Vegas.

    In the 2003 or so, a client wanted a vary sophisticated interactive recruiting project done on DVD. Again, there was the question of in-house, out-of-house, what can we afford, how do we make money and keep the client happy?

    We bought an iMac and FCP Suite 3, which included DVD Studio Pro. After testing all kinds of PC-based Dvd authoring, I was amazed at the cleanliness and capability of DVD Studio Pro.

    The videos were already edited (by this time we had a dozen or so people on staff) but the DVD stuff baffled our people and so I took on the challenge (business owners have to be prepared to take over at any time.) Since I liked the DVD app, I started using Final Cut Pro for some last minute trims and changes. I liked it, and when newer versions arrived, I adopted them.

    Now I’m a one man shop, and frankly, older, and taking it a bit easier. But when I do accept a project, the deadlines are still there, shorter than ever, concept to completion…. 6 meeting videos for an auditorium of 10,000 people in 4 weeks anyone?

    Recently, I just finished two project on Final Cut Pro X, and although I was fearful with the first release (I bought it right away), I was thrilled with the quick response, capability, and end result of the editing of these projects. I used the keywording to my advantage, loved the real time previewing of transitions and effects, and basically got a whole lot done in a very short amount of time. One project was 34 minutes, the other four. Both included a mix of footage from Canon HD cams, DSLR’s, and stills and slides, plus library and original music beds.

    These clients are very demanding in terns of quality, storytelling and audience impact. And budgets can be in the hundreds (rare) or 5 or 6 figures (also becoming rare as everybody and his brother claims to be a video specialist.)

    They don’t bring a scope to hook up to my Macbook Pro or loaded iMac, but they’re professional marketers and have been around this stuff for a long time. They judge the end result– tears, applause, sales, whatever is prescribed. They know pacing, quality shooting, and creative editing.

    For my kind of projects– sophisticated sound, hundreds of edits, relatively fast paced, lots of location footage, some studio bits, FCPX– so far, so good.

    There are still issues, particularly managing memory and background rendering on larger projects, plus audio editing has a way to go, but for my market– a very large one in terms of seats if not budgets– I’m very pleased with Final Cut Pro X.

    1. Brien, Exactly. That’s kind of the business I had in Australia with a little documentary and broadcast commercial work as well.

  6. I see from your Twitter Mentions that there’s a hardcore minority that still thinks low grade cable TV docs are the pinnacle of media production.

    I regularly see sneering at the “Vimeo Crowd” when frankly, I’d rather spend an evening watching the fantastic and fresh content on Vimeo than Hitler’s Secrets 11.

    I ditched Broadcast TV years ago for the exciting world of online content creation which used to be referred to non-broadcast which is a meaningless term nowadays but we’re making broadcast quality media just not for TV.

    We use FCPX to edit and colour correct and love how this can be done with effects and titles in context and in real time with a client in the room too. We’ve never missed Color…not for a second. Smoke is the only comparable tool for what we do.

    When I see comments like FCPX is aimed at Hobbyists I think Apple really have done their job well, all editing software should be aimed at hobbyists! Being creative should not be difficult. Avid looks more like a spreadsheet than a creative application at times. They have made many routine tasks so simple and elegant that it is ridiculously easy to overlook them.

    The Event Browser is a godsend and I can literally find any clip in seconds without trying to rely on memory and often non-descriptive comments mnemonics like SCN1 MCU TK2 to find what I’m looking for. Thumbnails skimming and Keywording has taken hours if not days off unproductive time which means more time on the fun and creative work. IMHO, this is far more Pro than yesterday’s software still relying on bins.

    Apple have set the foundations of FCPX with strong metadata foundations and strong feature sets for syncing media and media management that can be built upon and combined together i.e. Multicam. If Apple maintain the speed of updates and continue to address the shortcomings and continually improve the workflow FCPX will be even more successful than FCS at grabbing marketshare.

    The first poster mentioned the Apple TV in passing. These devices are the future of broadcasting completely sidestepping the limitations of the broadcast network and much of the associated cost too. It won’t be too long before Apple is a broadcaster itself through iCloud. Monetizing of video for the masses can’t be far away either if they follow the very successful App model.

    Must dash, I’ve got to catch The World’s Most Dangerous Neighbours from Hell 6…

    1. Loved this “Being creative should not be difficult.” I like that working with FCP X makes editing feel like fun again. And Terry Curren and I have discussed the expectation that Apple will be (eventually) the content distributor. I note that Adobe have been making steps as well for content creators to directly monetize.

    2. “I see from your Twitter Mentions that there’s a hardcore minority that still thinks low grade cable TV docs are the pinnacle of media production.”

      I love this comment, truly.

      I submit that many of these people, when they say “Final Cut is no longer for professionals”, are really saying to themselves, “Final Cut is no longer for REAL professionals, people like me who cut episodic TV.”

      I just started cutting my first FCPX project. Slowly but surely I’m overcoming the fear and frustration of dealing the double-whammy of both a new interface and a new way of thinking about editing. And I’ve been experiencing a string a “aha!” moments, realizing how clever the new way is, seeing the potential for time saving and enhanced creativity.

      Yes, some stuff still sucks. But we’re seeing rapid development, and clearly Apple is listening and responding to the needs of professionals.

      Even REAL professionals.

      1. There are a lot of different workflows in video editing, and a lot of professionals focusing on different area.

        For a certain group of editors with specific needs there are aspects of the way FCP X approaches the task of editing that are either not suitable at all or would require a massive shift in workflow that is unrealistic in the context of the production.

        With that in mind it’s also worth considering what FCP (up to version 7) was to Apple, editors in general and broadcast editors specifically…

        For Apple FCP was a product that appealed to a wide range of users. It has a massive adoption among hobbyists (which was a massive market as video cameras became more ubiquitous), it was also really strong among corporate users and content creators who found the tools accessible, affordable and powerful, and lastly it had seriously challenged Avid in the broadcast market (and also in film, although a little less so).

        For the non-broadcast professional editors FCP had all the features they needed, plenty they didn’t and was almost the standard. Vegas was competitive for Windows users, and Adobe’s suite also offered a lot, but FCP was dominant. And it was more affordable than Avid which was more rigid in many ways anyway.

        For broadcast editors however things were really different. Apple had SERIOUSLY shaken up the market by unseating Avid in many places by virtue of it’s low cost and integration with third-party hardware. It had been a hard road for some as there were features that were necessary for some types of work that took a while to reach FCP, but by version 6 it was suitable for most broadcast work without too much hassle. Moving between FCP and Avid was mostly just a matter of learning some new terminology and shortcuts.

        By the time FCP X arrived it was fair to say that overall FCP had about 50% of the market for broadcast editing – the number varies massively depending where you are, but it’s a fair generalisation.

        So for broadcast editors the impact was huge! FCP X was simply not an upgrade from FCP 7 – there were features that had vanished entirely, many things had changed and some things just weren’t really possible anymore – and that was the reality for, arguably, 50% of the world’s broadcast editors.

        For everyone else FCP X represented a big change, but the changes and omissions weren’t so significant and were probably easier to work around. Also there were a number of easily accessible alternatives immediately available.

        So when people were complaining that FCP X was unsuitable for professionals it’s really just that group of professionals – and yes that’s unfair to the MANY other professionals who aren’t working in that environment, but it’s hard to qualify things in the way in a tweet.

        It’s also worth remembering that Apple basically launched FCP X at NAB – the National Association of Broadcasters. A conference that’s centered around exactly these type of people.

        Is FCP X capable of use within a broadcast environment? Sure. Is it designed with those needs in mind? Absolutely not. Does that matter? To most potential and actual users – no.

        1. FWIW, FCP 7 had 52% of “professional NLEs” four years prior to FCP X’s release. But 50% of the world’s broadcast editors is still fewer than 100,000-200,000 (based on the 25,500 number of “Film & TV Editors” in the US (Dept Labor Statistics).
          I see quite a lot of signs that Apple is definitely pushing for FCP X adoption in the episodic TV and reality TV arenas.
          And you’re right, to most users it doesn’t matter.

        2. back-peddling and digging an even deeper hole at the same time – you must be a ‘professional’ editor!

  7. “I see from your Twitter Mentions that there’s a hardcore minority that still thinks low grade cable TV docs are the pinnacle of media production.”

    Hey…I resemble that remark…

    But I don’t only cut cable docs. That’s just what I did for the past 6 years. Before that I cut cable (major cable) narrative…short films…feature films that no one saw (ha!), corporate video…and now commercials and TV promos. I cover the gamut of broadcast TV. I can say, as can many people in the broadcast profession, that FCX just isn’t for our market. It doesn’t suit our needs at all. FCP Legacy did, even though trimming, which is a vital feature for narrative work, was very weak in FCP legacy. There are just too many things that we rely on that FCX doesn’t provide.

    And the new interface and new way of editing isn’t making any friends.

    So, FCX isn’t for the vast majority of broadcast TV. Fine…we have other tools. We are just in shock…still in shock…at the sudden change of direction with ZERO warning.

    Will it work for broadcast? We’ll see. There are always the enterprising few that struggle to make it work. I was one of those when the orignal FCP hit version 4.5…and it solved issues I faced that Avid had no answer for. When there are post issues that FCX solves that other NLEs can’t…that’s when you’ll see people using it.

    IMHO.

  8. Oh, and Steve… none of my cable docs are “low grade.” Shot with high end cameras, with big budgets, and seen nationwide.

    Well, OK, except for that one series I onlined that was shot on HDV. I’ll give you that one…

    1. pull yourself to together Shane!

  9. “I cover the gamut of broadcast TV. I can say, as can many people in the broadcast profession, that FCX just isn’t for our market.”

    You hope!

    The furore that FCPX created when it was released was the visible outpouring of fear from the two dozen broadcast Pros (yeah there really aren’t that many broadcast editors) crying out together. NOOOOOO!!!!! How dare you Apple! How dare you make editing so accessible! Every Tom, Dick n Harry will be able to do it now!

    When I was beginning in the industry you simply had to know Avid to get yourself a job as an editor, FCP came along and broke that de facto closed shop by being a cost effective alternative. By breaking down the barriers to entry it is a product for a more egalitarian future, a future based more on your creative ability than about how you stack clips on a timeline and mentally store a trillion keyboard shortcuts. Gone are the decades of tape based clutter and quaint references to film storage receptacles that no one really cares about and in come contemporary references such as events, roles and keyword that are much more relevant.

    The trackless (or shall we say Object Orientated) configuration of FCPX appears to be much closer to how my brain works. When I’m editing, in my head I am assembling associations between images and sound and the FCPX timeline is the accurate visual portrayal of that thought process. TBH I have never seen “tracks” in my mind’s eye and I have never had an audio track set aside in my head for sound effects, have you? When I’m editing I associate a particular sound effect with an image and wherever that image occurs in time that association is fixed. Oh look, I have now got a piece of software that does that for me! And FCPX is not Pro because it doesn’t have audio tracks….right!

    The future I see for FCPX is one where everyone and every company is a potential broadcaster and where video usage is as ubiquitous as paper once was. Video is the next “Killer App” and FCPX has been designed not just for the closed shop of broadcast but has acknowledged that there is a much wider dynamic range of uses and people that will be producing media.

    I can understand why some people are worried by FCPX as it is one of those disruptive products that comes along from time to time and kicks down the door and upsets the apple cart (no pun intended). Of course it’s a new application and a new way of doing things, the software equivalent of removing the floppy disk drive from the PC. There were some people that missed the Floppy disk drive but not for very long and no one misses it now. Give FCPX a year to 18 months of further development and no one will remember the furore only the brilliance of the vision that brought it to market.

    Quite a few years ago someone quite astute said this, “the medium is the message.”

    1. I’de hazard a guess that, most of the moaning minnies aren’t Apple fans at heart anyway; who ever pays them the money gets their attention… a bit like a lady of the night! 🙂

      1. I’d hazard a guess that being an “Apple fan” has nothing whatever to do with objectively assessing software, although clearly it seems the primary motivation for your posts.
        I’ll bypass the slur you cast on the entirely reasoned and helpful contributions prior to yours and point out that paying attention to your customers is an essential part of any profession – both old and new – to be neglected at your detriment.

        1. I wasn’t one of those who ran for the hills, claiming that it was the end of the world… but then, I’m not a ‘professional’ editor. Self indulgent arrogance. 🙂

          1. Maybe some of these editors were fanboys and didn’t much like what they did to their app. I know one blow hard that refers to himself as “A Creative Genius” has only recently discovered Premiere Pro. Too busy genuflecting at the altar of FCP to notice what’s going on in the real world perhaps?

            From my own personal perspective had Avid or Adobe done a FCPX I would be heaping praise on it and them too. Alas I don’t think there’s any company that could get away with such a bold move because it causes an uproar. Apple are holding so many more cards in so many more games than anyone else at present and are competing with loaded decks. All their own hard work and vision is paying off.

            I just watched the iPad keynote and you know it won’t be long before there is an iPad Pro running Pro Apps for editing on the go and when you get back to base the iPad becomes a multi-touch edit controller, grading controller for all your Mac based Pro Apps etc etc. It’s months away not years now just look at iPhoto on the iPad it’s the shape of things to come for the professional.

            Maybe the iPad Pro will have a thunderbolt connector and you’d be able to edit and colour grade on the exact device that your media is likely to be watched on. Who’d need broadcast monitoring? Er, this is broadcast monitoring!

            @Chris

            I know what you mean about self indulgent arrogance, it is something that is quite prevalent in broadcast circles because they’ve always had an elitist position, always had access to the cameras, editing suites and turn-key VFX workstations. People have defined themselves by how professional they are the equipment they have surrounded themselves with rather than the content.

            You only have to look at Hollywood output to know that $200M can buy you a steaming turd of a film. But hey, everyone that worked on it was a Hollywood Pro right and that means something. Broadcast TV is the same too. Personally I’d rather watch a show filmed on HDV if it was challenging and innovative than most of what is broadcast in pristine HD. There are really very few media professionals working on exceptional TV the like of David Attenborough’s natural world documentaries and the high-end American drama series. The overwhelming majority of Broadcast Pros are working on trite chewing gum for the mind or rehashed formulaic reality TV or the new wave of über trash, the scripted reality doc. Surely the arrogance is misplaced?

            Go read the Avid forums. Hilarious. Now these blokes really can’t see the wood for the trees. No one there gets that FCPX is to iTunes what Xcode is to the App Store as they’re too busy being all pro.

          2. I grew up with the typesetters (the professional editors of their time); and where are they now! LOL!

  10. The new UI is partially about making timelines easier to pass between editors. Given that tracks can be used for a variety tasks by editors, secondary storylines, auditions and roles codify these tasks with more clarity.

    This timeline transparency for workgroups seems ironic at the moment because the current version of FCP X feels very ‘single-user.’

    Given that FCP has always been about selling Macs, it seems likely that future versions will be going after the kind of productions where many people work on a project at the same time. It’s just that they probably won’t be working in the same facilities house or TV station…

    1. As I think you know Alex, there are some signs of “lock states” in FCP X but it’s a long way from being a multi-user system. I’d certainly like to be able to have multiple editors working *from* one Event, even if they can’t write any metadata back to the Event.

      Not to forget how powerful Compound Clips in an Event can be.

  11. At this stage I think realistically one has also to accept that regardless of how well Apple manages to regroup, in terms of adding FCP X features relating to (and therefore suitability for) broadcast work, and despite a growing improvement in market (and press) perception of the product, FCP X adoption in larger broadcast environments faces a considerable hurdle in overcoming the almost complete loss of confidence (in Apple) occasioned by the way in which the initial launch was handled. Essentially the broadcast, engineering and IT departments of existing large scale FCP legacy installations still feel very much burned, and continue to transition away from their FCP installations (and to some extent the Apple platform) altogether. If Apple are serious about the larger broadcast sector (and by that I mean large scale broadcast installations) then I think they are going to have to step up and actively court that market directly, something they are not currently doing as far as I can tell. It took them a long time to break that market the first time round. Seems to me they lost it at a stroke with the FCP X launch. Seems to me that Incremental updates and word of mouth via the fanbase, no matter how good the updates nor how positive the word of mouth, will not help them break it again any faster than the last time, , if at all. Once bitten twice shy and all that.

    1. I think there will be some exceptions. We’ve already seen numerous articles about shops transitioning over. As you say, maybe not the top end, but independent houses.

      But I do agree with you, like the Conan vids illustrate, there’s a lot of hard feelings, and Apple might never get those people back- but then again I think you could have said the same thing about the people who walked away from AVID over the last 10 years too. But they regained trust, and mostly in the last… what? Three years?

      That said, I think FCPx will find it’s place if it’s feature set fills out over this year. If you like the basic conceits of the program, there are very few things that are “missing” per se at this point. Broadcast monitoring has to be solidified, multi-user and shared storage workflows need to be addressed better, and some better onboard mixing tools need to be implemented. But round-tripping to both DaVinci and ProTools is now available.

      So, that being the case, I think it will be the younger generation that will primarily push FCPX, those who had no loyalty to the old paradigms, and who didn’t get “burned” in the launch last year. Those people who are using the program now, and who will grow as FCPX does, start their own production companies divorced from things like legacy tape workflows that can only become less and less relevant as time goes on.

      If you look only at existing production companies, yeah, FCPX has a hard road to hoe, but the landscape is always changing- for me and my larger scale productions this year, FCPX holds a lot of benefits, and that’s what I’ll be proposing for those productions on the assumption that the final couple of issues can be resolved.

    2. I think Apple are actively courting the broadcast community. Just not in ways really obvious to outsiders.

      1. Agreed Marcus, that makes good sense.

        Philip, I’m not an outsider … on the inside looking out, but the inside is a big place and for sure I’m seeing only one tiny part of it that may or may not be representative of the whole. Right or wrong tho, the random musing above is noted directly from that perspective.

        1. Andy your starting to ramble… Could you please give us some real world examples behind your musings? Perhaps the ‘supposed’ changes going on at the BBC?

  12. I’ll say this, based on all the consulting clients I service (gov, corp, higher ed, broadcast, indie), and the classes I have been teaching, people love FCP X when they learn it. The biggest and most important thing I’ve learned is that no two people who do the same type of work do it the same way. The argument that X-type of work, or Y-type of work isn’t suited to NLE-Y or NLE-Z is total and absolute bullshit talk. So many reality show producers I’ve spoken to are handled in so many different ways. So many documentary makers I’ve worked with have such diverse workflows. Event, corporate, online content, they all have their own ways of working. You can NOT factually group a whole genre of media creation into one lump standardized workflow. There are no industry standards anymore, period. Every new camera has a new codec, every new hardware device has a new feature that works differently than before. There is no such thing as “professional” any more, cause no one can come up with one definition that everyone will agree on. You can NOT put any group of media creators into one workflow category, period. So please stop talking like you can. It’s just BS in the reality of today’s international industry. FCP X will work for some episodic shows, and not for others. Most of it depends on how the individuals who make the decisions on that show “want” to work. From there they will make any tool they love work for them one way or the other. It’s simple reality.

    1. … well said Ben!

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