The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

CAT | Apple Pro Apps

If it’s September, it’s time for IBC – the kinder, gentler, European version of NAB! In 2013 I made my first exploratory trip to see if we should attend IBC and had few commitments. Second trip last year and Lumberjack shared a table at the Supermeet with FCPWORKS.

This year we’re once again teaming with FCPWORKS and Soho Editors by being part of the FCP X Expo. It’s a short walk from the RAI and Greg, Cirina and I will be there most of Saturday and Sunday, until we head to the Supermeet.

If you’re at IBC, come say hello at the FCP X Expo which will be the center of all things Final Cut Pro X at IBC, or at the Supermeet. We’re happy to talk about Lumberjack System, or any of our Intelligent Assistance tools. I’ll be helping Sam Westman with his Feature Film Workflows session at 12:50 on Saturday the 12th September.

Join FCPWORKS’ Sam Mestman on a crash course in feature film metadata prep and on-set workflows. Sam will also co-present an enhanced documentary feature workflow with Lumberjack System’s Philip Hodgetts. Shoot for the edit and maximize the potential under-the-hood of Final Cut Pro X

I’ll be focusing on how Chuck Braverman Productions used the transcription feature we built into Lumberjack System on their two OJ Simpson documentaries for the A&E Network. We announced Lumberjack’s ability to import transcripts into Final Cut Pro X at NAB. In fact we had worked closely with Braverman Productions to make that feature work for them. I’ll be sharing their story.

Grab a Lumberjack pouch from us there, or stop by our table at the Supermeet and we’ll give you one of these usual little pouches there.

Throw in at least three Lunch with Philip and Greg recordings while we’re there (although I think one will be an evening “lunch”) and it’ll be a busy week.

Particularly since I also want to record a couple of The semiSerious Foodies episodes (coming soon) in Amsterdam (Dutch pancakes and Filet American) as well as in Barcelona where we’re heading first.

All with my “fits over my shoulder” production kit!


Peter Wiggins is a freelance editor who has been using Final Cut Pro for broadcast since 2003. He runs the successful FCP plugin website iDustrial Revolution and he is the force behind

Peter WigginsPeter joined us for lunch in San Jose during the recent FCP X Creative Summit. (more…)



Why did we change the name of Xto7?

Peter Wiggins of asked me why we changed the name of Xto7 for Final Cut Pro to XtoCC.  Here’s my answer.


Although Final Cut Pro X’s initial release was four years ago today – June 21st – the story starts much earlier for me. Much more significant was the NAB 2011 preview that completely killed our software business for a couple of months, and even before that, with the speculation leading up to Apple’s formal release of a fresh approach to what a modern NLE should be.

There are important lessons from our experience.


You may have read that Randy Ubillos – Chief Architect, Video Applications at Apple – retired after 20 years with Apple, yesterday.  I’ve had the great privilege of meeting him from time to time, and offer my hearty congratulations on his retirement, the strongest of best wishes for the future, and heartfelt thanks for largely making my career possible.

The question on everyone’s lips is “how does this affect Final Cut Pro X?” My honest thought is “not much”. There are concepts in Final Cut Pro X that clearly came from Randy’s mind, but so also did the original Premiere Pro (1-4.2), the original Final Cut (Pro) (aka Keygrip at Macromedia), Aperture where he was lead architect, and iMovie 08. There were other apps before that, and the full history can be found in Timelines 2 by John Buck.

Randy was also an important part of the team that developed Final Cut Pro X, but more in the role of supervising architect, rather than as part of the detailed group of Product Marketing, App Design, and App Architecture. The people working in those key roles remain in those key roles, and I sense nothing that would affect, or change the direction Apple are taking with Final Cut Pro X. Final Cut Pro X is in exceptionally good hands moving forward.

As I’ve written before, the tools of creative endeavor will always be part of Apple’s DNA, and therefore I expect we’ll see evolution of the tools over time, but never abandonment. There will always be professional, and consumer level, audio, video and photography apps in Apple’s world.

Professionally, I’ve benefited from (writing an unreleased book about) Premiere Pro; from decades of Final Cut Pro classic; and from Final Cut Pro X. I still prefer Aperture over Photos but I’m keeping an open mind that the metadata functions in Photos will improve. For all that, I simply say “Thank you”.

Finally, a little bit of advice from Randy, on taking “holiday videos” (I may paraphrase slightly):

At each location, take out the video camera and shoot a shot. Now, put the camera away and enjoy your holiday and the location in the present.


The presentations from the NAB demo room hosted by FCPWORKS are now up, including my Lumberjack System presentation, which I think was the best I’ve ever explained the benefits of Lumberjack.

The full list of presentations is in the FCPWORKS YouTube Channel and they’re all worth watching, but I’d draw attention to the Direct TV Original Programming presentation (because they use two of the Intelligent Assistance apps and are a recent convert to Lumberjack, which saved them two days in a 7 day schedule). Likewise FCPX for Indies/Urban Cowboy and Mike Matzdorff’s Focus presentation mention how our tools are making their work easier.

My favorite comment – on Twitter – from Direct TV’s Marc Bach is:

Buying your apps is like buying hours of sleep!

Which is, after all, why we do it.

It is the season for updates, and Apple come through with a feature update to Final Cut Pro X and Motion. Many of the new features are common, of course, because Final Cut Pro X and Motion share a common display engine (briefly referred to as the Linear Light Engine in the Supermeet preview, and never heard from again!). This is a solid release, with features I find myself using every day. Compressor also gains an interesting new feature: prepare for iTunes store.




Final Cut Pro X 10.1.4

Out of the blue, Apple announces Final Cut Pro X 10.1.4, which includes some key stability improvements. There is also a Pro Video Formats 2.0 software update, which provides native support for importing, editing, and exporting MXF files with Final Cut Pro X. While FCP X already supported import of MXF files from video cameras, this update extends the format support to a broader range of files and workflows.

So, I guess we know what happened to Hamburg’s MXF technology!
Here is a summary of what’s new in version 10.1.4:
– Native MXF import, edit, and export with Pro Video Formats 2.0 software update (also works with Motion)
– Option to export AVC-Intra MXF files
– Fixes issues with automatic library backups
– Fixes a problem where clips with certain frame rates from Canon and Sanyo cameras would not import properly 
– Resolves issues that could interrupt long imports when App Nap is enabled
– Stabilization and Rolling Shutter reduction works correctly with 240fps video
For more information about the new MXF support, you can view the following article:
Hard to categorize this as either a feature or maintenance release. I’ll go for feature release simply because of the support for MXF natively and export to AVC-Intra MXF files. Neither will affect me, but they are features that are very important to the higher end of the editing market.

Jon Chapelle of Digital Rebellion has noted that the support for MXF is much wider than just Pro Apps. What is interesting is that the MXF components seem to be QuickTime based, rather than AV Foundation, probably for historic reasons.

As Final Cut Pro X – and other modern video apps – are built on Frameworks from the core OS, those Frameworks sometimes provide clues to Apple’s thinking. One that we care a lot about is AVFoundation, which is the modern replacement for QuickTime at the application and OS level. We’ve seen this in the transition from QuickTime Player 7, which is built on QuickTime (both QTKit and the older C API). Unfortunately AVFoundation has lacked many features that are essential for video workflows, so I watch the features added to AVFoundation as a way of understanding where video apps might go.

Firstly, there has been a massive update to AVFoundation in Yosemite, and it appears we get reference movies back.

(more…)’s lead story today is good news for Apple and Final Cut Pro X – The BBC are adopting more than 1000 seats of Final Cut Pro X for news. To be fair, the BBC seems to be adopting both Final Cut Pro X and Premiere Pro across their own production units, and some remain on installs of Media Composer, but News seems to be going Final Cut Pro X exclusively.

My Apple PR contacts tell me that Final Cut Pro X is also being used on “several popular daytime shows” as well.

In other good news, not reported (yet) on, the French TF1 group have also adopted Final Cut Pro X. According to this Tweet both Premiere Pro CC and Final Cut Pro X were tested, with Final Cut Pro X getting the gig.

Of course, come IBC I’m sure Adobe will share some of their new partners as well, and no doubt, increased Creative Cloud subscribers.

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