Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Apple's Final Cut Pro X leaves many pro video editors disappointed and angry

29

June

It's been a week since Apple released Final Cut Pro X in the App Store and it's left many pro video editors angry and disappointed. First announced in April and touted as featuring a "revolutionary new way to edit," it's now being referred to by many as "iMovie Pro."

Many customer comments in the App Store are scathing and ratings with one out of five stars are common. Here are some of the most recent headlines on customer comments:

fc.png"I feel like I've been had"

"iMovie is actually more of a Pro app at this point."

"Extremely buggy, overly simplistic"

"Vital features missing"

"Are you kidding me?"

When the software was introduced earlier this year, everyone was oohing and aahing over the new features. With 64-bit editing, the Magnetic Timeline, Clip Connections, automatic audio cleanup and color-matching,  it looked like Apple had reinvented Final Cut Pro for next-generation pro video editing. Many people, including myself, noticed that the interface looked more like the current version of iMovie than the previous version of Final Cut Pro. And of course, with a price drop to $299.99 from $999 price for the FCP 7 suite, it seemed too good to be true. That price includes only the main video editing software (not Motion, DVD Studio Pro, Compressor and the other suite applications) and no box or printed manual, but still it seemed aggressive.

I don't have have Final Cut Pro X so I can't share any hands-on experiences with you and can't validate the complaints. I was ready with credit card in hand to buy it on the first day, but when I read the initial reviews I decided to wait, thinking they may be knee-jerk reactions to a new and unfamiliar interface. Day after day the negativity has continued and CNET reports that Apple has refunded angry customers. Then two days after the release the folks from the Conan show lambasted Apple with this funny video. It's definitely not the kind of publicity you want.

The main complaints? Well, FCP X doesn't open projects from previous FCP projects. Wow, that's a big one. I've been using FCP since version 5, and subsequent versions always opened the older projects without incident. Oddly enough, FCP X does open iMovie files. Other missing features include multi-cam editing, XML export, audio track export, support for more cameras and support for third-party plug-ins and drivers. Apple has responded saying some of the missing features will return with future software updates.

screen_shot_2011-06-29_at_6.21.57_pm.png

Final Cut Pro is used by many professionals in the news, advertising and entertainment industries and full-length Hollywood movies have been created with it. Many of the television shows you watch are likely edited with it too, so this issue is pretty far-reaching. To make matters worse, Final Cut Pro Studio (with FCP7) is no longer for sale so Apple is effectively forcing everyone to eventually embrace the new interface. A petition has been started, now with nearly 6,000 signatures, asking Apple to refer to FCP X as a prosumer product with reinstatement of FCP 7 or sell it to a third party (yeah, right).

Apple isn't used to a strong, negative reaction to their products so it will be interesting to see how they handle this. It seems they really were out of touch with their professional user base and that's odd, given their connections to Pixar and Hollywood. For those were planning to get FCP 7, you'd better act fast. Prices are already rising and even eBay doesn't have very many copies available.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 8:21pm]

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