Twitter has, not surprisingly, been set alight by the release of FCPx today. Rightly or Wrongly a much anticipated new version of the venerable (but decidedly dated) Final Cut Pro was always going to generate much traffic. The fact that it is a seemingly radical overhaul with “new” ways of thinking only makes it more so.
I have written before about how the marketing diatribe of the Fruit Company is blindly arrogant in it’s assertions of newness - there really is nothing radically new in FCPx that we havn’t already seen before in Premiere, Vegas, Edius and AVid. But even I am shocked by the swarm of negativity and Bad Blood washing over twitter this morning.
Sure, its a 1.0 release of a major (and much over-due) new version. But the list of omissions and absences of even the basic and core functionality seems almost ludicrous.
- It took a long time for multiple marker colors to be added to Final Cut Pro. Now we’re back to one marker color again. There are no chapter markers either.
- You need an OpenCL-compatible graphics card. This has left some Mac Pro owners out in the cold.
- The QuickTime movie output options in FCPX are poor, which means you’re obligated to pay an extra $49 for Compressor 4 because you can’t send to Compressor 3.
- Compressor 4 is still 32-bit and doesn’t look like it’s received an overhaul, meaning that the problems many of us have suffered are likely to continue. I have already had several issues with Qmaster.
- No multicam. This is a massive oversight in my opinion.
- No XML import / output. Another huge oversight.
- A lot of plugin developers have been left out in the cold with no answers from Apple.
- No support for old FCP 7 projects.
- No credible broadcast monitor output. The current solution is to mirror your desktop through a capture card, which does not result in a broadcast-quality output.
And there’s more:
- No Tape-Based ingest. Firewire is coming but other than that nothing for higher end decks and formats.
- Some formats are not supported at all like 1080p50
- No external apps for Sound, DVD authoring, BluRay Authoring or Colour grading
- No project consolidation with handles
- No OMF Support
- No custom window layouts
- No Multi-clipping
- No EDL support
- No AAF support
- No support for RED RAW files
- No XDCAM Support
- No Audio Mixer and no timeline audio keyframing
A single tweet gave me a small glimmer of hope when it suggested that the Apple Pro Apps codecs (ie ProRes) had been re-released as a universal installer. The implication being that you would no longer have to own FCP to be able to use ProRes. Alas this turned out to be false. Here was a major opportunity for Apple to cement ProRes as a free universal cross-platform standard for lossless intermediates. But no…. It’s the approach Avid have taken with DNxHD - a lossless high bitrate intermediate codec that operates in standard QT wrapper and is entirely cross platform and usable in any NLE that uses QuickTime. if you have a mixed environment DNxHD is far and away the best free choice (and second only to the superb Cineform if you want to pay some money). Instead Apple maintains it’s backward thinking closed shop approach….
Beyond these glaring omissions above there are two other elements to the FCPx release that really piss me off and confirm my disdain for Apple as a company. The first is that they have (in typical fashion) NOT told their 3rd party developers Anything. They have been left completely out in the cold and unable to make any development or business plans. This is just a really shitty way to treat the small third-party developers that for a decade have made FCP vibrant and functional when it should have been resigned to the antiquated bin.
Moreover, with the release of FCPx Apple have discontinued support of FCP7. This is reprehensible. To replace wholesale a long standing and well trusted post-production work horse with a lame, hobbled, swiss-cheese like release lacking the core professional functionality listed above, is just really fucked and speaks to the arrogant disdain Apple hold their professional users.
Michael Kammes expands on this issue of Apple’s disdain for the companies, people and products that help it thrive -
“As a techie, and as a loyal servant of a VAR (Value Added Reseller), my rear is quite chaffed. As Apple VARs – ones that advertise your product, ones that learn to support your product, ones that defend your product when it’s on the client’s chopping block, it appears that we are no longer worth your respect and attention. With no way to re-sell and no way to easily deploy, we are being phased out. An App Store purchase is easier than a VAR, isn’t it Apple? While it may not make a dent in your bottom line, it’s a solid backhand to those of us who pumped, sold, and built facilities based off FCP 1. FCP2. FC3. FCP 3.04. We helped make Final Cut Pro what it is. We didn’t even get put in a retirement home, we went straight to the morgue.”
A phased transition from FCP7 to the FCPx - with continued updates for FCP7 - would not only be the righteous thing to do for customers that have invested so much in FCP, but would also be the way to avoid all this Bad Blood and negativity floating in the twitterverse. Users would have forgiven FCPx its failings, seen it for what it was (a 1.0 release in development) and slowly phased their business and work practice over to the new paradigm as they grew used to it and its missing features were added in.
What bothers me most of all about all this is that, despite the ongoing arrogance and brutalist business practices of Apple - the contempt with which they continually treat their dedicated users and 3rd party developers, the mindless secrecy and litigation practices they maintain against anyone who breaks their cone of silence - there will still be an army of idiot fanboys screaming about how great FCPx is and blithely forgiving all other sins.
I look forward to exploring the new FCPx as much as anyone - its an exciting and fascinating release - and I always welcome fresh thinking to creative tools. But the idea of giving that arsehole company my money makes me sick to the stomach.