Starting Over All-over Again

Some of you might not know that while I rant and rave about politics and the madness that it instills in our society, it’s not my job. No, in fact, I’m mostly a video editor, although I do just about every type of media you could imagine. I got my start in Marketing working for Garrett Aviation, which was part of GE at the time, and moved to it full-time with ATX. At ATX I was asked to expand my skills to include video and I got quite a few by learning Final Cut Pro. It was version 3 when I started doing video editing.

And then came version 4. At about that same time, Apple had the PowerMac G5 as the top-of-the-line desktop, and given that I really needed power to do my work, I convinced my boss, who had just bought me a super-powerful PowerMac G4 less than 6 months prior, that it was necessary and he should totally buy it for me. And he did. Because I can tout my geek cred with the best of them.

So yeah, I had a HUGE machine, with a TON of power, and it was 64-bit capable.

Which means it was about 6 years early. We’re talking 2003, and Mac OS X couldn’t do much in 64-bit, and Final Cut Pro couldn’t do squat in it, but I needed that power. We all do. Trust me.

And here we are, 8 years later, and Final Cut Pro X has been released, and it’s abilities to access all the power of 64-bit computing cores is realized. Of course, it’s not PowerPC chip compliant, so it won’t work on those G5s anyway, but look at what it took to get here. EIGHT YEARS.

Over those years, Apple have done a ton, like converting to Intel chips, upgrading the OS 4 times, launching the iPhone and then launching the iPad, and basically taking over the tech landscape. It’s been a pretty amazing ride. And during that time, they did manage to also upgrade, significantly, Final Cut Pro to version 7, so yeah, that’s 4 versions as well. Lots of tough work. And FCP7 is a great piece of software that has some current-tech drawbacks, namely that it’s ancient code and it’s 32-bit.

Apple have solved this problem the best way possible – they tossed it and started over. And many people are complaining that they started over, not with Final Cut, but with iMovie, which had been overhauled in 2008. That overhaul was massive, as the entire codebase was redone from scratch, with new thinking on how edits happen and video is made. And after a few releases, iMovie has once-again become the leading consumer video editing app. It’s on my iPhone and iPad as well, and I use it on both, although I hate the version on my Mac.

Yes, I said I hate it. Why? Because it’s so limited, but this only bothers me when I’m using iMovie on my Mac, and that’s because my Mac is in no-way limited like my iPhone and my iPad are. And frankly, my iOS devices need to be limited. The things I do in my day-to-day editing are not things I want to do on my iPhone, but if I could access them there, I would try, because I’m an idiot that way. But those features would be ridiculous there, and Apple have rightly not included them.

But on my Mac, I want power. In fact, I am a god when it comes to what I can do in Final Cut Pro on my Mac. I know the program inside and out, and frankly, if you stump me, I’m dead.

Or I’m using Final Cut Pro X.

This is why most people are frustrated with the new Final Cut Pro X release. They understand and know and have at their fingertips an entire Mount Olympus of skills in Final Cut Pro 7, and it means nothing to them if they are using Final Cut Pro x. Add to that the fact that FCPX, in starting over, had to cut some features that were core to how people currently worked, and some of those cuts are unpopular. Hell, I don’t even agree with all of them, and would have shuffled out a few new features in return for a real log-and-capture system for using tape (which, while dying, isn’t dead, no matter how much I wish it was!). But there couldn’t be everything, tough choices had to be made.

Looking over the bitching, and how wide and varied it really is, I think the only constant complaint is the XML in-and-out system is missing, which limits what you can do with other apps to finish your project, and that needs to be addressed soon. It’s a core piece of the structured workflow that far too many businesses, even small one-pony shows like mine, actually need and use regularly. I’m going to go on a limb and say that this piece will be addressed soon. I might even know why it’s missing, but that’s irrelevant for now.

We’ve been through this with Apple before. They have seen the end of the road for the stuff before, and rather than fighting the change, they embrace it now, fight to make it better, and hope that their customers trust them enough to let them bring us magic in the future. Am I switching over to using FCPX now? Not for everything, no, but I’m using it on a long-form project that I know I can pull into FCP7 any time if I need to, so that I can fully-learn FCPX and so that I can see if there’s any truth to it being useless for professionals. So far, the only truth is that it’s new and I kinda like it.

And I’ll like it more when Compressor actually does Closed Captions right.

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