2011 has been quite a year for Videoguys, and our industry. In April, at the FCPUG SuperMeet during the NAB show in Vegas, things changed dramatically when Apple gave a first look of their new FCPX editing software. I was at the event, and the room was filled with excitement, energy and anticipation - that is until after the Apple presentation. The professional editors and broadcasters in the room left feeling nervous and uneasy about Apple's commitment to them, their workflows and the needs of professional post-production. When Apple actually released FCPX later that summer web blogs and forums were lit up with frustrated FCP editors, wondering why Apple would abandon them and leave them drifting in the wind.
FCPX isn't just Apple's attempt to revolutionize video editing, it also spurred a revolt amongst their loyal FCP editors. Before we get into the backlash, lets talk about what we like about FCPX.
FCPX - Power to the people!
The first thing you have to understand and accept about FCPX is that Apple did not design it for professional post production. it was designed for the millions of people who shoot, edit and upload video everyday. Yes, there are millions of folks doing this, and for some of them, they need and want video editing software that goes beyond the low end consumer products like iMovie, Windows MovieMaker or Pinnacle Studio. Our Videoguys' techs have noted for years now that there is a demand for an advanced NLE software priced under $500. We haven't had a software solution come close to that since Avid pulled LIQUID off the market. Apple recognized this opportunity and they launched FCPX, at a price point of $299, delivered directly to your Mac via the App store. PURE GENIUS. No cost of packaging, distribution, sales organization or even advertising.
FCPX - I admit it, I like it.
For the record, I like FCPX - but I don't edit video for a living. I mainly make videos of my travels, family, kids sports and other events. I like what FCPX has going on under the hood - 64 Bit processing, native file format support, automatic correction and detection tools. I like the magnetic timeline and I like using keywords to manage my clips. For a new generation of video editors these new methods of editing will become 2nd nature to them, and quite frankly, many of them will never want or miss the old fashioned timeline. That said, FCPX has a long way to go before it gets accepted into professional post houses, broadcast television stations and Hollywood studios. Many hope Apple will get back there, I'm not sure they really want to. There is nothing wrong with having the world's best, most innovative video editing software for the average Joe, soccer mom or skateboard kid to use. After all, there are millions of you, while only a handful of folks go on to edit feature films or television programs.
Editors Revolt - Crossgrades for Everyone!
As we all know, FCPX released without several must-have features (Multicam, MXF import/export and 3rd party hardware support to name a few). That left professional post houses no choice but to investigate alternative products for their facilities.
Avid and Adobe seized this opportunity to aggressively go after frustrated and disgruntled FCP editors with new crossgrade campaigns. This was the first time ever that editors have been given the chance to buy Avid Media Composer or the full Adobe Production Premium for under a thousand bucks! The success of these offers also inspired similar promtions on Sony Vegas Pro and Grass Valley EDIUS. Some of these crossgrade opportunities have even become regular product offers and will be available until Apple makes their next move.
Apple has already promised a major release in early 2012 that will add Multicam & Broadcast Quality Video Monitoring. They did not provide details so it will be interesting to see exactly what that upgrade delivers. Will it enable existing 3rd party hardware to work or will it only work with new Thunderbolt based hardware? Will we get full I/O, or just preview? What other new features or refinements will be included to win back the hearts of loyal FCP editors? Will this release give editors everything they want or will there be another round of post-production editors crossing over to Avid and Adobe?
Enough about the year of "X", lets talk about the this year's list of Videoguys' Top 10 Products of 2011.
1 Avid Media Composer 5.5 & 6
2 Adobe® Creative Suite® 5.5 Production Premium®
3 Matrox MXO2 Family with Thunderbolt Adapter
4 Grass Valley ADVC-G Series
5 SONY Vegas Pro 11
6 Avid Studio
7 Reds Giant Software Suites
8 Boris Continuum Complete 8
9 Roland VR-5 Mixer
10 Class On Demand Online Training Catalog