Do Professional Editors care about FCPX (anymore)? – The Backlash!

Okay, I'll be the first to say that the backlash from the original article was massive.  Mostly negative.  Some positive, but mostly negative.
 

The original article was a commentary on Larry Jordan's Amsterdam Supermeet conference on whether FCPX was ready for Professional use.  Funny thing was that all the article bashers were attacking me for asking the question, when it was LJ who asked it first, and he asked it a month ago.  People were outraged that I could ask something like this two years after FCPX was released.  The original piece was a commentary after I watched LJ's presentation, and again, the backlash was huge.
 


I posted the articles across Avid, Adobe and FCP facebook pages alike, and one reader, from Final Cut Pro X Editors group on Facebook, had a lot to say about what I had wrote, with legitimate concerns that were shared across many forums on the internet, so I thought I would address his concerns with the article, and in turn, address most of the common “issues” people had

Here is his original post:

I'm fascinated that someone that admittedly doesn't even USE FCPX in production writes an opinion piece on FCPX! How did I know where it was going to go from there? Hmmm…  Actually, at the point of “Apple doesn't care about editors and editing. They care about phone sales.” is pretty much where I stopped taking any of it even vaguely serious, since that is utter ad hominem malarky at its finest in my book. Pure, unsubstantiated conjecture with zero basis in reality.  My personal favorites are also the “because it's still missing things that I need to get my job done to time and on time” claims that oddly are *never* followed by an actual example of any of those direly needed shortcomings to be able work as a true “pro”? It's just one of those nondescript, leading claims left for everyone to interpret for themselves. Pundit fodder, nothing more. Unfortunate for PVC, but also not unexpected. They're just catering to their usual crowd. Painfully obvious that this is someone not the least bit clear on the most basic concept of how Apple works.  “They have reduced the editing application design team from two teams (FCP and iMovie) down to one.”  OUCH. You mean like the Logic and Garageband team? The iPhoto and Aperture team?

See a pattern there by chance?

For me just the usual, frightened “Hey, why can they do the same I can only cheaper, better and faster?” reflection of your average Avid user that had to spend 4-5 digits (more) to still not be able to do what I can do with FCP and Motion combined (or PPro and AE for that matter), and is banking on a factually dying company. I'd be freaked, too.  Premiere and (of all things) Avid “way ahead” of FCP X? Really? Coming from a hobbyist FCP X user? Again: enlighten us as to how? Just another woolly claim left to interpretation, or is there any real substance in that notion?  Judging if “ready for professional use” by who ELSE is using it?? You can't be serious. A “tip” measured by nothing but your own small (production) world around you? Using mere anecdotal “evidence” as a basis for an argument? Gee, wonder where that would have left FCP 1.0? We know how bad that turned out, right? Oh hey… or AVID in 1990? And to think that I'm in the business of letting OTHERS decide on what suits me best for my work? Wow. I believe we call that a “the logical fallacy of appealing to authority”.

But I grant you one thing: I thought LJ was a very poor choice for answering that (clearly loaded) question.  I for one can name you a couple of national broadcasters here that are editing on FCPX (even for years now) and I even set up a brand new Swiss MTV-style channel on FCP X exclusively, for example. Others are in the making.  “… it's too late to get back all the FCP7 users who have jumped ship to Adobe and Avid” You of course have actual, hard numbers to back up that meme, right?  Actual fact? There are more FCP X users today than there ever were FCP 7 users. Oops. Sure, the demographic may be different… so? What does that tell us about the “fact” that people are “jumping ship”?  Sorry, but if any Avid or Premiere user isn't switching to X, then is is only due to them having their opinion dictated to them by such biased opinion pieces that actually assume that the “pro” world of today has anything even ever so slightly to do with the “pro” world of even 5 years ago, let alone 10. Where some select few big wigs with too much money and far less clue called the shots for an entire industry with their deep pockets. Where HAVING an NLE was elitist, let alone being able to WORK one. Sorry, but this isn't 1995 anymore.  I started in 1988 btw. I'm pretty sure I know what I'm talking about.  I personally don't know of a single 7 user that didn't in fact simply stick with 7 and/or transition to X around the time of 10.0.6. But hey, I guess that's just MY little biased world.  And sorry Matt, but parroting tired and ignorant claims that other alleged “pros” are saying doesn't make for validity. Unless you want to actually name any of those supposed “valid points”? I didn't in fact see a single one. But am open to enlightenment.  Oh yeah, and: “the day is coming where Apple could very will just flip the switch, and leave everyone in the dark”  Brilliant. As opposed to… hmmm… AVID?? Yeah, the fact that they haven't turned a profit since *2006* and aren't even worth *1/5th* what they were two years ago makes for a really warm and fuzzy feeling for an Avid editor. Now *that's* “security”!

I'd say that was long enough, no? Did I miss anything?


He then followed up with:

PVC were the first to jump the X Hate Train, taking turns at the steering wheel. If it weren't for the occasional informed and competent alibi article from people like Mark, that would be an extremely hard thought to follow. They have a crowd to feed and I'd say their demographic is pretty apparent.  And Justin, don't think you'll get an actual answer. Because the mere attempt at one would surely backfire. A plethora of logical fallacies is very shaky ground to build on.  Mark is right. It's a click-baitish fluff piece. Best displayed by the fact that the second page consists 99% of copy/paste. Yeah, a link to the original wouldn't have been enough. One does have a quota to fill and if you don't have any real facts or experience to draw from… well…

Which was then followed up by:

Let's not reduce this to some paltry “Battle of the NLEs”, because it isn't, Aaron. Nor try to deny anyone their right to an opinion with some rather silly emotional metaphors. It's always your choice to ignore the thread. Though actual, constructive input will generally be more helpful.And since when is defending something you believe in “shameful”, or however you characterize it? Aside from it ultimately being completely irrelevant which NLE (or any random person place or thing) it is about, if I feel someone is making nonsensical claims, I call them on it. I'd do the same for Avid and/or PPro.  No one has anything against a well researched, well argued article with a minimum of substance, even if we don't agree. This just is everything *but* that and there's absolutely nothing wrong in pointing that out, because (newsflash) that's in fact what a group like this is for.  Kevin *clearly* posted this *here* of all places to provoke a reaction (and get cheap, gratuitous clicks), so I see no problem with people reacting any way they feel fit or giving a counter opinion, since I'm pretty sure that's what he was going for and yes… we took the bait.  The mere fact that he hasn't responded to any of the rebuttals or questions asked (and I'm sure won't) speaks novels in and of itself.

Please remember, you asked for my opinion, and that is what you are getting.
 


The very first comment, “I'm fascinated that someone that admittedly doesn't even USE FCPX in production writes an opinion piece on FCPX!”  I stated very clearly in the article that I use FCPX to cut home videos, and for me, that's as far as I would take it.  “Actually, at the point of “Apple doesn't care about editors and editing. They care about phone sales.” is pretty much where I stopped taking any of it even vaguely serious, since that is utter ad hominem malarky at its finest in my book. Pure, unsubstantiated conjecture with zero basis in reality.” was your second comment, so let's break down the post companies.

  1. Avid is a company that focuses on Post Production workflow, first and only.  Editing, shared storage and post audio.
  2. Adobe is kind of a toss up, as they now focus pretty much equally on what I'll call “Desktop Graphics & Desktop Video” for lack of a better term.
  3. Apple focuses on iPhone Sales first.  Mac Computers second, and App Store/iTunes/etc third.
  4. Sony focuses on TV's, Blu-Ray players, HD Cam decks, and a ton of other stuff before Vegas is even brought into the equation. 

Strictly looking at this on a piece of paper, for me, already puts Avid and Adobe ahead of the other two, because editing/post is their bread and butter.  Finally, in the beginning of your response to my article, you commented “My personal favorites are also the “because it's still missing things that I need to get my job done to time and on time” claims that oddly are *never* followed by an actual example of any of those direly needed shortcomings to be able work as a true “pro”?

Three things I can think of off the top of my head that are missing in FCPX that should have been there from day 1:

1. Ability to open FCP7 projects in FCPX.  This is a given, and I know there's an application out there that you can buy that will let you do this.  So what you're telling me is that now that I've made my purchase of my shiny new FCPX, I now have to spend more money (the fact that it's $10 is irrelevant and the fact that I have to pay for it is ludicrous) to be able to open all the legacy projects I'm always going back to because I've spent years building up my FCP7 client base?  Very Annoying

2. Proper Roundtripping to Motion 5.  I use heavy graphics in all the projects that I work on, and in FCP7, Motion (and AE for that matter) was a HUGE part of my workflow.  Now Motion is an island with a one way street that goes to FCPX, and not the other way around.  With that being said, again, I can spend another $10 at the App store to get another plug-in for this, but then again, there are issues with it, so it might not be your best option.  Again, more money being spent.

3.  Proper OMF support for post audio.  Every project I work on goes to ProTools for a mix.  Right now, this is pretty much impossible.  At least with 7 I could use the free Automatic Duck Pro Export to get my sessions to ProTools, or I can spend $50 to buy X to 7 to do the same process.  Again, I'm spending more money, and going backwards, when the whole point of FCPX is to move forward.

Honorable Annoyance:

4. The Color Board.  So, let me understand this correctly.  Just about every color correcting plug-in or application known to man uses the color wheels.  Even FCP7 had them.  So why change this?  FCP7 had two options for color correcting.  Color Corrector and Color Corrector 3 way with the eyedroppers.  This is the way all colorist work, and for me (again, in my opinion) it's the best and most accurate way to work.    I'll give Mark Spencer and Steve Martin credit for their clever workaround, but the catch is that you have to spend the $50 for Motion.

Here's the thing, again, in my opinion, this app needed to start at the same level playing field as version 7 of “Final Cut Pro”, because you're calling it “Final Cut Pro 10”.  You can tell me all you want that “They've added all these updates to it since it first came out”, but at the end of the day, they've put the application back to where FCP7 was at, at its “end of life”.  If you had called it “iMovie 10”, than I would expect it to do everything that iMovie did.  Then, adding everything they added in all the point updates would be a huge bonus.  FCP7 let you open legacy projects, FPC7 let you send your timelines to Motion for graphics work and FCP7 even let you export OMF files (granted, Automatic Duck did it better, but that's an argument for another day).  If you wanted to do all of the above, you're looking at an extra $120 on top of what you've already spent on FCPX.  This is wrong, and misleading for people who are making a switch from FPC7 to FCPX, and should have been dealt with at launch (or at least by now).

Apparently my statement of “because it's still missing things that I need to get my job done to time and on time”, was countered with “Unfortunate for PVC, but also not unexpected. They're just catering to their usual crowd. Painfully obvious that this is someone not the least bit clear on the most basic concept of how Apple works.”.  I'm not sure exactly how “Apple works” but I know how they have worked in the past, and that's the bar they have set for themselves.  Also, the last time I checked, PVC caters to Professionals working in Television and Film, so we as a community might not feel that FCPX is the right tool for “professionals”, and we are working professionals, and people value our opinions.

I also made the comment that “They have reduced the editing application design team from two teams (FCP and iMovie) down to one.”  Which was countered by “OUCH. You mean like the Logic and Garageband team? The iPhoto and Aperture team?”  But, if you notice, what the two powerhouse applications were.  Logic and Aperture.  Would Logic and Aperture users be upset if Apple gave them only Garageband and iPhoto to work with?  I'm pretty sure they would be outraged!

And yes, in my opinion, Avid and Premiere are way ahead of FPCX.  Avid Media Composer is at version 19.  Premiere Pro is at version 13 (with major point updates in there as well)  You can call it Final Cut Pro 10 all you want, but with the reboot, it should have just been called “Final Cut Pro”, and given it a reset back to the start.  No expectations.  Calling it X (10) leads people to believe that it's a follow up to version 7 when it's not.  It's a follow up to iMovie 9.
 


I was also called out on the following:

Judging if “ready for professional use” by who ELSE is using it?? You can't be serious. A “tip” measured by nothing but your own small (production) world around you? Using mere anecdotal “evidence” as a basis for an argument? Gee, wonder where that would have left FCP 1.0? We know how bad that turned out, right? Oh hey… or AVID in 1990? And to think that I'm in the business of letting OTHERS decide on what suits me best for my work? Wow. I believe we call that a “the logical fallacy of appealing to authority”.

I know editors at pretty much all the major and minor players here in Toronto (Post facilities and freelance editors as well), and as much as I am one person who can only take a look at the city he lives and works in (Toronto Canada), and a general consensus from a lot of professionals he talks to, I think that taking a look at how many people are trading in their Avid and Adobe licenses for FCPX is a fair argument.  In the heyday of FCP (I'll say version 5/6), people were dumping their Media Composers and Premiere Pro stations (more their Avid stations, as it WAS considered the standard back then) for FCP licenses.  I found it interesting that the comparison of FCP1 was used.  Does that mean that we should look at FCPX as a version one of the software?  If so, then it should be called “FCP”, not “FCPX” (much like my earlier comment).  Also, take a look at many of the FCP user groups that have changed their names to something different that FCPUG.  To me, it shows a major shift in thinking towards FCP(X).

The next paragraphs:

I for one can name you a couple of national broadcasters here that are editing on FCPX (even for years now) and I even set up a brand new Swiss MTV-style channel on FCP X exclusively, for example. Others are in the making.  “… it's too late to get back all the FCP7 users who have jumped ship to Adobe and Avid” You of course have actual, hard numbers to back up that meme, right?  Actual fact? There are more FCP X users today than there ever were FCP 7 users. Oops. Sure, the demographic may be different… so? What does that tell us about the “fact” that people are “jumping ship”?

Here's the thing, we can argue this point until we're blue in the face, for every five FCPX edit facilities you show me, I'll find you 10-20 Avid and Adobe facilities.   I found it interesting that you called me out on the statement that “… it's too late to get back all the FCP7 users who have jumped ship to Adobe and Avid”, and then followed it up by saying “Actual fact? There are more FCP X users today than there ever were FCP 7”, of which I'm sure you have the facts to back that up as well.  Here's what's important to keep in mind about “jumping ship”.  Every FCP7 user who has switched, or is going to switch has to jump ship, whether it's to Avid, Adobe or FCPX.  I know many (and I mean many) people who switched to Avid and Premiere and I know a couple who switched to FCPX (not as many as the other two, but I know they switched none the less), so at the end of the day, everyone who is working in FCP7 needs to jump ship.  Again, in my own opinion, people will switch to the platform that gives them the least downtime, and has the tools most similar to what they are accustomed to, and that is Media Composer or Premiere Pro.

You also made the comment that “PVC were the first to jump the X Hate Train, taking turns at the steering wheel.”  As I mentioned earlier, PVC is a “Community for Media Professionals”, and if you aren't seeing anything that is “FCPX” favorable, it would mean that the writing staff, who are all working professionals in the film and television industry, don't see FCPX as being a valuable tool for their professional work.

And to finish things off you stated that I “posted this *here* (on many groups in Facebook) of all places to provoke a reaction (and get cheap, gratuitous clicks), so I see no problem with people reacting any way they feel fit or giving a counter opinion, since I'm pretty sure that's what he was going for and yes… we took the bait.  The mere fact that he hasn't responded to any of the rebuttals or questions asked (and I'm sure won't) speaks novels in and of itself.”  I write a lot of articles, and post many tutorials that don't get follow ups.  I had stated on Facebook that with all the backlash (and it's been huge) that not one person has sent me a message, e-mail or anything like that to question anything I've said. You then stated that you “can only rate that as a pretty cheap cop-out. Unless of course you can name me a warrant able reason why you shouldn't respond to my or other people's posts HERE. In context. I'm pretty sure everyone involved would be very interested to hear what you have to say. Why should we need to take it to some virtual “private room”?  Either you stand behind and can justify everything you wrote and can deal with the scrutiny, or you need to reconsider what you write and where you post it, no? You make a *explicit* effort to make this as *public* as possible and now want to take it *private*? I won't speculate as to what that reeks of.”  I stand behind everything I've said, and I feel I have provided backup enough to justify it.

Here's the thing.  Across all the many venues that this article has appeared, I've been called stupid, a moron, I've been told I don't know what the hell I'm talking about as well as other names that I can't repeat here.  Does it matter to me, no.  I stood on my apple box (no pun intended), and shouted with a megaphone to the masses, and I expect a response.    The funny thing is that only FCPX editors have been the ones calling me names, and telling me I don't know what the hell I'm taling about.  All Media Composer, Premiere Pro editors and FCP7 editors who have made the switch to one of those two NLE's have said I'm right on the money.  I've also been told that I'm an Apple hater, and an FCP hater.  The problem is that this couldn't be farther from the truth.  Anyone who watches my tutorials knows that most of the work is done on a Mac.  I was a huge flag waver of Final Cut Studio (especially FCP and Motion), and I also think that Apple has done a HUGE disservice not only making people pay for software that, when it was released was not even remotely ready for production, but have spent the last two years adding features to it to possibly charge us to upgrade to version 10.1, which is what FCPX should have been when it launched.  The article wasn't written for FCPX users.  It was written for the thousands and thousands of people who are still using FCP7 (Final Cut Studio 3), and trying to decide what to “upgrade to”.  I stand behind my original article, and stand behind my opinion, and remember, that's what that article was, a commentary, that FCPX is still not ready for professional use.  It's still not where FCP7 left off, and until then, I won't be using it in any jobs I work on.

Kevin P Mcauliffe is a Senior Editor at DG MIJO, in Toronto, and the host of The Post Podcast!  You can subscribe to it on iTunes here, or check out our RSS Feed here!  You can send him an e-mail at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @kpmcauliffe.


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Kevin P. McAuliffe

Kevin P McAuliffe is a three time North American ProMax award winning editor and a Media Composer editor for over 15 years. He is a featured trainer at MacProVideo and is also one of the Senior Editor’s at MIJO in Toronto, Canada, with current clients including Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures and E1 Entertainment to name a few. He can also be found helping out on the Avid Community forums in the Media Composer & Symphony Get Started Fast forum.

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