I’ve had a couple of people ask for my thoughts on the new FCPX release given my history with Apple and in particular my experience with how they dealt with another product that was focused (in our case almost exclusively) on professionals – the compositing software ‘Shake’. So, even though I don’t think they’re totally analogous events, I figured I’d use it as an opportunity to make a couple of points about (my perception of) how Apple thinks.
For those that aren’t familiar with the history, Shake was very entrenched in the top end of the visual effects industry. The overwhelming majority of our customers were doing big-budget feature film work and were, naturally, all about high-end functionality.
So after Apple acquired us there was a lot of concern that Cupertino wouldn’t be willing to continue to cater to that market and, although it took a few years, that concern did indeed come to pass. The development team was gradually transitioned to working on other tools and Shake as a product was eventually end-of-life’d.
And back then the same questions were being asked as now – “Doesn’t Apple care about the high-end professional market?”
In a word, no. Not really. Not enough to focus on it as a primary business.
Let’s talk economics first. There’s what, maybe 10,000 ‘high-end’ editors in the world? That’s probably being generous. But the number of people who would buy a powerful editing package that’s more cost-effective and easier to learn/use than anything else that’s out there? More. Lots more. So, a $1000 high-end product vs. a $300 product for a market that’s at least an order of magnitude larger. Clearly makes sense, even though I’d claim that the dollars involved are really just a drop in the bucket either way for Apple.
So what else? I mean what’s the real value of a package that’s sold only to high-end guys? Prestige? Does Apple really need more of that? Again, look back at Shake. It was dominant in the visual effects world. You’d be hard-pressed to pick a major motion picture from the early years of this century that didn’t make use of Shake in some fashion. And believe me, Lord of the Rings looks a lot cooler on a corporate demo reel than does Cold Mountain or The Social Network. Swords and Orcs and ShitBlowingUp, oh my. But really, so what?
Apple isn’t about a few people in Hollywood having done something cool on a Mac (and then maybe allowing Apple to talk about it). No, Apple is about thousands and thousands of people having done something cool on their own Mac and then wanting to tell everyone about it themselves. It’s become a buzzword but I’ll use it anyway – viral marketing.
And really, from a company perspective high-end customers are a pain in the ass. Before Apple bought Shake, customer feedback drove about 90% of the features we’d put into the product. But that’s not how Apple rolls – for them a high end customers are high-bandwidth in terms of the attention they require relative to the revenue they return. After the acquisition I remember sitting in a roomful of Hollywood VFX pros where Steve told everybody point-blank that we/Apple were going to focus on giving them powerful tools that were far more cost-effective than what they were accustomed to… but that the relationship between them and Apple wasn’t going to be something where they’d be driving product direction anymore. Didn’t go over particularly well, incidentally, but I don’t think that concerned Steve overmuch… :-)
And the features that high end customers need are often very very unsexy. They don’t look particularly good in a demo. See, here’s the thing with how features happen at Apple to a great extent – product development is often driven by how well things can be demoed. Maybe not explicitly – nobody ever told me to only design features that demoed well – but the nature of the organization effectively makes it work out that way. Because a lot of decisions about product direction make their way very far up the management hierarchy (often to Steve himself). And so the first question that comes up is ‘how are we going to show this feature within the company?’ All the mid-level managers know that they’re going to have a limited window of time to convey what makes a product or a feature special to their bosses. So they either 1) make a sexy demo or 2) spend a lot of time trying to explain why some customer feels that some obscure feature is worth implementing. Guess which strategy works best?
And by this I don’t mean to imply at all that the products are style over substance, because they’re definitely not. But it’s very true that Apple would rather have products which do things that other products can’t do (or can’t do well), even if it means they leave out some more basic&boring features along the way. Apple isn’t big on the quotidian. In the case of FCP, they’d rather introduce a new and easier and arguably better method for dealing with cuts, or with scrubbing, or whatever, even if it means that they need to leave out something standard for high-end editors like proper support for OMF. Or, to look all the way back to the iPod, they’d rather have a robust framework for buying and organizing music instead of supporting, say, an FM radio. And it’s why Pages doesn’t have nearly the depth of Word but is soooo much more pleasant to use on a daily basis.
So if you’re really a professional you shouldn’t want to be reliant on software from a company like Apple. Because your heart will be broken. Because they’re not reliant on you. Use Apple’s tools to take you as far as they can – they’re an incredible bargain in terms of price-performance. But once you’re ready to move up to the next level, find yourself a software provider whose life-blood flows only as long as they keep their professional customers happy. It only makes sense.
ADDENDUM. I suppose I should make it clear (since some people are misinterpreting a few things) that I’m not complaining about Apple’s decisions with regards to either Shake or FCPX. (As a stockholder I’ve got very little to complain about with regards to Apple’s decisions over the past several years :-))
And, in spite of the fact that MacRumors characterized this post as saying “Apple Doesn’t Care about Pro Market” I don’t believe at all that ‘professionals’ should immediately flee the platform. As with anything, you should look at the feature set, look at the likely evolution, and make your own decisions. My perception of the high-end professional category is informed by my history in feature-film production, which is a large, cooperative team environment with a whole lot of moving pieces. Yours may be different.
Ultimately my goal was to shed some light on the thought-processes that go into Apple’s decisions, and the type of market they want to address. Bottom line is that I do think that FCPX will provide incredible value for a huge number of people and will undoubtedly continue to grow in terms of the features that are added (or re-added) to it. Just don’t expect everything that was in FCP7 to return to FCPX because they’re really different products addressing different markets. It’s up to you to decide which market you work in.
Right on the spot
*sigh* But I want to love Apple so much… I just wish they’d love me back.
Sure! I too, I love Apple.
Thank you Ron for your insight today. We’ve been debating this very issue in several forums, but your comments are, I believe, the most “inside” view we’ve had of Apple’s interests.
Brilliant, well stated, Thanks for the insight.
Seconded. I have only just entered the fray being as I ignore product launches and versions below 3.0. Tonight I was ultra-confused about what’s gone on with FCPX while I was working with FCP7 and Avid Xpress. Now I know the synopsis and the detail of the matter.
The only solution is for an open-source NLE to become popular. There is one that looks pretty promising now, Lightworks. Currently, it only runs on Windows but Linux and OS X are planned for later this year.
I have no affiliation with them, just looked at it today.
It’s great to have an open-source option, although there are times that I want someone I can yell at if the software doesn’t work right :-).
I’m anxiously awaiting the MAC OS Lightworks. (And I’m also looking at Avid.)
Lightworks is run by EditShare. There’s a forum, where the developers are active, where you can get support. If you go for the full commercial version, you get in touch with EditShare if something doesn’t work…
Yelling at someone does not make the software work correctly, and is a poor excuse. Yelling at someone because your backup software didn’t work does not help your backups function again. Software, like any tool, needs to either work, or get out of the way for a tool that does work.
Dear Mister Jobs,
Apple doesn’t want to sell software to professionals? Allright, so be it. So, who should buy the new Mac Pros? Apple doesn’t want to sell hardware to professionals, either?
The cow unfortunately long forgot it was a calf a few years before. When Apple was almost dead, it was enthusiasts and professionals who made their return possible.
If only Apple NEVER had invented the iPod or, even worse, the iPhone. They’d be a true underdog, still recognizing who makes them alive at all.
But of course, APPL is still about shareholder value and stuff, it’s a company and companies have to make money one way or another.
If Apple prefers to sell the $800 iPhone, $249 iPod and $599 iPad to consumers instead of $10.000 computers and $1000 screens as well as $3000 notebooks to professionals, so be it. If Apple wants to sell millions of items that aren’t actually used for anything else than just consumption and ditch the thousands of items used for productive use, so be it.
But please, dear Apple, don’f fucking believe your base will help you up the next time you’re down.
Right now people are hauling in pain, because a piece of software they really loved/hated and relied on was thrown into the trash, after they spent thousands of dollars on Apple hardware.
Listening to music was possible before the iPod and will be long after it’s extinction. Nobody will care if yet another MP3-player-vendor goes bancrupt.
Sincerly yours, h0uz3 (Who uses a $80 mobile, listens to music from an old radio and types this message on an 8-Core Mac Pro that was bought because of Final Cut Studio.)
“When Apple was almost dead, it was enthusiasts and professionals who made their return possible.”
That’s the point where you lose all credibility and are obviously stuck in yet another self-important “I’m so pro and important, I’ll even make shit up to prove it!” bubble of utter hubris. The MacPro HAS never and WILL never play a significant role in Apple’s existence. But they will full well continue to sell and develop them, whether that suits you whiny sob-stiory or not.
Grow up. Get out more. Just cut the pathetic blathering. Goodbye, you won’t be missed… the LEAST by Apple.
Apple is a little girl and she just flitted her hair & walked away after the jock with the dollars. Left the brainiac geek to sit alone at his edit bay.
You know, there are plenty of other fish in the sea, and plenty of other software companies that still care about professional editors. Let’s give them our attention now, shall we?
Your response seems overly emotional rather than rational. What happens in a year or two when FCPX and a few plugins satisfies everyone again, and most of their existing users learned the new Interface?
People cried over MacOS 9 too, but you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who still thinks MacOS 9 was better than X. Better than MacOS X 10.0, sure, but not MacOS X in general. It tool until 10.2 before everyone really came around. It might be that long with FCP X too, but Apple are not idiots, and Randy Ubillos (he invented digital editing, for goodness sake) is not an idiot either. He knows that most users will be better off at the end of this transition instead of trying to patch the old bloated architecture and old-fashioned workflow in FCP 7.
“Apple was almost dead, it was enthusiasts and professionals who made their return possible.”
It was people buying iMacs and iPods that made the return possible.
Enthusiasts and pros had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Wrong. There are other commercial solutions such as Avid and Adobe. I’m not sure why people need to beat the “open source” drums all the time when typically those solutions are half-baked at best. Also, you’re referencing and recommending a solution to the masses which you just found about today. That makes no sense.
Agreed. How can you recommend some software that you just looked at on a website today? I highly recommend Media 100 because I just heard today on a forum that it’s still going.
I used the original Lightworks and the “new” one about 7 years ago.
When the “new” one came out it ran on Windows 2000 at a time when XP was about three years old!
And you had no proper fx layers, only one kind of varispeed so all speedups looked like interlaced video, etc…
Being a web developer and not a video professional, I come from an open source world. This kind of crap doesn’t happen here. You can run to Avid or Adobe but I seem to recall Avid costing $100K before FCP came along and Premiere was spit on by video professionals. Sure, you can switch to them, but how long will it be before they screw you over as well?
I’m not recomming LightWorks, I’m just saying that video professionals may want to start looking at some open source tools. If you can get enough users behind these tools, maybe you can tip the balance of power in this field.
Ah, very nice. tnx for posting that.
@ Jeff S – as a “media” professional, meaning i will take money for anything: web, print, video, audio, etc. i found your comment interesting. For web, I mostly rollout drupal sites, which i find to be a great open-source example. If a video platform were ever to become avaialble at a “drupal level” of quality, i think it would be a big hit.
But after looking at Lightworks as it is today, it’s disturbing to see key aspects of the project are subject to charges. Not sure what that’s all about…
smells fishy, but i also wear a tin hat most of the time.
One of the best articulated descriptions of the culture that brought about the past week’s disaster.
This is one of the most brilliant and succinct posts I’ve ever read about the battle between companies and the products they produce for professional customers. I particularly like the comment that “for them a high end customers are high-bandwidth in terms of the attention they require relative to the revenue they return” as I think this applies to most companies, not just Apple.
I work for a Hollywood “guy” who regularly sends threatening emails to a software company whose products we use. I don’t think we’ve ever paid for anything, and occasionally he does some marketing for them; but the arrogance of such a customer to literally think that a company must stop and bend to his will just because a feature doesn’t work to his liking is just unbelievable. So while I’m sure not every high-end customer behaves this way (although I’m sure, in Hollywood at least, many do), I have some sympathy for companies getting tired of the bandwidth drain when concentrating on the mass market will net them a bigger return.
See me tomorrow about this. I can’t believe you made this public…
Supposed to have a j.k after it :D Completely agree with you!
Whatever happened to “the customer is always right”?
Lots of people are asking for a powerful easy to use video editor for their 2 year old video camera. There are a lot fewer, noisy people asking for features that don’t apply to the first group. Features that are tied to decades old workflows and million dollar budgets.
Apple is prioritizing the first group. Once they release the new API the 3rd party plugin makers will happily target the second group.
All built on a modern workflow and modern code.
Remember what Slashdot said about the first iPod? “no wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame”.
“Focus is about saying no” that applies to customers too
I fit in the first group btw. Help out on a few short films, non tape cameras, in-house team etc. Deliverable as file or DVD. Fcpx is great
it’s sits right next to “the customer is not always right”? seriously. It’s in elementary economic text books and in basic customer service roles.
Dead on right. I cut one-hour episodic TV and was one of the first people in Hollywood to work on an Avid in 1991. After that project, a whole team of VP’s and software engineers had a meeting with our editing team and asked us what features we liked and more importantly, what they could add to make it better. Those features we asked for showed up a year later in the next release.
Around 1997 or ’98, I took a guild class on FCP and asked the guy giving the demo about certain features that were missing that I felt we useful tools, and his reply was that every editor asks the same questions, but that basically Apple didn’t care about what editors wanted or needed, they just wanted to put lots of flashy stuff (like color correction) in that made the product look cool.
I pretty much never used FCP on a project, and guess I won’t have to worry about it every again. I one week, Avid just won back all the market share they have lost over the last ten years, and Apple can go back to making toys.
Yeah, but Avid’s arrogance and inability to improve for years was legion.. I guess Apple is giving them a big fat gift.
Now it’s Apple’s arrogance which is shining through. Granted, it was always there, but due to the halo effect and how people gush over even the sight of an Apple logo, that fact usually gets pushed back in people’s minds.
The only gift Apple gave people was a big steaming pile of Beta Cut Pro X (or iMovie Pro X). now you will have to spend extra cash to buy plugin solutions from other developers to plug holes in FCPX. Apple has already stated they are working with outside developers in order to give them what they need to sell 3rd party plugins for FCPX to fix these issues. Apple is disinterested in their own applications and customers.
The Apple way is not to listen to customers, but to try and figure out what kind of breakthrough can be created – something customers would not think about on their own, but would love when they saw it.
I don’t know anyone who through Apple would make a touchscreen phone, but once we saw the iPhone demonstrated for the first time, we knew it was what we wanted.
I see the same thing in FCP X – and it looks to me like most of the new changes are spot on. Those who keep an open mind seem to really admire the new and original parts of the program.
I do understand the concern of people who don’t like the fact that you can’t import Final Cut Pro 7 projects, however. FCP 7 may run on Lion now, but we’re pretty sure it won’t run in Ocelot (or whatever) in 2028.
I would be very surprised, however, if Automatic Duck was not already hard at work on such a tool. I believe both FCP 7 and FCP X files are XML text, after all, so it should not be impossible or even that difficult to do a relatively simple conversion. Let’s just hope they create an App Store version that’s affordable. Maybe Apple wants to have different third party companies doing these conversions, and “may the best man win”.
The real question is; what is the correct price for high-end software like FCPX or Shake/Nuke to make it worth is for a company to produce it? 10K, 100K?
About 75K – Autodesk Smoke – which will do the Nuke/Shake/FCP/Avid/Premiere things, in addition to a buncha Flame stuff, too. And it comes with a rock-solid company and support team behind it that’s devoted (for the foreseeable future) to professional creative tools. Kind of like Avid used to be long long ago until Intel bought in.
The deal you make with the devil in buying an FCP setup is it’s a collage of parts and patches from different manufacturers and software versions. Yes, it will play iTunes when you render, or let you read David Pogue’s blog while you wait for approvals, but you’re really in a wilderness when it comes to situations like this.
I LOVED my FCP setup, it was more stable than Avid, let me use whatever media my client provided and felt more like a flatbed than a CMX. But this blog, and the reason for its publication, points to the need for all of us not to get flat-footed by the FCP team that has other priorities. And I believe Open Source editorial software will inherit the same lack of accountability.
This was a very good read. I can’t think of another post that hammered the nail on the head as well your article. I was working as an affiliate Apple specialist during the acquisition, re-branding and overall early years of Apple’s market conquest of the video editing market.
I have been an Apple support specialist for a corporation for the last 10 years. In the last two years I have watched Apple make decisions the concern me deeply in the sense that their business decisions may lead me looking to reinvent what and or who I support in the near future.
Earlier this year we had been entertaining what technologies we would be moving our services that currently reside on xServes to. Since a large portion of what our editors do is in Adobe After Effects the obvious question from upper management is can we switch to Premier.
I fear that it isn’t going to be much longer before management starts asking what exactly is it that keeps us using Macs! And to be honest I can’t think of a single app or reason that the switch couldn’t be made. Moving to hardware / software that is easier to support with company standards is what corporations are all about.
Final Cut loses to Premier, Mac Post Script fonts can all be replaced with windows open type, Aperture is losing ground to Lightroom. The Aperture one bothers me on a personal level since I have hundreds of thousands of photos there and realize I kept betting on the wrong horse.
It appears that the only reason to keep mac hardware around is for the iphone and ipad.
I still think that Apple should have purchased Adobe years ago. Kill off the windows versions of the software and keep the creatives bound to their hardware. Now I realize they would have dominated that market like they did with Final Cut then let it go to shit.
But I will now digress as Apple has reached the halo effect of selling their consumer / prosumer hardware solely due to the iWorld ecosystem they created. This is what Steve wanted right?
>Apple should have purchased Adobe years ago.
There is nothing that Adobe offers that Apple couldn’t recreate from scratch for a miniscule fraction of Adobe’s market cap, let alone the cost of management distraction from trying to bring Adobe’s foot-draggers up to speed. Flash is the least of their piles of legacy code in dire need of replacement.
Agree completely. I was only suggesting that by having ownership of those products they could then be eliminated from or abundantly over charged for on other platforms.
I haven’t seen Apple create anything “pro” worthy in years. What makes you think they could even attempt to recreate After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator or other tools currently in the CS 5.5 suites? That is a ridiculous statement from an over-zealous Apple fan. Apple makes iThings, plain and simple.
I’ve been using Aperture since 1.0. I really feel like I’m headed down a dead-end road. May look at switching to Lightroom, except that Aperture is now $79 and Lightroom is $300. Of course, I bought Aperture 3 last summer before it hit the App Store and paid $99 for the upgrade.
I may still give FCPX a go though. I’m no professional. The only thing holding me back now is that it costs $300. That amount last week for the successor to Final Cut Pro sounded like a deal. Now I’m not so sure. This could be EOL’d quickly.
I plan on waiting to see what happens in the next version. My frustration stems from companies (for example) like x-rite that claim they can’t integrate their solutions because of the lack of available file formats supported by Aperture. But Apple made huge changes in both versions 2 and 3 to bring in support and features that people were wanting.
I think Aperture has performance issues. When I was testing Lightroom I don’t remember having the stalls that I often see.
I have used both and Aperture just works the way my mind thinks. It is hard to describe how Lightroom is different, it just is. And not by so much that I don’t think I couldn’t utilize it effectively.
Great point. Apple shook the confidence of so many by so casually terminating FCP, FCS, FCE, FC Server etc. I mean, they haven’t really updated them for years, but to make them all vanish overnight really shows how little they care about markets other than iSomething.
I’d seriously hesitate to invest in Apple anything, (hardware or iPhone) in the future, because of their unbelievable carelessness for their customers.
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This is exactly why I’m terrified to become too attached to Aperture. I love the product, but I just can’t shake the feeling that Apple will have no qualms about killing it. Once that happens it’s just a matter of time until some OS release breaks it and I’m screwed.
I much prefer Aperture’s UX to Adobe’s, but along the lines of what Ron said – we’re Adobe’s bread and butter so they have to keep supporting us. Apple…not so much.
How about Aperture, Ron. Do you think it’s in a different place than Final Cut?
Actually, I’d claim that Aperture already sits squarely in the ‘sweet spot’ that Apple likes – that it’s very similarly positioned to where FCPX is now living. It too is an easy to learn/use tool that’s powerful and extremely cost-competitive. Unlike video editing, which has a huge history of legacy exchange formats and obscure protocols that are sometimes necessary in the workflow of a large production, photo editing is a much more monolithic task. And thus the ‘professional’ photo editor can use the same tools as the high-end prosumer, etc. Aperture never had those ‘fringe’ tools in there to begin with – that’s a space that they’re happy to leave to Photoshop.
Admittedly I’m coming at this from the perspective of someone who’s very invested in Aperture as my workflow of choice, but if I really thought there was a danger of it going away then yes, I’d switch away from it. But right now I don’t see that coming. No more likely than, for example, Adobe getting bought by Microsoft and being made into a windows-only package, for instance.
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What you’re leaving out here is that starting with iMovie, Apple has brought the cost of film and video production down to a level where millions of people can afford to do it, not the few thousand or so that could buy from Avid in 1990.
Having solved the cost problem, they turned their attention to the difficulty of understanding how to cut, and they’ve come up with a breakthrough that is every bit as significant as the introduction of the GUI in the 1980s.
In another year or so, those who got on board with FCP X are going to be eating your lunch, because they’re going to be vastly more productive than you are.
It’s pretty tough to be “vastly more productive” with a piece of software that has crippled the ability of teams of professionals to work on the same project.
All other major missing pieces aside – the way that FCPX handles media management and project files alone would be enough to blow up most production pipelines.
Productivity is vastly increased by a solid team working along a well-run post-production pipeline – and that’s something that the new version of Final Cut is apparently uninterested in being a part of.
Basically, it doesn’t really matter if Apple has revolutionized the NLE if they’ve sandboxed that product. A single editor working alone will NEVER be as productive as a team.
Completely agree. I moved back to Lightroom (which, honestly, I do prefer) due to concerns about Aperture’s long-term prospects. And if you really think FCPX has a viable future when multiple people can’t work on a project, well, I guess the pro market really doesn’t exist anymore.
Apple definitely has the attitude of “if things need to change, then they will”– an attitude that sets them apart from most of their competitors, like Adobe, who are unimaginably slow at adapting to change. But it does have the nasty side-effect of this kind of behavior: “Pro users will just have to get over it.”
Ron designs compositing software, not cutters. I’m not sure you know what you’re talking about.
> Ron designs compositing software, not cutters.
Since his blog is called “digital composting” I think the confusion is understandable. It is all about gardening and chopping up the greens you know.
@Some Guy –
Clearly, you’re not a editor. Apple has solved nothing with this UI design mess.
At some point – in the very near future – there wont be much lunch left over.
Look at how the whole industry has come down in the past 20 years. Form becoming rich with Quantels Harry/Henry the spiral went down to the 3.99$ iMovie for iPhone (where people refuse better ratings because some feature like slowmo is missing). And guess, who stared it? Apple with quicktime.
There are more than a dozen apps, at around $100 or less, that all edit HD. The fact that Apple has killed off their professional level applications and released iMovie Pro is irrelevant because those wishing to cut video have had a plethora of tools for years.
What you are saying is like IBM lowered the price on their Selectrix typewriter and only because of that, NOW talented authors can finally write the great American Novel.
Any great talent has any means of producing great work. Did Robert Rodriguez need a big budget, 35mm film & Apple products to break into the high end features? Nope.
If you go to knowledgable forums you’ll see all the hatchet workarounds being offered for flaws in even the most basic features.
FCPX may allow more fanbois to think they’re editors but personally if someone told me they FCPX edit and are going tO take my work from me I’d laugh and tell them not to burn their bridges with their current job.
People keep saying why don’t us who gets just bite our tongues forma couple of years when X will be better. Well we have for a couple of years and our ‘upgrade’ was a downgrade and basically shite. Sure if you’re a fanbois who thinks being an editor is cool or anrevenue stream perhaps having a toy with a potent backend is great for you, but if you do start earning from it you’ll soon realise how painfully limiting it is.
Adobe was already a year ahead of FCP. If I wait a couple more years for X to catch up it’d be like self flagellation. Xs ‘ooooh’ features conceal many limitations you mY not be aware of because you only used iMovie. They are there though and in ancouple of years I believe adobe will still be giving a shit about my needs whereas Apple showed me they stopped caring anfew years back.
You cannot bitch slap pros who are up in arms by telling us to shut up and wait because we have waited and got shafted. Sure, stay in love with apple, let Jobs touch you in all the places your limited needs like to be touched, just do it behind closed doors and please point out to him that X really needs to drop the P.
Who are buying Mac Pro’s? “Guerard noted a 22 percent year over year growth in Adobe pro video sales; 45 percent growth on Mac; growth from less than 1 million seats in 2006 to 2.3 million in 2010; and a 30 percent increase in unit sales from CS4 to CS5.” (http://www.loopinsight.com/2011/06/28/adobe-welcomes-final-cut-pro-users-with-open-arms/)
I think that above statement tells it all! While most of us have been emotionally attached to FCP 7, Premiere Pro has muscled passed FCP 7 and Final Cut Pro X.
I feel almost stupid for being the Mac evangelist that I was for the last 12 years and now to have a suite of software swept away under my feet.
I honestly think that you are right about Final Cut Pro X from Apple’s dealing with Shake. Most of us could see this coming with the other pro software, but hindsight is always clearer.
I am one of those who bought Apple’s training series for Shake back in the day and went through every page and tutorials. Sad, that Apple has just used us for a business model…..
But…hello Adobe, I already been using your stuff for 12 years and will go back to Premiere….things have changed since you were on OS 9 back in the day!
Thank you for this post!
Adobe had a huge gap in Premiere support on the Mac so it stands to reason they’d have growth on the Mac platform. It’d be more helpful to see actual sales numbers instead of abstract percentages.
Gimme a break ‘a suite of software swept away under my feet’. It’s simple people, just keep using 7. It’s not suddenly disappeared. And the amount of bashing of Final Cut Pro X is getting ridiculous. Apple will always serve the Pro market, but not above the consumer market. I’ve used Aperture since it’s release and I am not at all concerned. And if Apple every do release Aperture X, I’ll test it properly before updating, like any seasoned professional should do.
Yes 7 still works, but it already shows its age badly (FCP hasn’t really been upgraded since version 6, and that’s over 4 years old). Many editors have held on to FCP because we were promised a big upgrade this year. Now it’s time to look into other solutions.
Here’s my mini rant: I feel lied to about the “native editing support” of various codecs. When you import footage into the program, the default setting is still to transcode to prores. Even if you choose not to, there still seems to be an awful lot of background rendering going on after an import (although you can still somewhat edit, there are many things you can not do until a background render is finished).
When I drop a file into Premiere, I can edit it immediately in its native format, no rendering or transcoding necessary. Hell, I can grab a vob off a dvd and edit it without even a hint of a slowdown.
Does anyone know what these background processes are actually doing? I suspect it’s creating proxy files to make the editing process go faster, but I must confess that I’m just making a wild guess.
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when will the girl come running to the wwdc and throw that hammer at steve jobs head to knock some sense back into the guy?
not so long ago microsoft was that arrogant, evil big brother but apple has recently taken over. they’re just too awesome for the rest of us.
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I guess what I don’t understand, is for creative professionals, Final Cut Studio was gold. People knew it, people loved it, and when the people BEHIND the media (media creators) love something, it filters into the seen media and consumers accept it.
FCPX by any other name would be welcomed by the video world. The core of it is so powerful and fast. Is the super high end a niche crowd? Yup. Is the super high end also a influential crowd? Hell yes. Apple is swimming in cash these days, and spending $50 million a year to keep a highly influential crowd happy would be a mere drop in the bucket for them.
In 2010 9 out of 10 docs up for oscars were cut using Final Cut Studio. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10465202-37.html
Heck, in 2002, the application won a Primetime Emmy Engineering Award for its impact on the television industry. That won’t be happening again for FCPX if this course isn’t changed. TV people hate tape, but need it to live, and I don’t see FCPX supporting tape much longer, but as someone elsewhere posted: “As long as there is a History Channel on TV, there will be a need for tape support”.
I won’t rehash all the complaints, if you read this blog you know them, but it really does boil down to a marketing disaster for Apple in the eyes of creative people working in the edit bay trenches every day.
Maybe in secret Jobs told Adobe “Sorry about the whole fuck Flash thing….. How about I make it up to ya…. I’ll give you all our entire high end editing software customers?”
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Any company that adopts the policy that the customer is not right is going to be a sad sack later on. Jobs arrogance as portrayed in multiple portrayals of him is apparently all to true. At least Bill Gates kind of reformed.
I agree with the editors groaning over their Mac Pros. I was so close to buying one, but they were overpriced and underpowered on the graphics side. The ONLY reason to buy one was to grind through video faster, and now, this? Apple, you just lost a 4k sale. Buh bye.
I don’t necessarily agree that Apple ‘adopts the policy that the customer is not right’ – there are a LOT of customers out there and they can’t make 100% of them happy.
‘going to be a sad sack later on.’
really – how do you quantify that with Apple’s latest earnings? Sound like conjecture.
I can understand the response from the high end editors and bloggers. FCPX is a 1.0 product. Think back to the original FCP and it’s release. The difference today is that the new kid on the block is competing with itself. Think iPod mini and nano. I suspect within 2 years FCPX will have all the missing features, more advanced plugins, and more. This kind of start from scratch mentality is unique to Apple and very alien to the high end editors. Mark my words, FCPX is very powerful. A lot of that power is simply not visible to end users just yet. Ignoring the feature by feature comparisons and focusing on the paradigm shifting new way of working/editing, will benefit tens of thousands of video editors worldwide. Ask yourself one question. Will FCPX allow you to become a more productive editor over using previous generation editors?
It’s so scary how right Ron sounds in everything he says. I have that awful feeling that you get when the girl you’ve been living with says one day that she’s had enough and it’s time to move on. Looking back, you saw it coming, but if only you’d seen the signs…
Now we’re all hoping the girl will have a change of heart, but one of the reasons you were attracted to her in the first place was that she was *different* – and that same devil-may-care attitude that was once so enticing is coming back to slap you in the face.
And I was going to buy a new Mac Pro later in the year. I guess I should be grateful to Apple for saving me a whole ton of money…
You are so right. They WILL break your heart. That is exactly what they’ve done to me for the very first time.
The Whole Shake Thing was always sitting in the back of my mind, but … honestly the story was too mortifying to really be able to deal with it. But alas, I’m not surprised my beloved Color is gone, it had not received much attention of late. I must confess, I DO love Motion over AE in a lot of ways, but I use both.
My husband, who works in another software field, totally nailed it last week when I was bitchin’. He said he sees this kind of thing happen all the time, “Apple is forcing its will on the industry, and apparently they aren’t too concerned how the industry will respond”
“BBBBut.. they can’t! They can’t do that.”
Well, they certainly can, and they have.
My biggest career dilemma a week ago was whether or not I was going to take the plunge into a 3D modeling program. Now I gotta become an Avid girl.
Thanks for this! It was very informative. :-)
I don’t think this is just like the situation with Shake. In this case, they decided that the whole FCP architecture was horribly outdated, and needed to be completely replaced. They took the opportunity to start from scratch with FCP X. Unfortunately, that means they won’t have all the features of the old version in FCP X yet. It’s going to take them a while to add all that. People who have no exposure to how software development works have the idea that you just wave a magic wand, and completely new product appears, with every feature they want, in a completely stable and bug-free state. It simply does not work that way.
Apple’s product development teams do care about what users want, but they don’t relay solely on that for guidance. Why? The example that comes to mind is Henry Ford. If he surveyed customers on what they wanted before the car, they would have probably asked for faster horses. Sometimes, customers are only focused on the immediate problems right in front of them. They don’t often look at feature and workflow evolution long-term. Some do, but most I’ve met don’t.
In the mean time, it isn’t like FCP 7 has stopped working on your machines. It still does. No reason to run around in a panic.
Apple could have done a MUCH better job in rolling FCP X out, setting expectations, and continuing to sell FCS for a while. Unfortunately, they didn’t do that.
In the end, we all have to do what’s right for our businesses. If FCS is working well enough for you now, maybe you don’t need to panic just yet. Keep an eye on FCP X, and watch how it evolves over the next six months or so. If it looks like it’s going the right way, maybe you make the switch when it’s ready. If it isn’t, you find another NLE platform.
Agree – that’s the prudent approach. We will continue with FCS and keep a close eye on FCP X’s evolution.
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Great read, made a lot of sense.
FCP still works doesn’t it? So why not wait and see if Apple addresses your concerns with some updates to FCX.
What a talking point this has become. One can’t plan business ventures around some mysterious future possibilities, the business plan needs to source as many known constants as possible to hedge against unforeseen possibilities. Which means investing in known quantities. I, personally, am not going to drop thousands on infrastructure around a discontinued product, or a new product with absolutely no roadmap other than rumors and possibilities. Let alone the millions that production companies throw around. As an independent designer, this software is a fail.
As a side note, this all makes me worry terribly about the possibility of “Logic X.” That would really be a full-frontal assault on my Cheese.
It works, but you can’t buy a copy anymore. If you want to build yourself a new edit suite right now – you’re locked into FCP X. Like someone said: all they had to do to avoid all this was to keep selling FCP 7, while they polish the new version. But dropping the axe on FCP 7 and forcing all new purchases to be of an essentialy Technology Preview-type software doesn’t quite cut it in this particular market.
This is a very, very important point. Continued sale/support of FCP 7 would pu a different light on this conversation. Does the pro industry have enough muscle to change Apple’s decision and push them to extend the life of FCS?
Apple is a hardware company. But the reality, at least for me, is I always bought Apple hardware because they made great software. They had to. Who would buy their overpriced hardware if the software sucked? Now it appears that the Mac Pro may have no future. Sure, Apple will continue to sell them and hope the users buy Avid or Premiere Pro or whatever. But guess what Apple? Almost all that pro software is available on Windows. Without FCP, buying a Mac becomes harder to justify.
Yep. That. (I think we were typing our comments at the same time)
Dont’ agree. OS X uses a Unix variant. After spending twenty years suffering with Windows and its Rube-Goldberg architecture, running a relatively reliable MAC computer was a blessing. The thought of returning to a Windows machine makes me ill.
Disagree. Running on a UNIX variant, OS X is much superior to Windows. After suffering with Windows for many years, owning a MAC was a true blessing.
Interestingly enough, Steve Jobs said quite emphatically in the All Things D interview (when he appeared with Bill Gates) that he regards Apple as a software company. In his view, it’s the software in the iThings that makes them great.
A very interesting insight Ron, thank you. I’m not a pro in any sense of the word but am a keen technology watcher. For some time now, Apple’s lack of commitment to the creative pro market has been evident, leading me to think they may actually ditch the market altogether.
I wrote a blog post on the subject the other day: http://wp.me/p2VtZ-2u
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Jeff, totally agreeing with your last comment about the MacPro. I think in years past, Apple cared deeply about having the biggest baddest machine out there. Heck the whole computer industry was marketed that way. It pushed overall sales of all computers. However, with simple hand held devices now with the power to ‘consume’ HD content, Apple and Steve’s Job’s initial vision from 1984 where the computer as an appliance, has come to fruition. The computer market is no longer driven by the high-end, its back to the consumer. Not only that, the iMac can do 90% of what a MacPro can do at 80% the speed and 50% o the cost. Tradeoffs for sure, but you get the idea. With Thunderbolt connectivity at incredible speeds, once you get some cool connectivity products (storage devices, clustering, HD encoders) the MacPro is virtually dead. Just went into the Apple store at “The Grove” one of the busiest stores in the country and in the heart of Hollywood, CA. There is one MacPro on display in the back corner.
Go back and listen to Steve’s keynote at the intro of the iPhone 4. Apple is a mobile computing company now. Connect the dots and the trend is clear.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Macs. In fact, I just got an i7 iMac 10 days ago. It replaces a PowerMac G5 that I’ve had for 7 years. Always wanted a Mac Pro, but the price kept going up and since I’m not a pro video guy, couldn’t justify it. But with the iMac having thunderbolt now, its a different game.
I’ll most likely get FCPX because I am someone that Apple is targeting now. I just don’t like how they’ve left the big pro shops the way they have. At least keep FCP 7 around until FCPX is comparable.
I never understood the Mac hardware craze and think Windows is much a more powerful file management system than OSX. Just compare the simple task of merging folders in Windows vs Mac. A friend of mine unfortunately recently bought a 17 Macbook Pro, against my advice, solely to run FCP on. Now this. He’s stuck with a $3300 giant brick that sounds like a jet engine when rendering, with only one hard drive, no numeric keypad, no HDMI, no USB3, no card reader, crappy graphics card. Oh but it has an all new “audio input” as the sales rep put it. A lowly mic jack found on any and every other notebook/netbook ever made. For that price you could get 2incredibly more powerful Windows machines. And why would you buy into Thunderbolt? Yet another standard with no industry backing as of yet that looks good in theory and controlled tests when USB3 is omnipresent and works. Today. Like I said, I’ll never understand Apple people. It’s more about belonging and bragging than getting your money’s worth and getting the job done.
for Nightflight. Why do people use Macs?
Put someone on a PC who uses a mac and they’re useless, put them on a Mac and they can make a ton of money. So why would one change?
In the end if it works, it works.
@Martyb, Why are they useless? Every single software except FCP is available on PC and runs faster. What’s the difference? See, I don’t understand the fanboy mentality.
@ Nightflight. sure the software is the same but the operating system is different. Of course one can learn it but why would you? The Mac is fast enough, so the speed issue doesn’t count. The price point can be twice as much but that doesn’t matter because the machine price is small in the overall business revenue. So there isn’t no compelling reason not to go with what you know.
If one thinks that a few $K makes a difference I would suggest a betterment of their financial knowledge.
Dude, my crew and I get work done in Illustrator, AE, Premiere and 3dsmax not in the operating system. And a few thousand dollars on 12 stations is quite an investment to tie into closed hardware. My friend I mentioned above who bought into this “apple is pro, anything else isn’t” lie is very angry for those few $K he could have invested more wisely. Money isn’t the issue, it’s the deceit.
@ Nightflight For sure. That is your opinion and I respect it. I have no problem with it, You said ‘I never understood the Mac hardware craze’ so I explained my reasons.
I don’t see the deceit for your friend but then I’m not privy to everything he was told. Doesn’t the 17 Macbook Pro not run FCP?
It does, but he’s been waiting years for 64bit and other features available in other packages for some time now and since he used FCP all through film school (UCLA) and for his two shorts he wasn’t expecting to have to change his editing software to get with the times, because he hates FCPX. He’s moving to Premiere and feels very betrayed by Apple. Just saying that other than iPhones and iPads we wont be investing any Apple hardware for professional work from now on. There’s just no need.
@ Nightflight totally understand that. You’ve got to be happy when you spend ya bling.
@Nightflight For me its the power of Unix. I’m a web developer. I’ve hated Windows since the 90’s. I switched to Linux around 1998 and Macs around 2002. I was forced to use Windows everyday at work from 2005-2010. Absolutely hated it. At my current job, I’m back on Linux and loving it. I have an iMac at home as well as a MBP. I can say one thing, if Adobe ever brought Photoshop, Lightroom, and Premiere to Linux, I would have a very hard time justifying owning another Apple desktop product.
Spot on. The Pro apps is not the only thing Apple appears to be abandoning.
IMHO everything will eventually be iOS funneled through the app store. What about Education/Enterprise? What about site licenses for SW and disc images used to image hundreds of machines? I’m not doubting there will be ways to accomplish this, I am concerned about the direction Apple is taking. iPads/phones etc. make Apple $.
Good analysis and in line with my experience. In a related vein, I am now buying Eizo monitors. My rep there told me their business has gone up because (they think) Apple is no longer offering matte finish displays. That pretty shiny piano black display sells itself in the Apple store, but is horrible if you actually work with images in a serious manner.
It’s something I’d have to verify but if Apple used the matt (plastic) displays would they still have the environmental gold standard on their machines. If it’s the case, the environment would have to come first, don’t you think?
“Without FCP, buying a Mac becomes harder to justify.” My thoughts exactly. Since there’s no more Shake and no more FC Pro there’s no need for me to go Mac Pro anymore.
What is there to Justify? Apple is becoming main stream. Why can’t we give it some time and then make our decision? FCP 7 is still here if you need it or did I miss something. Have we all forgotten all of the stuff that needed to be fixed with FCP7 that can’t franky be fixed? Let’s see what the product looks like in a few months. There are many things I like about the new product. If it doesn’t have what you need, continue on doing what you are doing now and keep keep checking back after the update. That is the “professional approach” to me.
Just, wait around and hope that Apple continues to support the pro workflow after so much evidence has compiled that in the future you will be scre!!d? That is the “professional approach?” Ah, silly me. “F!!! me once, shame on you, F!!! me twice…” or something like that, as they say.
Well said — all the key points resonate with a great sense that this is the truth.
The real problem here is for the bigger editing shops. They can’t open a new FCP 7 edit suite tomorrow because they can no longer buy the product. Apple cut them off at the knees and left no room for transition to FCP X since you cannot team edit with Version 1.
I REALLY don’t understand why Apple would spend almost a WHOLE DECADE getting the pro (and by “pro” I mean big-time pros, not event video editors) video market entrenched in the Apple production ecosystem only to COMPLETELY kill it in one fell swoop with a new, shiny piece of software. I agree that FCP was LONG overdue for an overhaul, but they just killed their 10-year-old so they could have a new baby.
If Apple has further plans for better integration with post-production workflows that will bring it back to the level FCP 7 had, then they need to let pros know this NOW (even if it requires them to sign a non-disclosure agreement).
At the very least, they could continue to sell and support FCP 7 as a separate product until FCP X is ready to take over the high-end pro market.
This is definitely a move that takes Apple out of the pro market. And in doing so, opens up the door for Avid (and Premiere Pro?) that much wider, which in turn GREATLY diminishes Apple’s influence on the very market they came to dominate.
Oh, well, at least the event video people will be happy.
it might be possible that Apple don’t have the skills to make a pro product?
No, the skills are probably all there, but redeployed to consumer applications, iOS and Lion. That’s where the profits are.
At WWDC Jobs made a big point about 73% of Apple’s computer sales being laptops, figure that most of the desktop sales are iMacs, so Mac Pros are a tiny and diminishing percentage of Apple’s business. In previous keynotes he’s emphasized Apple’s position as the biggest maker of mobile devices.
There’s no indication that Apple is interested in any of the professional markets any more. (Print designers have already been summarily messed with more than once in recent versions of OS X that unnecessarily broke professional grade fonts if their names conflicted with Mac system fonts and broke certain pro PDF workflows.)
FCP was a pro app, but it’s hard to see FCX getting to that level any time soon (nor any real indication that Apple intends that). The pros among the FCX beta testers sent in reams of feedback about missing essential functionality, from what I can gather, and it was all ignored, so the prospects for the future don’t look all that bright..
Yeah, the guy who made his living hauling around ice with his cart and horse probably wasn’t the guy who invented the home ice maker.
And of course Adobe loves you and treats all their customers with respect and honesty, riiiiiiiiiight :-/ Good luck!
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Sorry, but it’s not like this is new. I stopped developing Apple products in 2000, as even then it was clear Apple under Jobs was not the Mac we had grown up with. Perhaps it has taken the 11 years since 2000 for people to start realizing this is an established way of doing business for Apple.
Very well spoken: objective and accurate.
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Ron, I’m and editor, not an IT person, so maybe this question will seem ignorant: would it be possible for Apple to make it hard (or impossible) to run “competing” Adobe and Avid editing software using Apple hardware and OS? If so, do you anticipate this will happen, and in how much time?
Like many others, I’ll be looking to move older FCP projects over to Adobe &/or Avid in the next few weeks or months, and I’d like to know that these software products will keep working on iMacs and MacPros, otherwise I’ll just go ahead and re-invest in a new PC.
Thanks for your insightful comments, BTW.
I suppose it’s possible that Apple could do something to make it more difficult for other editing solutions to run on OSX but really I can’t imagine they’d do that. Apple isn’t actively trying to PREVENT high-end professionals from using their products – they’ll happily have anybody use them. They just aren’t going to focus on certain very high end features. And even though Adobe/etc., may feel that Apple’s pricing is designed to personally cause them pain, it’s really much more about Apple trying to drive the tools into a broader market space.
In that vein, though, I was struck by the fact that after Adobe came out with their (somewhat magical, imho) Mercury playback engine, which utilizes NVidia GPUs to strut its stuff, Apple switched to ATI GPUs in the next iteration of the Mac Pro, and I couldn’t find NVidia cards in any of the configuration options.
The economic argument makes sense and I’ve heard it before but what I don’t understand is, following this logic, why Apple is in the pro market in the first place. Apple do these pro-sumer apps very well; I’m no editor, but I’m seriously considering dropping $300 on Final Cut X just because I can. I already spent $50 on Motion. Putting this software in reach of the masses is a great thing.
But why the hell did they buy shake in the first place? Did it really have any sex appeal to rub off on Apple? Most people outside of vfx don’t even know what compositing is. Sure they tried to use differential pricing as leverage to get us to buy macs for a while, but the revenue from that must be equally trivial to Apple as the revenue from selling shake.
Why did they buy Shake in the first place? That may require a separate blogpost :-)
my bets are economic. NR was in heavy debt; so the grapevine said so.
Please do Ron, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
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Absolutely right on. It’s just business as usual for any large corp. I was at IBM when they did cater to high-end only customers, then tried the mass market approach with PCs and an operating system now defunct. Look how that worked out for them.
But in Apple’s case, for the near future anyway, they have it all made in the shade – so why bother with the headache of baby sitting whiney-bitchy editors?
I think the move to farm out the tough bits (OMF, drivers, whatever) is a smart one , as you say, I’d rather depend on small specialized companies catering to professionals then to a huge mega corp. who could care less about you as a single customer.
It’s the American way.
And this is an excellent point Hero. Just because Apple doesn’t support a specific feature within FCPX doesn’t necessarily mean that that feature can’t be addressed via plugins. Plugins created by companies who DO have strong incentives to keep their high-end pro’s happy. (Of course the question of whether or not FCPX has a robust enough API/SDK to support everything that’s needed may require a separate discussion…)
yes, that’s exactally right, the bit about API/SDK. How many of used the funky apple-supplied video effects for example? We all went to professionals like Red Giant or whomever. Make all the exports a plugin, at least you could trust they would be updated as needed.
but it does seem that FCPX is not ready for prime time. I’ve found two bugs in two days that would limit my use with clients: PSD layer bug and Blend Modes bug. I guess we just have to think of this as a beta. Cheers!
Ron’s article is brilliant… honest, unsympathetic and brutally true. Apple doesn’t need professional content creators’ support even though we sometimes imagine an implied sentimental loyalty that the company must feel toward us. FCP 7 and Aperture have both languished for so long without significant improvements that the message was there for anybody to see. I used to follow the apple.com/pro site to read about what other creatives were doing with FCP, Logic and Aperture. The last time it was updated was November of 2009. That should be a pretty clear message on where Apple is headed with pro apps.
The comments section sounds like a nursery full of hungry infants, though. This seems rather simple to me. If you have FCP 7, and it works for you, keep using it.
If you need a different piece of software and a computer to run it on, go find them and buy them.
Why does that decision process require Steve Jobs to stand trial? There’s a fork in the road. Decide which way to turn. If you’re “high-end” anything, you’re legally an adult. Act like one.
Exactly right Rip Ragged. After 37 years I still love editing, from Moviola to Steenbeck, Kem, the Sony RM440/450, Avid, Adobe (Cosa) After Effects, Jaleo, to FCP and FCPX they are all just tools.
I’m pretty sure that most of the people posting their concerns about FCPX wouldn’t be editing at all if not for Apple and FCP. Whether Apple produces the SDK/API for FCPX or not, at least Apple has brought the attention of media creation software developers to OS X the greatest operating system since SGI’s IRIX and a hell of a lot less expensive. Nobody is stopping anyone from editing. Pick from the tools available.
“A hammer isn’t a saw.”
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A really interesting and balanced article. I was key in designing and implementing a large XSAN/FCStudio/FCSvr installation at a UK national newspaper (and now work there making videos and running the studios). I always had misgivings at such a reliance on Apple’s products and unfortunately it seems I was right. We rely on Xserves – gone. I use multicam all the time, we’re designing a system for partial automation of PAC forms for complicance using XML – gone in the new version.
FCSvr is vital to give us a searchable archive for the 40-50 videos we can easily make in a week, incoming newsfeeds, tracking uploads etc. We’re in the process of opening up in America and are using FCSvr via dedicated bandwidth to link the remote office in to our newsfeeds and systems – now it looks like they won’t be able to share (or archive) projects with us at all.
I just wish that Apple would realise that for some of its customers just announcing “you can’t buy this any more” is simply not acceptable. Any change in the toolset requires weeks or months of testing and integration work, simply to avoid a massive support headache.
We’re still on FCP6 and it looks like we’re staying there for a while – but now we’re going to have to come up with a new longterm strategy if we’re staying in this business which is a real shame. I just hope we don’t end up having to stump up for Newscutter/Interplay because I can see how trying to explain that to senior management would go!
Great insight! Thanks for sharing. One comment:
Not sure I understand your estimate of 10,000 ‘high-end’ editors in context to this discussion. Broadcasters often buy these licenses by the thousands. Search for BBC & Premiere Pro (Answer: Added 2,000 seats last September. That’s added, not total seats), and f.ex. one broadcaster in a micro-country like Norway has a 1,000 seat FCP license.
If by ‘high-end’ you mean editors who considers Autodesk or top of the line AVID products, sure, then 10,000 is probably a generous number. But in the context of for whom the lack of ‘pro’ features in FCP X is a show-stopper you are talking about a lot more than 10,000.
Just sayin’ :-)
Thanks ‘A’, and you may be right. I pretty much pulled that 10,000 number out of my ass :-). On the other hand the people who need things like OMF support may be a lot lower. Not easy to quantify this stuff sometimes!
Yes, indeed. It’s definitely not easy to quantify this!
And then there’s editorial needs and management needs and many other needs. F.ex. From the perspective of a broadcaster that is thinking about buying 1000 or 2000 or even 5000 seats and has to live with the cost of managing those systems + possible need for 3rd party plug-ins (to cover ‘missing’ features) I think it’s reasonable to assume they prefer that most editorial needs are included in all systems so they don’t have to deal with who gets what. Even if some of the needs are intermittent for many of their users.
The only thing we really do know is that Apple claims to have sold over 2 million licenses for FCS. And that Adobe claims over 2 million (2 point something) paid licenses for Premiere Pro. I don’t know AVIDs sales numbers. Or numbers for Vegas or Lightworks or Edius or…?
As someone who can’t stand Windows, I’ll stay on Macs for the foreseeable future. But if Adobe ever got smart and ported Photoshop, Lightroom, and Premiere to Linux, I’d switch. I was on Linux before I became a Mac user so I’ve got no problem switching back.
The trick is how hard it is to target “Linux” from a support perspective. RH? Ubuntu? SuSE? On GNOME or KDE?
It doesn’t strike you at first, but it is quite a headache to support the different platforms, and to be taken seriously you’d need to support at least RH and Ubuntu. I’ve worked on commercial Linux software before, and it takes quite a bit of time on the QA testing,–everything has to be tested for each platform and architecture (nowadays pretty much just x86 & x64)–release engineering,–writing all the special cases into the installers, proper dependency tests (where the dependencies have subtly different names and versions) and packaging formats–and then finally on the support team as well when users are trying to install and use the system, but it behaves in slightly different ways or looks slightly different.
And that was server software, which is actually a little easier in some ways, since you can be more demanding on compatibility with exact OS versions without ruffling feathers, and there is less dependence on the UI. Consumers on the other hand, will expect support for the latest version, and they won’t blame the distro if it doesn’t, they’ll blame the vendor.
Short version is that the fragmentation of Linux is great for driving some competition, but also creates high barriers to the entry of commercial software.
From my limited-to-mild experience with Linux distros, that all makes sense to me. I wonder if a distro such as Ubuntu Studio could eventually provide at least a partial form of turnkey solution, that would with time become a de facto industry standard. Even if there ends up being a small handful of media production-focused distros in this manner, it still could be better than creating custom, component-driven solutions on a per-distro, per-platform basis.
At Harrison we recently launched an app (Mixbus) that runs on both OSX and Linux. We solved the “multi-linux-distro” problem by borrowing a play from Apple’s book: just like OSX app bundles, our application includes all the needed libraries. It required a lot of work, and it takes some space in the download, but now the same app will work on dozens of linux distros trouble-free. So it can be done.
At Harrison we are codependents with “pros” (by Ron’s definition of pro) in the music/film world. If Apple (and Avid for that matter) continue to stray away from the pro community, I can imagine a day when a linux-based, partially open-source system might be the only way that a dedicated pro can demand the features they need but still share the development costs with a wider pool of users.
You’re probably right when it comes to putting commercial software on Linux. The few times I’ve seen Adobe try and put stuff on Linux, its been a disaster. Mainly because Adobe is so slow in their testing and stuff that by the time they release it, the libraries they’ve been compiled against have been updated.
Begs the question. Why do open source projects have no problem updating and working on new versions of Ubuntu and such, yet Adobe can’t ever seem to keep their software up to date and working, which inevitably forces them to pull out of the Linux market. And I’m referring to Adobe software like Reader, Flash Builder, etc. Nothing like Photoshop has ever appeared on Linux.
Not if those Linux distros support the LSB standard, which some of the big name ones do. I think the key for Linux is to be as compliant to the LSB standard as possible so ISVs don’t have those support headaches.
..why don’t you all go to work..what ever makes money use….I loved fcp…and now i love even more fcpx….it’s going to make me money….fcpx is the way we are going to go…90% ARE NOT HIGH END PROS…the rest will be fine with fcp x…and it will only get better and better!!
Talking economics ( not exact numbers but guesses based on my understanding):
FCP7 & before: 2 million seats * $1000 = $2billion
FCPX & near future: 20 million seats (hobbyists/prosumers) *$300 = $6billion
thats why FCPX exists
You guys think this is bad, wait until Lion and find that FCP7 won’t run at all, or purchase that new Mac Pro with Lion pre-installed and won’t let you downgrade to Snow Leopard.
I still don’t get how people who were forward thinking enough to go with FCP to begin with are so willing to cry “But that’s not the way we used to do it!”
The reason for that is simple: if you’re a single person shop, sub “shiny new Apple” for “buying a car,” and if you’re a small to medium shop, think somewhere between “buying a house” and “buying a factory”. Then there’s the enterprise-level customers, as other posters have mentioned. These aren’t agile decisions, nor are they made with disposable income — it’s not just the cost of the hardware + software, it’s the aggregated effect of money, time and stress when a major change happens after an extended period of stagnation.
Put another way: Person x works as a barista at an imaginary coffee shop where all the baristas have to buy their own espresso machine, along with a service contract and Espresso X to make the thing accessible. One day, the company who makes Espresso X replaces the Coffee Maker Pro with Mocha, which shoots steam at the customers at random intervals, when it’s not busy warming milk at an mouth-watering 110 degrees. Get a different machine, you say? Well, the problem is that nothing else works, which is why they got Coffee Maker Pro in the first place. (None of this is a problem in the moment — unless they’re an newbie barista in need of a purchase, or the Espresso X breaks, or all the other coffee shops are using Espresso XIV, or they work at large cafeteria downtown, with open rec’s to buy 1000 or more Coffee Maker Pros for their union scale baristas.) That said, note that the company (let’s call them Lemon) built their rep among coffee drinkers because they noticed all the baristas used Espresso X — a point that was made every time Lemon ran ads for Espresso X in Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone.
Meanwhile, the lovers of Espresso X, weaned on years of Espresso X advertising and such, balk when their barista tries to explain why the milk is tepid while reassuring them that the free facial they just received is due to a technical problem, and that the market will eventually take care of it, don’t you worry. Not convinced at all by this explanation, a typical response from Espresso X lovers is to get on their shiny new Depth Plunge and tweet their friends about how rude their barista is, how the graphics in the new Pixar flick sucked, and that from now on, they’ll only buy their coffee from Microsoft. This week, anyway.
Here is the thing. If you build your business model around a PLATFORM or even around another company’s offerings, you better be prepared when that platform changes or even dies. If you build your business model around a SERVICE, then the platform is simply a tool and can change as tools progress.
Apparently a lot of people aren’t really editing pros as much as they are FCP7 pros. That’s a business model doomed for obsolescence.
Really, out of that 5000+/- seat license, how many of those users are actually editing _pros_, vs are probably more in line with what many people are derisively calling “prosumers”?
@ jfutral sounds like an argument for a consultant, not a working professional
‘another company’s offerings’
All business rely on other suppliers, unless you are subsistence living.
‘simply a tool’
a businesses success relies on efficiently producing outcomes. Unless you are making very simple outputs, it takes months to become proficient at software to produce salable items.
take away these fundamental things unexpectedly and you see the consequences, now in technicolor on web 2.0
@Martyb. I know it seems that way, especially if all you’ve known as a professional is one tool. But ask someone who has been at this for 20+ years. How many times have they had to change their primary tool? Then ask yourself if they built their business around a service or a platform?
Technology changes. This is a technology influenced industry. But the core of what you do is not technology. You use technology, but it isn’t the technology. You can go around feeling sorry for yourself or you can adapt to new realities. Your choice, really.
@ Martyb, “it takes months to become proficient at software to produce salable items. Take away these fundamental things unexpectedly and you see the consequences,”
It takes months just to get at basic proficiency. Takes years to get beyond that. I know that. Every time something major about the industry changes this has to occur. Always has, always will.
The problem with your statement is that FCP hasn’t really been taken away. It is still on everyone’s computer and doesn’t get overwritten if you buy FPX. You can still carry on with what everyone seems to think is God’s answer to life and learn a new tool at the same time.
The only thing taken away is the ability to significantly expand one’s business around FCP7, except through gray software markets now. I kind of understand Apple’s reasoning for that. I don’t agree with how they did it, but I understand why, I think.
But again, if you built your business model around being a FCP7 pro, good luck. If you built your business model around being a professional, director, technician, editor/production shop, it is time to learn new tools. Again. Or not.
@ joe, good point. in 30 years i’ve seen printers the size of my car shrink down to fit on my desk and outprint anything that we all thought was the wonder of the world back then in the print industry – and oh my god no more cut and paste! We’ve seen tape turn into chips in just a few short years. u can’t be stuck on one platform for long, unless you work futilely hard at it! If it’s not magnetic timelines it will be something else that works. There are how many apps in the app store? how many of them actually do anything useful? but we manage to find a few that are and use them until something better comes along. How much hardware is there in the hardware store? If it’s useful to you, you buy it. When something better comes along, so be it, you buy that and retire the old. It’s just business, and the kind of business that has been going on far longer then we even have records of it. We are what we are. My dog is what he is. He guards the office at night and sits at my feet during the day. He has no qualms about being a dog, or doing his job with the tools given to him. People used to be like that, but have always had the advantages of a better designed case and and a larger CPU. We invented the wheel, and things have never stopped rolling since. For those folks that want to moan about the changes instead of making the changes that will happen, well, more power to them. I wouldn’t whack my dog for chasing his tail…he is what he is, and nothing more.
If there is anyone left reading here. Someone who put his money where his mouth is:
My favourite comment of his in his responses:
“I don’t write software. I can only use it as a creative tool. I am not trying to justify FCP-X, I am trying to use the software within my creative ability.
The point is I like to try something, know what it can and can not do and then form an opinion about where it can apply for me.”
This is the difference between using a tool for your business vs the tool being your business.
@ jfutral ‘but the core of what you do is not technology. You use technology, but it isn’t the technology.’
Of course, absolutely – this is business 101. The art is still editing but the craft is what is affected. Businesses sells the product that is made. You don’t pay ILM for their previous vfx work, you pay them for what will be made for you.
The ‘service’ you are talking about I would class as marketing for future work. If I don’t have the same tools in the future to do that work then I would whinge. Change is painful. I do it all the time but I can understand why others don’t like it. Maybe the loudest complainers are changing tools for the first time?
I have seen all the tools change from Photoshop 1 to FXP X now.I agree with some of the dramas being played out here but the devil is in the details.
@Martyb, “this is business 101.”
You would think that, wouldn’t you? Yet, here we are.
“Maybe the loudest complainers are changing tools for the first time?”
I was wondering that myself. How many of the complainers themselves actually started out as that neanderthal group being called “prosumer” with FCP when it first came out or shortly there after with a Titanium Powerbook, and FCP is pretty much the only tool they have ever used.
I also wonder, with everyone screaming “unless you’re a professional editor, your opinion doesn’t matter”. I would add, unless you’re a professional editor that has actually used FCPX for more than an hour or two, preferably at least for a small project like the guy at Creative Cow, your opinion on FCPX matters how? I used to tell my daughter, she couldn’t tell me she didn’t like a food until she actually tried to eat it first.
@Joe Exactly. Spot on. I grumbled even swapping from Shake to Nuke but it’s so much better now. Beyond that I can do so much more in the new software. It doesn’t really matter how much people complain, it matters how the tools are used. If you can make more money on FCPX and that is your goal, who cares if 5000+ editors say its crap.
It amazes me to see how many brilliant minds there are out there who seem to know better than Apple. Some one of you might offer to take over and run Apple after Jobs retires, or is there anyone in this bunch who knows how to run anything. It seems we get all this whining every time Apple introduces something new which later often becomes the industry standard.
I agree ;-) It’s called “Tall poppy syndrome”. Everyone says they can make a better tool, but only a few ever move to attempt it. Most people are tied up in committees (my new term for blogs and forums) discussing spelling mistakes others make (ie off-topic subjects) and mostly just complaining about their own underlying problems.
There’s very little effort given to solutions.
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@ Jeff S – as a “media” professional, meaning i will take money for anything: web, print, video, audio, etc., i found your comment really interesting. For web, I mostly rollout drupal sites, which i find to be a great open-source example. If a video platform were ever to become avaialble at a “drupal level” of quality, i think it would be a big hit, and would consider using it to save big bucks.
But after looking at Lightworks as it is today, it’s disturbing to see key aspects of the project are subject to charges. Not sure what that’s all about…
smells fishy, but i also wear a tin hat most of the time :)
Simply put… Why did Apple buy Shake? Technology?
And then why did they not sell shake?
Imagine Shake was so far ahead with so little competition that Avatar many years later was done in a modified version of shake.
Sorry, I understand the mentality, but form another company to do high end professional stuff, call it Orange… And let them lead the industry and pass tech back to apple every now and then.
I’m amazed at the loyalty people feel to Apple in the face of their implacable indifference/arrogance. Just like politics, there are lots of people who seek someone else to tell them what to think and how to act while telling them they’re individuals.. Apple holds up the next shiny pretty thing and the true believers reach for their wallets.
Do you want to hitch your career’s future to a company that behaves like this? Really? Months ago Apple came out with the announcement that the FCP upgrade was going to revolutionize video production. I was prepared to fork over five figures to add the Apple hardware/OS/FCP to my studio. Now that it’s out, I’m breathing a sigh of relief – I only have to buy Avid to run on my sub$2k PC (which kicks ass, BTW) and I’m covered. And to whomever who recommended that people be patient and wait for future updates and 3rd party developers to fill in all the missing gaps in the software – what? It took FOUR YEARS for Apple to bring out this new version. Four years while computing has reached new heights of performance and reliability. And now folks should wait even longer? Nice advice if you don’t have to make a living while waiting for it.
The good news/bad news here is that this particular moment could wind up paralleling what’s happening to digital media content in general. The good news? You’re in charge, figure out what works with people who have similar needs/interests and go from there. The bad news? See the good news. ;)
Like blewis said, this could be advantageous, with the caveat that it’s no small feat (see Jeff Self’s comments on Linux.) Still, as long as everybody doesn’t end up arguing over what color the widgets are going to be (“cornflower blue.” “you always say that.”), there’s something like potential here. Maybe.
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Amazingly good observations Ron, I think you hit the nail on the head, totally – thanks for a great piece on the FCP X mess.
$1000.00+ high end technical professional apps are not where Apple is going and you wouldn’t be making a good judgement by basing your business (in the future) now that this is very apparent. Adobe and Avid do want and need that market and would be much better places to anchor your future technical needs for NLE’s so you can count on them being there in 10 years.
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Maybe it’s time for the Amiga platform to return and fire up those Video Toasters :-)
Wow… that was a brutal flashback!
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10,000 high end editors in the world? Maybe. But what about the middle end, low end and specialty editors, archives, museums, not for profits, DVD authors, Universities, etc. that rely on FCP in their work flow. We have 7 systems in our shop mainly for preservation work and art related projects, occasionally a feature length doc. I would estimate there are at least 10,000 systems in a 10 block radius around my facility in NYC doing all kinds of things not related to feature work. Just about every filmmaker I know (most you’ve never heard of) has FCP on their laptop. We were looking forward to the promise of being able to harness the multiple processors in our Macs and replacing some of our older systems (translation: more hardware sales for Apple) Now maybe I’ll run FCP X or new Compressor alone (if I can) on one or 2 existing systems for the speed of conversions and derivative creation.
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I teach video production. I have for 20 years. I also own and edit a kid’s show for PBS. I used Adobe Premiere in it’s infancy in 1996. If I have to, I will again. But I’m an Apple guy and like its software for the most part (sans no real mac version of AE)… really.
So I edit this small show for PBS and we’re in about 50% of the nat’l market, not bad carriage… and our host station (a PBS affiliate, currently struggling to stay afloat in a sea of failing stations), just (2 weeks ago), bought 5 full-blown G-5’s and was about to purchase FCP7 when the new “iMovie-semipro X” was announced, now they can’t even purchase 7?!
I’ll wait until everyone else (and Apple) catches back up to where the FCP software line should be… maybe in a couple of years… until then my FCP 6.0.4 suits me and PBS just fine.
There’s still some copies of FCS on eBay (although they are going fast), if you need them for your Mac Pro’s (guessing you meant those instead of G-5’s which they haven’t made in a while), they probably won’t last long (I don’t have much faith in Apple releasing FCS back out – I also am not selling any software on eBay, just mentioning it in case you might want to grab them.
Here’s a search on eBay for FCS 3:
Alot of them are the academic versions, but some are not…
A couple of things.
FCP X may very well be a smart move for Apple. The irritating thing is that they strung the Pro Market along for almost 4 years probably knowing all along that this was there real strategy.
At the very least they could have left FCP 7 around.
As for what FCP X actually is? It is incredible as a creative tool but terrible as a tool to teach future professionals. Professionals collaborate. Professionals need a track based timeline so they can send the project to others and they don’t need parse through anything else to figure out what is going on.
The problem with FCP X IS the paradigm. They could have rewritten everything from scratch and kept discreet tracks.
Professionals also need real color correction.
“It is incredible as a creative tool but terrible as a tool to teach future professionals. Professionals collaborate. Professionals need a track based timeline so they can send the project to others and they don’t need parse through anything else to figure out what is going on.”
I could not agree less. As an instructor, we need to be able to figure out new technologies, workflows, paradigms, etc. and explain that to others. That’s our job.
On sharing FCP Event Libraries and Projects, it’s easy. Ripple is doing it now, and making money from it.
On timelines, I agree the shift is difficult. But so was getting to Mars. Back
to my first point. we need to figure this out for ourselves, and then teach others. I’m still struggling with this one!
Somebody asked why Apple bought Shake if they were just going to discontinue it a few years later. My guess is that they bought Shake to use its underlying technology in Motion, just as Apple bought Logic so they could make Garage Band. But I don’t know. Just assumptions.
I think there is still this strange elephant in the room that all the supposed pro FCP users are failing to see. Understand that a Shake license was $15k. The reason Apple dropped Shake is because the price was apparently “too” pro. The problem I have is how all these editors are at the same time crying about pro options in software when the majority of them cannot afford a single pro level solution. This has always been the split between a prosumer and a true pro. The people making the most noise are prosumers. Sure they might have a studio and multiple workstations but in reality everything is off the shelf and not proprietary. So prosumers killed Shake not Apple. Here is the elephant…the prosumer wants to be pro without paying to be pro. The same dilemma has always existed with Digidesign/AVID Pro Tools for the last decade. It’s $10k hardware software solution was out of the reach of most prosumers who could only opt for software only solutions. So in the past 10 years we have seen this new prosumer who buys off the shelf software on the cheap and yet still calls themselves “pro” dominate the industry. Yet this practice hurt all the real professional vendors because their turnkey systems were being overlooked by all the software meant to run on the average run of the mill desktop workstation. It doesn’t matter how much RAM or hard drive space you have, it does not compare to the old super expensive 64bit SGI workstations that true pros used to use in terms of price and investment.
Again, I am saying that these prosumers cry about money and costs and all the vendors know that cheaper means more sales to these prosumers. I mean just look at how the tech in the 5D then went to 7D then down to the Rebel2ti. How many 1D’s has Canon sold vs 5D’s? Or look at the fuss caused by RED and the Scarlett camera. The prosumer has nearly turned the professional industry on its head due to the insistence of *pro level features for consumer level prices*. So here we are with this FCP X mess and it is literally at its craziest polarization. Apple is taking a $1k product and making it a $300 product. The ultimate prosumer move really as it seeks to literally make the term “pro” equate to “powerful AND affordable”!! Motion and Compressor are only $50! But do these prosumers rejoice? Of course not, they throw the biggest entitlement tantrum a single software title has ever seen. They petition, demand refunds, threaten to move to other companies, etc. All of this over what? That Apple is no longer catering to this particular sector of the industry it obviously helped to create? I imagine they knew exactly how this would go down because this is Apple’s problem more than it is AVID and ADOBE’s. Both the latter companies still require a solid investment in their hardware/software based suites.
So in my opinion, these off the shelf prosumers who have come to expect a lot and have been in actuality, given a lot, have just been dealt a huge does of reality.
That reality is that Apple intends to do for EVERYONE else what it did for them 10 years ago. Back when they wanted to be “pros” but could not afford the pro tools. Apple allowed those prosumers to build businesses around that model. Now that it is happening again, I think it is a real culture shock for this community. These individuals have had little competition and thus have not truly grown. They don’t know unix, they don’t code their own plugins, they don’t develop. They are simply end consumers wholly dependent on Apple to support their lifestyles and it has been a good run. It is just time everyone wake up and see the elephant in the room and swallow their pride, eat a piece of humble pie and start to ready themselves to be competitive against the next generation of off the shelf “pro” software users. It is really as simple as that and yelling about anything else is just a farce.
While most of what you say oj sounds reasonable and logical, I’m not buying the class distinction that has been artificially created by the economics of technology. Reminds me of the desktop publishing debate decades ago. And I also can see that the loudest and most strange elephants over at Apple Discussions are not prosumers, but true pros (per your definition). Personally, I think we really have to get over this distinction and instead, base our classifications on talent and output. I’ve worked for the biggest: IBM, MS, etc. and now am a retired small business owner running my own studio. I work with folks that you would say are prosumers, but only because they are poor and don’t have the resources of a large corp. But in our market, we produce quality media that exceeds what the local large houses can produce. We use off the shelf software and hardware purely to make more profit, and because of the advances in tech we can compete with “pros” using much better equipment and software. Protools LE, Chinese imports, and FCS are just a few examples. We mostly help others with their post, and those folks are artists with a macbookpro, 5Ds, and other prosumer cameras, lenses, and lighting. Yet they are telling amazing stories that get shown at film festivals, as well as being picked up by the networks. These folks never complain. They are humble in the Asian tradition. It seems that whining complaining ill-informed and spoiled creatives come from all levels of the amateur-to-professional strata, and are mostly based in America.
very good.. agree 99%
>> ‘Personally, I think we really have to get over this distinction and instead, base our classifications on talent and output.’
that’s the challenge! – there is no utopia, (even Marx was always grumbling he didn’t have enough money in his personal letters), capital is always required and therefore there is always a ‘distinction’. The barrier to entry is much lower now but it is still a barrier.
Actually, Shake was originally $10,000. After Apple bought it, it went down to $3000 on the Mac. Then down to $499 at the end when it sold a lot of copies but not enough to save it.
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The ultimate class warfare reply. Incredible! I’ve worked as a professional writer/director/producer/editor since 1970. I started with 16mm and double system sound then went on the video production ride with editing studios that cost $500 and hour (and up, depending on how many times you dipped into the Quantel box). When AVID came along, that was a huge revolution. Instead of spending $200-$500K per year at the editing studio, we could setup an AVID suite for $60 to $80k right int he office. Now, did that make us “prosumers”? When FCP first hit the scene, it arrived along with Internet Video, small format miniDV cameras, and video on iTunes. FCP was a true revolution in reducing the cost of the tools of production. Is that when I became a “prosumer”? Now that I’m using a 5D (and back to slating for double system sound using a Zoom) to get cinematic quality images and sound, have I finally reached “prosumer” status??? Wow, If I could just go back to the day of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars so o.j. will consider me a true “professional”. That would make my day. If you spend your life in this business and get paid for your talent and time, guess what o.j., you are a professional, whether you are shooting 100 foot rolls on a Bolex, or using a CineAlta. In my humble professional opinion, Apple should be ashamed of the way its handled this roll out. It’s not good business to leave a customer sector (and a highly visible one at that) in the lurch. But, such actions is what arrogance breads. Time to re-evaluate the tools.
‘Apple should be ashamed of the way its handled this roll out.’
why? Apple’s owners benefit greatly from this move.
haha, what a confused response from a legacy “jack of all trades”. you have missed the point altogether. there is *NO* class warfare in technology anymore. my point was explaining how the industry changed over time, so I am at a loss as to understand your confusion. To reiterate, developers (read: vendors) who had high cost professional solutions worked hand in hand with artists (read: engineers) who had direct input in the creation/trajectory of any particular tool. The cost was NOT a feature of any class distinction nonsense but more a reflection of the serious commitment of both the people who built the tools and the people who used the tools. To answer your question regarding what is a prosumer versus a professional it is quite simple…prosumers, like consumers, have extremely limited interest in development and engineering of a tool, rather they seek “turnkey” solutions out of the box. This is exactly why there is so much fuss about FCP X. To put this another way, Apple put features in the now legacy FCP that allowed individuals to build from scratch their own effects. Yet how many “pros” are fluent in FXScript? How many instead just bought Boris or Magic Bullet? This is my point. It is actually why a program like Adobe After Effects does not need the word “pro” in its title. Their community of professional users have always embraced the development/code side of the app to tailor it to their very specific needs without the requirement of some off the shelf plugin. Ditto for Maya users who use MEL scripting, etc. In both those examples, there is a stronger connection between the vendor/engineer and end user. This is simply not the case with the majority of FCP users!
Users are now also developers to a certain extent with a lot of the creative tools used to produce media nowadays. Even the iOS stands as an example, since anyone can whip up an iApp in no time and that trend is booming. The days of using money to give your studio an “edge” in gear and tech are mostly gone. If you don’t know how to code and script then you will fall behind. The tools reflect this. Apple knows this but FCP users seem to be oblivious to this when they threaten to jump to another software because in their minds FCP X is “iMovie Pro”. How can Apple take serious users who fail to understand the importance of code rewrites, SDK’s and API’s? This is why money is not at the core of this fiasco. It is why Apple has priced FCP X at $300 and Motion/Compressor at $50 each. It may seem hard to swallow but the average current Apple user is getting smarter and more resourceful as the technology gets better. Kids run not only OS X but also Windows and Linux on their iMacs. It is why some 10 year
“pro” apple veteran may be behind the 16 year old who codes his own iApps, builds their own website and produces their own podcasts in HD. A paradigm shift.
Anyway, the point about prosumers being harmful to an industry is simple. You *become* a prosumer when you lose the ability to aid in the development of a tool. Prosumers want a button called “make it cool”, professionals build their own buttons. Apple is interested in professionals, Motion 5’s integration with FCP X is testament to that. The only customers being “left in the lurch” are the prosumers who felt entitlement to the tool. Sorry you got confused, hope this clears things up.
Interesting point of view OJ, and I agree with you about Motion 5. For me, it was the most intriguing part of the entire launch – the ability to can your own effects for use in other places, even if the other place is right now baffling. But after spending a week learning FCPX, and then going back to my real job of cutting shorts for Youtube business channels (in FCP 7.03), I miss the productivity jump that FCPX promises (and will deliver once the bugs are out). That’s another thing about 16 year olds…they could care less about bugs; they just work around them and go on. Cheers!
Great article, Ron. Even without Final Cut one need look no further than Quicktime X to see that there’s no ‘pro’ option, and to keep the “pro” options you will need a legacy installation of Quicktime 7.
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As a professional editor, Apple has simply lost me. Buh byeeee!
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“Apple is about thousands and thousands of people having done something cool on their own Mac and then wanting to tell everyone about it themselves.”
THANK YOU. That just about sums up my perspective on the Apple brand. They have the most brilliant marketing techniques around. In fact, it’s got to the stage (at least here in Australia) where people think the only smartphone out there is an iPhone and won’t even bother comparing other options.
Apple doesn’t really need to worry about pro loyalty any more, but they still need to work on innovation and I think that’s where FCPX comes into play.
Ron, thanks a lot for your article. We will carefully calculate the risk in investing in APPLE – Hardware in the future. Our FCP – Workstations will obviously become Avid or Premiere-Stations in the future, so there is no need in Apple Hardware any more.
Read also: (http://blog.bavaria-film-interactive.de/2011/08/apple-der-stille-abschied-vom-profi-sektor/) I’m curious, when Apple will discharge the Mac Pro!
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