Video professionals, just get a (new) life already! (Apple isn't looking at you.)

That's the message coming from Apple fanboys and apologists, going by the blogs out there, regarding the limitations of Apple's "update" to Final Cut Pro. Pick just about any thread on the Creative Cow forums and you'll see masses of discontent, frustration, anger, resignation ... and not one iota of joy.

Brian Charles:

In a final death blow, Apple has removed the link to the Pro Apps updater. Excellent news for those who recently purchased Studio 3....

Marvin Holdman:

Still a bit miffed at the fact that they expect me to "know" that their "upgrade" won't open FCS3 projects. Still say this product should NOT be named Final Cut anything, it is NOT Final Cut.

and Peter Blumenstock:

Just got my refund email as well.
Basically a standard email as seen elsewhere, with the exception that it noted that it took them longer to respond because "we have been experiencing higher than expected volumes...".
Anyone here who is angry should make the step and ask for a refund. Not that Apple would care but at least you have stood up.

Russell Lasson:

I think that things are going to get better, I just don't know if they'll get better fast enough for pro users to stay on the bandwagon. I also don't know if Apple's way of making things better is the same as what the pros think would make it better. We'll see.

Ken Nicholson points up that for many of us this is deja vu all over again. (10 years ago, Autodesk, who bought Discreet*, killed off the popular and growing Edit* non-linear editor. For many of us, that's when we first moved to Final Cut. Apple at the time was hiring up hot software talent from competitors to make FCP into a rocking professional system. We dared hope. Silly us.)

[D]id we bring the Discreet edit* disease here?

I feel so guilty. I apologize for EOLing FCP. I'm infected....

Seriously, this really is an EOL for Final Cut. Just the simple fact of not being able to import projects from V7 is enough to brand it with the death tag. Now we have to keep our current version online for who knows how long whether we migrate (I will NEVER say upgrade in regards to the new software) or not. This is it for everything we've done with FCP (all the FCS apps for that matter) to date. Don't misplace those install disks folks...

We had a good 10-year run. We've been here before. Meanwhile, Avid has been around all this time. Hello, Avid, remember me?

"Professional editors should...."

In today's column, David Pogue tells us essentially to shut up and just reinvent how professional video is done:

The Bottom Line: Apple has followed the typical Apple sequence: (1) throw out something that’s popular and comfortable but increasingly ancient, (2) replace it with something that’s slick and modern and forward-looking and incomplete, (3) spend another year finishing it up, restoring missing pieces.

Professional editors should (1) learn to tell what’s really missing from what’s just been moved around, (2) recognize that there’s no obligation to switch from the old program yet, (3) monitor the progress of FCP X and its ecosystem, and especially (4) be willing to consider that a radical new design may be unfamiliar, but may, in the long term, actually be better.

This, of course, ignores the realities of professional video — the needs for media control, the no-brainer need to be able to import existing projects for (re)working, the needs for systems like videotape which is still the vastly dominant medium of delivery in professional video and television....

C'mon, tapeheads, collaboration is so 20th century!

To me, one great irony is that Final Cut Pro X, with no real ability to import projects or even easily work on distributed media files, forces a silo around the video editor. Collaboration? What? How old school! This is just the opposite of the trend happening in the creative arts. Collaboration is on the upswing. And if there's one thing that video and film have been all along, it's collaborative. Just look at the credits at the end of you favorite movies and television shows. Those aren't wall posts, those are credits for collaborating on the project.

The inability for Final Cut Pro X to import existing Final Cut Pro projects, though, is just mind boggling. Imagine Microsoft releasing a new version of Word that would not read any existing Word files. Imagine a new Adobe Photoshop that will ignore all existing Photoshop files. Imagine a new interactive development environment that refuses to load code created in another system. That's what we're talking about here.

My own sense is that Apple really doesn't give a crap. Look at the pricing. It's clear they're in a race to the bottom. How much of Apple's market share is comprised of video professionals who aren't lone-gun freelancers working mostly on web projects? My guess is probably not many. What does Apple care if professionals move to Avid or Adobe? They're after the bigger market, and are really upselling the prosumers and amateurs who fancy themselves film geniuses enough to blow $300 on something that is the very cool video tool for the solo artist.

Leave the collaborative tools — and the collaboration — to the professionals.

Me, I'll peek at FCPX every now and then. Meanwhile I'll stick with Final Cut Pro Studio, and watch for Avid migration promotions.