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Final Cut Pro X
The latest version of FCP from Apple.


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Old June 27th, 2011, 08:57 AM   #1
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To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

Normally I'd post this type of thread on my blog but considering the wealth of DVinfo users that have emailed me directly I decided to post my thoughts here.

There's a bit of a panic amongst die-hard FCP users, that since FCP X has been been neutered from many of the pro-features most of us use (and need) that there's no longer an upgrade path for Final Cut. (You do know that you can't import any version of a FCP project into "X", right?)

While the majority of pro users - myself included - have given FCP X a decidedly thumbs-down vote and either won't or literally *can't* use it we're not exactly left out in the cold with FCP 7.

First, as the wealth of scathing reviews and pro users reporting they literally can't go forward with this new version abound Apple will most likely continue supporting FCP 7 - for how long is unclear. In fact as of today you can still get the latest updates via Software Update for FCP 7.

Many of you who emailed asked, "Is this a good time to switch platforms?". The answer is a resounding "No". Don't switch to another NLE package and most certainly don't switch to a PC-only platform. Why?

In both cases switching to another Mac-capable NLE will almost always be wrought with unforeseen struggles and gotchas, regardless how well developed the other NLE is. And god-forbid you tried to migrate a current working project... forget about it!

Those issues will become exacerbated if you try to migrate to a PC-only platform.

And then there's the cost of the migration and, the learning curve of becoming proficient in the new NLE environment - which by the way has it's own associated costs because you'll be less productive by a huge margin over your current FCP 7 workflows.

No doubt, it's damned disappointing that FCP X hoodwinked all pro editors, but if you're serious about taking charge with your current FCP 7 installation, then consider beefing it up rather than abandoning it.

For example, I had been waiting for FCP X to be released before I made any hardware decisions (it's time for me to update my edit system). So the new plan is to get a MBP with Thunderbolt, slap in a couple SSD drives and really go to town with my current FCP 7 rig.

Yes, that's far more expensive than would have been if I'd just upgraded to FCP X, but with this new plan I'll actually be increasing my workload efficiency and actually adding capabilities I didn't have before - such as the new Thunderbolt adapter for the Matrox MX02 offerings.

The main point here, is that FCP 7 remains one of the best Mac-based NLE's ever; it's super-stable and has unparalleled third-party support both in hardware and software offerings. No other NLE - ever - has had this much versatility. Period.

And let's not forget, FCP lives on the best OS ever produced, which is reason alone to not attempt a PC-switchover.

Maybe FCP X will get a total re-vamp and pro users will finally be able to adopt it into current workflows. But if not, you'll be able to stick with FCP 7 literally for years to come with nary a hitch in your profitability.

Panic no more my FCP friends - you'll always have DVinfo here to help you through the challenges.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 10:08 AM   #2
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

Hi Robert,

another point to make is that both Avid and Adobe have their NLE's on the Mac Platform too, so switching from a great OS isn't necessary.

I bought FCP X and I'll plan on learning some things. But if Apple doesn't come out with updates and/or clear statements, I will switch to Adobe, but on a Mac of course.
FCP 7 is a good NLE, but we all know that it needs a good under-the-hood update (which is arguably one of the greatest selling points of FCP X, the rewritten engine).

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Old June 27th, 2011, 11:23 AM   #3
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

Thanks for your thoughts Robert. Its kind of comforting.

I'm still on FCP6 as I was waiting for X before forking out for FCS3 as the upgrade seemed quite limited but regret that now of course. Is it possible to still upgrade from FCS2 to 3 or FCP6 to 7? I'm suspecting not.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 12:49 PM   #4
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

If you can still find a dealer that sells it, just act quickly.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 03:54 PM   #5
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

What's the possibility Apple can/will sell the old program to someone that can continue to improve it and make a living with it? Some people don't need to make billions off something to justify its existence. Maybe to one of the companies that make a living selling plug ins for it.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 04:38 PM   #6
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

If you judge by the example of Shake, I'd say the chances are zero.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 05:05 PM   #7
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

I read that they've pulled all existing copies of FCP7 from their shelves. Is this true?
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Old June 27th, 2011, 05:28 PM   #8
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

Is there any real reason (as seen through Apple's eyes only) to keep the MAC PRO around for anything except the old FCP? I imagine the MAC PRO is not raking in billions for them either. Kill the old FCP, so then you can more easily kill the MAC PRO.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 05:44 PM   #9
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

I'm still using V6 too. Couldn't see any benefits to going to 7 but have been eagerly awaiting X.

The new one is mind blowing, but of course has many shortcomings at present. I am going through the Steve Martin tutorials and am hugely impressed by much of what i see. I'm guessing that Avid and Adobe will be stealing from FCPX in the future, as the program seems to be well ahead of the competition in many ways.
By the time Avid and Adobe get up to speed, Apple will have left them standing as FCPX matures into a great video editing app once again.

That's why i'm staying put, even though i'm unhappy about many of the current changes.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 06:47 PM   #10
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

I'm on FCP 6 as well (I was totally underwhelmed by the features in the FCP 7 upgrade so decided to wait for the "next one").

I've got the Steve Martin tutorials and sat down to do them, but I've baulked at the FCP X interface and so have left it for a while. It's the same reaction I had when I sat down to play with the revised iMovie a couple of years ago. I just had an antipathy to it and walked away.

If it were "worth my while" I'd push through the initial interface antipathy on FCP X. But, because it lacks the ability to import previous projects (an absolute deal-breaker for me as I frequently have to re-open old projects and revise for the clients as their procedures change and their training videos have to be updated) plus uncertainty on how well it handles media spanned across multiple drives and raids (another potential deal-breaker for me) I'm treating FCP X as more of a "hobby" at the moment. Whereas a week ago I'd have called it a necessity and was all pumped up to learn it immediately.

I'm in such confusion at the moment as to Apple's intentions with FCP X that I found myself last night revising my hardware intentions for the end of July. I was looking at getting two fully pimped-out thunderbolt iMacs (i7, 16 GB RAM, 2 GB graphics cards, etc.) but I found myself thinking, "Why should I reward Apple by buying their hardware? Am I that much in love with OS X? Maybe Windows 7 is better than the earlier - ugh - versions of Windows that I had a little to do with? Maybe get a cheaper Windows box with the NVIDIA card that optimises CS 5.5 on the PC and switch to a set-up like that?"

I'm not saying I'm going to do that, but I was seriously pondering it last night.

I'm looking at a roadmap over the next 2 years and I thought the new FCP X with pimped-out thunderbolt iMacs would be it. FCP X has the potential to be such a phenomenal time-saver with the features that it does have. Plus the ability to adjust Motion graphics directly in the FCP timeline might also save heaps of time.

But it's all "theoretical gain" when the nobbling of such fundamental features (such as importing old projects) makes it unviable for me to pull it into my workaday pipeline.

Perhaps I'll follow Robert's sage advice at the beginning of this thread and hunt around for a dealer who might have an old copy of the FCP 7 upgrade. FCP 7 would be a pretty stable solution for a fair while and the pimped-out i7 iMac would at least greatly reduce rendering time and exporting time.

At least until we know what updates and upgrades Apple is going to make with FCP X (or not).
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Old June 28th, 2011, 02:20 AM   #11
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

David,

I agree that not being able to open previous projects is a PITA, but that could yet be addressed. I'd wait a couple of weeks and see what happens. Going to a new NLE and windows hardware is going to be expensive, because high spec windows gear is not that much cheaper, and CS5 is around 1600 in this part of the world at least.
It seems to me that there's nothing wrong with FCP as it is, so what's the hurry?

Also V7 is still a lousy upgrade IMO. Why not stick with 6, or do you desperately need the coloured markers & new speed tools etc?

FCP7 is still largely identical to 6
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Old June 28th, 2011, 04:56 AM   #12
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

Like several here I was reluctant to pay for the incremental upgrades that FCP7 offered over the FCP6 that I've been using very successfully and enjoyably the last 3 years. I also use Sony Vegas (currently 9E) on a Windows 7 PC with an i7 processor and I'm feeling really glad I've kept one foot in the PC camp ever since I started my corporate video production business 3 years ago.

I'm looking at some very expensive Apple hardware on my desk in front of me (2.66 GHz 8 core 2009 Nehalem Mac Pro, multiple 1TB drives, lots of RAM within etc. and a 2008 15 inch MBP). With this FCPX launch it's now far from certain that I'll buy any more Apple branded or Apple dedicated hardware for my business - something I would have thought unimaginable just a week ago. I also now doubt Apple will further develop the Mac Pro (at least in it's current form factor). I hope I'm wrong.

I've loved editing in FCP6 but at least I've learnt that Windows 7 64 Bit is blazing fast and ultra stable too - and Vegas is just as much fun to edit on as FCP - NLE's are just tools we professionals use - and Apple is going to find it increasingly hard to persuade me to part with my cash from this point forward (for hardware and software) unless they set out a VERY clear roadmap for FCPX very, VERY soon (unlikely I know, but the only way they'll stop the hemorrhaging in my view).

I'm sure I'm not unique in my thoughts, experiences and concerns. Might try CS5.5 next - but for now I'll just sit tight and use the great tools I already have.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 10:07 AM   #13
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

i understand your views on FCP and MAC OS X.
but, please, don't base your deductions on "HOW PRETTY CUTE THE GUI IS"
come on, linux has to have the most ugly GUI out there and yet, they are much more stable than anything else!.

so, yes..i love FCP 7, its easy of use, but it lacks alot of stuff Adobe has.

now, if you are so close minded as to think that MAC OS X is the "ultimate" OS, i got bad news for you, buddy. Apple doesn't care about YOU. all they care is about iPad, Iphone and Ipod.....that's what makes them money.

if i were you, i would just start playing around with an alternative NLE so once apple completely messes up FCP or shuts it down because it isn't making them millions, you can quickly jump into another NLE and call it a day.

I have been using Windows 7 Pro 64-bit and it hasn't been anything but good to me.
i really don't understand when people bash on Windows 7 without even giving it a chance :(
I am both a windows and mac user. i actually am writing this on iMac 20inch.
So, no, i am not being biased because i can't afford a mac.

just my 0.0000002 cents.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 10:48 AM   #14
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

I just ordered the Adobe upgrade to Premiere Production bundle for around $800 from VideoGuys. Thanks to Peter Bauer for pointing out this great deal! I had Photoshop, which made the upgrade possible.

I have (among other things) a Mac Pro with quad core and 24 GB of RAM.

If anyone else is considering switching to Premiere Pro CD 5.5, don't upgrade Mac OS to 10.6.8! It conflicts with the Mercury Playback engine! I was fortunate to see the warnings on the Adobe forum section here at DV Info.

I wonder if such incompatibility problems will increase over time.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 10:55 AM   #15
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac: The Future for Mac-based editors

I agree with Alejandro 100%

MAC OS X, although a great and stable OS, it is NOT the best OS out there. Linux has both these systems beat by a landslide, however, nobody can make money off of Linux and that is precisely why no one develops for linux.

Windows 7, although plagued with constant updates, works extremely fast and just as well as Mac OS X. Most diehard "Macheads" don't have any valid arguments as to why their Mac's are "superior"...I also find it sad that people feel the need to own a mac in order for their "creativity to explode".

Windows 7 64 + Sony Vegas 10 = An extremely fast, extremely stable NLE WITH real time previews...no need to render.

I was on the fence not too long ago with going Mac or not and after some hands on experience with FCP 7...i'm not convinced AT ALL and FCP is NOT worth the 2k+ cost of upgrades...all I need to do is beef up my quad PC and i'll fly past any Mac.

Don't get me wrong either. I don't hate Mac's, but it is evident that they do NOT care about "Us". They only care about the iPod, iPad and iPhone users...no one else. It's evident in their latest FCP X release and the plethora of whinning "Mac Only" users just proves that Apple doesn't care about its customers...unless they're the iphone, ipad or ipod customers.

All i'm saying is..DO NOT be afraid to go the way of the PC...they have come a LOOOONG way from their past. A well built and specced out PC will SPANK a Mac or be on par with at a fraction of the cost....and Vegas? Best editor out there in my opinion :)
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