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Old July 11th, 2011, 06:37 PM   #1
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FCPX: A Pro Photographer/Video Noob's POV.

Everyone certainly seems to have an opinion about FCPX, it's certainly not leaving anyone ambivalent about it. (Well, except the guy who start the ambivalence about FCPX thad...) so, i thought i would put mine out there, as invalid as it may be.

A little backstory, or grain of salt disclaimer, about me. I've been a professional freelance adventure photographer for the last few years. And like many other photographers, thanks to the HDSLR revolution, I've begun making a pretty serious exploration into video production. Im really digging it, and will definitely be sticking with it. No fad here.

What I see going on from a macro perspective, is something that photography is a little further along with: the mass democratization and accessibility of high quality results. The barriers that keep people out, or keep them from making great stuff, are coming down. When DSLR's broke the 10mp barrier a few years ago they surpassed 98% of the needs of 98% of their users. Now, even the cheapest DSLR's are more than 12mp, which is more than enough to print double page in a larger than usual magazine. Nw any person who buys the worst new camera you can find, and spends a little bit of money on lenses has access to image quality that the best pro cameras didn't have 5 years ago.

Photoshop used to rule the imaging world. Then Lightroom came out. People said all the same stuff that people are saying about FCPX right now. It's too weak, this is consumer garbage, this has nothing on Photoshop, I don't see how this would ever fit into a professional workflow, and so on. Now, 98% of my work is all entirely inside of Lightroom, and I only open Photoshop if I absolutely have to. Nearly every other pro photographer i talk to says the same thing. Why? Despite the fact that from a technical capability standpoint Photoshop is stronger, anything that both programs do, Lightroom does much easier and five times faster. What would take me 3 hours in Photoshop, i can do in 20 minutes in Lightroom. The editing is lightning fast and seamless, the sorting is quick, the media management makes a mockery of Photoshop/Bridge, and it does all of this for $300 instead of $900 for Photoshop. Plus, the UI of Photoshop is ungainly, and slow. It takes a long time and many tutorials to. Even have an awkwardly slow, working knowledge in the program. Lightroom is amazingly intuitive, and anyone with a vision of what they want to create, and a little bit of computer savvy, will be cranking out great results in no time.

I had only recently started working in FCP 7 when the FCPX buzz started happening. My time in FCP 7 was painstakingly slow at best. It felt the same as Photoshop. The UI was clunky and had so much room for improvement and streamlining, it seems incomplete in the way that it had little to offer in media management, and I just felt like there was this constant technological barrier between what I wanted to create, and my ability to do so. Now, obviously all sorts of great content comes out of FCP 7" so its more than possible. But just because it's possible, doesn't mean its the best way, and it always felt like there were so many technological roadblocks that could be removed from the creative process of editing.

Enter FCPX. When the buzz started, i really liked what I heard. Bt as people started using it, i felt like I heard nothing but negative, and wasn't going to get it. But eventually, I decided that I really wanted to experience it for myself. And for $300 it seemed like a reasonable risk to take. I opened it, and immediately started ginger through the free tutorial series on Izzy Video. I was blown away almost immediately. This is exactly what I've been wanting video editing to be! Intuitive. Vie only had it for 3 days and i already feel more comfortable in it than in FCP 7. I would even say that i have an advantage never having fully learned FCP 7.

FCPX is is Lightroom, and FCP 7 is Photoshop. No editing feels relatively easy to me and intuitive. Media management is just like in Lightroom. It makes a mockery of what FCP 7 could do (to the best i can tell...). now I spend all time just editing, and trying to make my content come alive, rather then trying to bridge the gap between software and vision. The huge different here, and this is where i think apple dropped the ball, is that photographers can still buy Photoshop if they needs that kind of horsepower. I think FCPX is beautiful program, with enormous potential, but it does leave a big gaping hole at the top of its potential. At the moment, FCPX fully encompasses my needs, but I also realize that I'm not a professional video editor, and that many people have needs far above and beyond mine. I think FCPX should have been released in conjunction with a pouch more powerful program over its head that fully encompassed the needs of any pro editor, and something that was meant to the beginning to work in tandem with FCPX. As powerful as Lightroom is, it's even more powerful when you team it up with Photoshop, which is just on right click away.

The other thing is about how Apple position this software. Apparently they missed the mark for what pro software is taken to mean, although it seems like it'll get there. They seem to have let down a lot of people working in Hollywood, broadcast and and other high end markets. But they seems to hit the bullseye for, and I think were very keen in realizing, a relatively new, emerging market for professional video: which is online content. Its really two sub-markets. There are so many clients looking for high quality, original content for their websites, blogs and social media channels. I know of quite a few people who are making really good money doing short run webisode type things for outdoor brands, focussing on the athletes they sponsor. I'm currently working on a project that is exactly that. FCPX is a dream machine for this type of work.

The other sub-market is people looking to do real time or semi real time video coverage of things going on, that is of a decently high quality. There is plenty of crap quality real time coverage going on, but it se EMS tough to do anything of quality that is remotely real time, until now. I was part of the media team for a yoga festival a few weekends back, and we were attempting to be releasing short video pieces throughout the weekend to the festival's YouTube, and sharing via twitterr and facebook. It didn't go well because we just couldn't make the process fast enough. Im convinced that if we would have been working in FCPX, which seems extremely streamlined for exactly this, we would have been much more successful.

So, the way I see it is: Did Apple really neglect the needs of the professional video editor, or did they just recognize, prioritize, and supremely satisfy the needs of a new kind of professional? Again this is where i see the need for a secondary or sidecar program that is optimized for the needs of cinema, broadcast and other high end markets.

That's my take on it all. Feel free to disagree. Thoughts?

Cheers,

Ben
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Old July 11th, 2011, 06:49 PM   #2
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Re: FCPX: A Pro Photogeapher/Video Noob's POV.

Very interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing it.
I've been livid after waiting for 64 bit processing for 2 years . . . you've tempered my angst.
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Old July 11th, 2011, 07:46 PM   #3
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Re: FCPX: A Pro Photographer/Video Noob's POV.

Glad I could help...? :)
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Old July 11th, 2011, 08:05 PM   #4
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Re: FCPX: A Pro Photographer/Video Noob's POV.

Interesting take on everything. I agree for the most part. One thing is for sure...They are abandoning the pro-user for an emerging market that as Bill Gates said 2 years ago on the Today show "will be the biggest technology revolution of his lifetime". It is coming. The way that the phone, Ipad and tv will work together will only get more user friendly. As pros, we have make adjustments in what is getting ready to be a rapidly changing market. Apple is working to lead the way just like they did on their big moneymakers IPhone and IPad. Soon, they will be releasing their first tv and will continue to lead the way. It doesn't make me happy as a pro user of their software, but from a business standpoint they are probably making the best decision.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 02:47 AM   #5
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Re: FCPX: A Pro Photographer/Video Noob's POV.

One thing that I am surly pleased with is match color in FCPX. It has taken me less than a minute to do this in 4 different set-ups in a scene. I don't need to tell anyone how much of a pain it is to do this in color or any other color detail plug-in.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 08:47 AM   #6
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Re: FCPX: A Pro Photographer/Video Noob's POV.

I don't see why FCP X has to divide into two camps - professional and quasi-professional. I guess I don't fully understand why Apple couldn't make a product that would appeal to both camps. Essentially the software could work on two levels. For professionals, the features would be there if you want to employ them. For the quasi-professionals, they don't have to use the added complexity or learn any keyboard shortcuts.

I also wonder if FCP X does disillusion the professional market will there be support among the quasi-professionals. Developers won't develop plug-ins or software solutions for people who can't afford them. Plus, there is the aspirational element. Quasi-professionals like using the same software the guys in the big leagues use. Maybe they want to grow in their professionalism. There is a critical mass when it comes to software. I'm not sure FCP X can get that without the professional market.

I do think FCP X will get there for the professional market. It really isn't that far away IMHO. But Apple actually needs to work at it and listen to the professionals to get it to that point.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 09:47 AM   #7
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Re: FCPX: A Pro Photographer/Video Noob's POV.

I think that the Lightroom/Photoshop analogy is non-applicable.

Photoshop's range of functionality is so vast beyond photo tweaking...Lightroom is simply a small component of its capabilities. Still photographers don't make up the majority of Photoshop users...therefore Photoshop isn't designed with only them in mind. I use Photoshop everyday...and I don't take still photos.

...and since Photoshop wasn't taken off the market and replaced with Lightroom...the situation isn't applicable.


Keep in mind that Apple has been trumpeting how credible their editing application is based on how many feature films, etc that are cut on it. As their users have sat waiting for their chosen application to catch up with the rest of the field, Apple has been promising those high end users that really great stuff was on its way. What arrived might have been great but the very users Apple has been flaunting for the past 5 years weren't considered in the feature priorities...they can't use it.


FCPX was introduced with innovations like "background rendering"...Pinnacle had a mid range NLE product a decade ago that did background rendering. The fact that Apple presents it as if they've discovered cold fusion is...pathetic.

It's as if Lightroom was introduced as the Photoshop REPLACEMENT and the inclusion of an exposure slider was the grandest thing you've ever seen as the presenter says with a flourish "That age old challenge with using 'levels' to try to affect exposure?...We've solved it with this major innovation!"

Meanwhile Photoshop users everywhere are asking "Where are the layers? Illustrator import? PDF import? Smart layers? EPS import? Support for 3D objects? Pixel-level editing? Alpha Channels?

Lightroom doesn't...and didn't...replace Photoshop.

So...I would respectfully, but forcefully, disagree with the Photoshop/Lightroom analogy.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 10:26 AM   #8
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Re: FCPX: A Pro Photographer/Video Noob's POV.

I think the OP's analogy illuminates Apple's mindset perfectly. You're correct in pointing out that it's an 'apples to oranges' comparison - but the OP doesn't care, and neither does APPLE.

They. Simply. Don't. Care.

The OP IS the market for this product - they've hit their mark perfectly.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 10:32 AM   #9
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Re: FCPX: A Pro Photographer/Video Noob's POV.

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Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez View Post
I think the OP's analogy illuminates Apple's mindset perfectly....

The OP IS the market for this product - they've hit their mark perfectly.
I agree with you on that point, Richard.

And...I'm not trying to say that the OP is somehow an "illegitimate" customer target, or that his feeling that FCPX is a good fit is misguided.

I was trying to point out that the comparison to PS/Lightroom is just not a good parallel for a variety of reasons...most of them having more to do with Apple's approach to all this as opposed to the product itself.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 10:43 AM   #10
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Re: FCPX: A Pro Photographer/Video Noob's POV.

Richard I have to agree.
Way back when, Apple used to be about the Professionals. This was when you were considered a professional designer, production person etc. if you worked on a MAC. That was where they made their money.
The average consumer, was such a tiny part of computing back then. And for most technology was out of reach due to the market and price point.

That was then, this is now.
As technology has increased, and the world has gotten smaller and more information now due to the advent of the internet. So has the gap between the professional and the consumer. It's easy for someone now to work on a powerful computer and shoot with prosumer electronics than ever before.

The advent of tablets, cell phone technology, wireless technology has made if affordable and even more so very profitable for companies such as Apple to change direction in how they generate revenue.

Where the money used to be with the professionals, isn't really profiterole anymore, as the numbers dictate that it's much more profitable to go after the average consumer now as their numbers far outweigh the pros. Apple has been trying to push streaming content and workflow for quite some time now to go after the average consumer. Now while mom and pop aren't their niche, their children are, And internet and cell phone technology is leading the way.

Eventually those children and even in between get older and they become the majority and the norm.

So it's gotten to a point now, where it seems that Apple is bidding goodbye to the professionals (studios, production houses and such), and moving towards a much more profitable future with the consumer. Unfortunately it's going to ruffle some feathers as the professionals are going to feel slighted and abandoned.

But as for the big picture, Apple (which is a company who has to pay shareholders), which created their own niche with ipods, iphones, imacs etc., consumers now are where the money lies.

Smart move on Apple part for revenue means, but not the greatest for PR and the immediate future.
But given time, all of this will fade away, and some might stay with Apple if it fits their needs, and some will move to another platform.

As for myself, I actually like FCPX for my needs, DVD creation and internet streaming (personal and cooperate) video. But I am also moving back to Adobe as well. It never hurts to have your foot dipped in two pools.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 10:57 AM   #11
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Re: FCPX: A Pro Photographer/Video Noob's POV.

Tim - I agree with you. And i guess I should have made the clarification that I was referring to PS/LR, specifically in regards to a photographer's needs. Photoshop is essentially a graphic design program that go hijacked by photographers, and s much as it fully encompasses almost anything a photographer would ever need, it's so much bigger than that. I also agree that the key difference is that LR wasn't a prelacement for PS, even though in many ways, and for many shooters, it has almost completely done that. And that's what i think apple should have done. I think FCPX as we know it is a beautiful program, but clearly not everything that everybody needs. I think they should have released it as part of the pro suite, but under a different name, and then released a new FCP as something designed to work with with all the horsepower anyone could want.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 11:36 PM   #12
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Re: FCPX: A Pro Photographer/Video Noob's POV.

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Originally Posted by Michael Liebergot View Post
So it's gotten to a point now, where it seems that Apple is bidding goodbye to the professionals (studios, production houses and such), and moving towards a much more profitable future with the consumer. Unfortunately it's going to ruffle some feathers as the professionals are going to feel slighted and abandoned.
Everyone keeps saying this, but I think it's a serious mistake to think of this as apple abandoning the pros and turning towards the consumer. Studios & production houses used to be the only pros - but now they're probably a small (and shrinking) subset of a much larger pool of video professional. Apple's not turning away from professionals, it's turning towards the largest block of professionals.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 11:59 PM   #13
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Re: FCPX: A Pro Photographer/Video Noob's POV.

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Everyone keeps saying this, but I think it's a serious mistake to think of this as apple abandoning the pros and turning towards the consumer. Studios & production houses used to be the only pros - but now they're probably a small (and shrinking) subset of a much larger pool of video professional. Apple's not turning away from professionals, it's turning towards the largest block of professionals.
Evan, what I was meaning to say was that the Pro market has shrunk considerably as the consumer/prosumer market has grown. As the lines have blurred quite considerably between what is a pro and amateur.

The pros that seem to be very upset are the longtime professionals who work in larger studios.
Independent professionals such as myself, doesn't have nearly the overhead in which to make transitions from one app/platform to another, and simply move on and adapt and learn a new way to do things.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 04:39 AM   #14
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Re: FCPX: A Pro Photographer/Video Noob's POV.

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Originally Posted by Evan Donn View Post
Everyone keeps saying this, but I think it's a serious mistake to think of this as apple abandoning the pros and turning towards the consumer. Studios & production houses used to be the only pros - but now they're probably a small (and shrinking) subset of a much larger pool of video professional. Apple's not turning away from professionals, it's turning towards the largest block of professionals.
Evan, a LOT of the features that seperated Final Cut Pro from Final Cut Express are just GONE in this release.
That's why people are saying that...
They keep calling it Final Cut PRO, but they removed most of the features that made that software package PRO in the first place. And no, not every professional needs those features, but I think the criticism is VERY valid.

I mean, FCP X doesn't even remember IN and OUT points on a clip (could be a bug though).
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Old July 14th, 2011, 06:46 AM   #15
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Re: FCPX: A Pro Photographer/Video Noob's POV.

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Originally Posted by Mathieu Ghekiere View Post

I mean, FCP X doesn't even remember IN and OUT points on a clip (could be a bug though).
If you use the Favorite feature you can mark multiple ranges in a clip and even give them names with Keywords. They will then show up as separate clips when Favorite view option is used with keyword displayed.

When viewing the entire clip you will see all the marked ranges with green stripe. I find this very handy. And easier than making sub clips in FCP7.

There are a lot of "Pro" features missing at the moment, but I think they will be back soon. And once you get used to the new way of using meta data for organizing media, it will be very fast and versatile.

FCPX is a whole new concept of Database managing of projects and events. It is very efficient and different than what we are used to. But I think it shows great promise.
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