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Old April 19th, 2008, 05:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
Let's be clear as to FCP market share:

The main install base of FCP users is the pro-sumer market (weddings, events, indie producers) who have little to no budget. Small production facilities have even cropped up based around a FCS suite however these companies are also in the lower-end of the market (city/regional/local). Once in a while you'll get a mainstream editor or producer who will use FCP for a scene or even an entire edit, and when that happens Apple does it's best to splash that across an ad campaign and make it appear that FCP has taken over the planet.
Err umm...

http://www.bbcresources.com/about/ar...71203_fcp.html

And I promised myself not to get involved.
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Old April 19th, 2008, 06:14 PM   #17
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SNIP

Robert,

With due respect, I couldn't disagree with your analysis more.

>>In the past 4 years Avid has consistently revised and innovated it's >>product line, even at this past NAB.

In the past four years, AVID has reacted to the stunning success of FCP by BEGINNING to pay attention to the features and requirements needed by day to day users rather than their initial "movie studio centric" approach - where all their development efforts circa 2004 were largely going to the Media Composer and other closed box system approaches.

>In the past 4 years Apple has spent the mother-load of it's innovation and >inventiveness in it's "iProducts", not it's professional apps.

A very difficult position to sustain since in that 4 year period, the entire FCP product line migrated from a stand alone product - to the current SUITE approach bundling heretofore unheard of capabilities (SoundtrackPro, DVD Studio Pro, Compresson, and finally Motion) into the core product. All at virtually the same price point as the original app. ($1200 vs $1000)

>I personally see the FCS suite as being a very slowly sinking ship for all >the reasons mentioned in this thread, and unless Apple breathes new life >and re-energizes it's efforts into it's pro apps see the ship taking on more >water with each passing quarter.[/QUOTE]

A fascinating perspective since 3 days ago from the FCPUG stage at NAB, the ProApps product manager from Apple announced that FCP just recently passed the ONE MILLION paid seats worldwide benchmark.

Notice I said PAID seats. Those are the REGISTERED copies. Like everyone else in the industry, you can probably imagine the actual user counts if that many people have paid for the $1200 formal license or equivelent in upgrades over the product's life.

That fact would indicated that with every major REV, assuming a reasonable UPGRADE price point of say, $250 - Apple stands to add a quarter of a BILLION dollars to their revenue stream from just the existing user base. Not a bad business model if you ask me.

Finally, your contention about your impression of the demographics of the "installed base of FCP users" appears to be largely unsubstantiated opinion -
every reliable metric I've seen indicates that FCP has penetrated professional, business and industrial production shops at a level equal to or even greater than it's penetration in consumer use.

Since you're here in Scottsdale, you might want to stop by the Arizona Final Cut Pro Users Group meeting sometime. You'll find it heavily skewed toward higher end users like our major public utilities (SRP), government users (The Arizona Department of Corrections) and even major sports franchises like the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.

This is precisely NOT the "prosumer" market you allude to.

Sorry, Robert. But in this case, your arguments don't appear to be supported by verifiable facts. Though to be fair, if you have data to support your contentions in this thread, I'd certainly be very interested in hearing about them.

Take care.
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Old April 19th, 2008, 07:26 PM   #18
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Getting back to Jack's question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Kelly View Post
First off, I really must emphasise that I'm not trying to start a flame war. I genuinely am looking for some answers.

I've been editing on Premiere Pro on the PC for years. However, I'm getting very frustrated with PPro - it seems to get less and less stable with each release. I've been thinking seriously about buying a Mac Pro and Final Cut Studio for quite some time now. All my research suggested that FCP has far more industry penetration than PPro and that FCP more seamlessly integrates with "pro" workflows (e.g. exporting OMF to do an audio mix in Pro Tools etc). I've also heard countless people tell me that FCP is more stable and generally more reliable than PPro. I was very close to making the payment a few weeks ago but then I started hearing a few niggling doubts about FCP.

My biggest concern is that I've heard several people say that FCP is long overdue for a full re-write. One argument seems to be that FCP's inability to do RGB (let alone 32-bit RGB) holds it back, especially when working with cameras like the RED ONE. But maybe this isn't such a problem because most people who care about high-bit-depth will do their colour correction in COLOR which will soon natively support R3D.

Is this true? Is FCP long overdue a re-write?

How stable is FCP for you?

To be honest, I'm getting to the point where I think I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and buy a Mac Pro + FCP + an external RAID + some software for rendering WMVs; sell my PC and use Boot Camp on the Mac so I can still use all my Windows software. But, it goes without saying that's a MASSIVE investment and not one I want to take without doing all the research I can possibly do before hand.

Any advice would be most welcome!

Many thanks,
Jack
Is FCS due a complete rewrite? That's debatable, depending on what you use it for. In the VFX company that I worked for recently we used FCS (especially FCP and Color) on film and broadcast projects at resolutions from at least HD and 2K. We vary rarely had problems with either app. Was it perfect? No, did FCS do it's job? Most of the time. Did we think it needed to be rewritten? I don't think so, depending on what problems we were having that day! :)

The issue is knowing the software and hardware well enough that when problems arise you know what to do or how to fix it quickly. Evaluation of software products is very important. I have and have used everything from PPro, Edius, Vegas, Xpress Pro, and now FCP, and Media Composer. Each app has it's advantages and handicapps. It all depends on how you work and how you want your workflow.

Was FCP stable? Most of the time depending on the issue and what other conditions were involved. Sometimes people mistake a hardware issue with a software crash. Also how does that software interact with other installed software? Even when not running I've had problems with dll's getting in the way of other apps (I also run VFX and 3D software at times). I've learned that some software needs to be on separate computers or uninstalled while others are working.

I would suggest as others in this thread have advised, to check out the software that is within your budget and go from there. Some software have 30 day downloads, unfortunately FCS and MC don't. You will also have the added expense of switching OS with FCS. You could even check out PPro on OSX since you are already familiar with that app.

I know this is much longer than I wanted this but I hope this gives you some direction!
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Old April 19th, 2008, 11:43 PM   #19
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I am considering Apple as well, but Blu-ray authoring is very important to me and
Apple's lack of capability in this area is very concerning.

They are now one year behind Adobe and with nothing announced at NAB, who knows if and when they will have something.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 02:39 AM   #20
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Bill,

I'm unimpressed with how many FCP seats exist or that local/regional companies use the app; as I said before FCS remains the best bang-for-the-buck in the industry. I don't expect utility companies or law-enforcement agencies to use - or need - the full extent of a hardware-accelerated Avid suite, it would be overkill.

However well implemented or cost effective the FCS suite is it doesn't diminish the fact that Apple lags seriously behind it's competitors (even Edius has more native capabilities than FCP does today) in many areas and, we're seeing Apple slowly chip-away at it's pro offerings (reference the killing-off of Shake, XServe RAID etc).

My entire company and all my subcontractors are and have been for years FCP based, however we all share the same concerns: We've noted that direct and timely support for bug fixes has waned substantially from a relatively quick response to, "we'll get to it as soon as possible" and again the increasing lagging behind of PC-based competitive apps.

FCS is a tool, nothing more, and in this industry if you don't get good support for the tools and the tools themselves threaten to become outdated/outmoded then considering changing the toolset is a wise thought process. Being blinded by glossy ad campaigns and impotent statistics does little more than create brand-fans.

Many years ago - and before many current FCP editors were even old enough to use a computer - there was another world-changing system called the Amiga from Commodore. From the Amiga arose that gorgeous and misunderstood system, the NewTek Video Toaster. In fact an entire sci-fi series was produced on it, "Babylon 5". Back then all of us who used the system knew we had a very unique and powerful system, light-years ahead of anything else on the market for that pricepoint. But slowly both Commodore and Newtek made marketing choices that eventually killed off the entire platform. Those of us who lived through that period remember those warning signs and we're seeing them being repeated with Apple's FCS.

My posts aren't about the non-sensical and useless "which is better" debate because there is no such thing; FCP isn't the best app for all editors any more than Avid, Quantel, Vegas or any other editor is, my posts are that this recent rumour of what Apple may or mat not be planning for it's pro apps has merit, even if only slight. And to disregard it's possibility would not only be unwise but illogical.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 06:48 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Kelly View Post
...
To be honest, I'm getting to the point where I think I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and buy a Mac Pro + FCP + an external RAID + some software for rendering WMVs; sell my PC and use Boot Camp on the Mac so I can still use all my Windows software. But, it goes without saying that's a MASSIVE investment and not one I want to take without doing all the research I can possibly do before hand.

Any advice would be most welcome!

Many thanks,
Jack
Alternatively, you could buy Avid's Media Composer, and if need be an nVIDIA Quadro FX video card, and possibly be set.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 02:30 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
Bill,

>I'm unimpressed with how many FCP seats exist or that local/regional >companies use the app; as I said before FCS remains the best bang-for->the-buck in the industry. I don't expect utility companies or law->enforcement agencies to use - or need - the full extent of a hardware->accelerated Avid suite, it would be overkill.

SNIP

Then Robert, IMHO your post to the original query should have reflected precisely what you state above. It did not. By giving him no inkling that your actual opinion was that FCP offers "the best bang for the buck in the industry" you did him a great disservice.

The guy was simply looking for some honest appraisal on whether the switch he was contemplating might be "safe". Based on your own comments above - clearly it would be.

And that's precisely why I posted those rational examples of FCP working in a very wide range of professional organizations. To let him know that yes, as currently shipped, FCP is a very SAFE NLE choice.


>My posts aren't about the non-sensical and useless "which is better" debate >because there is no such thing; FCP isn't the best app for all editors any >more than Avid, Quantel, Vegas or any other editor is, my posts are that >this recent rumour of what Apple may or mat not be planning for it's pro >apps has merit, even if only slight. And to disregard it's possibility would >not only be unwise but illogical.
I don't quarrel with the basic premise here. But again, the OP wasn't asking if one software approach was "better" than another. He was asking whether the one he was contemplating was "safe". Your response not only didn't address that, but gave a clear and nearly convincing answer that it WAS NOT - flying in the face of the experience of legions of other editors. And that lack of safety was predicated on what you self described as "rumors."

Sorry, but IMO that's not (to paraphrase your own words) wise or logical either.

DVinfo is at it's best when we all acknowledge that OPINIONS - particularly of experienced users such as yourself - are valuable - but never more valuable than judgements based on hard facts and data.

The way I see it, a million shipped units indicates a robust product that MUST work largely as advertised, since in an expensive and complex realm like NLE, if such a product didn't work essentially as advertised - it would be impossible to get that many "suckers" to buy and use it - particularly in today's environment where we all have access to instant opinions via boards precisely like this one.

Therefor the answer to the OPs question is that YES. FCP a good product and worthy of consideration if one is not satisfied with their current solution.

Period.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 04:49 PM   #23
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Copied from my earlier post:

"In point of fact, there isn't any other NLE package on the market today that is as well-rounded or complete as FCS2; not only do you get an editing platform but one of the best software encoders/compressors, color finishing, and of course DVD authoring. To get all that from a standalone Avid package would cost 4-times as much as FCS2."

Indeed my posts have covered the good, the bad and the ugly. If you're going to refer to what I've said or not, it'd be best to read all my posts, not just make snippets of portions.

'Nuf said.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 09:05 PM   #24
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Yeah, you said that in post #04.

But then in subsequent posts, you started arguing from a totally different point of view.

And from the reaction of the OP, it was only your subsequent posts that had much effect on his reasoning.

And those posts were quite wrong.

Your allegations as to the kind of work regularly done by FCP users and the size of the market it addresses quite competently, were colored, I believe, by opinions that have no basis in fact.

As examples you cited capabilities like MXF support that are of critical importance to only a small sub-set of users.

Out of idle curiosity, you're here in Scottsdale as am I.

What kind of work do you do? Would I have seen any of it? Perhaps our differing points of view come from the difference in our requirements and workflows.

If that's so, it stands to reason that the OP should be able to compare our uses of FCS to his and see if the advice being offered from one perspective is more germain than the advice from the other?
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Old April 20th, 2008, 10:45 PM   #25
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to answer the original question...

Apple's QA over the last two years has been a bad joke. they have let HUGE bugs out in every release, and then taken forever to fix them. some are still not fixed. here is a short list.

in V5.1.x they broke the AE filter API. most if not all 3rd party AE filters quit working, or working correctly. it was SILENTLY fixed in 6.0.2, but ....

in 6.0 they released mixed format playback and it worked. in 6.0.2 they broke it. place a DVCpro HD 59.94 clip into a 24p ProRes TL with other 24P native media and it stutters during playback. this had worked perfect in 6.0 and 6.0.1

premultiply with black error still abound in FCP. easy to witness in wipes, crops with soft edges, some apply modes with dissolves.

JVC 720p24 native capture is a basically completely un-reliable. some tapes will go perfect, others will simply refuse with "stream errors". Prem Pro will capture the same tapes without a problem.

apple added a work around, using the AIC codec - except you don't get machine control UI nor do you get any TC with the clip. its a crash capture.

apple added the HDV->ProRes crash capture. it works, even on a G5, it also gets clip TC, but no machine control for the user. its basically a crash load procedure but its the most reliable way to get HDV in via FW to a quality compressed format. however, ProRes still takes up about 5X the space of native HDV capture. pick your poison here.

FCP 's native masking is a waste of time.

new 6.0.3 bug. if you capture native HDV, then switch to DV capture, FCP simply won't do it. you have to quite the app, restart the app for DV capture to work. any time you need to toggle back and forth, it requires quitting the app which is just pure B.S. its a typical FCP bug.

FCP has a 4096 width and height limitation. its been a problem for me, but probably not for 99% of all other users, Prem Pro doesn't have this limitation BTW.

if you do fairly simple editing, its stable. if you do long complex multi layer edits, nested TL's, multiple projects & TL's open, the wheels can fall off. I typically have 5-10 layers in any given edit throughout the entire edit, and 8-16 tracks of audio. very mixed format edits. I have crashes when rendering way too often, as in several times a day. if you don't push FCP the way I do, and 99% of users don't, it can be a pretty stable app. so the answer is, it all depends how hard you push it.

so those are some of the warts of FCP.

in regards to some other comments - Shake wasn't as much killed as put into a new product which has not been released yet. wish shake would be bolted onto FCP. FCP is badly due for a major rework given all its bugs and stability issues. one example is the two capture windows - one for most media via capture card, the other for FW native HDV capture. it should be integrated into one window. you can't change settings in the capture window between the two.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 11:29 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
to answer the original question...

Apple's QA over the last two years has been a bad joke. they have let HUGE bugs out in every release, and then taken forever to fix them. some are still not fixed. here is a short list.

in V5.1.x they broke the AE filter API. most if not all 3rd party AE filters quit (List Snippage - refer to original post if you care)

so those are some of the warts of FCP.

in regards to some other comments - Shake wasn't as much killed as put into a new product which has not been released yet. wish shake would be bolted onto FCP. FCP is badly due for a major rework given all its bugs and stability issues. one example is the two capture windows - one for most media via capture card, the other for FW native HDV capture. it should be integrated into one window. you can't change settings in the capture window between the two.



Steve,

Quite a specific and very fair list. Although I must say that I've had no where NEAR the "bug or crash" issues you report - and when I software rev did introduce instability during various past revs - it was typically in exchange for valuable new capabilities - and the bugs were quashed in a reasonable period of time. I think that's the price for progress in ALL software today - particularly software that has to play nice with so many other constant hardware/software revisions.

Personally I can live with all the issues you note and more since hardly any of them are present in my daily corporate practice

So yeah, I'll agree. It's not perfect software. And it probably does it's worst when people expect it to be everything to everyone (witness your list of requirements!)

But I'd highly recommend the rest of you read Steve's list - and if none of those aspects particularly trouble you - or you believe as with some of his list items it's only a matter of time before FCP gets even the peripheral issues locked down - then join the party.

For most of us using it, it's been an absolute revolution in our workflow adding capabilities we never dreamed we'd have - all at a price point that made it easy to adopt originally, and to stay with to date.

Like I said earlier in the thread, a million users have voted with their wallets.

I did so in April of 1999 - and have been thankful every day that I stumbled on FCP 1.0 when I did - making all the growth in my practice since then possible.

So if I tend to bristle at those who publicly "trash" FCP - mea culpa.

That "trash" has quite literally bought me a horse property - a fully equipped studio full of gear pictured in another thread here on DVinfo - and supports my family very nicely thank you.

Yeah other software does all this for others as well. But for a lot fewer users if the best statistics available are correct.

Like it or not, right now FCP is the big dog in user selected video editing apps. And yes, there's a reason for that.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 11:53 PM   #27
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Steve,

Quite a specific and very fair list. Although I must say that I've had no where NEAR the "bug or crash" issues you report - and when I software rev did introduce instability during various past revs - it was typically in exchange for valuable new capabilities - and the bugs were quashed in a reasonable period of time. I think that's the price for progress in ALL software today - particularly software that has to play nice with so many other constant hardware/software revisions.
yes, exactly. every time you update for a critically needed new feature like 24P HDV support, you wonder what will be broken. in 5.1.2 I believe they broke the 8 bit 4:2:2 uncompressed codec ***if*** your TL was 720X480, not 486 tall. Last NAB I found and talked to the apple person who worked on those codecs and again, silently, it was fixed a few weeks later. However, for 6 months all my 480 TL's required re-rendering into another codec. the key problem with FCP is you never know when they will break something that worked these days. as a business decision, can you afford to bet the farm on a FCP update breaking your previous working projects ? well the short answer is, let other people try it out, but so far I've had something of a track record for finding these bugs and being burned VERY badly by them.

in fact over the last few weeks I'd had nothing but problems with the Kona LH card and FCP. after several jumps to the desktop, FCP would lose contact with the card and basically lock up. this required a full power down of the CPU. Talking to the AJA guys at NAB last week, they told me to install the non-desktop mode drivers because of something in 10.4.11 that causes this - the Kona CArd is seen by the OS as another video display card ( which techincally it is ).

so to be quite honest, I want to switch to prem pro or smoke mainly for stability & features which work day in day out.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 12:12 AM   #28
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"All the bugs and stability issues"

Doesn't happen in my life or any of my clients that I have set up. Just my experience. I will put forward that they (and me) are all using DV (or HDV) over FireWire and not any of the higher end codecs or equipment. The couple of high end production houses I bring work to use FCP with BlackMagic or AJA equipment and they have never told about any major problems with FCP to me. They do openly complain about their DigiBeta decks a lot however.

I might experience a crash four times a year and it's been usually when I have very complex timelines and I start clicking things too fast and haven't saved recently. That's been fixed by setting autosave to every ten minutes. Now I would like Apple to fix the way Time Machine interacts with FCP, I have complaints also and I have posted them on Apple's site. I do remember that QuickTime bug a few years ago that lost connection to the FireWire, yes that was annoying. However, I've had many more problems with equipment based on that other operating system.

I was just working at a group video feed for the Pope's visit here in New York. Out of a dozen major European network media group working in the room, most were editing on Mac laptops with FCP.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 12:18 AM   #29
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I think we've got this one covered.

The OP should now have ample information from which to make a decision. No one piece of software is all things to all people. Choice is a good thing. If FCP doesn't work for this person's needs, then so be it.

Thanks to all who put forth their input.

-gb-
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Old April 21st, 2008, 07:59 AM   #30
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My advice, based on more than twenty years making films and videos is buy your mac, buy FCS, stop worrying and start making something. After a week you'll wonder why you ever procrastinated.
Liam gives the single best piece of advice to be found in this thread, so it's worth repeating. Thanks,
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