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Old July 30th, 2009, 01:10 PM   #1
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Complaints about Final Cut Studio - who to go to?

Hey!

I've been having a look at the new features talked about in Final Cut Studio 3, one of them being Soundtrack Pro updates and better round-trip from FCP and Color.

I think it's great that Apple are moving forward with what's generally a great product. But considering i've not once been able to successfully round-trip a project from FCP to Color. (Meaning i've never been able to use Color on my projects, making it USELESS to me) nor have I successfully been able to work on my audio post-production without a myriad of bugs, hangs, lost edits and head scratching...It's been a bit of an anti-climax.

Final Cut Pro, Compressor and Motion + DVDSP now they get a round of applause. But for 800 I paid. I feel I only got 4 Apps.

I paid for 6.

I don't feel paying for an upgrade is fair. Especially when Color's upgrade is it's "better integratoin". Surely that should be free?

Does anybody else feel like this?

I feel cheated and angry at Apple. I want to vocalise this but where do i start? Who do i complain to?

Any advice would be great. I'm based in the UK and wondered if anybody could DM me any tips of getting hold of the product management team over here? Long shot. But who knows.

Many thanks,

Neil
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Old July 30th, 2009, 05:29 PM   #2
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My OPINION is that Apple feels that the rest of the suite is just useful additions to the core program, which is FCP. My very first seat of FCP (1.0.2 back in '99) was $1600 Canadian. Now to buy the entire FCS2 package 2 years ago, had I not had an upgrade path (which I thankfully did and paid $800 CDN for - with the upgrade to FCS3 now at $360CDN), the entire FCS2 package would have cost me (you guessed it) $1600CDN.

I'm not saying you don't have a right to be peeved. I'm just suggesting that you may want to prepare yourself for your pleas to fall on deaf ears at Apple or your chosen Value Added Reseller.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 10:11 AM   #3
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Shaun's take is spot-on; there's little to nothing you can do at this point that will quench your frustration - although you can feel somewhat vindicated that hundreds of others share your perspective.

Even if you could use the Customer Service or tech support lines to find a high-level manager to complain to Apple's stance will be fairly obvious: If it's not "broken" they won't offer a fix or any compensation, and if you're disappointed with the specifics of the contents they'll say all that information was supplied in pre-sales literature on the web.

A few years ago we had some hardware-related issues that literally shut down a few brand-new systems. It took a week and 3 trips to the Genius Bar before Apple finally conceded that in fact there was a manufacturing defect in the mainboard and finally rectified the problem by a next-level upgrade. But that was a break-fix situation, not a "I didn't get my money's worth..." issue.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 11:49 AM   #4
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In my experience, its best to either change your process to suit the software, or switch to another video editor. But, you'll just find the other software has different areas of weakness.

I'll give you an example. When exporting to compressor FCP can't be used. Solution export as a Quicktime reference, then use Compressor to encode while you continue editing. Even though this issue has been fixed in FCP 7, I simply found away around their limitations.

You're value argument is highly subjective. I've worked for a software company and the truth of the matter software development is driven by sales and marketing. What features can we add to the next version to increase sales? Or addressing fixes that are important to large customers who buy a lot of software. Its easier to add features than it is to fix or revamp bad code. For these reasons your pleas will fall on deaf ears.

Last edited by Pete Cofrancesco; July 31st, 2009 at 01:05 PM.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 12:22 PM   #5
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Neil,
I love your attitude. You have an opinion about Apple's marketing and pricing and you want to be heard. I, for so long, resigned myself to Apple having to fight it's way back from near death that I just go with what they feel they have to do to survive against Adobe, AVID, and MSFT.

That said, I've had a handful of bugs fixed after I reported them on Apple's Discussion boards. You have to do it dispassionately, and provide all the information needed for them to reliably reproduce the problem. I know some problems are complex and don't happen reliably. But if you can put some time and analysis into figuring out a scenario that does reproduce, report it there. We'll all benefit by bugs getting fixed.

I recently switched over to using SoundTrack instead of Peak and found it much more reliable so sometimes, as bad as it might be, the alternative may be worse or non-existent on the platform. I've been in software development for over 30 years, IMHO, Apple is one of the best.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 12:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
IWhen exporting to compressor FCP can't be used. Solution export as a Quicktime reference, then use Compressor to encode while you continue editing.
I started out doing this but found out from reading Apple's literature that Compressor is smart enough to add keyframes in an MPEG-2 stream (destined for DVD) at edit points in your FCP timeline so I started exporting from FCP directly through Compressor to maintain this. I don't think this is retained if one exports a reference movie and compresses from that. Someone correct me if I've got this wrong. The ability to continue to edit in FCP7 while exporting is a HUGE boon for my workflow.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 01:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
I started out doing this but found out from reading Apple's literature that Compressor is smart enough to add keyframes in an MPEG-2 stream (destined for DVD) at edit points in your FCP timeline so I started exporting from FCP directly through Compressor to maintain this. I don't think this is retained if one exports a reference movie and compresses from that. Someone correct me if I've got this wrong. The ability to continue to edit in FCP7 while exporting is a HUGE boon for my workflow.
I can't say if this is true or not but there are many other factors such as bitrate and other settings in compressor that impact the quality in a more significant way than a few key frames that might be added in between edit points. You could do a test yourself of a small clip to determine if there is a visible difference. For my purposes its a very small trade off (if any) for making more efficient use of my time. If you get the new version then it's a moot point.

My point is I work from the premise that I have no idea when or if something will be fixed or improved in the software so I figure out the best way to muddle through until a better way presents itself. I'm sure there are many capable people on FCP development staff that are aware of problems with work flow and bugs. Like I said its not its not that they don't know of these issues but people higher up are interested in maximizing profits not making the perfect software.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 01:16 PM   #8
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Maybe you should look at some of the tutorials on the web about Final Cut Pro and Color? I haven't gotten the newest FCS yet, but as a relatively new user to the whole package with FCS2, I'm haven't found it extremely difficult to roundtrip with Color at all. In fact the interface is fairly simple once it is explained; it's actually learning how to color correct that is a bit more difficult.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 04:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Rostance View Post
I think it's great that Apple are moving forward with what's generally a great product. But considering i've not once been able to successfully round-trip a project from FCP to Color. (Meaning i've never been able to use Color on my projects, making it USELESS to me)
I have heard people complain about round-tripping, but I have to say that I have had great success doing round-trips between FCP and Color, even when I had to make tweaks in FCP and then conform the Color projects. Was I just lucky? Doubt it. May I politley suggest that it may have been the way in which you prepared your sequences that might have been the issue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Rostance View Post
I don't feel paying for an upgrade is fair. Especially when Color's upgrade is it's "better integratoin". Surely that should be free?
To offer a dissenting opinion, I believe the $299 (CAN) is a very fair price for this upgrade. While I am as disappointed as everyone else in the slim offerings of what really should have been called 6.5 -- after all, we've been waiting years and this is all we get?! -- the improvements and the price match.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 09:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Rostance View Post
Hey!

I've been having a look at the new features talked about in Final Cut Studio 3, one of them being Soundtrack Pro updates and better round-trip from FCP and Color.

I think it's great that Apple are moving forward with what's generally a great product. But considering i've not once been able to successfully round-trip a project from FCP to Color. (Meaning i've never been able to use Color on my projects, making it USELESS to me)

Neil
Hi Niel, I certainly share your frustration. However, here's a slightly different perspective. I use Color a lot. We shoot XDCAM EX and it works great. So I think for starters it might lesson your frustration if you can solve that problem. What format are you shooting/editing and trying to roundtrip to Color? What type of system are you using etc.?

As far as I'm concerned Color is the reason to buy FCS, not FCP. In fact if I could use Color with other NLE's I would.
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Old August 1st, 2009, 09:55 PM   #11
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There are pretty specific steps to round-trip to color. You can't send over titles, speed changes, motion clips, etc. There are several tutorial videos out there I've seen on the subject. When you follow the instructions, it works.
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Old August 2nd, 2009, 03:23 PM   #12
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Thank you everybody for your replies. It's a fairly broad response and it's also pleasing to know I'm not alone in the opinion. I think eventually i'll upgrade but with a fairly disappointing view on Apple. I just need to remind myself of the amazing things i DID get for my 800 from FCS2. But the thought of being cheated out of Color slightly taints the whole experience.

Color was the main reason for purchasing FCS2 over other systems. I find it really surprising that there are such varied feedback from people around the world, some people it works fine, some people not at all, and others with only certain formats. I wonder what could be causing such a variable bug? Is it just down to the way the apps handle XML's on it's journey between them? I'll definitely check out more tutorials. I really hope my problems are just down to giving up to early. But for 800+ i kinda expected the app to work out of the box....well you would, wouldn't you?

For anybody who can add further detail/context to my Color the problem my kit is:

Mac Pro running Leopard, 11gb Ram. Primary format workflow is entirely HDV720p with ProRes 422 HQ codec. I rarely wander out of these formats. I've followed many tutorials word for word, and after I successfully send my sequence from FCP into Color and grade, my "Send to FCP" stops dead, FCP opens up again but no new sequence, nothing happens. The only stage that happens after that is the sound of a head banging against a desk over and over again, but i'm not sure that's making any difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
I love your attitude. You have an opinion about Apple's marketing and pricing and you want to be heard. I, for so long, resigned myself to Apple having to fight it's way back from near death that I just go with what they feel they have to do to survive against Adobe, AVID, and MSFT. .
I'm surprised at myself for being so non-fan-boy about an Apple product. I'm loyal in a sense when i'm reminded of what FCS2 does do for my money. In comparison to the other routes of NLE i could have taken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Fadely View Post
There are pretty specific steps to round-trip to color. You can't send over titles, speed changes, motion clips, etc. There are several tutorial videos out there I've seen on the subject.
I think i'll do a bit more searching then...cheers. If you can point me in any particular direction for tutorials that would be great!

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Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
If it's not "broken" they won't offer a fix or any compensation, and if you're disappointed with the specifics of the contents they'll say all that information was supplied in pre-sales literature on the web.
You make a good point there. It's frustration because with 1000's of users their product isn't broken at all. But people like me and hundreds of others are completely without Color in the toolbox. To me that's a broken product but to Apple it's a job well done generally. I need to research more about the XML breaks and maybe localise the broken element to my system. I'm just bitter :-)

If you bought a car for 800 and found of the 5 seats, two where entirely disconnected from the car....and i had to resort to tutorials to fix them...You would take it straight back to the seller. I don't see how FCS2 is any different! (ok....poor metaphor...!)

I suppose generally, I was expecting a working out of the box system. But for a very very reasonable amount of money, I did get a fantastic system overall.

Thanks for all your comments.

Neil
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Old August 2nd, 2009, 03:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
I started out doing this but found out from reading Apple's literature that Compressor is smart enough to add keyframes in an MPEG-2 stream (destined for DVD) at edit points in your FCP timeline so I started exporting from FCP directly through Compressor to maintain this. I don't think this is retained if one exports a reference movie and compresses from that. Someone correct me if I've got this wrong. The ability to continue to edit in FCP7 while exporting is a HUGE boon for my workflow.
If you export a reference movie, you can choose which markers you want to keep (i.e. all, chapter, compression, scoring) and they are exported.

Many things can be solved by changing your workflow. Also, exporting a reference movie doesn't take too long (most times) and you can use all compressor cores. If you export from the new FCP 7, your system will get slower if you continue editing.
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Old August 2nd, 2009, 04:14 PM   #14
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Floris: I had forgotten ENTIRELY about keeping Compression Markers! You have changed my methodology with this revelation! Thanks.

D'OH!

ADDENDUM: does anyone know if these include the ones that are AUTOMATICALLY generated at edit points in FCP timelines? Or just the user specified ones?
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