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Old August 4th, 2009, 11:00 PM   #1
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Final Cut Studio "3" Manuals

After just recently posting a thread on how to find all the built-in help manuals for the FC studio apps Apple made another game-changing decision with the release of Studio "3". (The "3" is in quotes because although Apple is not officially marketing it as version 3 the install discs identify it as such).

The caveat with the help manuals is that they are no longer a built-in PDF file, and in fact can only be read as a web-only document (HTML pages). That means if you don't have an internet connection for the machine FCS3 is installed on then you cannot access the help documentation. One could postulate for hours why Apple chose that path but I chalk it up to yet another short-sighted and bone-headed decision.

While it may not seem like a deal-breaker for most users there are large post houses, teaching facilities and other companies that do not allow their edit machines to touch the internet either for security reasons or simply the lack of infrastructure in the buildings.

According to ADC information Apple is not offering any printed manuals even as a paid add-on however one person has created a method - albeit time consuming - to pull up the manuals on the web and save/print them:

Final Cut Pro 7: DIY manual video tutorial alex4d: Editing organazized

While the lack of a physical *printed* book-form manual is 100% logical these days, what with PDF quick load times and the ability for the user to print only the pages they require, to make them ONLY web-based is utter nonsense. And don't tell me that somehow it's more "cost effective" for Apple to eliminate stand-alone files in an app rather than hosting them on a web-server somewhere. And if the web is down - on either end - and you need help immediately, then what? Cross your fingers and hope that you'll find a friend to call who has the answer? Puhleeze, Apple. What's the next goofy thing you'll throw at us?

Especially for community colleges and other teaching institutions who supply multiple workstations for their students both in-class and in lab sessions but are not web-enabled (for obvious reasons) this will severely limit or completely prevent any student from finding mission-critical information when they're stuck in the middle of a project.

I just gotta say, Apple: Dumb, da-dum dumb.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 01:48 AM   #2
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I'm in complete agreement here. In fact, when I wanted to read about what was new after Studio 3 install, I thought something was wrong. "Why the hell is it opening my web browser? Where's the PDF???"

It is short sighted and doesn't add value to anyone. The FCP7 booklet they provide with the install discs is a joke too. Should have saved the trees with that one. Its even awkward to read. A step backwards from the pristine printed manuals of yesteryear.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 02:27 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
That means if you don't have an internet connection for the machine FCS3 is installed on then you cannot access the help documentation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
And don't tell me that somehow it's more "cost effective" for Apple to eliminate stand-alone files in an app rather than hosting them on a web-server somewhere. And if the web is down - on either end - and you need help immediately, then what?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
Especially for community colleges and other teaching institutions who supply multiple workstations for their students both in-class and in lab sessions but are not web-enabled (for obvious reasons) this will severely limit or completely prevent any student from finding mission-critical information when they're stuck in the middle of a project.

I just gotta say, Apple: Dumb, da-dum dumb.
This is the most complete & utter nonsense. You do not need an Internet connection to access the web-based documentation for FCS3. All the files are stored locally on your machine in much the same place that the PDF files were. Your browser accesses these local files.

There are arguments pro & con PDF versus HTML format. It's easier to print the former but easier to search the latter. You can include rich content like audio & video in HTML documentation. Apple like many other software developers have obviously decided that HTML is superior.

Robert, I know that you like to take every possible opportunity to knock Apple & the new version of FCS but please don't falsify the facts to bolster your argument about how nasty old Apple is screwing its customers.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 08:38 AM   #4
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Robert, I know that you like to take every possible opportunity to knock Apple & the new version of FCS but please don't falsify the facts to bolster your argument about how nasty old Apple is screwing its customers.
With the Eval version of FCS3 I was given from ADC the manuals are not available locally on the machine and can only be accessed when connected to the web. If that functionality changed in the full retail versions there wasn't any liner notes about that in the copy I was given. Other users had reported this same issue so I can only relay what I've personally experienced and what others have written me.

When any company produces a product that makes sense, is financially worthy of it's cost and proves itself to commercial standards then I'll sing it's praises to the world (that is if I get face-time with it myself). However when the reverse happens - which I feel it has with FCS - then I'm (obviously) vocal about it's shortcomings.

So with regard to my "bashing" of Apple: although my rhetoric isn't always politically-correct (and one reason I'll never be a moderator anywhere) I stand by my harsh reviews of Apple's choices. They could have wow-ed the world and taken-over the NLE market with what most industry analysts - and myself - expected to be a "poor-mans" Avid. Instead that effort went into the iPhone.

I'm all about sharing useful information especially when I know it will help my fellow indie producers or my clients, and one thing I'm always trying to do is help people avoid the unseen "gotchas" that come with so many products these days. This HTML manual issue seemed like a very important hidden feature to address especially for the educational institutions who are going to be looking at upgrading so they can continue offering the courses.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 09:06 AM   #5
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I'm all about sharing useful information especially when I know it will help my fellow indie producers or my clients, and one thing I'm always trying to do is help people avoid the unseen "gotchas" that come with so many products these days. This HTML manual issue seemed like a very important hidden feature to address especially for the educational institutions who are going to be looking at upgrading so they can continue offering the courses.
Robert, You post stuff on this forum for which I am grateful but it is usually accompanied by digs knocking FCP & Apple. The stuck record is getting tedious. As I recall I was the first to post on this forum that PDF manuals were no longer available with FCS & that this was apparently news to you so you cannot have paid much attention to the presence or absence of manuals when you had your evaluation copy of FCS3. Tell me what you see when you point your browser at file:///Volumes/MacHD/Applications/Final%20Cut%20Pro.app/Contents/Resources/English.lproj/finalcutpro_help/index.html or thereabouts as the name of your hard disk volume may be different

How about admitting that this claim that the FCP manuals are not available if you are not connected to the Internet is a load of garbage? I just double-checked by yanking out the Ethernet cable & all the manuals are still accessible of course "Final Cut Support on the Web" is unavailable so perhaps that's what your correspondents were misled by.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 09:22 AM   #6
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A little less contention and a bit more civility and cordiality, please... I insist.

Once Robert -- or anyone else -- can confirm or deny that the files are available offline, I'll close
this thread. Meanwhile let's please be more polite to each other. Tread lightly. Thanks in advance,
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Old August 5th, 2009, 09:34 AM   #7
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Chris, Isn't my confirmation that the manuals are available off-line sufficient? I am not some shill from Apple trying to provoke an argument for the sake of it just someone who has actually installed & used FCS3 & accessed the manuals off-line.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 09:55 AM   #8
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A little less contention and a bit more civility and cordiality, please... I insist.

Once Robert -- or anyone else -- can confirm or deny that the files are available offline, I'll close
this thread. Meanwhile let's please be more polite to each other. Tread lightly. Thanks in advance,
I do not have a retail copy of FCS3 only the ADC "NFR" copy and I have no documentation that indicates this is different than retail. I think Nigel is more than competent in making the manuals availability assessment for the forum if he's on retail full or upgrade version.

And to your point about "less contentious", I concede and agree. I've certainly been much more vocal and brash about my dissent for Apple than in any other review I've made (probably a sign of deep personal disappointment) and have strayed from my usual, "just the facts ma'am..." approach.

I'll admit, even I need a smack on the head sometimes. Just ask any woman who's been in my life. (big laughs)
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Old August 5th, 2009, 10:03 AM   #9
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Chris, Isn't my confirmation that the manuals are available off-line sufficient? I am not some shill from Apple trying to provoke an argument for the sake of it just someone who has actually installed & used FCS3 & accessed the manuals off-line.
Nobody is accusing you of shilling.

Robert has stated a claim that he believes is a fact.

You have stated a claim that you believe is a fact.

I'm not accusing either one of you of purposefully misrepresenting the truth. All I am asking for is someone else to confirm or deny that these HTML files are available offline. It has nothing to do with you personally, even though you're really testing my patience by making a personal issue out of this. It's a very simple, uncomplicated, apolitical and unemotional request for more feedback from other folks. It's not about you at all, so please step back and welcome someone else to verify for us what you already know is true.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 10:12 AM   #10
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the docs are available locally in the retail install ... no internet connection required
fwiw the docs were available locally in the NFR version I saw also
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Old August 5th, 2009, 10:17 AM   #11
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the docs are available locally in the retail install ... no internet connection required
fwiw the docs were available locally in the NFR version I saw also
OK then, so either the NFR copy I have is older than the later pre-release versions given to ADC users and, those who emailed me and said "can't get the online help" were not fully aware of how to find the new manuals.

I've no way to verify the retail version myself as I've no need to purchase it; both Nigel and Andy have the tech knowhow to verify the "not available" claims made so if in fact the information is incorrect then by all means, delete the thread Chris!
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Old August 5th, 2009, 10:39 AM   #12
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While the lack of a physical *printed* book-form manual is 100% logical these days,
With much respect, I need to disagree that lack of printed media is 100% logical. I can understand that many choose not to use print material, but I do. I read it in bed while not editing. If environmental friendliness is driving this, use lower grade and/or 100% post consumer recycled paper.

Even IF (as I have already stated) I feel that the "help" aspect of the manuals is near zero, it's a great way to acclimate to the changes and/or new feature sets of the software. Besides, a fresh install of FCS should give one enough time to read a thousand or so pages...
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Old August 5th, 2009, 10:42 AM   #13
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Besides, a fresh install of FCS should give one enough time to read a thousand or so pages...
Now THAT's funny. And near true! However there's much more at stake with printed manuals, none the least of which is the shipping cost. Having worked in the air-freight/forwarding industry when I was a puppy I can tell you that just the savings alone from having a lighter shipping container more than pays for itself when it comes to actual units shipped per pallet.

Remember when FCS1 and even FCP 4.5 *did* come with the boatload of printed manuals? That entire package was a home-sick brick, multiply that by the tens of thousands that had to be shipped vs. todays uber-light discs-only packaging and you get the picture. Every software provider who made this choice to move away from printed manuals has literally saved tens of millions of dollars in just shipping costs alone.

And then there's the cost of printing the book itself...
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Old August 5th, 2009, 11:43 AM   #14
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Great video tutorial

That's made my day.

I prefer PDF to the help system as it's easier to Command-Tab between two applications. The built in help system sits over the top of all applications and has to be parked manually.

And the PDF version is quicker too!

UPDATE:

This is interesting...

http://alex4d.wordpress.com/2009/08/...o-faster-help/

Opening the help files in Safari or FireFox gives you the Command Tab facility, and it feels quick and snappy. So the online help in the much maligned HTML format isn't the real issue, it's the help system which seems to be glacial in pace for rendering HTML.

I think I'll still make a PDF version though.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 12:42 PM   #15
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Robert: I DO understand your point (and the economics of the situation); I just happen to be one of the 1% of all FCP/FCS users that would actually pay a $50 - 100 premium to cover printing/shipping costs JUST to have REAL Apple manuals instead of 3rd party "How To".

And yes, I FULLY acknowledge I'm in the minority: I'm 38 years old and I still like my "treeware". It's hard to get the highlighter off my LCD screen after making notes in the online manuals.
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