Earlier this week, Apple released Final Cut Pro X, the long awaited successor to Apple's tried and true FCP 7. Available for $299 via the Mac App Store, FCP X brings with it a number of new features such as a magnetic timeline, content auto analysis, and background rendering that enables you to keep on working while your Mac chugs away.
"Final Cut Pro X is the biggest advance in Pro video editing since the original Final Cut Pro," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "We have shown it to many of the world's best Pro editors, and their jaws have dropped."
"I'm blown away by what Apple has done with Final Cut Pro," said Angus Wall, Academy Award-winning film editor. "Final Cut Pro X is incredibly modern and fast, but most importantly it lets you focus on telling your story in the most creative way, while it actively manages all of the technical details."
That sounds great, right?
The only thing is that professional video editors are dead serious about their craft Apple's from the ground re-write of Final Cut Pro isn't going over so well with everyone. Indeed, message boards and Twitter are both filled with complaints about the software, with many dismissively calling FCP X nothing more thaniMovie Pro.
So what are some of the more common complaints?
Well, not only is there a completely new interface a'la iMovie, but there's currently no multi-cam support, no export-to-tape feature, no support for EDL, XML, and OMF files, no apparent support for third partyplugins just yet, and gasp!, FCP X users can't import their current Final Cut Pro 7 projects. And that of course is just the beginning of a litany of user complaints. So basically, a good number of Pro users are passionately arguing that Apple's latest offering is decidedly not geared for the Pro user.
And the masses have spoken as well. At the time of this writing, FCP X has a 2.5 star rating on iTunes out of 854 reviews and 395 1-star reviews.
One review reads: "I can't believe what apple did with FCP X... this is no longer a professional application... this is just an upgrade of iMovie!!! You can't view an external monitor like a production monitor, hundreds of preferences and features are GONE!! Settings are GONE as well..."
And another: I run my business on FCP and my first impression of the new app is that it is horrible. This is an enhanced version of iMovie. It DOES NOT open your existing FCP files. Simple navigating and cutting is difficult. Cannot add the new icon to my dock. Hands on manual color correction is gone and replaced with presets. I'm sure you can tweak these, but this isn't iMOvie!!!! It's FCP, the key being PRO!!"
To be fair, the software is less than a week old and Apple has promised that updates will be issued at a much faster clip than in years past. Still, and as David Pogue points out in his NYT review of the software, this is all eerily similar to when Apple completely did away with iMovie HD and replaced it with the current incarnation of iMovie. If you recall, the update completely cut out a number of useful features and the end result was a product that was undeniably "less than." I'm still not too thrilled about it in case you can't tell!
But Apple is no stranger to rocking the boat and we can only imagine, or at least hope, that significant software updates will be fast approaching and will soon satiate even the most critical of video editors.
At the same time, some are extremely excited about FCP X, despite it's current limitations.
Steve Martin (not the actor) writes:
While FCP X will no doubt be referred to as a souped up version of iMovie by some, this is not my impression at all. I have been cutting a documentary on it among other things, and I just finished a tutorial that is close to 5 hours long which speaks to it's depth. I was very surprised at how much iron the Apple engineers put into it.
FCP guru Lary Jordan, meanwhile, writes the following:
In three words – speed, power, cutting-edge.
Just as the transcontinental railroad permanently changed 19th century America – in a wide variety of ways – Final Cut Pro X has the same capability.
During the last several months, I've had extensive discussions with engineers and product managers at Apple, read virtually all the Help files and, more recently, been running the software itself...
In every conversation I've had with Apple, each person stressed: "The easy thing would be to just create an incremental upgrade. But, we felt that while the current version of Final Cut held up well for the last ten years, it wasn't ready for the next ten. We needed to design something from the ground up to take us into the next ten years."
Of course, these folks make their living in party via FCP tutorials so keep that in mind.
As someone who, again, is still disappointed that Apple ditched iMovie HD and replaced it with the current style of iMovie, I can only hope that Apple will work quickly to rectify some of the more glaring omissions from Final Cut Pro X.