Joe Patrick, one half of Republic Publishing’s award-winning video team, vents some of the frustration he’s had with Apple’s supposedly perfect video suite, Final Cut Pro X. Are the new updates too little, too late?
I’ve been using Apple’s Final Cut Pro since I was sixteen. I’m now twenty eight.
That’s one, two, three…. some years of loyal service to a piece of software that has, apart from the occasional Kernel Panic, served me very very well. Until now…
Let’s start at the beginning of the end.
Back in June 2011, Apple released Final Cut Pro X in all of its not-quite-finished-yet glory – claiming the program had been “completely redesigned from the ground up.”
Its arrival sparked a universal huff from professional editors around the world. For most, it was clear that what was once an industry-leading piece of software was now more concerned with getting in on your Dad’s home movie action. (No, not those kind of home movies, no one wants to see those – again). It was dubbed “iMovie Pro” by many – and rightfully so. It simply didn’t have all of the professional tools we’d come to expect from FCP. You couldn’t even open older projects. Madness.
At the time, I myself was kindly offered a copy of FCPX for review for this very publication, but so convoluted were the installation instructions from Apple (amongst other things, I was required to partition my hard drive because FCP7 and FCPX couldn’t bear to share disk space), and so frustrating were the resultant glitches, that I had to abandon the trial and regress back to FCP7. I was disappointed, but hopeful that the new direction would come good in the end.
So here I am, over a year later, still waiting to make the jump from 7 to X. Admittedly, Apple has released several updates to FCPX (we’re currently on 10.0.6) and the general consensus is that it is listening to user feedback and slowly moving in the right direction. But where does that leave me?
The ‘redesigning from the ground up’ approach is all well and good, but it’s left me curled up in a dilapidated, albeit comfortable, piece of editing software, waiting for the builders to put the windows and doors in at the new apartment I stuck a downpayment on fifteen months ago.
The main problem? I’m constantly having to sift through review after review to see whether it does those core things that I need it to do. Not to mention cross-referencing all of Apple’s ‘updates’ so far, to see if it still does that thing that it didn’t do, but then suddenly did. And at the moment, it just doesn’t.
From a company like Apple, who famously prides itself on user experience, the experience of updating to FCPX has, for me, been catastrophically unacceptable. What should’ve been a seamless transition from one piece of software to its sexier younger sister has turned into an aimless pursuit of a flawed, twitchy, botoxed step-cousin.
And so, it was with with great reluctance that today I googled the words ‘switching from Final Cut Pro to Adobe Premiere’.
There I’ve said it. Now, it may not sound like a big deal and I sure as hell won’t switch straight away – but for the first time in my professional career I’m willing to consider it. Up until now, switching wasn’t even an option, I always had faith in Apple. But I’ve just gotten bored of waiting.
And I need to get on with some proper editing.