In the blink of an eye, the release of Final Cut Pro X has caused a ripple in the Matrix so huge, I’m not sure Neo could even fix this catastrophe. But it’s much more than good software gone astray, it’s deeper than infrastructure changes; it’s about the loss of trust, faith and even livelihoods.
The writing was on the wall for some time actually, but myself, like many others didn’t see it coming—at least not this badly. Let’s go back a few years. Apple’s acquisition of Shake from Nothing Real was huge, and ultimately sold under the Apple Store for a mere $499 (original price was $9900 prior to the Apple buy-out). People, myself included, felt that Apple was really getting serious about post-production based software. The excitement was huge and people (large companies included) really started to take notice. But by 2009, Shake was quietly removed from Apple’s line-up and officially EOL’ed (End-Of-Life).
This really should have been the first hint that Apple didn’t have a huge interest in the pro apps market. Why they initially bought them out in the first place, I do not know. Even worse, why they EOL’ed an awesome app like Shake is even more strange to me. It’s as if Apple became the black hole of pro apps software—they buy it and kill it.
But Shake isn’t the only app gone astray. It seems that with the FCPX release, Color is now the next major pro app to hit the chopping block. I received an NFR (Not For Resale) copy of Final Touch HD directly from Silicon Color (along with some control surface hardware that I still have today) before Apple bought Final Touch out and renamed it to Color. First using Final Touch HD, my mind was blown, despite the fact that, at the time, the software was in dire need of video card hardware acceleration (which later came about). But like Shake, Apple bought it, and “chopping-blocked” it.
Shall I go on? How about Cinema Tools… Originally developed by my old friends at DigitalFilm Tree under the application name of FilmLogic. If EOL’ed, how will FCPX work with telecine? Oh that’s right, there is no more telecine because it’s not the next wave of the future (sarcasm).
DVD Studio Pro? Bought and gone from Astarte. Next.
Final Cut Server? Eeeeeesh.
QuickTime Player 10 is even a pile, compared to QuickTime Player 7. I outline it here in a blog post I coincidently wrote hours before the release of FCPX.
Soundtrack pro has been reported that it might be integrated into Apple’s Logic Studio. But beware, although Logic is still alive, this too was an app originally bought out by Emagic, and it too, like FCPX, has been simplified down to a degree. At any rate, Soundtrack Pro is nowhere to be seen as a stand-alone, and the current state of Logic Studio is making people scratch their head.
Seeing the trend here? Seems like Apple’s best pro apps were bought out by other companies, only to be ultimately killed in the end; again, the black hole syndrome.
There are many other examples of EOL’ed software by Apple, but let’s circle back to Final Cut Pro X. It’s pretty clear at this point that Final Cut Pro X isn’t an update to Final Cut Pro 7, and is an entirely new app built from scratch. This would be great if it was built upon the functionality of Final Cut Pro 7, but it’s not, leaving many editors, facilities and studios up in arms as to what to do next.
For us, it looks like we’re going in the direction of Avid Media Composer. This isn’t set in stone until after we’re fully installed with it and run it through its paces, and hopefully with AJA Kona 3 hardware integration in the not so distant future. For others, Adobe Premiere seems to be the answer. Both are great apps, and both can continue on where you left off with Final Cut Pro 7, if Final Cut Pro X isn’t working out for you.
But switching non-linear editing applications is only part of the problem, and in some cases, only a small problem by comparison. There are many people that have devoted the last ten years in direct relation to Final Cut Pro, and as a result of Final Cut Pro X, are going through a major life/career change. These include certified Final Cut Pro trainers, value added resellers, user group organizations, third party software/plugin developers, and many more. There are many people that are questioning their livelihood because of this radical shift that Final Cut Pro X has taken. I wonder if Apple knew they were going to directly cause such an issue, or if all they were looking at was nothing but their bottom-line. To me, it shows an enormous amount of arrogance, ignorance, and selfishness from Apple, which is not the Apple I once knew. Is Steve Jobs losing grasp of his company that badly?
Because of all the shifting and killings of Apple’s pro apps, I have to wonder about the MacPro desktop computers as well. If Apple continues to shrink their pro app offerings, and all of their pro apps are shifting to over over-simplifications with less controllability, why then will people need these massive desktop machines, if Apple is more focused on “iProducts,” including the iMac? Do iApp people even fit in the MacPro desktop market? If the MacPro desktops eventually hit the chopping block, then there will be an even larger problem for those of us that rely on powerful MacPro workstations with software licenses that are on OSX. I have Windows machines in my facility, but I still do prefer MacPros for the main computer workstations.
So all of this begs the big question, “Can Apple be trusted from here on out?” For me, I will no longer buy any kind of pro app from Apple for my facility, knowing their EOL history is very strong—even if an updated Final Cut Studio 3 (based on FCP7) was released. It amazes me that all of my favorite pro apps from Apple are all EOL’ed. Literally. For me personally, I no longer care about FCPX or even FCP7 updates. I’ve already started passing up articles on FCPX how-to’s or work-arounds, as I will not be using FCPX in my facility, and since FCP7 is EOL’ed.
Because I’m switching to Avid Media Composer, all I care about at this juncture is integrating my current hardware and software with it, and what else I need to change or buy in order to make that happen. It’s a domino effect really, and all because of a 2.5-star, $299 downloadable app from the App Store. Seriously, that $299 app is costing me thousands of dollars, but luckily, none of it is going to the App Store. Just keep making powerful desktops, Apple, so I don’t cut my ties from you completely.