Since it was unveiled after much anticipation, what is being derided as “iMovie Pro” has sent many professional editors shifting to Premiere, Avid and even away from their Macs and to PC-based systems such as Sony Vegas.
This week HDWarrior did a roundup of some of their near-and-dear, describing the “hemorraging” of pro users from FCPX. HDWarrior’s post notes
Apple have made a fundamental mistake bringing FCPX onto a mature professional marketplace by re-writing and changing the game plan way beyond what many of us would accept.
I just finished reading Walter Isaacson’s book “Steve Jobs,” and it would lead you to believe it’s all in the design. Jobs was unabashed about pushing users where he thought they should go. They were the first to eliminate the floppy drive, to much chagrin. It seems that with Apple, they view the DVD as on the way out. But film customers often don’t.
As I release my recent documentary on DVD, the orders for the $30 DVD have outnumbered the $4.99 digital download five times over. FCPX eliminating DVD authoring may be a push to a world in which one views films from Jobs’ utopian “digital hub,” but it will, at best, take time.
That there are threads titled “FCPX Or Not: The Debate” underlines the debate.
Earlier this month, Avid Media Composer 6 just began shipping, at $2,499, higher than FCP Studio’s price point, much higher than FCPX’s $299.99. Scott Simmons at ProVideoCoalition kicked the tires and said,
We all know what happened from Final Cut Pro 7 to Final Cut Pro X. Apple thinks they know better than the user base as to what editors need so they made FCP into a totally different application. While it’s a modern application that does modern things, like edit with great speed and allow for background processes, it simplifies the traditional editing interface that FCP users have come to know and removes a number of tools we’ve used for years while trying to simplify others and add new ones entirely. It’s an approach that has been controversial to say the least and there’s a lot of differing opinions on whether Apple has succeeded. The fact is that only Apple could have done such a thing as both Avid and Adobe could never afford to alienate that much of an installed user base.
He finds much to like with MC6, also noting Avid changes are a “smart, cautious move.”
There’s a lot of anticipation of Adobe Premiere CS6, which may be announced at next year’s NAB, according to Simmons. Pro users are hoping for added features such as a native codec and better timecode generator. Adobe has already seen sales rise on its video tools as a reaction to FCPX.
Pros and amateurs are going in different directions, and rumors swirl that Apple will phase out the Mac Pro; the Jobs biography gives attention to Jobs’ notion that even laptops will go the way of the dinosaurs. PCs may see some new attention from formerly Apple-only editors; Sony’s Vegas Pro 10 has found a lot of fans.
So FCPX has created a reassessment in the market.
I remember attending a film festival in Boston in the mid-1990s, where a rep from Avid was demonstrating amazing technology, but the software cost $15,000 and you needed a computer with (gasp!) 3 gigabytes of storage. Within a decade, programs like Premiere and then FCP had given an alternative to would-be filmmakers with at least some money. Now, you can download the open-source Lightworks software, and others like it, and edit for free.
Filmmakers like Robert Greene, who began as an editor, see the wisdom of not rushing to the latest version of anything. He saves money to make money by employing perfectly usable second-gen software. For many editors, it seems that FCP7 will become a held-onto tool for at least a while.
We profiled Biagio Messina and Joke Fincioen for their documentary “Dying to Do Letterman,” and they got in touch to put the word out on a new venture. Biagio got in touch about their new venture, which seems in this age of hybrid distribution a kind of “hybrid producing.” He explains how he and Joke are looking to partner with nonfiction filmmakers:
When we were trying to break into television, no one would meet with us or take our calls. We had great tapes, real ideas, and the skills to make unscripted TV, but no one to pitch to. Eventually, we were able to get meetings with real production companies by “stretching the truth” and that lead to our career in TV.Fortunately, our company has grown quite a bit. For the last four years we’ve been “third-party approved,” meaning that networks trust us to be the production company on television shows. We operate out of our offices near Universal Studios, and have about 7,000 square feet where we run our production company, and do all the post on our shows (with the exception of sound mixing which we take out of house.)On the development end, we’re pitching shows constantly, and have access to every major network. Since we signed with CAA, those connections have deepened further, and this year alone we’ve been the production company on two series (Commercial Kings and Caged) and three pilots.So we feel like we’re finally in a position to offer people what we wished we had when we were starting out: a place to pitch ideas to. People do have to sign a standard, fairly “non-scary” submission agreement (or our lawyers would have our heads) and have to have MORE than just a one line idea. They need to have shot some tape or attached some sort of “value add” to their idea.We like filmmakers who can earn their keep on a show, and think most documentarians would be a great fit for us. The reason is that there’s not tons of money on these budgets, and folks have to work for what they earn. For some, that might mean shooting, editing, or running interviews in the field (clearly, something documentarians tend to be skilled at.)Anyone who we team up with (and we’re being VERY selective) is guaranteed to receive a producer credit on the show, and if the network does not approve them for any positions, will receive a small fee per episode (that would depend on the budget and network, but could be anywhere between $1000 and $3500 per ep — just depends.)However, if they have real skills (as most documentarians do) our goal would be for them to drive the creative of the show, take a very hands on approach, and take a larger line item (that’s the case with our current show CAGED, where the young guys who came up with the idea earn far more field producing and editing than they would had they not worked on the show.)Our hope is that we can help many filmmakers launch a career in TV, and nothing would make us prouder than to see them launch their own production company some day.Those who sign up for our newsletter will get tips from us on making pitch tapes to sell shows, and we’ll send out updates from time to time saying that we heard “x network is looking for x kind of shows.”Further, many documentarians may be sitting on tons of great footage that can be turned into a TV show, or used to pitch one. Now, they just have to download the submission agreement, and if it works for them, send it back, and we’ll get them the info about how to do a formal pitch with us.Filmmakers from all over the world are welcome…we just teamed up with filmmakers in Ohio, Kentucky, and Los Angeles…everyone is welcome.Of course we’re not doing this just to be nice people! We want this to be a win-win for everyone. We’re still grateful to companies like 44 Blue, 3 Ball, and Actual Reality for teaming up with us when we were starting out, and now hope to return the favor, launch some careers, and grow our company in the process.