Considering FCPX, a year later
Apple’s Final Cut Pro X was met with a lot of upset when it was launched announced a year ago (and launched in June 2011) at a price point significantly lower than previous Final Cut Pros, and with largely reconstituted features that resembled Apple’s amateur editing program so much it was mocked as “iMovie Pro.”
eBay pricing on sealed packages of Final Cut Pro 7 shot up, as a fine vintage would leap in value. Pro editors cursed Apple and tried to make sense of the new program. Apple responded by doing upgrades that slowly began to restore some features deleted from FCP7.
Now that the dust has settled, where do we stand?
In a post last week on FCPX, Philip Hodgetts noted one possibly-surprising fact: FCPX installs in just these few months have now surpassed those of FCP7. It makes sense in a lot of ways: At $299, more people can make the leap than with the $1,599 price point they had confronted in the past. For newbies, the program builds from their iMovie experience.
Hodgetts notes that according to research, Apple’s share of the “Pro” market has likewise dropped from 55 percent to 52 percent, with users shifting to Avid and other programs. Hodgetts also notes some of the initial FCPX purchasers may have been people simply willing to try it.
First challenge is that they all purchased Final Cut Pro X “to test it out” and no-one’s using it. Well, Apple have already demolished the “no professional is using Final Cut Pro X” canard the week before NAB with the Final Cut Pro in Action stories. But could it be that only one copy was sold to each facility and that gives them 52% of the “pro” market. I don’t find that particularly credible, given that we know that Bunim Murray alone purchased at least 40 or 50 Media Composer seats in that time.
So are professionals warming up to FCPX?
Tor Rolf Johansen of Post Magazine feels FCPX was rolled out prematurely, but has gained back some credibility with its updates. FCP 10.0.4, he says,
…has returned to stake its claim in the pro NLE market. Many of the pro features missing from FCP 7 have been restored and many of those features are actually better and faster now than they ever were in FCP 7. FCP X is lightning fast with get-up-and-go performance. The speed gains (from 64-bit code and multicore support), the two-thirds price cut, and some innovative new edit tools make this update a true contender.
Not all agree.
In the April/May 2012 issue of Streaming Media magazine, Jan Ozer’s “How Apple Took The ‘Pro’ Out Of Final Cut Pro” says that while some features of FCPX are commendable,
Overall, though, I abhor the program. When I run FCPX, my reaction is visceral; I feel the walls pressing in and my blood pressure rising. I adore the clean slate of Adobe Premiere Pro and its doppelganger Final Cut Pro 7. FCPX has so much structure, so many completely foreign concepts, that it feels like my 31″ monitor has shrunk to 17″. With such a supposed focus on simplicity, how could a company run by (Steve) Jobs produce such a program?
Meanwhile, programs such as Adobe Premiere CS6 are gaining some ground. For serious filmmakers balancing cost and performance, the variety of choices for editing is making Final Cut Pro less of the go-to program it was.