Creative professionals are often exceptionally particular about the tools they use.
If you need proof, just find a graphic designer with a Surface tablet, ask them to design a flyer, and insist that they do it on an iPad Pro. Then watch the veins around their neck muscles pulse furiously as their entire body rejects your proposal.
Still, apart from personal tastes, most creative types are grateful for the existence of alternatives. Competition plays a crucial role in innovation, after all.
Surface users who enjoy their product still owe Apple a debt of gratitude for catapulting tablets and touchscreen technology into the mainstream. And even while waging all-out war against Batman, the Joker still acknowledges he may never have realized his full potential without Gotham's dark knight challenging him at every turn.
But as much as we're tempted to make this entire blog post about Batman (maybe next week), we're here to explore an even more contentious and thorny subject – video editing software.
FCP X.0 – A ROCKY START
Several years back when we were assembling the nuts and bolts of Flight Creative Media, we chose to use Final Cut Pro X as our company's primary editing software. Given the timing, this was by no means an easy decision. For those of you who may not recall the controversy of its initial release, here's a refresher on what went down with FCP X.
In 2009, Final Cut Pro was a mainstay in many video editing houses. Version 7 brought about major improvements including new clip speed settings, marker enhancements, and better organizational tools. However, it still lacked several elements and features that users wanted.
FCP 7 was still a 32-bit program, meaning it couldn’t tap into the full horsepower of the newest 64-bit computers. It also wore the same interface that defined the program for years. Version 7 still absolutely allowed Apple to stay competitive in the pro video market, but FCP was still very much overdue for a full overhaul.
When Final Cut Pro X was first previewed by the public back in 2011, editors were ecstatic. With a new interface, streamlined features, and a highly competitive new price ($299 – down from $999), anticipation for this massive update reached a fever pitch in 2011.
But then the release date came. And with it, a deluge of bad press and consumer complaints regarding bugs and errors, performance woes, and missing features.
FCP X's initial incompatibility with FCP 7 project files was incredibly frustrating, but even more egregious was the removal of important features that users were already accustomed to; multicam editing, project importing, and XML support, to name a few. Apple had a tough road ahead if it wanted to win back the favor of its pro editing community.
FCP X.3 – NOW THIS IS VIDEO EDITING
After the fallout from the initial FCP 10.0 release, numerous editors understandably jumped ship and switched to Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro's arch nemesis – the Joker to Apple's Batman, if you will.
Even the customers who stayed loyal were beginning to waver – us included. As young as our company was at the time, we knew that whichever software we picked, we'd have to stick with it for awhile.
In that moment, Adobe Premiere was clearly the superior choice. However, it occurred to us that if we were planning the future of our company, we had to consider the future of the software as well.
Apple has famously made its fair share of mistakes with hardware and software releases. However, they've also demonstrated a track record of listening to their customers' feedback, and rewarding their loyalty with highly effective (and often free) software updates. Bearing this in mind, we stuck with Final Cut Pro ... and boy are we glad we did.
After picking up the pieces from their initially botched launch, Apple began staging its comeback. They immediately began gifting their loyal customers with a steady stream of crucial updates and fixes, putting them squarely back in the game. Each new release brought back old features that were sorely missed, streamlined existing functions, and introduced a plethora of new ones, some of which are still unique to the industry. They even released a white paper to help those on Final Cut Pro 7 make the leap to X.
Now, especially after the release of Version 10.3, Final Cut Pro truly feels like a future-ready editing platform. Apple has done more than simply make amends with its users, they've crafted an excellent piece of pro-level software that stands on its own merit. We honestly can't imagine producing videos without it.
Not yet convinced? That's ok, Part 1 is just a primer. In the next few parts of this series, we’ll go into detail on how Final Cut Pro 10.3 can best be utilized by editors in a variety of settings. We’ll take a deep look into its core features, what the updates have enhanced along the way, and what 3rd party add-ons have brought to the editing landscape.