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Editors petition: Apple, please make Final Cut Pro a priority

Since the controversial introduction of Final Cut Pro X 11 years ago, although much progress has been made, it seems that many users and supporters are still frustrated by the tech giant as their demands for more features and development decline. On deaf ears. Final Cut Pro cue program. Letter to the CEO of Apple.

The world of video editing has made great leaps in the past decade. Of course, NLEs are “non-linear editing platforms” (a term for the cool kids out there) It’s been around with the likes of Avid and Adobe since the late ’80s and early ’90s. In 1999, Apple had a huge hit when it dipped its toes into “holy” post-production waters with the release of the original Final Cut Pro, which was discontinued and replaced by Final Cut Pro X in 2011, which was controversially a complete reboot of the app. .

Similar to 2011/12’s frustrations about removing outdated (and not obsolete) features in the release of Final Cut Pro X, supporters of the program are banding together once again to unite their ongoing frustrations. Collectively, they feel that Apple continues to overlook and not introduce the “professional editing” aspect of the market, as more and more professionals want to use FCP in a niche industry environment. Read the petition here.

Now, in a brief summary, if you don’t want to read into the depths of the letter and its contributors, they’re basically saying:Hey Apple, could you please choose your game and make FCP and its users a priority like it was back in the glorious days of Final Cut Pro 7It is a message of positive, clear and open desire for more.

Note: This letter is not intended to be a criticism of the tremendous amount of hard work that the Final Cut team has put in over the years. We ask Apple to change the policies under which they operate.

Alex Gollner. Gopetition.com

A massive roster of over 100 industry film and commercial editors has put their hands in the support ring with the likes of David Peterson (‘Bluey’) and Josh Bell, the ACE TV drama series (‘Counterpart’).

Two highly regarded offerings that support the use of FCPx NLE
Production editors who pledge their support for the FCPx platform. Image Credit: Bluey TV Animated Series. TV Drama Series Interview

So what’s the problem?

If I’m being honest, at first I didn’t understand what the big deal was and why a global petition was needed. But now, after reading what they ask, it really makes sense. Those professional editors, or those who have done video editing at some point in their lives, will know how important it is to have a safe and familiar place for editing, in terms of software. It encourages and supports creativity and ultimately allows you to tell the story that needs to be told. So, as a full-time editor, I totally understand what this group of professional users are fighting for.

If you’re wondering if I’m editing myself in FCP and thus signed the petition: Well, I probably have a similar story to a lot of editors out there. I don’t currently edit in FCP but I will keep signing this petition. Why am I not using FCP? This one requires some background story.

When I first cut my editing teeth as a young trick editor, the first software I bought and used was the trusted Final Cut Pro, v5.0.

Final Cut Pro 5.0.1
Final Cut Pro 5.0.1 Image Credit: Sweetwater

Losing the professional market in 2011 by discontinuing the original Final Cut Pro

After many happy years filled with long weekends, candlelit dinners and expensive updates, we decided to go in different directions around mid-2011, after Apple released its new FCPx version and discontinued support for the FCP7 I knew and loved (but which one, At the time, it was already outdated and wasn’t receiving required performance updates). I was not alone with this departure. FCPx caused a major jolt to the industry and many editors around the world were frustrated with Apple’s reinvented interface and moving away from core features (like changing their timeline UI!). It felt a far cry from the traditional editing interface, timeline, and features associated with standard NLEs.

Controversial: Final Cut Pro (X) interface – a complete departure from the original Final Cut Pro. Image credit: Apple

Frequent updates improve Final Cut Pro (X), isn’t it enough for professionals?

2016 saw Apple unveil FCPx 10.3 with a new interface, in an effort to address users’ concerns. Four years later, at the end of 2020, Apple dropped the X, and Final Cut Pro re-emerged with a more professional interface and functionality. But did he regain his followers in the past? This petition suggests no. Perhaps this is an insight into Apple’s shifting customer market. Without reading much into it, could this just be a shift away from an industrially designed product toward software that caters to a different, more diverse market? After all, we all know that the film industry has undergone some major transformations over the past five years. Maybe Apple was working on something we don’t know yet?

Look, all speculation aside, I think this petition and letter to the CEO of Apple is an amazing, progressive, community-led initiative and a topic that very much should be considered. I mean, they have all the resources, money, and abilities to do that – which leaves me asking “Why not?” , especially given their current investments in content creation.

Apple TV and the $6.5 billion content budget

I said billions of dollars right? Well, without straying too far from the original beating heart of this article, I want to float something before I sign off. Call me crazy (and a lot of them), but if I had a multibillion-dollar company that spends a lot (and a lot) of zeros on creating and producing its own original content, I might consider developing my post-production software in a way that integrates and supports the industry professionals who are an essential part of Create this content, right?

Apple should consider how much content has already been produced and played in Final Cut Pro. Dare I say the probability of editing any of them in FCP is incredibly low?

Camel
Camel. Image credit: Apple

Many of the names in the petition continued to assert their needs and share regarding a few features that can be added to FCP. These requests would eventually see FCP accepted back into the workflows and pipelines of large studios, and thus allow editors to embrace it in their creative tool belts.

The two big pain points with FCP currently seem to be:

  1. Inability to share the project and collaborate with multiple users simultaneously.
  2. Its facade and layout are unconventional. Many editors are either unfamiliar with it, or don’t like the current design.

If Apple can provide a solution that at least begins to address the two points above, I will say that Final Cut Pro fans around the world will rejoice at what will soon await them in their craft creatively. But unfortunately that is not the case, or at least for the time being.

Here’s another idea (by Mark Toya)

We spoke to acclaimed director and editor Mark Toya about it and he had the following to say:

I’m proficient with Avid, Premier, and Resolve as well as Final Cut Pro. Saving time in FCP is generally much faster than any of them. Collaboration is the only thing that might be missing, but it’s not hard to give proxy media to other people, let them cut, edit projects timelines, add metadata tags, everything and anything you need, and then share the XML with everyone. Which is repositioned in seconds on any computer anywhere in the world that has the proxy or primary media. Final Cut Pro is built for the masses, because it’s 4 times faster and extremely powerful when editing in real time with heavy raw codecs. Catering to the masses, or catering to a few. I think FCP is on the right track.

Mark Toya. Director and Editor

If you want to see first-hand the power of FCP, check out the “Monsters Of Man” movie I completed entirely inside FCP. (Of course the VFX and audio elements were completed separately and then brought back to FCP)

As they say, there are two sides to every story and this is Mark’s side, however, I’ll leave you to come to your own conclusion on the matter!

Promo image for Monsters Of Man
Monsters man promotional picture. Image credit: director Mark Toya.

WWD. What will Digby do?

In short, I think it’s clear that as a fellow editor and supporter of all things creative, I stand behind my friends who plead with Apple in the battle they’re in. By saying my heart is true to the Adobe Premiere Pro platform (I bet you were guessing I was an Avid person?).

However, if you want to try out FCP for yourself, Apple has a great 90-day free trial that you can find here!

Tim Cook, people have spoken. Will it fall on deaf ears or action will be taken?

Digby Hogan is a professional editor with his own post production house based in Brisbane, Australia. We just launched our 25 hour professional editing course on Premiere Pro on MZed.com, now available.

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Tell us your thoughts on FCP and what you think Apple should do in the comments section below!

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