It's fair to say that Final Cut Pro X has been the most controversial product Apple has released in some time. Most video pros are lambasting Apple over the product, and, to some extent, Apple deserves it.
Though there are plenty of things to like about Final Cut Pro X, there are also just as many things not to like about it. You can't import work -- at least not easily -- from previous versions of Final Cut Pro. Some beloved preferences, settings, export options and multiple-monitor support are gone, at least temporarily. It can't output to tape. Etc. Etc.
This is indicative of one of Apple's biggest problems: arrogance. The company takes a "my way or the highway" approach that sometimes burns users. (Note to iWeb users: be looking for a replacement product ASAP.) Not surprisingly, users are fighting back.
There's an online petition stating that "Final Cut Pro X is not a professional application" (http://www.petitiononline.com/finalcut/). The petition reads:
"To: Apple, Inc.
"We, both the editors and affected filmmakers who rely on Final Cut Pro as a crucial business tool, do so in the same way Photoshop, Maya, Pro Tools, and other industry-standard applications are relied on by leading post-production environments. Many have invested hundreds of thousands (some even millions) of dollars in creating Final Cut Pro based companies. These are now threatened by a 'prosumer-grade' product upgrade of Final Cut Pro 7 titled 'Final Cut Pro X,' and will likely put several of these companies out of business. The costly process of migrating studio hardware and software is a major burden, especially on studios that have made recent upgrades to support Final Cut Pro. If many had known of the Final Cut Pro X release prior to investing in expensive hardware and software licenses, most, if not all, would have sought alternative solutions.
"A large corporation such as Apple, Inc. should not make 'revolutionary' paradigm-shifting changes to software which can be referred to as 'industry-standard.". This is unfair to workers who rely on Final Cut Pro as a business tool and will devastate the Final Cut Pro community. Many editors have relied on the software since its first release and supported Apple through both the hard and easy times. Apple Inc. now has over $75 billion in assets and does not need to risk the livelihoods of its professional customers by silently discontinuing 'Final Cut Pro' instead of selling it to a company willing to support working film, TV, and advertising industry professionals.
"We, the Final Cut Pro community, hereby request that:
"1. Final Cut Studio 3 is immediately reinstated, supported, and referred to as Apple's 'professional grade' editing application.
"2. Final Cut Pro is restored under a new name with the functionality and user interface of Final Cut Pro 7.
"3. Final Cut Pro X is to be considered part of the iMovie family or labeled a 'prosumer' product.
The source code to Final Cut Pro 7 is auctioned or sold to a third-party by January 1, 2012."
Currently, there are over 8,000 signatures.
In response to the brouhaha, Apple did post a page of info (http://www.apple.com/finalcutpro/faq/) about Final Cut Pro X. The company says:
° Final Cut Pro 7 runs with Mac OS X Lion and can be installed on your Mac along with Final Cut Pro X.
° There's no way to “translate” or bring in old projects to Final Cut Pro X without changing or losing data.
° Some camera manufacturers will need to update their import plug-ins to work with the new 64-bit architecture of Final Cut Pro.
° Final Cut X doesn't yet support multicam editing -- but that's in the works.
° Third party plug-ins must be updated to run with Final Cut Pro X.
° Final Cut Pro X can't export XML, but that's in the works.
° Final Cut Pro X doesn't support OMF, AFF and EDLs, but that too is in the works.
° Final Cut Pro X doesn't allow you to assign audio tracks for export, but this is ... you guessed it ... in the works.
I don't think Final Cut Pro X will be a disaster sales-wise (a la the Cube). It will probably appeal to prosumers, if not to video pros. But from a PR standpoint, this is another MobileMe/Ping disappointment.
Call Final Cut Pro X nothing but "iMovie Pro" or a beta release (and plenty of folks have called it both), but Apple's got some major work to do in the "restoring good will" division.
-- Dennis Sellers