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Final Cut Pro X complaints fly between editors and developers (Updated)


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So, hey guys, Final Cut Pro X, eh? Conan's editors aren't the only ones arguing about this update. The NYT's David Pogue, who admits that he is not a professional video editor, also jumped in on the discussion and tried valiantly to convince the complainers that it's OK, all of the features you really need are in there, and the ones you want weren't needed anyway.

That, of course, is like throwing gasoline on a fire, and what he got was multiple corrections and updates, due to lots of multicolored, blockquoting rebuttals like this one from pro editor Richard Harrington. To make a long (and if, like me, you're also not a professional video editor, somewhat unexciting) story short, many pro editors dislike the new version of Final Cut Pro. Passionately.

Which complaints get the most airtime? One frequent issue seems to be that you can't open up projects created with the older version of FCP in the new one, and that because of this, a lot of editors are having issues with both applications installed on the same Mac. There's an official support article on just this issue, strongly recommending that users who want to maintain access to both FCP 7 and FCP X actually partition their hard drives, install a separate instance of Mac OS X, and reboot every time they want to switch from one to the other.

I said, reboot every time they want to switch from one to the other.

It's true -- Apple likes to burn its bridges in terms of upgrades, and in a professional environment, that kind of incompatibility is just not going to fly. Other issues revolve around a lack of support for various formats the pros use, though a lot of these are supposed to get filled in by third-party add-ons (some of which can be pricey, even for big-time editors) or by Apple's own updates, including those coming with Lion. The inability to interoperate with edit-standard files like OMF and EDLs is a problem, along with limited control over the locations of scratch files and a complete absence of multi-camera editing tools that were present in FCP 7. Pogue's conversation with Apple's FCP product managers hints that many of these will be addressed in future updates.

But there are definitely some legitimate concerns -- the previous version of Final Cut Pro was a well-traveled app, with plenty of updates and workflows that had lots of time to polish and settle in. This new version doesn't fit as well in those same cracks, and FCP 7 has been abruptly removed from Apple's product list, meaning that editors can't even buy new licenses of the product they use to earn a living. We'll have to see what Apple does to smooth things over with editors forced to re-learn one of their most important tools -- or depart the platform for the fairer shores of Avid or Premiere Pro.

Update: Pogue follows up with another article today admitting that he feels "Apple blew it." We'll see how Apple continues to refine Final Cut Pro for professionals and keep you posted.

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