Did Apple Lose Video Professionals For Good With Final Cut Pro X?

Did Apple Lose Video Professionals For Good With Final Cut Pro X?

We're coming up on the two-month mark for Apple's Final Cut Pro X. Released in late June, Final Cut Pro X represented a huge departure from previous versions of the software. But in an attempt to appeal to a more mainstream and casual video editor, the company may have alienated a very passionate core group of customers: professional video editors.

Final Cut Pro X Backlash

There are always naysayers & so-called "haters" every time a product or service evolves and changes. Just look at the feedback YouTube and Facebook receive when… well, whenever they roll out even the smallest of redesigns. But while Final Cut Pro X has its fans, there appear to be far more disgruntled users than happy ones.

Here's Ryan Connolly, the host of Film Riot, and his take on the software change:

In case you didn't have time to watch the entire episode, here's one of the more important points Connolly makes about Final Cut Pro X:

"For instance, you can't import Final Cut projects into Final Cut Pro X. Yeah, let me repeat that. You cannot open your old FCP projects into Final Cut Pro X… Now, although it can't import old Final Cut Pro projects, it can import iMovie projects. What? Um… what?! That's like a big middle finger to all professional editors signed 'Apple.' They might as well come to my house and kick me in the wiener."

Connolly's far from alone in this gripe. In fact, incompatibility with previous versions of Final Cut seems to be the single largest complaint professional video editors have.

Dennis Howlett of ZDNet has this to say:

"In the end, Apple has done something I could never have anticipated: it has driven me gratefully into the arms of Adobe Premiere and After Effects, even though that is at much higher cost.

Many colleagues welcome the new FCP-X and that's just fine. But as someone who is aspiring to deliver more than edited home movies, FCP-X doesn't come close to meeting my needs."

The NBC Bay Area website calls it "Apple's Biggest Mistake In Years."

The pair of reviewers at MacGasm.net aren't big fans at all.

And the Washington Post reports that a petition stating "Final Cut Pro X is not a professional application" was signed by over 600 professional video editors within the first week of the software's release.

How widespread is the disdain for Final Cut Pro X? Well, it even got the "Hitler finds out about…" treatment on YouTube (language warning, even in the screenshot apparently):

With over 53,000 views, the video has over 600 "likes" and only 13 "dislikes."

Even consumers are weighing in alongside the professional reviewers. Right now as I write this, there are three Customer Reviews on the iTunes Store page for purchasing Final Cut Pro X. None of them are positive. And I can't find a way to "view all" customer reviews.

Competitors are taking advantage of the backlash as well. In fact, Adobe is actively courting former Final Cut Pro fans with discounted offerings and display ads across the web like this one:

Did Apple Lose Video Professionals For Good With Final Cut Pro X?

But not every review is full of doom and gloom. PC magazine, for instance says they think even the haters will eventually be won over by the positive attributes of Final Cut Pro X:

"Apple has built a completely new, faster, cleaner, and more intuitive digital video editing package. While some professionals may lament its lack of backward compatibility, we predict they'll eventually be won over by significant speed and usability advances. Meanwhile, prosumer video enthusiasts get a less daunting upgrade path to a pro-level Mac editor."

Does Apple Care About Professional Video Editors?

In the end, it may not matter how many customers are upset about the new Final Cut Pro X or how loudly they complain about it. As former Apple designer, Sachin Agarwal, explains, Apple doesn't really care about the video professional market.

Now, that's a harsh way to state it. What Agarwal really means is that Apple values the broader market far more than any niche. If there are a million professional video editors in the world (and I'm just pulling that out of thing air for the sake of debate), then there are 500 million amateur video editors. And it's that larger group that Apple really wants to hit.

Apple cares more about selling hardware products than software. As I said when discussing rumors that Apple was building their own YouTube competitor:

"I'm used to Apple's software solutions directly supporting their hardware. They make an OS, but it's made to power their computer hardware. They built iTunes, but that was designed to support the iPod… All I'm saying is that usually when I see Apple making software, it's because it directly supports one of their hardware products."

Apple cares more about selling computers, tablets, and phones than selling software. That's probably why you can't get Final Cut Pro on Windows–at least not without some creativity.

It's entirely possible that Apple knew the video editing pros would get upset, but still felt that making Final Cut Pro X more accessible to the mainstream audiences would be a better long term move for the company. It's also entirely possible that they were right.


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Jeremy Scott is the founder of The Viral Orchard, an Internet marketing firm offering content writing and development services, viral marketing consulting, and SEO services. Jeremy writes constantly, loves online video, and enjoys helping small businesses succeed in any way he can. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • Mark Upshaw

    My son, who works on film production (eg. editing) says there is massive backlash to FCPX and that no one will use it among the large list of editors he has works with. What would Apple do without Hollywood? I wonder how long it will take for them to come out with a new release addressing all of these concerns before they lose very expensive market share?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=580163317 Stephen Knifton

    hey: this just in…. this story is a month old. anyone who considers themselves remotely professional pissed and moaned for a few days.. then bolted. adobe premiere pro has features (64 bit, h264 native ingest etc) that fcp should have had two years ago. nobody has time to kvetch about apple's cock up anymore… we're all gone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1177363116 Mark Robertson

      Thanks Stephen. We're quite well aware that the product wasn't released yesterday but we waited a while to write about the backlash.

  • Tom

    "What would Apple do without Hollywood?"

    That's just it – Apple has long since ceased "needing" Hollywood. They have hundreds of millions of iOS users. What they lose from pros moving away from FCP is a drop in the bucket.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1092828777 Brent Darling

    Crapple is a joke anyway… Applesoft is doing what Microsoft did in it's early years of success… Pushing people around. Steve Jokes is a joke just like his pathetic control obsessed company.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527466433 Amani Channel

    Professionals will now chose either Premier Pro (which I like) or AVID and the iMovie and Apple fanboys and girls will enjoy the best of both worlds. I just don't know why Apple didn't call it iMovie Pro, and keep FCP the same. I'll never fully understand the move.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527466433 Amani Channel

      I say Adobe. Should be an easy transition.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527466433 Amani Channel

      @[1332584974:2048:Henly Velarde] Because Apple knows that there are a lot of more prosumer amateurs than the few elite professional editors who will use the software.

    • Jason Bronis

      Was just having this conversation the other day with a friend who has been editing commercially for years. Now he's director of production for a big editing house and has to make the decision _ leaning towards Adobe. FCX NOT an option.

    • Henly Velarde

      The editors I know aren't necessarily taking this approach. The previous versions of FCP were working just fine. It just means no upgrade to a "newer" version unless Apple reverts or addresses these real concerns. If block buster movies, superbowl commercials, and all other major multi-media applications were edited just fine on pre FCPX versions, why change it anyway?

    • Henly Velarde

      @[527466433:2048:Amani Channel]: I was asking a different question… why change your pre FCPX software title, which was powerful enough to edit a block buster movie or superbowl commercial already? The editors I know, aren't going to move to another platform, or upgrade to FCPX. The are going to just hang on to what they are using currently and wait till the smoke clears next year and see what options are out there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553710199 Gregory Steel

    One important and seemingly overlooked market segment is the University and colleges that are educating and training the next generations of media professionals. Apple has put us all in a very difficult postion, we will all have to decide the appropriate software the use in our programs and at this point it will not be FCX. The numbers of students entering the market place who will have a background in the software will be significant. and this may impact apple, adobe and avid in ways no one as yet considered.

    • Grayce Gadson

      Maybe Apple should have used a disclaimer that said, "Don't use this in the studio."

  • Fred Jones

    Yes FCPX is a bunch of Crap. I will never use it and Apple sales of this abortion will make them rethink their gamble.

  • Kelly

    Nobody likes change, huh? Apple really dicked up the Macbook line too, didn't they. Um, no.
    After using X twice & figuring out where the controls are located, it's tremendously more efficient.
    Mostly though, Final Cut users (myself included) want their programs to be so difficult for a bystander to learn that they are saddened that X is pretty simple. Now your mom can do it. Get over it.

  • Jivetalkinhonkey

    @ Kelly-
    How is a program that removes critical functions necessary to produce stuido and broadcast quality video and film projects "tremendously more efficient"? It's crippling. I don't care about a magnetic timeline when I can't even export an EDL for proper finishing, let alone an OMF for sound design. For professional use, it's become virtually useless. There have been entire postproduction companies built on the FCP platform, and Apple has singlehandedly ruined their businesses with what they've done to FCPX. Kind of hard to "just get over it" when you realize that Apple's big lies about caring for or even listening to professional editors when developing their product means that you're looking at either closing up shop or spending tons of money to switch to a different platform. All because of an unnecessary, unwelcome and unwanted software "upgrade" to a program that had become an industry standard.

    So now your mom can use FCPX. That's great, is she available to edit my next movie? I'm sure she'll work cheaper than anyone else in town!

  • Vince Werner

    I think Apple did the 'right' thing in the wrong way. They could have easily forgone the pro market (which they did) for the 'pro-sumer' market (which they'll succeed in capturing) with out shoving a big middle finger in our faces. Is wasn't a stupid thing to do, but it was just amazingly stupid how they did it. By the way, I don't know a single editor that plans to stay with FCP. Not one.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1579237185 Eric Johnson

      Yeah, but man, I can make KILLER baby videos. :)

    • Dave Gross

      Yup. I can even imagine how all those big LA FCP houses must feel about Aople pretty much putting out of business.

    • Vince Werner

      Yeah, but with 7, you could make blockbuster, top grossing baby killer videos!

    • Dan Larson

      I actually plan on giving X a go, but I also bought the Adobe production bundle and will continue to use FCP 7. So you can count me as 1.

    • Dan Larson

      OK maybe 1/2.

  • http://www.memoryvision.tv Alan Naumann

    For all disillusioned Final Cut Pro X users, you should try SpeedEDIT2 – It gives a time-line as well as story-board for editing, and seamlessly allows you to move clips (video and audio) and keep everything in sync. You can also use any video format – side by side – and they will play together seamlessly. It also allows you to inherit characteristcs of clips and is fast. So many features – so little space to write – SpeedEDIT2 ROCKS!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001399006644 Christian Jadot

    The only reason I bought a Mac was Final Cut. (A 4,000 dollar Mac.) I no longer have a good to own one. It is a sad day.

  • Chris

    @Kelly,

    You are wrong. FCPX is a step backwards. I really do not care if there is a $20 program out there that is better than Avid. The only reason I bought a Mac was fcp. This new program does not meet my expectations of what a serious nle should be. It is not percise enough, the FX are iMovie FX while I want near After Effects level of control. I need tape output, the majority of the TV stations are still tape based. Sometimes making stuff easier is dumbing it down. If it was called iMovie Plus it would be awesome. But it is not truely a professional program. I like the power to tweak every little thing I can to get the perfect look. It is a great program, but it does not meet my needs any longer.

    Keep your silly magnets.
    Avid, here I come.

  • Chris

    @Alan, as innovative as SpeedEdit is, I don't think NewTek will continue support for it. I hope I am wrong. Just the mention of NewTek brings back Kiki and Amiga memories.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1251795555 Joe Anderson

    Well, if Apple is trying to sell hardware they blew it. I purchased two Mac Pros several years ago just for running FCP. I was planning to replace/ upgrade the machines this fall, but no-I will keep them as is- and keep them dedicated to FCP 7. Will not update them in any way that would "break" the current setup.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2721539 Chris Florio

      I've got the new FCPX , it works great for me. It really uses the ram better and chews through the 5D II footage.

  • Jeffrey Schaum

    Are there really 500 million amateur editors out there? How many times in their life will they actually use the software? Can't apple make one piece of software for them (iMovie) and another for us editors who use FCP every single day? I don't understand how merging the two "broadens" the market, they were in both markets to begin with.

    • Jay Bear

      iMovieCutPro

    • Gavin Brown

      "they tried to take our jobs!" well not mine but yours

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1610384431 Justin Diego

    It is clear that there are far more average consumers than professionals…smart move here…all day long.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1249371185 Daniel Lee Martin

    I'm doing the same things I did in FC7 in FCX and even more. Change sucks when you don't embrace it… I'm embracing it and looking into the future, not the old crappy FC7 that crashed every time I farted… which is alot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1147975030 James Jankiewicz

    I have never been more surprised or insulted as a professional. Apple's silence on this whole matter has been as tragic as the program itself. They have broken a trust with the professional community which has supported them loyally for over a decade. If this is a sign of things to come in the post Jobs era then I'm not impressed! As for me I cannot trust them anymore and will move on to another platform that won't create great pro products then pull them off the market on a whim. This has been so sad as I've talked up Apple with religious fervor for years. Now I'm simply embarrassed to have done so. They have allot of nerve calling this a "Pro" application.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=700879417 Joseph Adamson

    While it is a fact that Apple makes smart thins I do not think they made a right move for professional video editors and film makers. Now it is time for Adobe to grab this chance and make Premiere a professional video editing tool for professionals and film makers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=736496083 Ryan White

    What is really stupid is that in losing the fcp editors people will start migrating to windows based machines because of their price point. I'm looking into it I'm sure others are too. I now edit with cs5 and am happy for it because it allowed me to learn after effects too. I should have never switched to mac… Although I do hate antivirus software.. My next computer will be a PC… Sorry Apple I gave you a chance and you blew it…

  • Ted Fitzgerald

    Having been a dyed in the wool Apple guy for many many years, and trusted their machines and software, as well as being a professional video editor, I just feel let down and betrayed by Apple with fcpx. I foolishly undertook to produce a 50 min doco with fcpx…the process nearly killed me, software that doesn't do what it's supposed to do, and what it does do can be done twice as well in fcp without grinding ones production process to a halt is not a developed piece of software. I got pretty tired of restarts, prefs trashing, system re builds, hell..i did this many years ago selling the early video systems with fast/wide scsi 2 and when 4gb drives were top notch. I don't want to do this again. Can apple assure me it will get better and live up to the claims made for professional useage? I orginally ditched adobe premiere many years ago for fcp, do I now have to go back to it? apple, you've let us down.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002346131452 David Schonhut

      Could have told you that Ted, just chill and cruise the lake.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ansolas An Solas

    Whats next ? Apple Logic X ? Will it be also slimed down to dumbed down version which does not import Logic 9 Songs and EXS Sampler instruments but Garageband Songs ?

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