Why Many Video Pros are Moving Away From Apple

Why Many Video Pros are Moving Away From Apple

Six months after the release of Final Cut Pro X (FCPX), Apple’s major overhaul to its professional video editing software, more and more video pros are finding themselves looking at other software options. For many, the launch of Final Cut Pro X made it seem like Apple didn’t care about its creative professional users.

Jacqui Cheng, writing for ars technica says:

Which came first: Apple’s creative pro market shrinking, which might have led to dramatic changes in Final Cut Pro; or Apple’s cavalier attitude toward legacy features, which might have frightened video editors? According to the professionals we spoke to, there was already signs of an industry shift to Avid before FCPX came along, but Apple still had a very loyal and dedicated user base that it’s now turning away from.

“The perception here is that Apple is more concerned with selling iPads and iPhones than they are with the people who have stuck with them since the 90’s, the professional editors and VFX people,” said Jude Mull, who works at a post-production facility in Hollywood that processes and digitizes some of your favorite TV shows.

Mull says this perception was already there when FCPX was announced, but has only increased since then due to Apple’s agressive attempt to cut and switch up its features. Example: when editing video for TV shows editors will put together an Edit Decision List (EDL) with data that tells the post production facility which scenes to keep or cut. “Why Apple decided to do away with EDLs is beyond me. This makes me think they aren’t targeting the professional market,” Mull told Ars. “When I read Final Cut Pro X didn’t have the ability to generate an EDL I figured Apple is targeting a different audience, the Tweeners, people with a little $, time and creativity, the Indie crowd. This looks stupid to even read, so again, kind of baffled.”

“If we are taking the time to retrain people for a brand new software—which is what FCPX is—then we might as well use tools that are more industry standards here in L.A. like Avid and, now, Premiere Pro,” another filmmaker in Los Angeles, Seth Hancock, told Ars. “There are too many choices and options for better, more professional options that keep us working and employable here in L.A. What’s sad is that Apple was destroying Avid and really cutting into their revenue and market share. Now Avid, by default, is going to revert back the to industry standard.”

While the release of FCPX may be a catalyst for driving away industry professionals, it’s not the only reason for the migration. The appearance that the Mac Pro seems to be on Apple’s back burner is making professional users antsy, and forcing them to take a look at other, non-Mac solutions to their needs.

Ryan Poirier, who works in the video production department of one of the largest public school districts in the US said, “Many folks in the industry have the perspective that Apple is willing to cut out the legs from under professionals without warning. And that can make project leads weary of putting full faith into a entire workflow, which goes well beyond the actual editing software. The simple question of the survival of the features a Mac Pro provides can push workflow managers to migrate over to Windows, where Avid and Adobe can be installed. Professionals must be able count on lasting support for a few years at a time. If there are any doubts, about where the roadmap leads, it’s simply not worth the risk of taking that leap of faith. Post-production houses simply can’t afford to be caught off guard.”

However, not everything about FCPX is bad.

“My personal view on FCP X is that it’s a brilliant program, provided the user can essentially forget everything they’ve learned from using the previous Final Cut Pro/ Studio applications and go into it with an open mind. Don’t be quick to judge a book by it’s cover, or give in to all the negative hype,” Poirier said. “I may be more optimistic then others by nature, but after learning FCPX in it’s current state, I’m more excited about future potential of the application then I am concerned with it’s current shortfalls. ”

Alper agrees. “There’s a lot more ‘right’ about it than Apple gets credit for,” Alper said. “Realtime processing, of course, but I actually think the “metadata” model for media management is, long term, the much better model.” In a blog post he wrote after FCPX’s release, he went into more detail as to why he believes these elements will help videographers create better products, adding, “These changes will revolutionize video editing.”

“What Apple could do would be to make it known that they intend to keep the pro market viable is let the pros know you still care!” Mull added. “As it is, everything seems lukewarm.”

  1. cpm5280 says:

    The real issue, to my eyes, isn’t so much the software: it will improve, people will learn. It is Apple’s attitude, more than anything else, that has driven people away. Had they really understood the pro market, they’d have announced the coming change, the shape it would take, provided translation & testing tools in advance, coordinated with driver and plugin makers before, rather than after release, etc. Apple’s actions made its pro users feel abused and misunderstood, and rightly so. Could they move to FCP X? Sure. But once bitten, twice shy.

    1. David Gregory says:

      “The real issue, to my eyes, isn’t so much the software: it will improve, people will learn.”
      Someday doesn’t pay the bills and Pro software is not the consumer market. Apple’s high handed ways will catch up with it and they will find themselves on an island they have voted everyone else off of.

      Apple has a track record of screwing over it’s developers, it’s resellers, it’s retail employees, and it’s loyal Mac user base. When iOS is no longer the flavor of the month Apple will miss the money and margins from the Mac business. The sugar rush of the iOS boom will abate and the days of users re-buying entire libraries of music on iTunes  are over or will soon be.

  2. Selcuk Askin says:

    Very versatile, practical. Cuts off extra route around the bush.

  3. JG says:

    I have to admit that I agree with the assessment that Apple is giving the appearance that they really don’t care about the core Pro market that has stood by them through thick and thin for the last several decades.  Every pro user I support right now is going to be sticking with what are aging desktop MacPro boxes for right now and older iterations of FCP.  We tested FCP X and it lacked the feature set they needed.  In a production environment without a lot of personnel overlap they simply don’t have the time to waste re-training or getting a handle on how totally different the new version of Final Cut is from what they’ve been using.

    Compound this with the aforementioned MacPro question mark and you are left with people who are still loyal Apple customers.  But customers that have been burned by Apple and aren’t going to brook to much bull shit in this area.  They will migrate and when the iOS market levels off and Apple is looking at revenue streams they will find a user base in the pro market that is very gun shy and will hold Apple’s corporate feet to the fire when they are asked to buy the “new and shiny” that Apple is now proffering after what amounts to ignoring them for several years.

  4. David Gregory says:

    I have been a customer of Apple’s since before the Macintosh and stuck with it through the dark days when it was far but obvious that OS X was going to have legs and yes- Final Cut is on my Mac Pro. However, I am not sure that I will continue to be a customer going forward with the dumbing down of the Mac OS and ever creeping emphasis on iOS.

    I own an iPad2 and an iPad before it, I also own an unlocked iPhone 4, yet regard these as niche devices that in no way replace a real computer. I own a Mac Pro laptop and also see it as secondary to a real desktop with a large monitor and lots of internal storage. I tried an iMac, but strongly disliked the external HDs and all the rest and went back to the Mac Pro.

    Lion is a step backwards at the user level regardless what the fanbois tell you. Hiding previously visible files & configuration options, screwing up the interface and cheesing the look to make it like a big iPhone may work for Buffy the Sorority Girl, but not for serious users. Apple has been dumbing down OS X to help lure the PeeCee switcher crowd and it is not appreciated.

    iMovie Pro (Final Cut X) is a joke as a replacement for Final Cut Studio just as an iMac is for a Mac Pro tower. When the Mac Pro goes the away so does the Mac OS on my desktop. Customer service has gone to ground, the local Apple Store is nothing more than an iOS showroom and the Genius Bar is a pale shadow of it’s former self.

    In an interview with Uncle Walt, Steve Jobs described Mac OS as a truck relative to iOS, which seems to be all they care about now. Apple seems to be getting out of the truck business in both software and hardware.

  5. Ewaldrup says:

    Mac Pro also refers to the Mac Pro tower. This is what Ryan Poirier seems to be talking about. Rumors suggest that the code for Mac OS 10.7.3 has something for a new un announced Mac Pro 2012 release. I hope so. My pro friend Don Smith who has done work for NBC suggests that FCP X is 85% there and that the other 15% is not that important. Some may be over reacting in my view. 

    1. JB says:

      The other 15%?  Are you kidding?

      No EDLs, no ability to import or export AAFs or OMFs, no client monitor support, no legacy support… I could go on.

      The inability to open old sessions is unforgivable.  Not to mention, what if you want to share your project with another editor?  Nope, sorry.  Can’t do that.

      I’ve been in the audio/video post-production industry for over a decade.  I’m here to tell you, no professional (or aspiring professional) is using FCP X; at least, not in it’s current form.  

      Me?  I’ve started taking Avid classes, and I’m almost on par with my FCP skill set.  I’ve been a Mac user since 1989, and for the first time ever, I’m thinking that my pro machines might be moving to Windows.

      Apple should be *very* worried.  That is, if they even care about the pro market, which I doubt they still do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *