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.”