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Editors Play New Reel in Final Cut Fiasco

Editors Play New Reel in Final Cut Fiasco

With the release of Apple's Final Cut Pro X, Cupertino gave film editors something it regards as a pro-level tool. However, many editors disagree. They point to a list of apparently missing features, and now Apple's addressed the situation with an FAQ. But not all editors are satisfied, and a petition asking Apple to change its handling of editing software has collected thousands of signatures.

By Richard Adhikari MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
06/30/11 6:00 AM PT

Apple has attempted to dial down the flack it's received since the release of its latest movie-editing application, Final Cut Pro X, by publishing an FAQ that addresses some of the editing world's edgier criticisms.

Meanwhile, professional film editors angered by Apple's recently released Final Cut Pro X video editing software are flocking to sign a petition asking for Apple to re-label the app and extend support for previous movie-editing software.

Apple last week announced the release of the US$299 video editing application on its Mac App Store.

However, many film industry professionals labeled the release a "prosumer" product and have heated up the Final Cut Pro X support forum with their remarks.

The imbroglio led Apple to post the FAQ to address issues brought up by the users.

However, this apparently didn't cool things down completely. Andrew Landini, who's been a professional film editor for about 10 years, posted a petition titled "Final Cut Pro X is Not a Professional Application" on the Web. The document was posted before the FAQ, and Landini continues to collect signatures.

"The community was divided, and there was a lot of back-and-forth debate, so I decided to put up a petition," Landini told MacNewsWorld.

He posted a draft of the document on an Apple support forum and made amendments based on input from forum members before posting the final version in the forum. It's currently hosted by the site petitiononline.com.

"The petition has since been taken down from Apple's website and, if you post a link from petitiononline to the forum, they'll remove it," Landini stated.

Apple did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

About the Apple Final Cut Pro X FAQ

Describing Final Cut Pro X as "a breakthrough in nonlinear video editing," Apple's FAQ states it has "impressed many pro editors" yet admits it has "generated a lot of discussion in the pro video community."

Final Cut Pro X is based on an all-new 64-bit architecture, and has new and redesigned features, all of which leads to a slew of problems, the FAQ points out.

The FAQ lists answers to the most common questions users raised.

The majority of these seem to regard missing features that limit Final Cut Pro X's utility to users.

Among other things, users can only do limited editing of tape-based workflow with Final Cut Pro X, the product lacks multicam editing support, existing third-party plugins won't work on the 64-bit architecture, and it can't assign audio tracks for export, the FAQ states.

Further, Final Cut Pro X doesn't support XML, the Open Media Framework, Advance Authoring Format or EDLs (edit decision lists).

Finally, customers cannot buy a volume license for Final Cut Pro X yet, the FAQ states.

Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

"There's been no real response from Apple about why they made these decisions," Landini said.

Apparently, Apple's insistence in the FAQ that Final Cut Pro X is supported by the community is particularly galling.

"What rubs people the wrong way is they said as fact that a lot of pros like it," Landini said. "It's like they made a mistake but it's not a big deal because all these people like it."

The Cause of Users' Wrath

Final Cut Pro X is "so different that people who use the final version can't import their old files, and they feel they're in iMovie, which is bundled with Garage Band and other apps and is a consumer product," Landini said.

"Some of the tutorials for Final Cut Pro X are created by kids, and it's very unprofessional," Landini pointed out. "It's nice that kids can use it, but Apple shouldn't have strayed so far away from a version they've been working on for 10 years."

Final Cut Pro 7, the immediate predecessor to Pro X, "was at the peak of its popularity -- the major movie houses are using it and a lot of stuff you see on TV is done in 7," Landini commented.

The Gist of the Petition

Landini's petition, which was put up before the FAQ was released, warns that many businesses in the industry may have to shut down because migrating studio hardware and software is a major burden.

"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," the petition points out.

Among other things, the petition requests Apple to immediately reinstate and support Final Cut Studio 3 and call it Apple's professional editing application, and consider Final Cut Pro X part of the iMovie family or label it a prosumer product.

Alternatively, the petition suggests Apple sell off the source code to Final Cut Pro 7 by January 1, 2012.

Industry members are flocking to sign the petition. A check at 4:00 p.m. PST showed there were nearly 6,000 signatures.

Adobe Steps In

Meanwhile, Adobe, whose Premiere Pro Creative Suite 5.5 and Production Premium Suites rival Final Cut Pro, has stepped into the breach.

It is working to lure disgruntled Final Cut Pro customers away from Apple and has published case studies of users of its products on its site.

Adobe has picked up some users who are dissatisfied with Final Cut Pro, company spokesperson Susan Puccinelli told MacNewsWorld.


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