: David Battistella's Blog
I read a great commentary by Marco Solorio a day ago in his blog. He made some great arguments a laid out a detailed history of how Apple bought and then killed apps like Shake and others.
It got me thinking. There are two key points here. The people who developed those applications maybe looked to sell the apps probably for two main reasons.
Reason 1: recover software development costs.
Reason 2: their existing customer base was maxed out as was their capacity to continue to receive a return on investment from customers
Apple is not in the "save great software" business, but they are interested in core technologies they do not have. It makes sense for them to buy software for core technology.
Shake us a great example of a very high end app with a lot of power but a very small customer base tied to software with a steep learning curve. (I bought hours of shake training to learn it properly). But it had the optical flow engine that could find it's way into Compressor, motion and FCP making previously hard to access powerful tools accessible.
I respect Marco a great deal and I really enjoyed reading his blog post, but did any of those companies go running to their customers and say "Help! Apple is knocking on our door wanting to buy our software". I'm not sure, just putting it out there.
The amount of good, creative freedom and accessible high end tools Apple has delivered and made available to professionals is possibly unequalled in the industry.
Apple buying those companies helped save important core technologies that found their way into other products. I could look at what Apple did and call it "gutting" but the other perspective is that I am sure those Applications were purchased at a good dollar value for the developer and in the end we (end users) still benefit from the core technology.
Sometimes I think this is nostalgia. I get nostalgic about things. I like film. I like records. I like the old way of doing things. But I don't like to get nostalgic about software because it's pretty tenuous stuff.
I am not going to convict the software because I think it is good and I believe it is the tool foe editors going forward. I'll stand by that.
I wonder what this rollout might have been like if Apple did this.
Cupertino, June 21, 2011
Today marks a pivotal shift for Apple in our line of professional editing products. The much anticipated FCP X is being released on the Apple store. Apple has prided itself on building professional applications, used by professionals worldwide to create content for the web, film and television distribution.
When FCP came on the scene ten years ago, it began a revolution in digital film editing. Over the past ten years many professionals have made FCP their product of choice and built their business on apple software and hardware. We hope that you will find what we have done with Final Cut suits your needs.
We knew the software needed a complete rewrite of code, so instead of writing FCP 8 we decided to take a new approach to film editing. Every software model has been based on tape based editing using source record monitors. We created a simple, film style interface with a lot of database, rendering and editing power under the hood. We wanted to address things like autosaving, so that you would never loose a project. We wanted to give you a better set of finishing tools inside the application and we wanted to give you a strong metadata database feature because we have seen that tapeless workflow is becoming the norm. We wanted to be able to see and skim all of your footage, all of the time, instead of a thumbnail or a numerical representation of the images you need to edit.
We want to warn our professional customers that this version one release is missing key features that we know professionals use everyday. For this reason we will continue to support FCP Studio and FCP 7 for the next twelve months as we add the pro features like XML and OMF to the new Final Cut. Our logic is simple, get the software in the hands of our customers so they can try it, see it and take a good look at our approach. We think that is the best way for you to make an informed decision about the new software. We also want your feedback, so we can build and improve the products for the workflows of today and the future.
We hope you stay with us as we transition to the next generation of Final Cut Pro.
Anyway. I hope you see my point. If Apple had done something like this on the day of the release then I am sure that it would have been a smoother landing for the software.
As I said, I am not going to convict the software because as I get deeper, I see how powerful it is and how it could be used by multiple users in a shared environment or single users.
This is transition time. This is learn a new tool time (FCP X or some other choice if you are abandoning Apple).
It's a very good time for post production. It's nice to have something to discuss that takes in the whole philosophy of film editing rather than just the bells a whistles of a software update.
I thought I would turn this recent post into a BLOG post because I think it is worth exploring. With all of the discussion surrounding the FCPX app and the RABID response by users emotionally and financially tied to apple hardware and software I would ask film and video professionals to just consider one important thing.
We are just last in a line of creative sectors Apple has had a major global influence on. Perhaps looking at things in the perspective of other industries is worthwhile and informative.
If you talk to your friends who are musicians, creatives, illustrators, animators. or going back further, typesetters, you will only notice that the same trend has found it's way to this (the film and television) industry and it was only a matter of time.
Technology is a wonderful and enabling thing. It is also a thing that moves rapidly, espescially when it is tied to bottom lines and satisfying the changing needs of end users, that includes us, our customers and our friends and family.
Look at Apple's history with creative professionals. (overly simplified for this post)
Apple helped introduce desktop printing and changes publishing and design.
Do you want to go back to the days before laser printing a document?
Apple gets sued by apple records for putting an in out audio recording device on their computer. They revolutionizes music with computer driven sets ups and helps bring itunes as a way to allow music delivery over the Internet where artists can sell their work and record companies can survive within new models.
Vynil is still around and so are CD's but as a music lover, I can't imagine the world without iTunes.
Motion pictures/moving media
Final Cut Pro ONE
The DV only editor democratizes editing film. Where a person previously required a mortgage on their home or needed to go to work for someone who had mortgaged their home on an edit system, they provided a thousand dollar DV editor to open up the creative experience.
Do you want to go back to letting AVID have the keys to your ability to edit images?
I don't. (that is not to say I did not at one time love their software).
FCP X ONE
FCPX is phase two of opening up editing to the world. Broadcast models are crumbling. Internet delivery is at an all time high and growing and new distribution models are opening up. Who cares that they made it easier? They made printing and making music easier too, but those industries suffered a shift, there are still high end pros there, that is all.
Apple moves the way things are trending, they always have.
This is my opnion.
Edit systems should be fluid, they should be accessible and powerful and they should cost next to nothing. That allows more people into the fray. I'm glad Apple did this. There is a whole generation of people who will benefit from this and use their tools and delivery mechanisms (the web) to share and tell stories.
What people don't get about all the web functionality (until it happens) is when how this will open up global thinking with the fastest growing sector. Wait until the technology that is available now starts to allow people all over the world a way to express their creativity.
People WATCH the Internet now more than they READ the Internet. I see FCPX as a kind of media literacy tool, built for the media world which is forming. Apple has a pretty good track record of being and innovative and industry leading company when it comes to their thinking.
I know that to many, especially right now, I might sound overly optimistic and too positive but its not about us anymore.
It's about our kids now.
I have not done a full evaluation of the software but I have to say one thing.
EDITING WITH FCP X is VERY VERY FAST!
I have prided myself on being able to break down footage quickly but FCP X takes editing to a whole new level. I am talking about EDITING. I actually do not care much about the import export stuff at this moment.
WHat I have been dreaming about is a rethink on how we breakdown shots and put images together and FCP X is very fast and very intuitive. I am really excited about this software. It is very powerful and to me it really deserves the name PRO.
There will be doubters. There will be non embracers. There will be defectors.
But I have to say thanks Apple. This software is really smart, and I know that I have not unleashed my potential with it. The interface is gorgeous, navigating footage is smooth and I look forward to the coming days with it.
A new cornerstone to post creativity.
I encourage you all to drop what you thought NON LINEAR Editing WAS and grab hold of what it is. This is a very very serious editing too.
I am downloading FCP X as we speek and adding compressor and Motion as well.
I will report back here as soon as I have had a look under the hood!
160 effects built in. It looks like they have created thier own plugin set.
NO native R3D support.
Apple is about to revolutionize editing and release an app that will be much talked about in the coming months. I hope I do not have to eat these words but there have been a few things nagging at me.
Why do people believe that a new interface means they will reduce the feature set?
FCP changed editing when it was released. It was the David to the Goliath that was AVID and they put editing in the hands of professionals who could create amazing work where ever they could plop down a computer.
FCP literally MOVED editing AWAY from facilities and bloated post houses and put it in the hands of skilled professionals. Those same post houses eventually embraced it as a fine editing system. (despite rumbling at the fact they spend 100K on an AVID system)
The software matured into a suite of powerful applications and APPLE responded to professionals. Soon with AJA or decklink (or back in the day an Aurura Igniter card) we were pushing out UNCOMPRESSED ten bit video through this "amateur" application. We see FCP all over the world driving large and small production, TV. movies, miniseries. everything, everywhere.
If anything AVID piggybacked on the success of FCP to say alive. (I have nothing against AVID it is a fine editing tool) But FCP was giving users a flexible way to create various forms of content for a changing media landscape.
Consider the fact that Youtube was not really even a blip when FCP was intruduced.
Now. Adobe has released a suite of Apps (the PC twin of the FCP suite) and put some great tech into mimicking what FCP and FCS created.
But Apple is an innovator, they move things forward.
I have not seen FCP X, I have not touched it. I have not spoken with a singel person about it.
I think that it will change things again. For those of you who have read what I had to say about editing in the article I wrote about LIghtworks a while back, you might know that I am passionate about how we digitally assemble images.
Editing is about freeing the mind and allowing the fastest way to make associations between moving images. I think that the biggest surprise will be how the NEW FCP will allow us to edit as fast as we think and edit on our phones and on our ipads, like a painter carries a sketchbook.
I have been long wanting a tool that will make the CRAFT of EDITING easier. I don't care too much for the bells and whistles as few productions or effective stories require them, but a tool that is more efficient when editing will be most welcome.
The great editors I know use cuts, sound and color as interchangable basic tools to affect tone, mood and pacing and it looks like this app is going to address this creative need.
To the doubters:
Do not let paranoia get the best of you. I think you will get everything that is there now and much much more. What you decide to use is up to you, but APPLE will be (yet again) giving creatives the tools to help them work at their best.
I could be eating these words in a month, but I have a hunch on this one.