How to explain the disaster that is Final Cut Pro X to non-FCP users in story form:
It’s almost impossible to express the shock waves that are being sent down the corridors of creativity and production throughout the professional film and video world. The sense of betrayal is palpable. Murmurs of class action lawsuits against Apple, allegations of false advertising, and people flocking to Avid, Premiere, Smoke, etc…. and not without reason.
If you’re not a Final Cut Pro editor you won’t quite understand the full extent of the carnage and damage that Apple has (inadvertently?) unleashed upon itself. The damage they have done is real, not contained to the professional world, and likely irreversible.
This is most certainly the end of Final Cut Pro as a professional’s tool, likely the end of Apple’s relationship with the professional world more broadly, and I suspect we’ll see a trend away from Apple hardware at the high end Mac Pro level over the next few years.
If you’re not a FCP Editor, here is a way to wrap your head around this:
Imagine you’re fortunate enough to own your own house, and have a long-standing relationship with an architect who works on your home. In fact, he built your first home a long time ago. Then, year-by-year, made improvements, added additions when you had children, renovated rooms, even renovated the basement at one point.
The architect benefited too. All of your friends were so impressed by the work he had done on your home, that they hired him to work on their homes too.
But this architect has been really busy over the last few years with some other very high-profile clients and has not had much time to do any work on your house. In fact, some of the work you paid him to do many years ago still hasn’t been done, and things are starting to fall apart. The roof is leaky, the floors are creaky, the walls are pealing…. this stuff needs to get fixed. Fast!
Just when you began thinking, “Gosh, I think it might be time to move to a new house,” the architect tells you he’s got some extra time to work on your place.
Great, but this renovation is going to be a big one, so it’s probably best if you go on vacation for the summer, and come back when it’s done. “Fine, fine… anything to get this place back in working order,” you think as you head to the airport.
So while you’re on vacation, the architect sends you some photos of the new place. You think, “Wow! Beautiful Italian tile, hardwood floors, hand-painted wallpaper! It looks great. This is going to be awesome! I can’t wait to get home!”
You’re so excited to get back from vacation you can barely contain yourself - -
When you arrive back at your beloved home, what’s there waiting for you is a disaster. And the architect is nowhere in site.
First, you’re locked out of your own house. But when you pry the lock apart, and get the door open, you see your newly renovated house has beautiful hardwood floors, and brand new chrome appliances - but no electricity. Gorgeous marble counter tops - but no HVAC system. A new swimming pool in the back yard - but no plumbing.
As if that’s not enough, now, the kitchen and the bathroom are all in one room. That’s right, you take a shower in the kitchen, where you eat. The kids’ rooms are in the back lawn, in tents. The master bedroom is where the kids’ rooms used to be, and the closets have all been walled up and boarded over. No more closet space for you! (There won’t be any closet space in homes of the future! Far out!)
Finally, you get the architect on the phone and he says, “Well, I didn’t charge you very much….” and “That other stuff will be coming later, maybe” and “This is how people will live in the future” ….
You say: But what about the hundreds of thousands of dollars I’ve invested in this house over the years, what about all of my furniture!? Nothing I own fits into this new house at all. All of the photos I paid a lot of money to have framed don’t fit on the walls, and the dining room table I spent three years crafting by hand won’t fit in the front door. The Steinway grand piano that is a family heir loom, won’t fit through the front door, or the back door. It won’t even fit through a window! What do I do with that?
Apple: Hmmmm… well, give up the piano, maybe? We might be able to figure out a work around for some of that stuff, maybe. Hey, you could always take the piano apart and reassemble it inside. Don’t you like this beautiful Venetian tile, it was imported from Italy! This is the biggest advance in your home since we built your original house!
You: Yes, that’s very nice, but I can’t live in this house. What do you expect me to do?
Apple: Be patient, we’re going to take some of your thoughts into consideration. I’m just blown away by what we’ve been able to do for you!
You: Why isn’t there an HVAC system?
Apple: Over the last few years, our firm has we’ve moved away from residential architecture, and we’re doing a lot of work in more mild climates. Most of our other customers live in climates where you don’t need HVAC. We don’t think anyone will be using HVAC in the future.
You: But it freezing here in the winter, and blistering in the summer. We need HVAC.
Apple: We showed this house to some of your neighbors while we were working on it, and their jaws dropped! We showed it to some people who have never lived indoors before, and they said it was great! We can’t believe you don’t like it! Maybe there’s another company you can hire to do a work around for the things you want. You could always have HVAC air ducts installed on the outside of your house. That could work.
You: Why didn’t you build HVAC into the house to begin with? Every home in this area has heating and air conditioning.
Apple: We have a different approach to dwelling, something we think will be really a big part of the future. Your house was completely rebuilt from the ground up! Naturally, if you want to continue to be a client of ours, we have to do work that we feel fits into our firms larger identity. Installing HVAC now would destroy the beutiful Italian tiles! If we have to install HVAC all of the nice surfaces you have will be destroyed, and also the ceilings will be have to be lowered. Don’t you like your new high ceilings?
You: Ok, what about plumbing? Can I get some plumbing?
Apple: Well, that’s tricky… you see, we couldn’t use any of the old plumbing from the original house, so we thought it would be better to not have plumbing at all.
You: We at least need some electricity!
Apple: Yes, we agree with you, you probably will need some. That was a mistake of ours. If you go ahead and just head down to the local hardware store and buy a gas powered generator, you could set that up in your front lawn and run some extension cords inside for your electricity! That should do the trick!
You: Some features you shouldn’t have to request by name. What about—-
Apple: [interrupting] You know, I’d love to talk to you about this, but I’m getting a call right now from another very important [cough] [cough] IOS [cough] IOS [cough] client. [hangs up phone]
Then this guy called ‘Adobe’ comes strolling down the street:
Adobe: Hey mister, I saw what Apple did to your house. Looks nice, too bad there’s no plumbing.
You: Yeah. Too bad. What am I going to do. I can’t even live here.
Adobe: Hey, I’ve got a house just down the block on Premiere Street. You’ll be able to take all of your furniture, kids rooms, and other stuff all there right away. There might be a few small things that need to be rearranged, but for the most part, we’ll be able to accommodate you, and it will be a whole lot better than your old house.
Adobe: Yes, and because you got screwed by that awful guy Apple, we’re happy to give you a discount because we feel so bad for you.
Meanwhile, Apple Architect notices who you’re talking to.
Apple: Don’t leave, please, we like you. We want you to stay. How about this, we’ll give you a refund until we can get you setup with some work arounds for some of those things you were requesting but we won’t support them long term, ok?
You: Yes, but you’ve ruined my house. I can’t live there. There’s no electricity, there’s no plumbing, there’s no heating. All of my books are on the front lawn because you didn’t build any bookshelves! My kids are crying! How am I going to provide for my family? You insist this isn’t a problem, and that I’ll just ‘get used to it.’ I can’t even park my car in the garage because you split the garage in half for reasons I can’t understand. Why did you do that? Why?
Apple: Speaking of the car, maybe you and your family could live in there while we try to take some of your thoughts into consideration? Is the car owned by school? Press one.
You: I’m leaving.
Apple: Give us another chance! Please we didn’t realize you wanted plumbing !
In meantime, while you’re working out the deal with Adobe Architect, you take Apple’s advice and head down to the local hardware store to buy an electric generator so you can turn on some space-heaters for your family. But when you get there, you decide that gasoline will be a better antidote. You then buy forty gallons, go home, remove your FCP Projects, and pour gasoline all over the house. RIP FCP.