Apple’s Final Cut Pro X was met with a lot of upset editors when it was announced last April and subsequently released in June 2011. The software’s largely reconstituted features resembled Apple’s “amateur” editing program line so much that it was mocked as “iMovie Pro.”
Even though its price was significantly lower than previous versions of FCP, the price of sealed packages of Final Cut Pro 7 shot up on eBay like a fine vintage. Apple responded by releasing upgrades that slowly restored some of the features deleted from FCP7.
Now that the dust has settled, where do we stand?
In a post last week, Philip Hodgetts noted one surprising fact: Installations of FCPX have surpassed those of FCP7. It makes sense in a lot of ways — At $299, more people can make the leap than with the $1,599 price they had confronted in the past. For newbies, the program builds from their iMovie experience. Hodgetts notes that, according to research, Apple’s share of the professional market has dropped, from 55 percent to 52 percent. Users are shifting to Avid and other programs. Hodgetts also notes some of the initial FCPX purchasers may have been people simply willing to try it:
First challenge [to the statistics] is that they all purchased Final Cut Pro X “to test it out” and no one’s using it. Well, Apple had already demolished the “no professional is using Final Cut Pro X” canard the week before NAB with the Final Cut Pro in Action stories. But could it be that only one copy was sold to each facility and that gives them 52% of the “pro” market. I don’t find that particularly credible, given that we know that Bunim Murray alone purchased at least 40 or 50 Media Composer seats in that time.
So are professionals warming up to FCPX?
Tor Rolf Johansen of Post Magazine feels FCPX was rolled out prematurely, but has gained back some credibility with its updates. FCP 10.0.4, he says,
…has returned to stake its claim in the pro NLE market. Many of the pro features missing from FCP 7 have been restored and many of those features are actually better and faster now than they ever were in FCP 7. FCP X is lightning fast with get-up-and-go performance. The speed gains (from 64-bit code and multicore support), the two-thirds price cut, and some innovative new edit tools make this update a true contender.
Not all agree.
In the April/May 2012 issue of Streaming Media magazine, Jan Ozer’s “How Apple Took The ‘Pro’ Out Of Final Cut Pro” says that while some features of FCPX are commendable,
Overall, though, I abhor the program. When I run FCPX, my reaction is visceral; I feel the walls pressing in and my blood pressure rising. I adore the clean slate of Adobe Premiere Pro and its doppelganger Final Cut Pro 7. FCPX has so much structure, so many completely foreign concepts, that it feels like my 31? monitor has shrunk to 17?. With such a supposed focus on simplicity, how could a company run by (Steve) Jobs produce such a program?
Meanwhile, programs such as Adobe Premiere CS6 are gaining some ground. For serious filmmakers balancing cost and performance, the variety of choices for editing is making Final Cut Pro less of the go-to program it was.