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Will Apple Split Up Final Cut Studio and Sell the Components a la Carte?

03.14.11 @ 3:46PM Tags : , , , ,

Since Apple showed a new version of Final Cut Pro behind closed doors, the internets have been flooded with all manner of speculation as to what is so groundbreaking about the latest update to FCP. Idle speculation alert — if you’re not a Final Cut-based editor or you simply don’t care about what could be, feel free to skip this post — we’ll get proper news soon enough. But because there are a lot of FCP editors out there — and because so many folks are throwing ideas at the wall — I thought I’d share a few of the ideas floating about.

From Scott Simmons at PVC (links below):

One very strong rumor floating around is that FCPx is missing the Viewer window. If that’s true then it begs the question of how will an editor audition and mark footage for inclusion in the editing timeline? And it further brings up the question of the 3-point editing paradigm itself. Will FCPx do away with 3-point editing?

Indeed, those who have seen the new version seem to have had their minds blown. If Apple isn’t fundamentally changing the 3-point, Canvas/Viewer/Timeline editing interface, it’s hard to believe folks would have such strong reactions. After all, we expect a long overdue visual refresh to match the rest of Apple’s apps. Thunderbolt suport, GPU acceleration — significant features, to be sure, but also expected. So maybe those rumors that Apple was dumbing down FCS to match iMovie have credence in the sense that iMovie has already done away with the source/viewer approach. One more rumor, as suggested in the title:

Apple will split up Final Cut Studio and dramatically reduce the prices (50% chance). If Aperture is any guide, Apple break the FCPS apps into their individual parts and sell them from $79 to $99 each. Apple is moving away from complex bundles and integrated solutions (iWork and iLife have already been decoupled). At the same time, they are lowering the prices across the board. The reality is, Apple is playing a different game… one that Sony, Avid and Adobe can’t play. They are building a platform.

This piece, by Alex Lindsay (linked below), also asks what would happen if Apple lowered the initial price of Final Cut Pro but added in-app purchasing. This would mean the basic app price could remain low while charging customers for plugins like SmoothCam. Given Apple’s focus on simplicity, I would be very surprised if they did this. Where do you draw the line in this situation? Ship the app with a fast-forward button but charge for a rewind one?

Time will tell which of these rumors are true — I gave you the “idle speculation” warning up front — but if you want more for now, check out the links below.

Links (all ProVideo Coalition):


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Description image 13 COMMENTS

  • If this become true. I’m going back to avid.

  • The 3 point paradigm is very interesting but if Apple go this way they will not at all be the first, Sonys Vegas did away with a Source and Output window form its first incarnation a decade ago (long before iMovie). It uses just the one viewer to both audition footage and view the timeline – its seamless and perfectly functional. Sony then has a Trimmer which on the surface might seem like a kind of Source window but functions very differently – a very unique a very powerful sensibility to it. One drawn more from Audio like workflow.

    For those who only know the 2 window 3-point paradigm and cannot conceive of anything else they will just baulk hard at such changes. But it works superbly well in Vegas and just requires an open mind to other possibilities for how linear AV material might be manipulated and conceived. I’d be stunned of Apple went this way. But if they do it will just be yet another case of Apple FanBoys going “oohhh ahhh” at something that has already existed for many years but because it wasn’t issued forth from Steve Jobs’ mouth went totally unheard… Kinda sad really.


    • No the thing that is kinda sad is that you’re bunching up all Apple users into the fanboy group. I guess David Fincher and the Cohen Brothers are Apple fanboys too? Apple invited all of the industry’s top editors to their sneak peak event. I bet the worst of the bunch would make your credentials look pretty pathetic in comparison. So for you to discredit their impressions as fanboys going “ohhh ahhh” is just ridiculous.

      I’m guessing that the people (mostly non-Pro’s) who choose to use Sony Vegas must be diehard fanboys? As their are obviously better platforms out there? See…cheap shots can be taken the other way too.

  • My production partner loves Vegas and sware’s by it. I myself used to use FCP then went on to Avid MC5 which is quite a difference. I am very open to using whatever gets the job done and keeps me working at the speed of thought. If the work flow is efficient and effective I’m sold.

  • Same old rumour mill running… so why we have Apple logic at 64 bit, should it not have been garageband II

    Wait and see

    this rumour ran the boards what 3 yrs ago…

  • I’m not sure how to take the statement
    (quote)The reality is, Apple is playing a different game… One that Sony, Avid, and Adobe can’t play. They are building a platform.(/quote)
    What is he saying here? Just because they break it up it’s a platform? What was it before? Why can’t the others do the same? Adobe been doing it for years. It has the whole package, or you can just purchase Photoshop, or After Effects, or what have you. Or is he talking about the App Store platform? Again, what Apple does is nothing that the others can’t do. (Note the smartphone market! Every phone was pretty much the same until the iPhone. Now suddenly every phone looks and acts like an iPhone! Can no one else innovate instead of duplicate??!)

    • Apple’s “platform” is all the components parts that make up the iPhone/iPad/Mac experience. It includes the hardware, the OS, the App Store, iTunes etc. – that’s the game that Apple is playing, the one that the major software developers can’t play. By owning the platform, Apple is able to offer products and services in a much more flexible way than any software developer can.

      • And just to add, on that platform, Apple is able to change the rules of the game for anyone wanting play on their platform.

        The thing too for Apple is that no matter what happens they win, if their Apple’s software application sells like crazy they make a profit and make their hardware much more desirable. If Avid/Sony/Adobe create software that sells like crazy, Apple still wins. But only Apple can play that particular game.

        • I see. Makes sense. I suppose that is true, but you don’t really have to buy from the App store. You can still purchase from individuals. The only time you have to purchase anything from Apple is the initial CPU, and anything for your iOS device, of which Apple gets their 30%. I will admit that after being on the platform for many years now, I don’t particularly care for the direction they’ve been heading for the past couple of them. It used to be about being different and just having things work. Now it seems more… greedy.

  • Just more rumors. Blah, blah blah. Lets stop posting speculation and wait for real news. I have been using FCP since it came out in college and I don’t want to learn anything else. But Avid has caught up and FCP needs to make a big leap. Apple some some great technology at their finger tips but what will they do with it since they sell so many iPhones? I want FCP to remain pretty much the same in look but all that 64-bit, multi-processor support, graphics card accelerated stuff is a must have these days. Then some real 10-bit rendering, RED raw support and DPX conform abilities would be great and be close to kicking the pants off of any Smoke system. Then some tight integration with Color. Then I always thought it would be great if you could double click on a shot and go into a Shake like compositing environment for that clip. Keeping track of renders would be sweet. Then upgrading the log and capture window would be great so you can actually see the timecode of the tape you are capturing or laying off to and some built in deck profiles would be cool too.

  • Listen guys(and gals) FCP is a tool, like a hammer, it doesn’t matter who makes the long as it pounds nails. I have seen amazing work done with every NLE out there..Edius, Velocity, Vegas, PP 4.2-CS5, FCP, iMovie, and even Windows Movie maker. I worked on a local (and campy) horror film a few years back and came to help out on the 1st day to share my knowledge of the camera (XL2) that the DP was having problems getting setup. I was to be the editor for the film and as such, was asked what I edited on, to which I replied Premiere. You should have seen the eyebrows of these guys skyrocket up into their hairlines! “Oh! you can’t do anything professional on Premiere, why don’t you use Avid or Final Cut?” So I argued with the snarky bastards, telling them all the things I could do in realtime (I had the Matrox RT-X100 card). Like other Mac snobs(not all Mac users are snobs, btw), they pulled the old ostrich routine of sticking their head in the ground whenever confronted with something they don’t like to hear. They are tools. Nothing more. If you aren’t a craftsman…you won’t do good work no matter tools you have. Craft comes from the heart and is tempered by experience and talent, there are no plug-ins in any suite to replace them.

    • Matt Kendall on 03.22.11 @ 2:35PM

      I am a die hard Mac fan and I have used premier and media 100 for the first 7 yrs of my career. The last 6 yrs. I have been utilizing fcp and it’s been great, but I will have to agree with AJ on this one, it’s just a tool. Who ever produces the best tool for the craftsmen is the one I’ll be using.