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Apple scaling Final Cut Studio apps to fit prosumers

post #1 of 105
Thread Starter 
Apple's Final Cut Studio suite of video post production apps is getting a significant makeover to better target the software to the mainstream of Apple's customer base rather than high end professionals.

According to a person with knowledge of Apple's internal Pro Apps plans, the company has shuffled around management within the Final Cut team in order to retarget its efforts to more closely match the needs of the majority of its customers. Apple's Mac customer base has steadily shifted from desktop models to notebooks, while also broadening out from a high end creative niche to a wider installed base that includes more prosumer and advanced home users.

Apple originally purchased the origins of Final Cut from Macromedia, as part of a Pro Apps strategy intended to make the Mac platform attractive to high end creative professionals. After rapidly evolving to become one of the top desktop video editing suites, the pace of Final Cut Studio development has slowed, leaving some users questing Apple's commitment to its Pro Apps now that desktop Macs make up an ever smaller segment of the Mac OS X business that is itself now being eclipsed by the company's wildly successful iPhone OS mobile devices.

Where to next, Final Cut Pro?

Apple released the current, third major revision of Final Cut Studio last summer. It includes Final Cut Pro 7, Motion 4, Soundtrack Pro 3, Color 1.5, Compressor 3.5, and DVD Studio Pro 4. None of the apps in the suite currently support 64-bit operation on the company's Intel Macs, however.

That curious omission, together with recent rumors of layoffs surrounding the Final Cut team, has left Apple's Pro App customers wondering what the company has on its road map for the future of Final Cut Studio.

In 2007, Final Cut Pro's original lead developer, Randy Ubillos, completely redesigned iMovie '08 to streamline and simplify the iLife title. The changes prompted criticism from existing iMovie users, as the new app didn't do everything the previous versions did. Last January, Apple released an enhanced iMovie '09 version that addressed many of those missing elements in the new app.

The Final Cut Pro team has since been put back under the direction of Ubillos, according to information AppleInsider has obtained, with the aim of similarly improving Final Cut Studio and making it more appealing and useful to the needs of prosumers. Currently, Final Cut Pro is targeted at advanced professionals with a scaled down, less expensive Final Cut Express version sold to users who don't need all of its high end features. Because Apple now primarily sells the Express version, the company wants to rethink Final Cut Studio and scale its overall development to better fit the majority of its customers.

Apple hiring interface designers for new Pro Apps

The layoffs related to Apple's Pro Apps team do not spell the end of the company's interest in building Pro Apps, according to new job postings Apple recently posted. The positions, which include a Senior Visual Interface Designer for Pro Apps and a Senior Human Interface Designer for Pro Apps, support the idea that the company is looking to overhaul its Final Cut Pro offerings rather than sell them off or leave them to rust.

The listing for a human interface designer states "Apples Professional Applications Design Group is seeking a passionate senior human Interface designer who also understands the intricacies of non-linear video editing."

It also notes that "the candidate will work closely with all designers, producers and engineers to design the future of Pro Apps; high-visibility applications that are used daily by creative professionals working in post-production (examples include Final Cut Pro, Motion and Soundtrack Pro)."

The visual interface designer posting says the position "is a key player in determining the future design language of Apples Pro Apps (including Final Cut Pro, Color, Soundtrack and others). We are looking for a visionary designer who is ready to and capable of setting the bar for UI design."
post #2 of 105
As a customer I love this idea.

As a stockholder I love and hate this idea.
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post #3 of 105
The only thing keeping me from using Final Cut Studio is the cost and the complexity.

Final Cut Express offers me a good amount of power but I love the way things are done in iMovie '09 and so I find myself working between the two all the time.

However, if the cost of Final Cut Studio was reduced by another thousand and gained editing features of iMovie then I would switch in a heartbeat.
post #4 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowededwookie View Post

Cut Express offers me a good amount of power but I love the way things are done in iMovie '09 and so I find myself working between the two all the time.

However, if the cost of Final Cut Studio was reduced by another thousand and gained editing features of iMovie then I would switch in a heartbeat.

With the price of Final Cut Studio at $1,000, I suspect that a lot of people would purchase the program if it were $1,000 cheaper.:-)
post #5 of 105
Please Apple, make an Illustrator-killer! Please!
post #6 of 105
This sounds like a huge waste of time and resources for Apple...
post #7 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by meridian180 View Post

Please Apple, make an Illustrator-killer! Please!

Never going to happen... Pro level apps (for professionals) are on their way out it sounds...
post #8 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by sportyguy209 View Post

With the price of Final Cut Studio at $1,000, I suspect that a lot of people would purchase the program if it were $1,000 cheaper.:-)

Sorry, I forgot to put NZ at the end. Here in New Zealand Final Cut retails for $1999(NZ). It's easier for me to get $1000 than $2000.
post #9 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Never going to happen... Pro level apps (for professionals) are on their way out it sounds...

Someone read the article well didn't they?
post #10 of 105
As a professional that uses Final Cut Studio on an every day basis, this souds awful. I don't disagree that the suite could use some redesign, but to "dumb down" Final Cut to be more like iMovie would be a slap in the face to editors everywhere.

I can't see this happening.
post #11 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

This sounds like a huge waste of time and resources for Apple...

I disagree completely.
iMovie is too weak to do anything meaningful and Final Cut Express scares the crap out of people.
If Apple can design an easy to use GUI that doesn't require days of tutorials to figure out, I think they will have a winner.
I've tried to get several people on to FCE and their experience usually lasts 5 seconds - they find it too daunting.

Look at the excellent GUI for the iWork apps... once you learn one, you pretty much know how to use them all. If Apple can achieve the same workflow with video and music editing... It's a big boost to their ecosystem - resulting in more sales.
post #12 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by NLCards View Post

As a professional that uses Final Cut Studio on an every day basis, this souds awful. I don't disagree that the suite could use some redesign, but to "dumb down" Final Cut to be more like iMovie would be a slap in the face to editors everywhere.

I can't see this happening.

Sounded more like they want to smarten up Express than dumb down Pro.
post #13 of 105
Didn't anyone read the last few sentences? Such as new ProApp designers being hired?
post #14 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Never going to happen... Pro level apps (for professionals) are on their way out it sounds...

Except they are looking to rework tools for the masses of the people. Something that's accessible to more people. Something that works.

For me and my work, AI (as example of a "pro" app) is weak compared to Freehand. And it stands as an example of how Adobe lets a product get stagnant. So I don't consider Illustrator as "pro" as Freehand.

I was merely suggesting they make an vector app that's accessible to more people and will drive the forces of competition. If Apple chose to put their force behind an app that would fit into their existing media creation tools, and their plans for things like iAd and the App Store, I think they could have something pretty good.

They already have still photo, video, and audio creation. And with the current up-swelling of Adobe-angst, why not show off what Apple can do.
post #15 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by rain View Post

I disagree completely.
iMovie is too weak to do anything meaningful and Final Cut Express scares the crap out of people.
If Apple can design an easy to use GUI that doesn't require days of tutorials to figure out, I think they will have a winner.
I've tried to get several people on to FCE and their experience usually lasts 5 seconds - they find it too daunting.

Look at the excellent GUI for the iWork apps... once you learn one, you pretty much know how to use them all. If Apple can achieve the same workflow with video and music editing... It's a big boost to their ecosystem - resulting in more sales.

You can't take complex professional level applications that are use to create professional and complex content and dumb it down and not lose functionality.

You cited iWork as as an example... Look at the newest version of Page and compare it to version 1.0. It much more complex in terms of looks and functionality. It will continue to gain complexity if Apple is ever serious to unseat Office at the business level...

There is no way that Apple can dumb down Final Cut Pro enough to make tutorial free and not lose major functionality...
post #16 of 105
This is bull$hit! And downright insult to all the editors out there who uses it. I'm not against redesigning the interface (sure it could use a little more Apple beautification and simplicity as far as design) but to dumb it down is just down right stupid.

If Apple wants consumer friendly they need to further develop Final Cut Express...

There's a reason I switched from Avid to Final Cut and so did a lot of editors and filmmakers. It's easier and cheaper.
post #17 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowededwookie View Post

The only thing keeping me from using Final Cut Studio is the cost and the complexity.

Final Cut Express offers me a good amount of power but I love the way things are done in iMovie '09 and so I find myself working between the two all the time.

However, if the cost of Final Cut Studio was reduced by another thousand and gained editing features of iMovie then I would switch in a heartbeat.

I am fine with FCS the way it is (although I do miss Shake) aside from the lack of 64 bit but I know a lot of folks that feel the same as you

on the professional side many of these folks would love to see all the individual apps rolled into essentially one master app with Shake bought back into the fold.

on the more 'hobby' side, a scaled down version that is something around halfway between imovie and FCS, with at least some of the compression etc stuff.

I know a lot of folks that would love to see DVD studio support Blu-ray mapping (even just with 3rd party externals) and would love to see the itunes Extras brought into the studio (same with LP and Logic)

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post #18 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Never going to happen... Pro level apps (for professionals) are on their way out it sounds...

I don't know how you misconstrue Professional Non-linear Editing tools being redesigned to find a broad sweet spot with pro tools are on their way out and thus Illustrator won't happen.

Sorry, but Illustrator isn't Final Cut Pro Studio. It never has been.

Non-destructive editing tools aren't on their way out. Apple is going to force Adobe's hand I think with tools that cover about 85% of all needs and the 15% not being covered will spawn a 3rd party market to work as sister applications to their suite.
post #19 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

This is bull$hit! And downright insult to all the editors out there who uses it. I'm not against redesigning the interface (sure it could use a little more Apple beautification and simplicity as far as design) but to dumb it down is just down right stupid.

If Apple wants consumer friendly they need to further develop Final Cut Express...

how do we know that this isn't exactly what they are doing. creating a new FCE. or even dropping that program and revamping imovie to be the replacement. easier interface but more vavoom under the hood. better, more FCS like, tools, the ability to have plugins etc.

perhaps they will do this across the board with all of ilife. I know a lot of folks are surprised that iweb isn't all HTML5 friendly and figure that is the next step there. with perhaps better tools for adding code snippets and being able to make freeform sites and save them as your own template.
add more editing tools to iphoto etc.

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post #20 of 105
I fall into the category of Apple enthusiast and PROFESSIONAL film/television editor. So, it saddens me that Apple appears to be allowing their high-end PRO market to languish. I learned non-linear editing back in college 10+ years ago cutting on Final Cut Pro 1.0... I loved the simplicity and power of the program. I got my first job in Hollywood 3 years later and convinced the company to invest in and install Final Cut Pro systems, because of it's low-cost and the fact that I was cheap labor (at the time) and already knew the program well. I remember it had it's multitude of problems... Dropping frames during layoffs of tapes and non-conforming speed ramps properly when onlining being the worst culprits. (Problems that kept me at work until 3am countless times) All of which I found work-arounds for eventually... With each new release of Final Cut I hoped they'd address some underlying issues of Final Cut like the terrible media management system and in-ability to share projects with multiple users.

But to my dismay... none of these issues were resolved by Apple. I got a job offer 4 years ago at a company looking for an AVID editor... I knew some AVID, but at the time felt more comfortable with Final Cut... Now 4 years later.. I'm glad I made the switch. There are still things I like about both systems... But Avid appears to be adopting a lot of the cool things Final Cut Pro allowed you to do. So as a Professional... I must say I won't entirely miss FCP Pro. I'm glad I know both fluently... But now I know where to focus my energy if i want to continue to make money as a editor in Hollywood.
post #21 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by sportyguy209 View Post

With the price of Final Cut Studio at $1,000, I suspect that a lot of people would purchase the program if it were $1,000 cheaper.:-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowededwookie View Post

The only thing keeping me from using Final Cut Studio is the cost and the complexity.

Final Cut Express offers me a good amount of power but I love the way things are done in iMovie '09 and so I find myself working between the two all the time.

However, if the cost of Final Cut Studio was reduced by another thousand and gained editing features of iMovie then I would switch in a heartbeat.

ARE YOU SERIOUS?
A lot of editors and filmmakers switched to Final Cut because it's cheaper. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH AN AVID SYSTEM COSTS? You got an editing software (almost up to par with Avid), color grading, motion graphics, audio editing, packaged together for a $1000, that is bargain dude.
post #22 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

I don't know how you misconstrue Professional Non-linear Editing tools being redesigned to find a broad sweet spot with pro tools are on their way out and thus Illustrator won't happen.

I presume he is referring to the title of the article, which states: "Apple scaling Final Cut Studio apps to fit prosumers"

Many of us would prefer to read: "Apple improving Final Cut Studio apps to cater to professional's needs"
post #23 of 105
I hope this isn't a dumbed down makeover... (as that's how I understood the article) I hope Apple further develop it for the better for the PROFESSIONALS not for the edit my kids' soccer videos kind of users (they have iMovie and FCE for them). I use Avid on my job in Air Force combat camera but use FCP on my side projects at home and I just love the entire FCP package. Being comfortable using a Mac adds to the reason why I'd prefer it over Avid, although Avid is still superior (only slightly for me) than FCP.

I also hope what they mean by makeover is to fix and improve the kinks on FCP since it's been gaining and really catching up on Avid.

Hoping for the best. Apple has never disappointed me before. I hope they don't with FCP.
post #24 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The Final Cut Pro team has since been put back under the direction of Ubillos, according to information AppleInsider has obtained, with the aim of similarly improving Final Cut Studio and making it more appealing and useful to the needs of prosumers.

As long as they do the same thing with their hardware lineup.

I think it's a dangerous path to go down dumbing down professional-level software for consumers. They tried to do it with Shake and now it's just gone. They destroyed the industry standard compositing software because they wanted to make a motion graphics program.

The end result is a motion graphics program you can barely use to do any real work, in no way displaces AE as the industry standard and dropping Shake left loads of VFX pros having to shell out thousands for Nuke licenses. All for what reason exactly? Because Average Joe thinks a noodle can only come in a pot with Ramen written on it?

I get that simplicity has huge benefits for pros and consumers alike but Apple almost always remove the power tools too so I fear the worst for the future of Final Cut. If Apple turns it into a toy then pros will just drop it and go somewhere else and consumers will do the same because consumers aspire to be the pros and use what they use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna

on the professional side many of these folks would love to see all the individual apps rolled into essentially one master app with Shake bought back into the fold.

They just have to buy The Foundry, bundle Nuke, integrate it with Final Cut and bundle the plugins free and it would bring back Shake and significantly boos the FCS Suite. It sort of conflicts with Motion though. I feel that Motion and Final Cut should be integrated though.
post #25 of 105
I am not sure whether this is true or not, but I hope it is. Having Randy back would be great. Every user knows what needs to be done. We have asked for many of these things for years. 64-bit should be a must. Better integration is a must too. New real Data management please. As for the Prosumer - yes, if Apple is going to expand they need that segment too. I only hope it is soon. Several of the last updates have been very disappointing for the money. Hope it comes very soon.
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post #26 of 105
I read somewhere, recently, that the major holdup to upgrading FCS to 64 bit is that not all of the QuickTime components [used by FCS] run in 64 bit.

I have FCS, FCE, and iMovie. I use FCS and iMovie 09... iMovie for quick turn-arounds like highlights of the grandkids's soccer games. FCS, including expensive plugins (rotoscoping, filters, text animation) for more demanding work.

My latest favorite is Motion-- for it's power, UI, and the nearly real-time rendering.

The way I read the article is that Apple is going to make:

-- a new version of selected components of FCS/FCE rewritten to streamline the flow and UI for prosumers
-- an upgrade and rewrite to 64 bit of FCS to add function and improve and UI workflow for the pros

In a future version of the iPad, I would like to input video cam footage into an app like Motion to do on-sight tele-strating and highlighting.

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post #27 of 105
sounds more like they would rework imovie and i agree, it's a terrible program from a GUI standpoint, but there is no sense in "screwing" the pros by "crappifying" FCP . If FCE is too complicated for consumers, why would you "repackage" FCP as a replacement?

The other thing is that alienating pros would really take the shine off of the "Hip" Apple lifestyle. Apple's cool because artists use their computers and suits use PC's and Blackberry's. I wouldn't want to be the ad exec responsible for compensating for the serious loss in "creds" if "cool" people stopped using Macs for their art. maybe it doesn't matter to them, but I doubt it. Iprods really aren't that cool when you can only consume and not make.

OTOH you can get Avid pretty cheap these days, but still 5-10k for a cheap interface if I'm not mistaken.
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post #28 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In 2007, Final Cut Pro's original lead developer, Randy Ubillos, completely redesigned iMovie '08 to streamline and simplify the iLife title. The changes prompted criticism from existing iMovie users, as the new app didn't do everything the previous versions did. Last January, Apple released an enhanced iMovie '09 version that addressed many of those missing elements in the new app.

The new iMovie is terrible IMHO! While it does have some great features, overall it is much less intuitive. I am very experienced with computers including a few video editors, iMovie, FCP, Premier. This is the least intuitive I have come across. I really burns my @#* that I have to refer to the videos and documentation to figure out how things work. It took me 3 hours to figure out how to add a sound track. Even now when I drop it in I have to be careful that it gets inserted in the right place in the timeline, not in the background. Also, the timeline itself is small and a pain to use. NOT a happy camper here!

The problem is, they have a whole bunch of developers evaluating the product who have all been trained on it, not someone who is new to it and a more casual user. I used to love to do simple little videos on iMovie HD instead of firing up FCP. Now it is easier to use FCP than the new iMovie. And THAT is absurd!

Sorry for the rant guys - but this one drives me crazy - has become one of my pet peeves. (And you thought I was just another kool-aid fanboi!)
post #29 of 105
If it ain't broke, fix it til it is.

Depressed at the thought of "iMovie Pro" (dumbed down and Disney-fied). I actually think FCP is more intuitive than iMovie. If all you need is very basic editing, go for iMovie. If you need more but can't be bothered to make an effort to learn FCP Express, I don't know what to say.

Time for a Facebook Page - "Apple, don't ruin Final Cut Pro"?
post #30 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmmx View Post

NOT a happy camper here!

Not to mention that it is IMPOSSIBLY slow on my G5 Mac Pro, on which FCP performs just fine!

Personally - I think the objective was to make it so bad that people would pay to upgrade to FC-express.

(FYI - my usage, i.e. bad experience, on it was on a new MBP)
post #31 of 105
post #32 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by willyvideo View Post

http://twitpic.com/1p0ftb

Thanks for sharing dude.. I hope he meant what he said about the next update being a whopper!
post #33 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by willyvideo View Post

http://twitpic.com/1p0ftb

As did I, He added that it'll be kickass.

http://i1.creativecow.net/u/16319/jobsemail.png
post #34 of 105
As someone who works in FCS on a daily basis this is a good and bad thing for me to hear. That is, unless their plan is to dumb down FCP a bit, rebrand it as Final cut Prosumer and release it for say, $199 and then ALSO keep FCP as it is.. enhance it, make the UI better, and then release it as the new Final Cut studio for professionals. With them pioneering all that stuff with Final Cut Server and all so recently, i highly doubt they are just abandoning features and dumbing everything down for prosumers, but rather what they are probably doing (Hopefully) is just creating a FCS like suite for the pro apps. Maybe they'll make iLife extra simple (pad and basic macbook bound) and then Final Cut middle for most everyone.. and Final Cut Studio for everyone else.

on another slightly related rant, They still have a lot of work to do on FCS. Final cut, while trusty tried and true, is BUTT UGLY compared to everything else apple makes except for Color which is beyond fugly. BUT.. they better not upgrade it and make the UI heavily reliable on the GFx card like Motion is.. because i STILL have arability issues in motion on the latest hardware. I don't even like to use it anymore other than for the simplest things. Its laughable how in 2010 you have super archaic controls to animate text and elements inside of FInal Cut itself. And when you do its not gfx card accelerated in any way, so its choppy and clunky and poor. Soundtrack is decent looking, but it is of limited use for me in my workflow. After Effects is the gold standard of Motion whites it was, and hopefully one day will be (not).

I just think its high time to put some of these 64bit OpenCL grandcentral technologies to use... I mean, is there ANYTHING that these pro apps do now that they didn't do 4 years ago other than a few bells and whistles? Not really.
post #35 of 105
I really dont care if it looks good.
post #36 of 105
Personally, I would like to see iPad integration into the workflow. Imagine using gestures and/or a control surface to speed up and make more efficient FCS editing!

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post #37 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Never going to happen... Pro level apps (for professionals) are on their way out it sounds...

Way to ace the reading comprehension exam, Sparky!
post #38 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

ARE YOU SERIOUS?
A lot of editors and filmmakers switched to Final Cut because it's cheaper. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH AN AVID SYSTEM COSTS? You got an editing software (almost up to par with Avid), color grading, motion graphics, audio editing, packaged together for a $1000, that is bargain dude.

Some of us want to get more into professional level video because we've outgrown iMovie or Final Cut Express but because we don't have the money to splash down on high end products any reduction in price will be welcome.

Not everyone works for high end video houses you know. Some of us have to scrimp and save to do this and not everyone wants to load themselves up with debt either.
post #39 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

how do we know that this isn't exactly what they are doing. creating a new FCE. or even dropping that program and revamping imovie to be the replacement. easier interface but more vavoom under the hood. better, more FCS like, tools, the ability to have plugins etc.

perhaps they will do this across the board with all of ilife. I know a lot of folks are surprised that iweb isn't all HTML5 friendly and figure that is the next step there. with perhaps better tools for adding code snippets and being able to make freeform sites and save them as your own template.
add more editing tools to iphoto etc.

I agree except for the last part about iPhoto. Apple already has a fantastic higher end version of iPhoto and that's Aperture.
post #40 of 105
Steve Jobs is being quite blunt these days, and I take his responses to these folks at face value, if indeed they are legitimate. "Prince McLean" is, I think, probably hugely misinterpreting what he MAY have picked up on, although even that much credit is probably overdue him.
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