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Apple Dropped the Ball....

COW Blogs : walter biscardi's Blog : Apple Dropped the Ball....
I’m seeing this all over the various forums, blogs and twitter feeds in one variant or another in regards to the big Final Cut Pro X reveal at the FCPUG SuperMeet in Las Vegas last Tuesday.

“Hey, don’t knock down this product when it was just a SNEAK PEEK people! Sure there’s some questions out there but we should all be happy that Apple has at least shown us something. You know they’re normally super secret so the fact that actually showed Final Cut Pro X is a big change in the company. I’m excited about these new changes! Now we have to wait till June to see what features are still in the application before we start to complain.”

Apple had two freakin’ hours of stage time available and they wasted it on just one hour of a super slick presentation. Of course we’re going to knock the presentation because all it did was leave us with many more questions than answers.

How long would it have taken to mention planned support for third party filters? 30 seconds?

Third party capture cards? 60 seconds?

Log and Capture / Edit to Tape support? (are they still there?) 20 seconds?

Customizable interface to replicate a more traditional editing style? 2 minutes?

Continued support of OMF, XML, EDL, AAF import / export? 30-60 seconds?

Text Tool? 2 minutes?

Track management? (as in allowing us to specify audio tracks for elements for ease of sending to ProTools and other sound editors) 1 minute?

The other ProApps? (as in are they being updated, retained and if so, expected releases?) 2 minutes?

In other words, MANY of the unanswered questions that all of us are asking could have been answered in that additional hour with plenty of time to spare.

Even if they didn’t want to show one of their patented slick slides or video demo, they could have at least told us about the various professional features that many of us use every day. But apparently those questions I’ve asked up above are somehow trade secrets that simply cannot be revealed because what if (gasp) one of the competitors (Avid, Adobe, Quantel, Autodesk, Vegas) finds out that Apple intends to retain standard pro features?

I’m sick and tired of sneak peeks and teases quite honestly. Put the product out there where we can truly test it out and ask questions like the Adobe, Avid, Autodesk, Quantel and all the other demonstrations that were out on the show floor. Put it in the hands of 1,000 beta testers in all sorts of production situations to get real world feedback instead of relying on a couple of post houses and maybe 10 beta testers. I spoke one on one with the CEO of Avid about the product and the future of the product. That was a useful conversation with frank questions and answers.

“I cannot speak about anything except what you just saw in the presentation” is the response one of my colleagues got from the Apple ProApps team after the “sneak peek.” In other words, you have questions, I have no answers. So what was the point in coming at all if you didn’t want to address the Pro Editors’ questions?

For fanboys it was the ultimate Apple dog and pony show last Tuesday.

But in the end, in front of 1700 video editors, on what could have been the night Apple completely re-invented non-linear editing, quite simply, Apple dropped the ball. Next time come prepared to answer very simple, very basic questions from the professionals in the room.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Apr 16, 2011 at 1:34:31 pmComments (11) Final Cut Pro, Apple


Re: Apple Dropped the Ball....
by Eddie Pahilan
I don't think Apple had any answers to give. Perhaps the bigger question is: Will FCPX be released before June 17, 2011? That's the day Avid's $995 competitive upgrade to MC 5.5 expires. It's frustrating that Apple is stuck in the 1990s when secrecy was the norm. These days, people and companies need to plan ahead. It's all about full disclosure to strategize accordingly. Apple is downright rude to not take other people into consideration.
Re: Apple Dropped the Ball....
by Arthur Puig
100 % agree with you Walter.
I just took advantage of the Avid promo and got me an Avid 5.5, I guess I'm switching after all, and I gotta tell you, I'm feeling relieved.

But thinking about it, this was to be expected, I mean, Apple not only doesn't listen, they don't want to listen, that's their philosophy, that was how they conceived the iPhone, they said that if they asked people what they wanted they'll make a faster blackberry, they wanted to innovate and make something unique and unexpected, and they had to do it without people's input.

And that's great, but, in the pro video world I believe you have to listen, the problem is that Apple is not a company that targets the pro market anymore, we're residue. I just hope they don't drop the ball on the Mac Pro's, I can see that with Lion they're betting the future of computing is going to be the iPad.
Re: Apple Dropped the Ball....
by Erik Lindahl
Terrific post! They could have mentioned all the "we've still kept X, Y and Z" and spent 5-10 mins doing so. In a way it would be better for Apple to say "don't worry, all the features of 7.0 will be there in one form or the other" or even "we see this a version 1.0 of the next-generation editing system, there will be some time before it settles in but in the end it's going to be awesome". The later was the case with MacOSX and that transition in the end worked out great for most people. All the non-answers at the moment is a huge issue.

As a lot of people have noted it seems the "sneak previews" might be a way of Apple show "we're on the ball, sort of..." as they evidently aren't ready to show FCPX or FCSX for prime-time just yet (else they would have updated with a lot more info). Then again, with the lukewarm updates the last few years, perhaps this HAS been in the making since the rumors started some 4-5 years ago of a complete redesign of FCP.

There seems to be a lot of potential in the new FCPX, but potential is just fluff if we don't know what will work or not.

Erik Lindahl
Freecloud Post Production Services
Re: Apple Dropped the Ball....
by Archie Cruz
Typical apple actually. remember. Not all presentations are supposed to answer all questions.If they did, marketing presenters would have become part time employees ;)
@Archie Cruz
by walter biscardi
Except that this wasn't a marketing presentation. This was the two top people in the Final Cut Pro / ProApps division making the presentation. In other words, the very people who can answer all the various questions that many of us are asking.

The same two people who drove many, like myself, to the Avid booth all week to look at their system and make it suddenly a very viable alternative for our company again. At least Avid was answering our questions and they were available on the show floor.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

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Re: Apple Dropped the Ball....
by Philip Ohler
Amen Walter. How doe's Apple expect people to run a business when development of the software at the center of their business is kept a top military secret. I'm an Apple fanboy but when it comes to Pro Apps, the secrecy Apple exhibits is anything but Pro.

Re: Apple Dropped the Ball....
by walter biscardi
Apple and Avid seem to have completely reversed roles. I think it would do the entire Apple team well to go back and watch that 1984 commercial. Right now Avid is the one doing the listening and Apple is the one dictating.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

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Re: Apple Dropped the Ball....
by Mike Cohen
As an outsider (100% Adobe Cs user) I have always followed the developments with FCP and Avid products. It has been fascinating lately. Hacing dabbled with iMovie latest version I will concur that the interface and functionality are difficult to wrap your brain around compared with the traditional 20 year NLE paradigm. But aspects of it are useful. That being said I too would be hesitant if I were facing a version update which looked ti change the logical way I work.
When I switched fron Media 100 to Premiere Pro 1.5 the interface was basically the same plus new features. When you need to be able to hit the ground running on projects and hope legacy files work you have every right to be hesitant.
Mike Cohen
@Mike Cohen
by Archie Cruz
The insider secret for a coupla years has been to locate a copy of iMovie6HD. It's what i use for the fastest rough edits on or on the road with my legacy Macbook. Apple killed that UI so the "updater" is hard to find.
@Mike Cohen
by walter biscardi
That's the big key, hit the ground running. In my case we have 7 FCP workstations total with multiple freelancers and employees working the systems. So how do I get my freelancers up to speed immediately when they need to come in to do a project?

And of course all the other questions we have but since Apple was in a hurry to disappear into the night after the presentation, we were just left with Avid, Adobe, Autodesk, Quantel and all the other companies who actually wanted to be at the show, on the show floor and available to answer questions.

That tells you a lot about a company's committment to the professional market as well. Actually being available for questions from the pro's who are at the largest gathering of video professionals in the world.

As I've said before, I've really grown tired of Apple's top secrecy when we're supposed to plan a company's future based on really little to no information. If you're a one man band, then the new FCP is going to be right up your alley. Larger company, maybe, maybe not.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

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Re: Apple Dropped the Ball....
by Richard Clark
great to see you haven't lost your touch, thanks for this Walter, I began to view the video presentation and turned off after 10 seconds realizing it to be as you said, a slick yawn. Sounds like Apple have learned nothing from AVID's faux pas!

Richard Clark's
Film | Photography | Writing
Aotearoa New Zealand

Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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