Why Apple built Final Cut Pro X

I worked on Final Cut Pro from 2002 to 2008. It was an amazing experience. The Final Cut Pro X project was just getting started when I left Apple. It was an ambitious and controversial move, but it made sense for Apple. Here’s why:

Apple doesn’t care about the pro space
The goal for every Apple software product is to sell more hardware. Even the Mac operating system is just trying to get people to buy more Mac computers.

The pro market is too small for Apple to care about it. Instead of trying to get hundreds or even thousands of video professionals to buy new Macs, they can nail the pro-sumer market and sell to hundreds of thousands of hobbyists like me.

Millions of people are buying phones and cameras that can shoot HD video, and many of them are looking for ways to edit. I know how to use Final Cut Pro because I worked on it for 6 years, but for most people it’s just too complex.

FCP X lets Apple move beyond the pro space, and sell to a much larger group looking for better tools.

Apple doesn’t compete on features
In the early days of Final Cut Pro, the product stood on its own. It was the first truly powerful, software based non linear editor.

Editors had two choices: spend $50k on an Avid system, or $1k on a Final Cut Pro license. You couldn’t compare the two on features because the experiences and price points were vastly different. Every seat FCP won away from Avid was a huge victory.

But things changed in 2006 and 2007. Serious competitors to Final Cut Pro came from Adobe, Pinnacle, Sony, and others. People were choosing their hardware and software based on format support, or specific features they needed.

That’s boring. Apple doesn’t play that game.

So it was time to reinvent the video editor. And Final Cut Pro X really delivers there. FCPX isn’t defined by a feature chart. It’s not trying to do more than its competitors, it’s doing it better.

And once again, Final Cut Pro stands on its own. And once again, Final Cut Pro will expand the market of video editors out there, and I’ll be one of them.

Final Cut Pro 1.0 didn’t win over every Avid user, and Final Cut Pro X won’t win over every Final Cut Pro user. But they’ve laid the foundation for something incredible, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Congrats to all my friends on the Final Cut Pro team who shipped this incredible release!

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104 comments

  1. I was full of negativity towards FCPX when it was first introduced. The fact that we had to download 3 gigs of content, to find that it didn’t work was a joke! HOWEVER… If anyone has recently worked with 10.03, will find that it makes FCP7 look like a Toy. The final resulting movies I have turned out recently are flawless. The way the program handles codecs is amazing. The efficiency is unbelievable. The developers had a great strategy, but they released it too soon. If the latest fix is anything to go by, this program will really kick butt in a few years. Sometimes we have to be patient. Make no mistake, FCPX…IS a professional application… and a very powerful one. If you choose to turn your back on this program, then it will be your loss.

  2. Been editing professionally, full time, for over 15 years, and I have to agree with Gary… downloaded the first X "trial" version… opened it, stared in horror, fumbled with it a bit, it crashed, gave up. I resigned myself to moving back to Avid or something. But, with the 10.0.4 release, and the availability of Xto7 and 7toX and some other tools… I figured I’d give it a try again. Spent a could days in utter confusion, got back in the flow, and… guess what? I love it. All the things I "hated", skimmer, magnetic timeline, no source widow, no tracks etc… Awesome. πŸ™‚ Does it need some work? Yep. Do we still need to get crusty old EDL’s and OMF’s out of it? Yep… but 3rd parties either have, or will soon have tools to do just that. The first release wasn’t ready… apple blew that. The current version is ready, bugs and all. Despite the seemingly dumbed down interface,this is definitely a pro app, and is going to redefine how we edit. But hey, there are still people who like to cut on flatbeds, so to each their own. I haven’t opened FCP 7 in a month. I’m a little nervous about what’ll happen when stuff goes to finish, but I’ll figure it out. I’m a pro. lol πŸ˜‰ Give it another try, and don’t give up after the first half hour!

  3. I have no knowledge of the proffesional editing space thus have no dog in that race. I do find it rather hard to believe that a company would just roll up and abandon the proffesional editing space. I think down the road we will find that final cut pro X will be the corner stone of apple’s new contribution to the proffesional editing space.

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