Apparently some well-known software company launched a new product this week. Some people got annoyed. Others loved it. Twitter went nuts. In fact, most people went nuts, impulsively declaring they were jumping ship to Premiere, boom, that’s it, Edit Apocalypse.
There’s been plenty of blogs written about FCPX and plenty of debate. Personally, I haven’t bothered downloading it, and I won’t be even considering it for a good long while yet. First generation software releases tend to be horrible facsimiles of the sophisticated toolsets they often become. Switching to MacOsX drove me absolutely insane, and it took a long time for it to win me over. I started editing with Final Cut Pro 1 and I loved it back then. I was using an iMac with a firewire cable to import DV footage and this was unbelievably revolutionary at the time. Avid editors laughed at it. Laughed long and hard. They thought it was a joke, that it wasn’t industry standard, that it was simply not worth anything. Avid systems cost about $15,000 at the time. I could be set up on Final Cut for around $2,500. I was the one laughing. Sort of. Nowadays, a proper studio Final Cut setup won’t cost you $15,000 but once you’ve factored in XSan, fibre cards, multi-license, graphics cards, not to mention a pimping Mac Pro it’s going to be expensive. But, as always, you can dip a toe, and run it on a laptop if you need.
This new release has split people because it represents such a huge departure from the norm it renders all the investment in systems by the pro market non future proof. Facilities houses built around FCP7 are screwed. At least for the moment. I laugh when I hear people advising me to switch to Premiere straight away, as if it’s that simple! If only they knew.
I’m a bit of a strange fish in production. I work as a multi-hyphenate and always have, directing, editing, doing motion GFX, camerawork, and much more besides. Over the last ten years I’ve worked hard on every side of my game to become as polished a multi-eventer as possible. Editing is actually my strongest suit. I have an agent and work all over London on a multitude of different clients for different clients. Everyone uses Final Cut Pro, from broadcast to corporate, to music videos. Everyone. None of my clients give a monkeys about FCPX. Not only is it of no use to me to learn premiere, it is of no use to me to learn FCPX. At least not yet. Of course I’m going to keep an eye on it but for the next 12 months at least it’ll be business as usual.
Apple are not stupid. They will have a strategy for the product, and I’m sure we’ll see some rapid developments addressing some of the bigger concerns currently flooding the #FCPX hashtag. The thing to remember is that, right now, Premiere enjoys a deserved esteem because it is a far more modern product, based on far more modern architecture, optimised for hardware and designed, let’s not forget, to hit the FCP market hard. I won’t lie, I’m being very mindful of Premiere because if clients begin switching to it then I’m going to need to have it in my arsenal. They generally have most of the other programmes in the suite so Premiere wouldn’t be a big ask to work into their setups.
Right now, I charge £300 a day for editing, just for turning up and cutting other people’s work. The reason I can charge that is because I’m very very very quick, I can edit in French and English, and I’m very experienced. I know FCP inside and out and can troubleshoot it in 99% of situations. Those skills have developed a sell-by-date overnight. Which is a shame, but they’re still good for a while.
Editing is a craft which is now deeply undervalued by most people. Good camerawork is going the same way. Both have been commoditised by cheap tools and ease of access. Plus ca change.
I couldn’t care less. I did my time, I’m constantly working and it’s hard work that got me there. Anyone with a strong work ethic will be able to do the same. So, stop whining about a stupid piece of software and get back to work!