I questioned whether it would make sense for me to blog about the release of Final Cut Pro X (aka FCPX). Seems like every major filmmaker/blogger is already doing it. But, I’d like to tackle the situation from a viewpoint that I don’t see anyone else doing. The fundamental problem with creatives in general….
Ever since the Final Cut meet-up at NAB in Las Vegas this past April, it was abundantly clear FCPX was going to be a completely NEW product. For all intents and purposes, this is a 1.0 product, NOT a ver. 10.0. Everyone could see from the demos that it looked and felt like the current version of iMovie. (Well, if it looks like a duck…) The warning signs were everywhere about this. Just last week FCP guru Larry Jordan mentioned in a Final Cut User group meet-up that this version was not yet ready for Pro use. Yet, despite all the warnings, despite the common sense that a 1.0 software product will have bugs, thousands of filmmakers and videographers forked over $300 to get this thing. And guess what, lots and lots of them are screaming for their money back.
FCPX does not have a lot of the key features professionals need e.g. key third-party plugin support; EDL support; pass-through to broadcast monitor; OMF support; in ability to export to tape; and the biggie – IT WON’T IMPORT OLD FCP FILES. (I still can’t believe that one!) Unfortunately, a lot of videographers and filmmakers are finding this out the hard way. This represents one of the biggest problems I see in professional creative circles. This impulsive need to buy every freaking new shiny toy or software program as soon as it hits the shelf. Regardless of how much it costs, if it adds to your debt, or, as in this case, it’s a 1.0 product with enough warnings about it ahead of time. I do not feel sorry at all for everyone complaining about the $300 they’re out now.
I don’t know if there is a cure for this “condition.” It’s the same thing that makes filmmakers run out and spend $5,000 on a new camera then feel “duped” when six months later an equally capable camera comes out for half the price. Creatives just love technology so much, and what they can do with it, that they throw caution to the wind. I actually read on a Facebook group thread where a very experienced wedding filmmaker was considering “throwing caution to the wind’ (his term) and using FCPX on a same day edit this weekend. (A same day edit is where you shoot and edit a wedding the same day and show a short highlights clip at the reception. It’s an amazing experience, but has more than enough built-in problems you don’t need to add to it by editing with a 1.0 version of an editing program that is missing a lot of key features). I’m guessing by now he has changed his mind, but the fact he’d even consider it was crazy.
I’m sure part of the problem is a sense that you’ll feel left behind if you don’t get the latest and greatest as soon as it comes out. You start reading all the tweets and Facebook posts about how cool their new cameras are, or how smooth their new sliders are, etc., and you feel compelled to jump on the bandwagon. It’s like that little devil from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons that would sit on Bugs’ shoulders and tell him to do something he knows he shouldn’t do. Well, if I may, let me play the opposing angel…
For what it’s worth, here are three suggestions for what I believe is a more sane and sound business approach to upgrading software or equipment
- Wait some more
- Wait a little longer
That’ it. Just wait. Wait to see what the professional reviewers have to say. Wait for the early adopters who will throw caution to the wind regardless of what I, or anyone else says. Wait for the inevitable upgrade, whether it’s a software upgrade, or an upgrade in equipment. If you need a concrete amount of time, I would suggest at LEAST six months, but you could easily go longer. (I waited 18 months before buying my own HD DSLR). In the meantime, continue using what you’ve always used. Also, when it comes to gear, RENT, RENT, RENT. I can’t say it enough. Don’t fork over thousands of dollars for the latest DSLR or 4/3″ camcorder with interchangeable lenses as soon as they hit the market. And for heavens sake, do not go out and buy the RED Epic.
I’m sure this will fall on many deaf ears. And I promise not to say “I told you so.” But for the sake of your business, and your sanity, show some wisdom, maturity and patience.
Hitler reacts to FCPX (you knew it was coming).
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