The FCPX Review That Ruffled Some Feathers

keyandpeeleBoy o boy o boy! My blog post series this week has caused quite the ruckus. Even made the top of the editors section of Reddit. (Have fun reading the comments on that one).

I gotta be honest. I started to get sucked into trying to respond to all the haters and the people calling me idiot, Apple fanboy, college student, etc. Thankfully, I have a thick skin. I also have a level head and sanity came back to me. I realized that  some people are just passionate and that’s the best way they know how to show their passion: calling people names (often times under the guise of an anonymous label). It’s like those guys in my childhood who could only reply “Yo momma” when they couldn’t think of anything intelligent to say to you when you came up with a better diss than they did.

Also, to be clear, I always invite reasoned, respectful debate. There were some critics of my series who disagreed with me, or criticized what I had to say, but did it in a way that was respectful and actually provided cogent and reasoned rebuttals. I encourage that. I never consider those kind of people trolls. It’s the rudeness that I detest.

Not all of the comments in the various interwebs were bad. In fact, many of them were very positive. So I thank you.

But there are three things I did want to address to all those willing to read.

  1. This was not a comparison. The purpose of this series was NOT to compare FCPX to other NLEs. It was simply a response to the debate about FCPX as a viable editing program for professionals. As I replied to one commenter on this blog, “this is just one data point a pro can use when making a decision.” Not all reviews are comparisons. They’re meant to be resources to help possible purchasers make an objective decision. As someone who’s made a living doing this for over ten years, I wanted to assure people that for many professional editors, FCPX absolutely is a professional grade tool, definitely suitable to the majority of professional who read this blog. (This is based on my knowledge of the demographics of my blog readers, many of whom are small, independent video producers and photographers.)
  2. Haters are gonna hate. As I wrote in my blog post of the same name, “haters are gonna hate.” You will always find people who will attack and cast aspersions on you if you dare to openly discuss provocative topics. It is what it is. Based on many of the comments I’ve read, many of these guys don’t know me, don’t know FCPX, and don’t know who’s really using it and to what extent. Anyone who makes the comment that it can’t be used by anyone who wants to make a professional living is working under ignorance of the program.
  3. It’s a tool people. Get over it. I never ceases to amaze (or amuse) me the passionate debates creatives get into about the tools they use. Film vs digital. Alexa vs Red. Red vs DSLR. Canon vs Nikon. When will the insanity stop? (Probably never.) FCPX is just a tool to help you tell a story. If it doesn’t work for you, use something else. The other major NLEs out there are wonderful programs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again. If the story sucks, I don’t care what you shot (or edited) it with. (And if you’re doing this for a living, your clients don’t care either!)

A Word from Key & Peele

When reading some the comments this week by the trolls and haters, I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite Key & Peele skits. I imagine a lot of these guys sitting in dark theaters doing something like this… 🙂 (some adult language used).

20 thoughts on “The FCPX Review That Ruffled Some Feathers

  1. Keep doing your thing Ron! You and I know how frustrating (and sometime depressing) if can be when you dedicate a huge percentage of your life to educating, inspiring and motivating others just to have a small percentage of those readers throw it back in your face.

    I learned a long time ago to look at all the people who didn’t say my comments (or work) sucked and draw satisfaction from that. Sure, 10 people might have said I was an idiot, but 990 are sharing my post, “liking” it, sending me personal emails about how much I’ve helped them succeed, etc.

    Those are the people we should focus on my friend and draw our inspiration from. (I know you already do this!)

    It’s amazing how your posts often come just at the exact time I’m struggling with something similar. This morning I got an email from my assistant. She said “There’s a post on your facebook page that you need to read and let me know if we should respond.” It was on my production company facebook page and it was a promotional video I produced and distributed as part of my video marketing efforts. The guy basically said that he couldn’t believe anybody “liked” this post and that my marketing strategy is “off the rails.” He continued to say that no one would ever take advantage of my crappy services.

    For about 10 seconds, I was pissed off and started to have that emotional response that we all start to get when being criticized…then I remembered that my bank account strongly disagrees with this cat and I started to smile again.

    Long story short, I deleted the post and banned him from commenting on my page. No room for that nonsense in my life.

    Keep up the good fight buddy! I got your back!

    1. Great story Kris. So true. If you’re doing this to make a living, the most important people to please are the ones paying the bills.

      Thanks as always for your support.

  2. I’m going through the exact same thing right now, as I’m making the slow transition to FCPX from FCP7. Your articles were very well done, and I appreciate that it was a real-world assessment.

    There will always be the critics who disagree with you, your work, your style, etc etc. Ignore them! I heard a sports-related saying once that bears repeating. “If you keep on listening to the stands … soon you will be in them.”

    Keep up the good work.

    1. Ha! I love that quote. I gotta remember that one.

      And just for the record. I actually don’t ignore my critics…when they offer sound, reasoned, respectful criticisms. I’m always open to changing my stance on a topic if someone can make a strong case for it. And I’m always open to grow and learn.

      Thanks for your comment and kind words.

  3. Hi Ron,

    First of all, you are one brave soul, taking on this topic! I have been around the block a time or two with editing. My first video job was doing audio for video mixing and we were working off Sony D2 machines and Beta. I normally used a 3/4″ work tape that synced to timecode to do my edits and layback. Those days seem soooo long ago now! (Please, no comments from the peanut gallery on that statement!)

    I was very vocal about Apple’s betrayal of pro users when FCPX came out, and even with the upgrades they have made, my final thought keeps coming back to “why?” The refined systems that Apple, Adobe and Avid were supporting before the debacle had been polished with each other’s enhancements for years. The interface was efficient, by evolution as well as design. When I worked with and eventually bought FCPX in order to really decide if it had a future with me, I was, as most are, very frustrated that many of the intuitive ways of prior editors were gone, in favor of Apple’s radical interpretation of how it should be done. This cost me valuable time and productivity trying to relearn extensively, with what I felt eventually were very minor advances in interface productivity.

    I think Apple did a fair job of trying to save face with the pro editing community after their New Coke moment in histiory. But they are in many ways, to me, trying to put the spine on the right side of the book “just because”, while throwing out years of true industry evolution and learning in order to what? Introduce a new editing paradigm? Sorry, but their minor advances are, to me, rehashes of other Apple technology including, yes, iMovie. If their goal was revolution, I think they not only missed the mark, they were arrogant and out of touch when rolling it out as well.

    Can FCPX have a place in the pro editing community? Yes, it can, does, and will. As a bold experiment and industry-changing/leading moment in video editing history? Definitely missed the mark. As my 16 y/o would say, EPIC fail.

    1. I think you make some fair comments about Apple. But isn’t that one of the things that has MADE them the most valuable company in the world today (worth more than Google and Microsoft combined!) They push the envelope and dare to start technological revolutions. They don’t always pan out (who remembers that robot-looking iMac with the swivel head). But, they’re record overall speaks for itself. We’ll just have to wait and see if they got it right with FCP.

  4. I agree with you 100%. The other point I would like to add in addition to the point that FCPX is a tool is that your video/film is only as good as the people working on it. Like you stated above, if the shots are crap and the story is crap then the product will be crap. In the same respect you could make the same product in Avid or Premiere and it’s still going to be crap.

    This is the trend…

    Younger video editors are getting started on FCPX and creating wonderful things with it. The older crowd went from splicing tape, to Avid, to Adobe, and finally to Apple FCP7…so they don’t want to teach themselves a new program. Especially since the new program is a leap in another direction with regards to the interface.

    I read, enjoy, and share everything on your blog. I like your opinion, keep up the great work!

  5. Wow! So hard to believe people can be so mean spirited. I think the trolls were fed by a few so-called “post-houses” that snarled and derisively dismissed FCP X and pretty much implied that anyone that thought otherwise were fools. As Kris said above about a troll vs his bank account – well, same thing here. My bank account says the trolls are wrong.

  6. Ron-
    Thank you for putting your thoughts out there for all to see, even if it stirs up a hornet nest or two along the path.
    Since I started editing in the 1980’s I’ve worked on no fewer than 8 different editing systems (9 if you include the flat-bed Kem’s we used to cut film) with names like Sony U-matic, CMX, D-Vision, Avid, Media 100, Premier (which constantly crashed in early versions), Light-works… plus a few others for a project or two.

    When I started using Final Cut (FCP4) like all the others, It took a while to get used to, but learning the tool is part of the craft. Currently I’m a whiz FCP7…but, I’m dipping my toe into FCPX, because once again the tools are changing and those who don’t evolve will be left behind.

    Most of the Editor’s I know who are all grumpy about ‘X’ started editing in legacy versions of FCP and perhaps weren’t aware that changing platforms is part of the game.

    In my opinion, life has too many REAL problems we have to face. It doesn’t make much sense to stress out getting all cranky about adapting the way we craft a story.

    Let’s take a breath and remember:
    “Blessed are the flexible for they shall bend and not break.”

      1. What is especially ironic about negative posters is that they always remark about their extensive knowledge and experience, but I can’t imagine anyone getting anywhere with this kind of attitude. I would never speak to my clients, coworkers or peers this way and expect to have success.

  7. I am your target reader and appreciate the candor. I’ve been an amature using iMovie for over a decade and hated when they made the same big move there. But now I’ve got some work and want to take it up several notches so am looking for the software to do the job. I was a bit horrified until I came across your series! So thanks for the perspective to help me consider my options.

    1. @Chris, this uproar over FCPX is the EXACT same thing that happened when iMovie 6 was left behind for the “new” iMovie. The outrage in the community was just as vehement to the point that Apple also brought back iMovie 6 as a special download for awhile.

      The criticism about the interface, timeline, paradigm shift, etc. were all the same as now. I never understood the problem, except that people don’t like change in general, because I thought it was an exciting and much more efficient, and easier to learn from scratch program. Also, like with FCP7 and FCPX, you could have both iMovie 6 and the new iMovie living and working happily together on your Mac. You didn’t HAVE to switch away from iMovie 6 and there are still a lot of folks out there using it to this day despite their outcry of Apple “abandoning” them.

      Funny how history is repeating itself. The only real puzzler to me for the last 2 years has been how Apple didn’t learn from its iMovie PR/marketing mistake and proceeded to make almost all the same mistakes with FCPX’s introduction.

      I am enjoying the heck out of FCPX and I’m clipping along faster than I ever did in FCP7 or any other editing app I’ve ever tried. I really do think that this “new paradigm” of how to think about editing will eventually be the norm. I’ve been too afraid to voice my opinions and thoughts on this issue anywhere so far, soooo…

      Thanks, @Ron, for sticking your neck out on this one!

      1. Great comments Deborah and spot on! I think you hit it perfect. People dont like change and in this case especially, people dont like to learn new software.

  8. The series was great Ron. As this “Application” or “Tool” matures I hope you consider covering the upgrades. I quite sure you’ll list the good, bad and ugly of it as you see it from your perspective. Which I appreciate. I’m an audio type getting ready to jump into the video world.

    I have some knowledge as my father spent 33 years of his life in film/video production. I can still remember his response when I picked out a little article from one of his trade magazines that convinced me a revolution was about to take place. Quicktime. He was old school. There’s was no way in hell that matchpack size ugly video image could ever replace the tools he had come to know. He apologized not to long after the rant I endured ha ha. I latched on to other technologies as they popped up, MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface). Another uprising. I jumped on some of the first hardware/software for the emerging digital audio revolution. Another uprising. Endless, mind numbing fights over standards everywhere. Can you say Sony beta vs. VHS?

    Seeing that you edited on tape and made the transition to the software solutions, I’m quite sure you remember the sheer horror at the thought of what that little upgrade might do to your world. Final Cut one to Seven.. I’ll compare to Logic, which was another platform app before Apple. Still have the dongle here somewhere. HORROR! Then the opps and here’s the next quick upgrade to fix that little boo-boo. I don’t want to go into any dev wars here, but there’s no one that can say Adobe was a picture of perfection, nor any devs products. I personally look forward to a major upgrade to Logic, hair balls and all. There will be growing pains to be sure. Every computing platform goes through it as does it’s compatible (cough cough) software, and we will endure it and either grow with it or.. say goodnite Gracie.

    There’s a lot of points in your write up/review of FCP-X I could point out as an “AH-HA” moment for me. One in particular nailed a belief I have. You made a comment about NLE’s becoming the next spreadsheet app or as common as such (I don’t recall the exact terms you used atm). Just look at what media content hosts/providers are doing. Cloud NLE’s are becoming a standard. I believe the next step for FCP-X is Apples cloud, you’ll have your own virtual copy waiting for you on Apples servers I suspect. Bring it on. Logic too please.

    I understand the pressure on editors and producers when a shift like this happens. In the reel ..real world you have to flip the product out to the client fast. Having the tools you know by heart is your paycheck. I’m a Logic user in a Pro Tools world, I learned to adapt. But always discover new and/or different ways to use the tools for a given task at hand. Workflows come to mind.

    You keep up the good work here and just give it out like you see it. I’ve been to a lot of sites
    and forums researching this topic. I signed up here. Actions speak louder. Enjoying your other articles too!


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