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What if anything does FCPX mean for the future of Aperture?

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If you follow what goes on in the general world of technology or even Apple you’ve probably read by now that Final Cut Pro X has been released by Apple. With this new release Apple has remained its flagship editing software from the ground up and already its causing quite a stir. So what has this got to do with Aperture I hear you ask? Not much directly, but it could have a big impact in the future.

First let me talk quickly about how FCPX does affect Aperture users. If you are a DSLR shooter who also shoots video, FCPX now works much better with files from such cameras. Much better. It also lets you see your Aperture library much like iMovie does so if you want to access stills you can do it directly without having to export them first. I’m not sure if this applies to any video you might have in Aperture also, as I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but I’m guessing it does as iMovie does.

Another cool feature is that FCPX now features a built in ken burns effect. Combined with the built in library browser it makes it a cinch to do fancy slideshows. And before you mention Aperture’s slideshow module, FCPX is substantially more responsive. Aperture’s slideshow module is a little on the slugs side (I’m being chartable here!)

FCPX now uses a library structure much like Aperture, for better or for worse (most people are going with worse at this stage) and FCP shows up in the media section of the finder and open and save dialog boxes.

What I think is truly interesting about this release, and how it affects Aperture users is that the interface seems to be the new de-facto pro user interface. Both FCPX and Motion both share the new scheme and I suspect that future versions of Aperture probably will too. There are lots of things to like about it, in particular the dark color scheme. There are however a few unpleasant aspects too. Motion for example uses that horrible cross hatch background that features on the iPad. I thought I was seeing things at first. Sorry, but this has no place in a professional application. Hopefully if this is the UI scheme for the next version of Aperture this won’t make it to it.

The other thing that I don’t like about it is the somewhat arbitrary button placement. Buttons seem to be placed at the far corners of the interface and they bring elements in and out from the various sides. It takes a bit of getting used to and doesn’t seem intuitive at all.Final Cut Pro X was a ground up re-write to bring it into the cocoa world and make it 64bit. Aperture has already undergone that process so we won’t have to deal with that upheaval but I do strongly suspect that the next version will look a lot like FCPX.

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12 Responses to What if anything does FCPX mean for the future of Aperture?

  1. Scott June 23, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    One feature I read about was background analysis of frame content with automatic keyword creation. This could be a cool feature for Aperture. On import, being able to determine some basic content attributes and apply keywords would be a timesaver.

  2. JoeP June 23, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    The fact that Apple pulled FCP7 off the market, even though FCPX is obviously not yet suitable for many heavy-duty pro users is very troubling.

    I believe this is a frighteningly cavalier attitude towards people who make their living with Apple’s Pro-oriented products. My trust in Apple has gone way down.

  3. Geren June 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    Apple VARs who deal with the professional world still have FCP7 (FCS3) in stock and available, and probably will for some time (B&H is hinting at availability through the end of 2011).

  4. Steven Alexander June 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    OMG…..remember Aperture 1. It was oh so promising but if it only could or if it did, well at v.3x it still needs improvements but that doesn’t mean it is not useful and good.
    I do agree that the pro base that made FCP what it is may be in shock that this new version isn’t a new version but an entirely new program and not integrated with the old.

    • Thomas Fitzgerald June 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

      Sorry, but the “it’s an entirely new version” excuse that’s been used to justify what Apple have done here is a cop out. That’s fine if it had been sold as such, or sold as new software, but it hasn’t – it’s been sold as an “upgrade” to final cut pro 7, which is no longer available. And it’s not just that “pros made FCP what it is” – it was software specifically for professionals – hence the “pro” in the title. As someone who worked for years in Television post production studios, I can tell you now, FCPx not only has a long way to go, but some of the decisions made in it’s design make it unusable in professional post production – it’s not just about missing features.

      Here’s the thing – Apple had 50% plus of the professional video post production market. That’s just gone to zero overnight (I’m taking market share for new sales). If you are a facility running FCP and you need to add a new seat you can’t unless you pirate it. If you are a new company starting out, FCP is no longer an option. It’s as simple as that. People ran their business on FCP – people depend on it for their livelihood and they’ve just been royally shafted by Apple. If it’s a new product – then fine – have a transition period where you support both pieces of software, but to just kill FCP7 like this, and to leave people without a viable option who invested thousands in this ecosystem, and without any warning – is unconscionable

      I have serious doubts about Apple’s commitment to the pro space. They’ve steadily dropped applications that people rely on – they don’t communicate with their customers – and if it’s not mass marketable then they’re not interested. While you run the risk with any company going bust or whatever, at lead with Avid / Adobe / Discreet (Autodesk) you know where you stand.

      With Apple you’re dealing with their whims. I know several people who depended on Color in their businesses, and they’re now screwed because Apple have killed it (and never fixed the numerous bugs in it) – ditto for DVD Studio Pro. Apple buys these products – doesn’t support them or invest in them properly and then kills them. It was the same with shake. Some people think Shake was just a niche piece of software, but if you were in that niche it was vital to your livelihood. There is still no replacement for that in the price range shake was in. Apple lost interest int hat market and killed it.

      Listen, I’m not trying to bash Apple here, I just don’t think they are interested in the pro market any more, or if they are, then due to internal management / protocols whatever, they’re not handling it well at all. They haven’t updated their “pro” pages in ages, they do little if any advertising / marketing or evangelizing of their pro Apps. They’ve killed several pieces of software without any notice – without even telling customers they are discontinued. It’s an insane way to treat an industry. If you discontinue an iPod or come out with a brand new iPhone or whatever that’s different from the previous one then that’s one thing. This kind of tactics works well in the consumer electronics space – and it’s part of Apple’s success, but you can’t translate that into the pro space.

      I know lots of professionals working in the video industry (as it’s my primary source of business) and they are royally and righty pissed at Apple for this. I have a friend who built a very successful editing business on FCP and now, he can’t expand that using FCP any more. He has no choice but to look at alternate systems.

      People saying too that “well, your existing copy of FCP7 hasn’t stopped working – what are you worried about” don’t get it either. You can’t buy it any more – so if one of your systems goes down and you need to get a new one – and if they ship with Lion and FCP7 isn’t supported on Lion, you’re screwed. If you need to add another workstation, you’re screwed. When it comes to the normal upgrade time to upgrade older systems – you’re screwed. If a client wants to bring in a new system, and they’re using FCPx you’re screwed – because you can’t get projects out of it) – I could go on and on and on. Anyone who doesn’t work in the TV or video industry who thins this is just pros complaining because of a knee jerk reaction frankly, and I’m sorry if this sounds crass, don’t know what they’re talking about. Apple pulled the rug out from under hundreds of businesses without so much as a tap on the shoulder to warn them.

      This makes me even more worried than ever for the future of Aperture. If you are a pro, I can’t see how you could build your business around it because you just can’t trust apple’s commitment to the software. You don’t now at what point they will just loose interest in it and kill it. When’s the last time you saw an ad for Aperture outside of the mac app store? When is the last time you heard anything from Apple about it? You constantly see Adobe promoting Lightroom, and they even communicate with their users via blogs and forums. The reason I started this blog was because of a distinct lack of evangelism from Apple for a product that I loved.

      Apple could alleviate a lot of this by just talking to their customers instead of this wall of silence. Again, that might be the way to do business in the consumer space, but in the pro market it just doesn’t cut it and the good will people shave is rapidly running out. I’m one of the biggest Apple fans there is – I’ve constantly defended their actions, but even I find this move indefensible.

  5. Thomas Fitzgerald June 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Sorry for the rant – but this has really ticked me off

  6. JoeP June 29, 2011 at 2:10 am #

    Thomas, good points. Ron Brinkman expressed what I posted earlier in a much better way. This is why the fcpx fiasco has made me nervous about Aperture:

    “So if you’re really a professional you shouldn’t want to be reliant on software from a company like Apple. Because your heart will be broken. Because they’re not reliant on you. Use Apple’s tools to take you as far as they can – they’re an incredible bargain in terms of price-performance. But once you’re ready to move up to the next level, find yourself a software provider whose life-blood flows only as long as they keep their professional customers happy. It only makes sense.”

    http://digitalcomposting.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/x-vs-pro/

  7. Zaph July 1, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    After being similarly burned by Adobe (and Macromedia) multiple times in a similar fashion over the years, I don’t have any more trust in them continuing a product beyond it’s use to them. And being similarly burned multiple times choosing smaller companies products and them having them either not have the resources to continue, get bought by one of the big companies and killed, or just have the product not improve enough to keep up with the others, there’s only one thing that is guaranteed – we’re going to get burned by someone.

  8. Zaph July 1, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    “You constantly see Adobe promoting Lightroom”

    That’s true, but they constantly promote products right up until the day they kill it without warning too. :-)

    • Thomas Fitzgerald July 1, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

      What’s the last product Adobe killed without warning? Just curious.

      Apple doesn’t just kill products without warning, they don’t even tell you they’ve killed them.

  9. Ian July 11, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    talk to Freehand users about Adobe killing that product off. But credit to Adobe they gave them plenty of warning.

  10. Michael October 13, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    I’m so freaking tired of whinny film people complaining about FCPX. I think FCPX even with all the missing features shows that Apple is deeply committed to the software and to it’s future. FCP needed a modern foundation, and now it has one. They could have possibly waited a bit and seen to it that things like multi-cam support were there from day one. That was a mistake. However all these people whining already own FCP7. So what the heck is the problem? Use the software you have until the new one matures. No one made you upgrade on day one and all the reviews warned you of the things that were missing from the software.

    Two years from now the new FCP will be up to speed and all this will be water under the bridge. Apple needed to release this thing and get people using it so it can see how it performs in the real world. If it’s not ready for your day to day needs stick with the software you already have.

    Sincerely,
    A film worker with some common sense

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