June 24, 2011

The End Is Nigh...

by Chris Randall

The recent hubbub over Final Cut X (which you're no doubt familiar with, but if you aren't, Tom Ellard's highlights here and a funny but informative bit from Conan O'Brian here) is kind of silly. It's like standing on the train tracks, watching a train coming straight at you, and saying "there's no fucking way that train's gonna hit me." They showed it at NAB a couple months ago, and all the pros had a look at it. They knew what was coming, but they're all "there's no way they'd release that. It's just iMovie Pro!"

Newsflash: Apple don't care. Apple don't give a shit.

Ironically, for the kind of video stuff I do, which is of the "line up an audio track with a single video file, and shit it to YouTube" variety, Final Cut X is remarkably well kitted. I tried to use Final Cut Express for a couple months, and eventually pitched it for iMovie. Apple realizes that there are a lot more people out there like me (video-wise) than there are people that edit feature films. They'd like to make some money, please. Enter Final Cut X.

The thing to watch out for (and down the road when it happens, I'll reference this post as an I-Told-You-So) is this: Logic Pro is managed by the same group at Apple as Final Cut Pro; the Pro Applications group. This is the group of managerial types who most assuredly don't work in the media professions any more, and haven't for years. They're the group that thought making a "pro" version of iMovie and replacing the top-of-the-line video editing software with it was a good idea.

What do you think that bodes for Logic? Logic / Garageband has exactly the same pro:hobbyist footprint as Final Cut Pro / iMovie, and is managed by the same people. Pretty simple math there.

If you're a professional user, I'd strongly suggest taking a serious look at the other top-line DAWs: ProTools 9 and Cubase 6. I would, for obvious personal reasons, recommend the latter. It is a mostly lateral move from Logic Pro, features-wise. I'm not saying it's time to jump ship. I haven't heard anything more than you have. I am, however, deeply ingrained in the music software business, as you know, and have been for some time. You can smell these cycles.

Or don't bother, and when Logic X comes out and doesn't have a mixer, you can come back to this post, wherein I say I told you so.


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Jun.24.2011 @ 3:02 PM
Mad props on: "Apple don't care. Apple don't give a shit."

Jun.24.2011 @ 3:04 PM
I would predict that Logic will eventually look & behave more like FCX/iphoto/imovie/iOS, though.

Jun.24.2011 @ 3:14 PM
"That's pros, though, of course. There are way more music "hobbyist" types than there are video hobbyist types. That fact alone would probably serve to cast doubt on my argument. "

yeah, i guess that's what i was getting at. also, i wonder where logic express fits in to their product line up?

Jun.24.2011 @ 3:39 PM
Adam Schabtach
@stretta: if that's the case, they have only themselves to blame for their repeated "deprecation" of various portions of the OS. I mean, everyone else who writes OS X apps and plug-ins is expected to deal with shifting to 64-bit, Cocoa, etc. so why should they be any different?

Man, I crack myself up sometimes.


Jun.24.2011 @ 3:50 PM
Adam: I wonder if the ProKit framework (or whatever it is called) used at Apple also includes some version of 64-bit Carbon. It seemed like 64-bit Carbon was well underway before they pulled the plug.

On the other hand, if they had such a framework, presumably they would have ported the existing Final Cut Pro framework to 64-bits, instead of releasing the X debacle.

On the other other hand, it is becoming clearer and clearer that Apple is making a choice to no longer cater to the "creative class." From Apple's stockholders' perspective, this is probably a great thing, as the consumer class is way bigger than the group of people creating content for others to consume. From the perspective of someone who makes a living by designing specialized tools for "the creative class," this totally fucking sucks.

Jun.24.2011 @ 3:58 PM
I worked ten years on Logic Audio, and when apple bought it.. For me it was the beginning of the end ^^
I tried many DAW and finally took Ableton live, a really great DAW, but many problems.. (PDC.. lots of crash) I added Protools 9 to my setup because I've no feeling with Cubase..
1 month on Protools, lots of bugs too... Avid seems to be a worst company.. But Protools is a really great tools (when the V9 RC will be here...)
Please AD, release rtas versions !! I know you hate Protools but, they made a effort, now we can used our soundcards.. ;) and buy Protools for 480?.

Jun.24.2011 @ 4:00 PM
Only today did it occur to me that FCPX:FCP7 as Quicktime X:Quicktime 7. How did we not see that coming?

Jun.24.2011 @ 4:09 PM
Adam Schabtach
@sean: I believe that your other other hand is the correct one, and the reasons for FCX being the way it is have nothing to do with engineering constraints and decisions. However, I disagree that it totally fucking sucks from your/our perspective. If Logic goes by the wayside, we're no longer competing with its bundled plug-ins, whose very existence is subsidized by Apple rather than the usual market forces.

The creative class will be out there whether or not Apple continues to cater to them. If Apple ceases to cater to them, it means more opportunities (and less headaches) for those of us who do.

@rawx: Yeah, Digi made an effort, all right. They made an effort to totally shaft us, way back when we were just trying to get the company started.


Jun.24.2011 @ 4:19 PM
Doesn't really feel like Apple has catered to the creative class since the launch of the iMac. Stayed friendly with for a few years at least, but not catered to. Can't say I blame them, compare 1997 Apple to 2011 Apple. A giant built on catering to the consumer market.

Jun.24.2011 @ 4:29 PM
@Adam: good points. My fear about Apple turning away from supporting content creators is less about a particular app, and more about what the App Store and iOS models may end up leading to post-Lion. Us plugin developers tend to presume a certain level of access to system folders, and are used to being able to sell plugins through the sales channels of our choice. I don't know if Apple would actually close the door on that software model in favor of locking down the OS the way they have with iOS, but this latest Final Cut "Pro" release makes it clear that their loyalties are not towards their current Mac user base.

I hope that I am just being paranoid. But if someone told me a year ago that the latest Pro app from Apple would completely abandon backwards compatibility, I would have thought they were being paranoid as well.

Seriously, I am really wanting to be proven wrong here. Show me links to the Apple spokespeople, saying that their commitment to creative professionals is unwavering. Throw me a frickin' bone here.

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