The Story so far
Ten years have passed since, during the 2011 edition of the NAB, the first version of the ‘new course’ of Final Cut was presented: Final Cut Pro X.
It was a real revolution (starting with the name) compared to Final Cut Pro 7: a completely revolutionized interface, the transition from bins to keywords and smart collections, from tracks to storylines (even if years later Apple will partially backtrack, enhancing the ‘roles ‘), but above all FCPX represented a drastic change in the workflow, placing storytelling at the center of everything even more, without too many technicalities, after all, it was the golden age of DSLR filmmaking and the need for production and post-production methods and agile production workflow was becoming more and more pressing and it is likely that at that moment Apple also wanted to intercept the new generation of videomakers with 5D around their necks and Philip Bloom in their hearts, applying Jobs’s “don’t go beyond the second step” rule to video editing.
Many insiders, including myself, were blown away: some switched to Premiere which, in that period underwent an important evolution, others continued with FCP 7 and at the same time began to prepare the transition, waiting for a more stable version, still, others fired zero against Apple calling the new NLE an ‘iMovie on steroids’ (a cliché that I still have to read today here and there on the web).
Final Cut today
In the face of an objectively unripe first version, Apple over the years has worked a lot on FCP, but also on Motion, Compressor and, Logic Pro, so much so that already from version 10.0.3 there were some significant upgrades.
Today Final Cut Pro is a program that can handle the most disparate workflows smoothly, from commercial (‘Prime Blue’ for Apple), to music video (‘Who Cares’ by Paul McCartney) to feature films (‘ Focus’, ‘The Banker‘), therefore it is undoubtedly a more mature program than ten years ago.
Final Cut tomorrow: between hypotheses and rumors
A few months ago the blog 9to5 Mac published an interesting article in which, among other things, there was fear of a switch to the subscription model for FCP, because Apple had updated the software patent by inserting the wording “software rental”, panicking those who, like me, are not exactly a fan of ‘software for rent’.
I state that I’m not in Tim Cook’s head and I don’t know Apple’s strategies for the future, but I still tried to hypothesize some future scenarios for Final Cut Pro.
Personally, it does not seem a behavior that you can expect to Apple to me, the Cupertino company hardly does what others have already done (in this specific case Adobe and Avid), not to mention that such a decision would definitively leave the field free to DaVinci Resolve which, thanks to the excellent work done in recent years and the one-time-purchase formula, has already taken away a fair number of users to Final Cut and especially to Premiere.
2. Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Pro ‘Pro’
Very bad play on words for a hypothesis that would include a subscription through which you would have access to specific free upgrades which, instead, would be paid for non-subscribers. I personally have some doubts on this, considering also the universe of plug-ins produced by third parties that could provide the same upgrade at lower prices.
3. Final Cut goes to the (i)Cloud
It’s the most credible scenario to me, a subscription to have space on a cloud in order to facilitate collaborative and remote editing.
I don’t need to remind you what happened in the last year and a half and how remote work has become more and more widespread, after all, Apple itself with the latest FCP updates is pushing more and more in this direction.
Already now, thanks to the Frame.io plug-in for FCP it is possible an editing work that includes remote revisions and that relies on a cloud, it would therefore not be an insurmountable obstacle for Apple to design a proprietary plug-in and, for as for the footage storage, the underlying technology exists and is iCloud.
Furthermore, to make this hypothesis more credible is the news of the recent acquisition of Frame.io by Adobe.
What I would like from Final Cut Pro
Honestly, I don’t think FCP needs too many changes, but some corrections do: I would like a more effective noise reducer, a proprietary mask tracking, a de-flickering that does not require a workaround, a system similar to speech to text that will soon be implemented in Premiere and maybe Logic Pro to become a real alternative to ProTools so that you can work with the sound editor in a shared ecosystem.
I would also have another wish compared to Final Cut Pro, but it would be an epochal change that would involve the software architecture and the interface, namely the possibility of switching from Final Cut to Motion, as well as Compressor and LogicPro through tabs, as happens in DaVinci Resolve to be clear, but revolutions of this magnitude are really difficult to predict.
Finally, here is a summary of my editing work (sometimes color grading) with Final Cut Pro