Breaking up with Final Cut Pro

I’ve been an Editor for 12 years – if you don’t count cutting class projects using two VCRs back in high school. The projects that made me realize what I wanted to do with my life – edit video. But it wasn’t until 2000 that I started my relationship with computer editing software.

My first experience was with Adobe Premiere. Premiere was a great program. It introduced me to the wonderful world of Non Linear Editing. A world that allowed me to execute thoughts in my head instantly… and not pray that I hit RECORD and PLAY at the same time on my dad’s VCR.

But as I was getting familiar with Premiere, there was one glaring problem… everyone in the Editing community, the community that I desperately wanted to be a part of, looked at Premiere like the gangly girl with an awkward disposition no one wanted to talk to.

The only way for be to get in, to be accepted by other Editors, was to learn Avid – the gold standard of the industry. Avid equaled respect. But getting in with Avid also meant you had to have money. Lots of it.

Now, at the time, I had a bank account that made the people of Haiti want to have a benefit concert in my honor. I had Dom Pérignon tastes with a Beast Light budget. There was no way I would be accepted.

But about a year later something unexpected happened. A new girl came to school: Final Cut Pro. It was sleek. It was simple. It was new. But most importantly, it was affordable. What that meant for me, was I finally had an editing software I could learn that might be accepted.

And it was an amazing relationship. We spent countless late nights together. Got to know each other. Did everything together. But most importantly, after really getting to know Final Cut, I wasn’t ashamed to say that was my Editing Software. By that time, Final Cut was hanging out at the same parties that Avid was. I was finally accepted.

Final Cut and I were inseparable. About that time, my roommate and I decided to start a video production company together. Because of what Final Cut allowed us to do. We saved up to get a lap top so I could take Final Cut places. And we went everywhere together. Spent holidays working on projects together. Our company grew up with FCP.

And Final Cut grew up with us too. FCP 4 became 4.5. FCP matured in version 5 with the introduction of Final Cut Studio. By this time, our video production company had grown up, and it was a full time job.

Final Cut Studio 2 was released. And by the time FCP 7 arrived, we had grown to a team of five full-time editors, all built off our relationship with Final Cut Pro.

But then something crazy happened. Maybe it was bored, or simply grew arrogant. But Final Cut cheated on me. It went from version 7 to “X”. Just skipped 8 and 9. Totally new interface. Different philosophy. Different approach. I refused to believe it was true.

I didn’t want to believe what everyone was telling me. It just couldn’t be. How could such a dedicated relationship be thrown away like that? How could Final Cut ignore me like that?

I tried to burry my head in the sand, but those questions nagged me. Forced me to start listening to what was being said. But I still held out hope. Final Cut was going to correct these mistakes. It could never destroy our relationship. And not just my relationship, but the one it had with an entire generation of editors. A generation that picked up the torch of the Digital Revolution, then took that torch and set fire to film industry. No way…

Right?

It’s been a year now. I’ve heard nothing from Final Cut. It’s parents seem pretty set on keeping us apart. No matter what I say. No matter what any one else says.

And so, it wasn’t until yesterday, on the date I spent with Adobe at the Adobe CS6 Road Show, that I came to realize my relationship with Final Cut is finally over. But the funny part is, it’s come full circle. My new partner had been there all along. Staring me in the face: Premiere. The same gangly girl that everyone sneered at back when I first started out as an Editor. Premier had grown up. And it was lookin’ fine…

What about my relationship with Final Cut?

We’ll always have 7…

If you’re interested in finding out some of the things we learned at the CS6 RoadShow, check out the blog entry by Phil Wolf (find Phil on Twitter @phildwolf). It’s good.

Resources

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