Articles tagged with: History

Ex-chief architect of Apple’s video & photo applications to be interviewed live on stage

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Those who paid attention to 'About this software' dialog boxes in the 90s who used Adobe Premiere will recognise the name Randy Ubillos.

He was the lead developer for both Adobe Premiere in the early 90s and Apple’s Final Cut Pro in the late 90s.

By the time Final Cut Pro X was launched in 2011, he was chief architect for Apple’s photo & video applications. Apple included him in many important keynotes. His presentations included demos of new versions of iPhoto and iMovie for iOS as well as iMovie ’09:

Randy retired from Apple in April this year, but he is already making public appearances. Next he’ll be at the Bay Area SuperMeetUp in San Jose on June 26th. The SuperMeetUp is one of a series of events for those who use Macs and PCs for TV and film making.

I'm happy to say that part of his appearance will be an on-stage interview where I’ll ask him about storytelling and what has driven him over the years to make tools that have changed millions of people’s lives. As well as talking about developing applications that went on to be used by professionals to make TV shows and feature films all over the world, he’ll discuss the value of creating tools for everyone else to tell their stories.

Apple opening up on the same day

That same day FCPX Creative Summit delegates will be attending a presentation at Apple's offices about the latest version of Final Cut Pro X

FCPX Creative Summit attendees have the unique opportunity to visit the Apple Campus in Cupertino and hear directly from FCPX product managers! You’ll get a unique perspective on how this video editing software has changed the industry and how it continues to innovate today.

Get an update from Apple Product Managers on the current release of Final Cut Pro X, exciting customer stories, and the thriving ecosystem of third-party software and hardware.

Representatives of Apple's ProApps team have appeared at professional events over the years, but this event marks the first time a large group of post production professionals have been invited to visit Apple.

These days we expect all live presentations to be filmed and made available on the internet within hours. This makes attending live much less essential. Despite Apple opening up more recently, they still ask that Final Cut Pro X team public presentations aren't recorded and put online. Most assume that this is part of Apple’s culture of secrecy. In practice it might be due to the ProApps team wanting to use footage they are not cleared to show online. Footage such as rushes and alternate takes from Warner Bros. recent Will Smith and Margot Robbie feature film which was edited in Final Cut Pro X.

That week is the 4th anniversary of the radical reinvention of Final Cut Pro X. Some Final Cut users hope that Apple’s invitation shows that they will introduce exciting new features as part of a birthday celebration. Although that is possible, even if Final Cut remains unchanged, it is worth visiting the mother ship to learn from those who make the software.  

New patent shows a little early Apple thinking on Final Cut Pro X

Monday, 13 October 2014

Last week Apple was awarded a patent concerning how to highlight discontiguous groups of clips on a timeline.

Even though it is a new patent, it shows Apple’s thinking back when it was applied for. This patent took years to be awarded, so any feature hints found in the application document have been superseded by what Apple chose to implement in the intervening years.

Patenting concepts that apply to editing software requires a description of a sample editing user interface. Here is an example from the patent:

Final-Cut-X-May-2009

The imaginary sample editing application shows a combination of Final Cut Pro 7, iMovie and Final Cut Pro X. Layers from Final Cut Pro 7, iMovie's way of having content in more than one place at a time (clips would appear in 'All Files,' 'Video' and in an interview folder). The viewer/inspector/timeline layout are from Final Cut Pro X.

The parts of this illustration that interest me are the labels above the viewer and the inspector. The viewer has three control areas: 'Display Types,' 'Viewer Tools' and 'Overlays.' The inspector seems to have two tabs at the top - 'Inspector' and 'Transcript' with clip 'Specific Controls' at the bottom of the inspector.

This patent was applied for in May 2009. Interesting that Apple considered including a clip transcript panel in a clip inspector. I also hope that Apple will expand the way overlays work in the Final Cut Pro X viewer.

The patent.

 

 

2010 Apple patent: Final Cut Pro X concepts

Saturday, 30 August 2014

A patent filed by Apple in 2010 shows a possible future direction for iMovie that includes ideas that have appeared in Final Cut Pro X. More evidence of the large amount of research and development Apple put into editing user interfaces.

I've written before about Apple's patent concerning wider story structure as well as timeline structure. This week saw Apple being awarded a patent that seems to have arisen out of making editing easier for a wider range of people. A step on the way to general video literacy.

US Patent 8,819,557 is for "Media-editing application with a free-form space for organizing or compositing media clips." It follows on from the way older editing applications gave space in icon-based bins for editors to play with clip order. In Final Cut Pro 7, Adobe Premiere and Media Composer bins can show clips as icons that can be arranged in any way prior to being added to a timeline. 

This Apple patent turns icon-view bins into spaces where editors can combine clips together into timelines, as well as perform many other operations - including assigning keywords, defining selected ranges, skimming, trimming sequences and trimming edits and more.

8819557-editing-pasteboard-a-editing

 

8819557-editing-pasteboard-c-dynamic-trimming

The patent includes a storyboard that shows an element of dyamic trimming. Here is an excerpt from the text:

During playback, a playhead moves along the media clips in the sequence. Before the playhead reaches the end of the media clip, the user can invoke a command that will cause the media clip to continue playing content from its source file after the current out-point is reached. When the playhead reaches a location in the media clip source at which the user wants to set a new out-point for the media clip, the user can invoke a command that will cause the frame at that location to be set as the new out-point for the media clip.

As well as the full text of the patent, you can view the whole 119 page patent - including many UI storyboards in this 13MB PDF. The easiset way of reading the patent is to have the text in one window with the PDF in an another.

 

 

How many copies of Final Cut Pro? Apple’s numbers

Monday, 25 August 2014

Creative COW forum member Franz Bieberkopf has done some interesting research and rounded up the numbers when Apple have announced how many copies of Final Cut Pro have been sold over the years:

Though I think user numbers are of limited value, it has become a bit of an interest to me (particularly in light of how secretive and vague the various developers tend to be, and in light of the sometimes outrageous claims here). I dug into past announcements from Apple in order to sketch the shape of the numbers that we do know (even including a graph!), and thus the growth curves over the past 15 years.

Read more at the Apple FCPX or Not: The Debate forum at Creative COW.

 

Apple job vacancy

Friday, 18 July 2014

On November 18, 2008 Apple added this job description to their website:

Video Editor Product Designer, Pro Apps

Apple’s Pro Apps Design Group is seeking a passionate video editor who understands the complexity of software product design. This person must possess a relentless attention to detail, a gifted eye for aesthetics and the ability to quickly grasp and distill highly complex matters.

The candidate will work closely with all designers, producers, engineers, and other editors to design the future of Pro Apps; high-visibility applications that are used daily by creative professionals working in post-production (examples include Final Cut Pro, Motion and Soundtrack Pro).

The designer will be responsible for researching, designing and prototyping new user experiences and features, creating design mockups, producing visual assets and writing behavioral documentation (required for proper design implementation).

The candidate must be a natural collaborator who prefers being creative in a team environment, a passionate customer advocate and be capable of crafting and designing simple solutions to complex design problems.

Qualifications:
-Minimum 5 years of experience as a video editor, with sound design/production, motion graphics, photography, and videography skills.
-Experienced creating or designing innovative and visually stunning user experiences for software, games, DVDs, video, or the web.
-Degree in film production, interaction design, human factors and/or visual design (or equivalent).
-An outstanding body of work demonstrated as a reel (film, TV, web examples) or design portfolio demonstrating the successful delivery of innovative video, motion graphics, and/or design.
-Understanding of Apple’s human interface design language and the ability to translate it into future designs of Apple’s professional applications.
-Exceptional understanding of fundamental design disciplines (typography, composition, information architecture, color and animation) and principals (affordance, clustering, consistency, usability, etc.).
-The ideal candidate is not afraid of a blank white board or blank screen.

Software Skills:
-Expert-level knowledge of editing, motion graphics, and finishing suites like FCP, Avid, Smoke, Luster, etc.
-Highly versed in graphic design tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Omnigraffle, etc.
-Complete mastery of the Mac OS X platform.
-Advanced knowledge of interaction prototyping tools such as Flash, Director and/or AfterEffects is a big plus.

The position was unfilled six months later in June 2009.

On June 3, 2014, Apple added this job decription to their jobs website:

Video Applications Product Designer, Pro Apps

Apple’s Professional Apps Design group is seeking a Video Applications Product Designer who has deep knowledge of the video editing space and workflow with a variety of video tools.

The Video Applications Product Designer will play a key role in the future of video applications. From brainstorming through implementation, the Video Applications Product Designer will work with members of the Video Applications design team, engineering, marketing, and QA groups. We are looking for an imaginative, resourceful and enthusiastic designer to help us continue to make products that blend ease of use with powerful feature sets all with an unsurpassed attention to detail.

Qualifications:
-The ideal candidate will have a deep understanding of non-linear video editing, workflow, audio and video finishing. The candidate should understand a wide breath of video editing workflows that range from consumers to professional editors. The candidate should be detailed oriented and able to visually express ideas and thoughts in a variety of ways. The candidate will be able to translate their years of post production experience into designs that create features and applications that exemplify Apple's commitment to it's users.
-Deep understanding of Apple’s human interface design language and of the Mac OSX, iPhone and iPad platforms
-Experience designing web, iOS or desktop application or features
-Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
-Knowledge of video editing, sound design or related disciplines
-Knowledge and experience use of competitive post production tools and applications 
-Experience creating multimedia projects or prototypes

Education / Experience:
-Four year degree or higher preferred 
-5 years experience post production or related fields 
-Experience with FCPX, iMovie, Compressor and Motion
-Knowledge of user-centered design principles
-Great written and verbal communication skills
-Excellent collaborative skills 
-Highly professional, with the ability to deliver solid work on tight schedules

Highlighting mine.

Applying for the job? Tell them Alex sent you!

 

Avid, Adobe and Apple NLEs: June 2013-June 2014 feature updates

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

If you are faithful user of a single video editing application, it is a good idea to keep up with improvements that other NLEs have made. In an ideal world competition would prompt features on one system to appear on others, but influence of each company on the other is unlike normal competitive markets.

I'll use Final Cut Pro X terms in some cases (for example Premiere 'sequences' are Final Cut 'projects').

Avid Media Composer

Avid-Media-Composer-Updates

v7.0 - June 2013

  • Dynamic Media Folders - Finder folders that 'listen' for new media content, when added MC creates new events using preset import settings
  • Camera-based (AMA) media is managed - All readable media on a drive can be imported
  • Files in the Finder can be dragged directly into Media Composer
  • Background transcoding and consolidation
  • Choose whether to relink audio, video or metadata tracks - after you've finished editing with proxies
  • Transcode or consolidate camera-based media only
  • Label which timeline clips were camera-based (AMA media)
  • Apply external LUTs to clips
  • Audio mixer elements can be configured
  • Audio plugins can be applied to whole tracks
  • Audio mixer master fader
  • Aspect ratio masks
  • Adjust audio level of clips using timeline window control
  • Buttons to switch library view between list, icon and script view
  • Export to AS-11
  • Markers with duration
  • Move marker from one track to another
  • QuickTime with alpha clips supported
  • XAVC support for 1080p projects
  • iXML metadata support
  • Timeline can scroll vertically
  • Mouse scroll wheel support
  • Editing and sync projects, libraries and clips stored on Avid Interplay servers
  • Send and receive messages between Interplay users

v7.0.2 - September 2013

  • Option to always keep at least one backup - To prevent deletion based on setting of the number of backups of all libraries
  • XDCAM EX 35 Capture
  • Rule-based naming of Dynamic Media Folders

v7.0.3 - December 2013

  • Effects browser buttons to show video or audio effects
  • Add markers at start and finish of marker with duration
  • 24fps sound timecode support in non SD PAL projects
  • Option to warn when resolution of imported media is too low
  • Frame interpretation control when using retimed clips
  • Simplied AAF export - Option to create new clips with video and audio effects baked in and audio mixed down to less tracks
  • More proxy resolutions
  • RED Dragon 6K and Red Rocket card support

v7.0.4 - May 2014

  • New Sony LUT
  • New crash report log
  • New SMPTE HD colour bars

Media Composer | Software v8.0 - May 2014

New licensing options 

  • Option to add NewsCutter features
  • Coloured borders around clips in event viewer that denote the kind of clip they are
  • Clip labels can show whether media is local or mixed resolution
  • Audio mix mode can now have a keyboard shortcut assigned to it
  • Option to choose the response to lasooing a transition: Enter trim mode or segment mode
  • For single viewer mode, you can switch between viewers with a button
  • Alternate edit replaces a timeline clip with a clip with a similar name from a special event
  • Auto tape import - when deck has servo-lock, footage is captured until tape is stopped
  • Satellite mode - 'capture from multiple sources at the same time while recording to tape'
  • Voiceover record
  • Remove clips based on voiceover silence
  • Trim with J-K-L keys
  • Easier access to software licensing information

Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe-Premiere-Pro-Updates-a

CC 7.0 - June 2013

  • Sync settings - Preferences, presets and settings stored in the Creative Cloud, so you can quickly set up a new machine with the same settings instantly
  • Adobe Anywhere integration - The ability to work with special PC servers that manage group collaboration and distributed rendering.
  • Retina display compatibility
  • Customizable track headers
  • Relinking offline media - Even if it has been renamed or transcoded
  • Duplicate frames - Show which frames have been used more than once in a timeline
  • Closed captioning - Import, edit retime and export subtitles that can be optionally displayed in video plaback devices and applications
  • Multicam auto-syncing - based on markers, timecode or audio
  • Track patching - Choose which tracks in event clips interact with which tracks in your timeline - with the option to store track patch combinations in presets which can be given keyboard shortcuts.
  • Edit unnested sequences into timelines
  • Join through edits
  • Razor tool and Playhead snapping option
  • Enhanced paste attributes - After copying attributes from a clip, choose which of its attributes are applied to the destination clip.
  • Namable nexted sequences
  • Trim-to-zero duration - Remove a timeline clip using trimming keyboard shortcuts
  • Playhead stays with edit point after a ripple delete
  • New clip audio mixer panel - for adjusting the audio of clips (in contrast with the track audio mixer panel)
  • Hierarchical audio plugin-assignment popup menu
  • Audio meter in track headers
  • Volume and pan controls in track headers
  • Assign audio tracks to multiple output tracks
  • Access to AU audio plugins
  • Access yo third-party VST plugins
  • Multichannel QuickTime export
  • External hardware mixer support
  • Improved colour - Apply LUTs (and Adobe Speedgrade .look files) using a colour browser
  • Adobe Story integration - Import screenplays into a panel. Jump to scenes, characters or locations. Select edit points in clips based on transcribed audio.
  • New keyboard shortcuts - Select previous/next clip in timeline, Select clip at playhead, Select all clips between in and out point, Move clip up/down one layer
  • CUDA processing - on systems with compatible GPU cards
  • New codecs within Premiere - MXF-wrapped DNxHD, ProRes, Sony XAVC, Panasonic AVCi200
  • Improved import and export within Avid and Final Cut Pro workflows using AAF and the new codecs
  • Export to tape - using third party SDI tape export devices
  • Switching between audio and video waveform display with one click

CC 7.0.1 - July 2013

  • Duplicate timeline title by option-dragging
  • Lift or extract clips enhancement - works if only an in point or outpoint is selected
  • Cut/Copy/Clear works on in and out points
  • Enable or disable clips using a context menu 
  • Match frame uses selected clip - superceding track trageting
  • Only relink media used in selected project
  • Enhanced EDL export - choose which video and audio layers are included in the EDL amognst other new options
  • Match frame in source monitor to event clip
  • Linked selection toggle - select associated audio and video clips with a single click, or select a clip without selecting its associated clips
  • Reveal source file in Finder
  • Set default project start timecode value
  • Preview source files from the Finder in the source window
  • Match frame enhancements - In source window match frame first goes to the multicam or compound clip, then to the source clip in the event.
  • Offline clips shown in unexpanded tracks
  • Tone generator - Generates bars and tones using different options
  • Open closed caption clip using caption panel
  • Access event clip settings using timeline shortcut
  • Smarter auto-save - Only saves when there arch changes, doesn't skip saves when busy
  • Improved still image timelapse support - choose duration in frames for imported stills
  • Preference to prevent playing a clip again by pressing the space bar if playhead is on last frame
  • Preference to set window focus to timeline after editing clips from events to the timeline
  • Jump between edit points on clips in the event viewer window
  • Clear in and/or out points in multiple clips selected in an event
  • Toggle keyboard focus between event viewer and viewer using keyboard shortcut

CC 7.1 - October 2013

  • Round-tripping between Premiere and SpeedGrade - for colour correction
  • Render multiple projects - select multiple projects in an event and use a command to render them one after another
  • Ripple project markers option
  • Draggable project markers - showing selected frame in the viewer as you drag
  • Back button in library browser
  • Projects appear as thumbnail icon - which are skimmable
  • End of media indicator in viewers
  • Add edit command applies to selected clips - overriding track tragetting
  • J,K,L keyboard shortcuts in Edit to tape dialog
  • J,L shortcuts can playback at faster speeds
  • Using - in the speed dialog reverses the playback of the selected clip - No need to click the reverse speed check box
  • QuickTime exporting supports 5.1 and 8 channel export
  • New metadata columns in event browser list view - Sound timecode and sound roll
  • Clip name options - Each clip can be set to display its project name, event name or source file name
  • Timecode generator automatically uses project timebase
  • Paste a transition to multiple edit points
  • Reset parameter buttons for each parameter in the inspector
  • Metadata display for viewers - source timecode, edit points, media limits, marker comments, clip metadata, sequence timecode
  • Load embedded closed captions on import
  • Support of closed captions in MXF, DFXP and CEA-708 files and QuickTime movies using any codec
  • Display multicam camera angles as track names or clip names
  • Organize and select camera angles to view in multicam viewer
  • Multicam results play in viewer
  • Full multicam clip information from Final Cut Pro timelines
  • New import formats - ProRes 64-bit, Blackmagic Cinema DNG, Native MJPEGs (Canon 1DC), RED DRAGON with ROCKET-X, Panasonic AVC Ultra Long GOP, Phantom Cine, Sony RAW (F65, F55, F5, FS700), Sony XAVC Long GOP
  • New export formats - Panasonic AVCI-100 (50p, 60p), Panasonic AVCI-200, Sony XAVC Intra
  • Export QuickTime formats in 64-bit process
  • Preference to let current editing tool define which kind of edit will be applied to an edit - even if when last selected a different kind of edit was applied (such is ripple or roll)
  • New keyboard shortcut for preferences dialog

CC 7.2 - December 2013

  • Descriptive text in empty Project panel or Timeline panel - such as "Drop Media Here To Create Sequence"
  • Auto-save now saves even if you have recently manually saved 
  • Create sequence by dragging clip to Timeline
  • Export markers as a list
  • Duplicate frame marking improvments - now detects if frames from two different clips using the same media on disk, or have the same tape name and metadata
  • Use Ripple-Delete command for In/Out range
  • Warning to prevent project overwriting - if another editor has opened the project after you and you then attempt to save your work over theirs
  • Multiple library browsers
  • Create new library from project - Using only clips used in the project timeline
  • When showing a multicam clip with one angle in the angle viewer, show it full size
  • In the timeline multicam clip names append the name of the video source angle clip
  • Record voiceovers directly into a project timeline
  • Mosaic effect is now GPU optimized
  • Support for GeForce GT 750M
  • MXF Importer for importing P2 and Canon XF files
  • Natively import AVCI-100 .mov files and smart render the files to MXF-wrapped AVCI-100 files
  • When using third-party transmit tools for SDI display, audio and video remain in sync

CC (2014 release) - June 2014

  • Video effect masks
  • Masks can track objects and features within clips
  • Edit text within titles created in After Effects
  • Apply and modify event clip effects - which change every instance of the clip in any timelines they are used in
  • Access to thousands of Typekit fonts
  • Autosave projects to online cloud
  • Settings from previous version synced to new version
  • Match from from event clip to frame on timeline where clip is used
  • Open timeline clip in event viewer showing frame where playhead is on timeline
  • Change sync of timeline clip, drag back to event to create new clip with new sync
  • Assign multiple keyboard shortcuts to a command
  • Option to use native pixels for stills
  • Viewer option checkerboard background to show transparency
  • Project context menu option to export event clip
  • Option to not display FX icons on clips in timeline with effects applied
  • Preference to set how many frames are moved when using shift-left arrow and shift-right arrow keyboard shortcuts
  • New tool to select clips on all tracks back from clip clicked to start of timeline
  • Named markers
  • Option when importing to create a new folder for new clips
  • Option to prevent importing duplicate media
  • Import Finder folder hierarchy as folders in library
  • Context menu option to make sequences offline
  • Browse After Effects projects and within projects using the media browser
  • Add media folders to list of favourites
  • Maintain audio pitch when scrubbing option
  • Voice-over recording enhancements - Specify pre-roll countdown and sound cues
  • Cross-platform consistency between OS X and Windows versions - video effects and transitions available on only one platform now cannot be applied in CC (2014) projects
  • Faster RED debayering using OpenCL and CUDA GPUs
  • Support for Intel Iris GPUs
  • ARRI AMIRA workflow
  • Blackmagic CinemaDNG metadata support
  • Export to AS-11 for broadcast, Quvis Wraptor DCP, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus
  • Progress bar for dock icon
  • Go Pro lens presets for Lens Distortion video effect
  • Preserve multicam source clip effects when flattening
  • Cross Dissolve transition can now be saved as a preset
  • Change duration on multiple transitions at once
  • Closed captions can be exported as .scc, .mcc, .xml or .stl sidecar files
  • Improved Red Giant Pluraleyes workflows
  • Ability to use Sound Roll and Sound Timecode in EDL export
  • Mosaic effect is now GPU optimized
  • 12 more commands can have keyboard shortcuts assigned

Apple Final Cut Pro X

Final-Cut-Pro-X-Updates

10.1 - December 2013

  • Support of multiple GPUs in 2013 Mac Pro
  • HDMI and Thunderbolt output at frame sizes up to 4K
  • Selected titles, effects, and other media content scaled for 4K projects
  • Libraries, a new way to organize multiple events and multiple projects in a single container
  • Project snapshots - backup projects with frozen disconnected compound clips
  • Media file storage on disk locations external to libraries
  • Direct importation of MTS/M2TS files
  • Used clip range indicators
  • Direct import of photos from iOS devices
  • Support for portrait/landscape metadata in still images
  • More retiming options
  • New clip stabilization method
  • Custom project resolutions
  • Viewer control to choose better playback quality or better playback performance
  • Viewer control to choose source or proxy media
  • Through edits
  • Trim to playhead
  • Trim to clip range selection
  • Video or audio only edits from multicam clips
  • Access to multicam audio for editing
  • Blade audio tracks in J and L cuts to get independent audio clips
  • Roll audio edits in open split edits
  • Share 4K finished videos directly to YouTube
  • New API for customizing Share operations
  • Send Apple Events to Asset Management applications during export
  • FXPlug 3 update to include custom inspector controls
  • Effect parameters, fonts, and text size information preserved in XML files
  • Hide browser option for more workspace
  • New title
  • Cut / Copy / Paste / Delete animation keyframes
  • Custom speeds
  • Option not to ripple the timeline when making clip speed changes
  • Show unused media only

10.1.2 - June 2014

  • More control over optimised media, proxy media and render files in libraries
  • Apply LUTs to HDR and wide-gamut media from high-end cameras
  • A new ProRes flavour: 4444 XQ
  • Faster export of cuts only XDCAM media
  • Fine-grained control over XML export - from individual clips, multiple clips, projects, events or whole libraries
  • Library metadata view
  • Automatically apply keywords based on tags assigned in the Finder 
  • The ability to search for or create smart collections of used or unused media in the current project, compound clip, synchronized clip or multicam clip.
  • A 'Share to Vimeo at 4K' destination
  • Unused range indicators for compound clips, multicam clips and synced clips
  • Tools to support voiceover Audition clips
  • Adjust relaive as well as absolute audio volume of a clip or range within a clip
  • Option to sort events by date or name within libraries list
  • The ability to import a clip by dragging directly to the browser
  • New 'Basic Surround' audio preset
  • Break apart Auditions to see the individual clips on the timeline
  • Using the , and . keys to nudge clips in the timeline now acts as a slide edit
  • Updated version of Final Cut Pro X XML - so a wider variety of information can be exported to or imported from other workflow applications
  • More control of how synchronised clips are generated
  • Much better relinking of missing files
  • When importing from consumer devices choose whether to show photos or videos
  • New text format presets
  • 37 new effects, transitions, titles and generators
  • Paste a copied transition to multiple clips

 

What next for Final Cut Pro X?

Monday, 07 July 2014

I was the guest on today's episode of the FCPX Grill podcast, part of my conversation with Chris Fenwick was about what the 10.1.2 update tells us about the future of Final Cut Pro X.

It seems ungrateful to immediately start thinking about future versions of Final Cut. Even grateful users can't help but think about features and bugs they hoped Apple had paid attention to in the most recent update. It is worth considering now because Apple very rarely hints as to the future of their hardware and software - one of the few times they communicate anything is in the features of the products and services they do release.

As the 10.1.2 update seemed to concentrate on improving the lot of those new to editing and those working on high-end productions, I think the next major update will look at serving the middle of Final Cut's markets.

The following graphs show how Apple's Final Cut updates have served its markets. They show which markets the major new features of each version were aimed at. The left-hand end of the horizontal axis are features that support people who use Final Cut on personal projects, free videos or videos to support their professional lives in other fields (such as photographers, architects and doctors - people who wouldn't describe themselves as film makers first). The right-hand end of the horizontal axis is for features relevant to high-end big budget feature films, TV shows and complex news gathering organisations. The middle of the horizontal axis is 'the rest of us' people who are visual storytellers ranging from videographers to indie film and documentary production companies.

features-for-segments-1

In 2002 Final Cut Pro 3 reached critical mass when pioneering TV shows and feature films took a chance on what most people saw was a prosumer editor at best.

In 2003 Final Cut Pro added LiveType to give more casual users easy access to motion graphics effects without having to invest in learning After Effects. The pros got Soundtrack - an application for sound designers and sound editors and for picture editors who had to their jobs. 'The rest of us' got RT Extreme, which made editing on PowerBooks possible - you could digitise all your DV tapes at a lower resolution and then recapture at full resolution as your online.

features-for-segments-2

In the next two versions there wasn't much for the low end - new editors had the option of Final Cut Express, whose main feature was easier access - a lower price. The middle was built up with features best suited to individual pros. Instead of adding more and more features for the high end, Apple bundled high end applications and improved links between them and Final Cut with round-tripping.

features-for-segments-3

The end of the Final Cut Pro classic range came with Final Cut Pro 7 - which was sold as part of Final Cut Studio 3. The high end was taken care of by popularisation of colour correction with Color 1.5 and 4K RED workflows, and there were a few improvements at the low end with easier online sharing and iChat Theatre for collaboration.

features-for-segments-4

As Apple gave themselves the task to start from scratch (probably in 2007), they had to choose where to focus their efforts - it wouldn't be possible to get to the range of features available in Final Cut Studio 3 in four years. They started with the low end and moved up from there.

features-for-segments-5

Like OS X, Final Cut Pro X was developed in public - many would say the fourth major version of both was the first that could be safely recommended to a wide range of traditional users.

features-for-segments-6

The 10.1.2 update has now got Final Cut Pro X pretty close to where Final Cut Pro 7 was features-wise, although the features in almost every case are implemented in a much more effective way than before. It is much more powerful at the low end, and at the high end Apple is currently leaving high-end colour and sound to other companies.

This is a roundabout way of saying that I think Apple will next fill in the middle of the graph, features for videographers, freelance editors and smaller production companies. They are also likely to use new Final Cut features to demonstrate features of OS X Yosemite - iOS 8 continuity features.

The good news is that although Final Cut Pro X is now being used for a wider range of projects by a much larger constituency of people, there is a great deal of headroom in Final Cut's future.

 

 

NLE innovation - does Apple want to keep up?

Friday, 13 September 2013

This weekend sees many announcements at the IBC Show in Amsterdam. Another set of features and innovations that Apple will probably ignore, as they have been for many months. 

Ben Thompson has written an article about why Apple might deliberately limit its innovation.

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