Well, I think the time has finally come that I will be weening off Final Cut Pro for good, as much as it pains me to say. I began using Final Cut, Apple’s professional non-linear editing software, in 2002 during my freshman year in the then Broadcasting and Cinema Department of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Our editing lab at the time had Mac G4s with FCP 3.0 loaded on them, and we ingested the primary form of media, mini-DV tapes, through mini-DV/VHS combo decks that sat on top of 4:3 color broadcast monitors. It was humble beginnings with the software, but was fostered through my tenure at UNCG and, subsequent, upgrade of our systems to FCP HD (4.5) by my senior year.
Following graduation in 2006, I embarked on a semester long journey into law school at Elon University’s School of Law. Still to this day, I will speak high praises of their program; law school just wasn’t right for me personally. In November of the first semester, I made the hard and long thought out decision to drop out, doing so just before the deadline of making the difference between my professional transcript reading “Withdrawl” rather than “Failed” (since I wouldn’t have taken the exams and completed the mini-semester following). I used what monies I had set aside for my next semester of law school and bought about $11,000 worth of HD video gear including an HVX-200, FS-100 Firestore device, Lowel lighting kit, Azden shotgun mic and my first ever personally owned Mac: an iMac 17″ Intel Core 2 Duo (which has since been bequeathed to my girlfriend) . I upgraded the stock RAM and processor to as high as I could on Apple.com and then purchased Final Cut 5.1. About a year and half later I made the jump to 6.0 and then to 7, the last true version release of the software as far as I am concerned, in 2009.
Just last year, the latest official release, Final Cut Pro X, was released. The new release, a complete redesign of the program, has all but neglected the professional clientele who use the software and caters to high grade consumer-based editing. Essentially, it’s iMovie Pro. I tried the free trial version of the software for about three weeks and hated it; it was one of the worst editing environments I had ever used. Even with some of the firmware updates that were released to clear up some of the original issues, it still wasn’t the FCP I know and love.
Yet, still I persevered and continue using FCP 7 and the rest of the associated programs with FCP Studio 3 as my primary NLE. I dabbled in Adobe Premiere during this disheartening time, but still found myself coming back to FCP 7. However, the time has come where I must make the cut for good. FCP 7, now a three year old software, will only run as a 32-bit program, limits the amount of RAM you are able to utilize and has several other antiquated features that are pushing it further and further into being obsolete. Meanwhile, competitors like Adobe just keep sweetening the deal. With their recent release of Adobe CS6, I think they have finally won me over; that, and the fact that my new job will require me to edit in a PC environment. But, since I am switching for work, I think it is a good time to go ahead and make the switch at home as well.
In reading over the upgrades to the CS6 Master Collection suite, I found my mouth watering. With updates to Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects and Audition, as well as the addition of Speedgrade, a color correction software, and the ease of use with Prelude and Encore, all programs working seamlessly together, I just can’t continue using an outdated program. Heck, Adobe even makes the switch easy for you by allowing you to choose Final Cut Pro Keyboard Shortcuts in the Preferences menu!
I’m excited about the opportunity to grow as an Adobe user, but will be saddened to leave behind Final Cut Pro. It will be like the loss of an old friend, one that I have had a now ten year relationship with. This is not to say that I will never consider Apple’s wonderful NLE again, but they will have to do some major overhauls to convert me back. Until then, Adobe here I come!