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Final Cut Pro X: Is video editing becoming “flat” or simply more interesting?

A wise man called Thomas Friedman remarked in a recent book that the world is flat, signaling the rise of the common man in  challenging industry professionals in areas such as web design, writing,  and video editing.

It’s the last area mentioned above which seems to be getting an extra push from Apple, as it  pursues a new demographic of amateurs and semi-pro users who are hungering for an advanced form of iMovie, without the complexity associated with Final Cut Pro.

The result is something called Final Pro Cut X, which is a radical departure from previous versions, arguably requiring a completely new set of skills than those traditionally mastered by previous Final Pro users.

With video being one of the killer apps on the Internet, and driving the popularity of YouTube and Vimeo, this high-level “web” skill is sure to stimulate interest in Apple’s popular editing suite.

In recent months, Apple has released Multicam editing and broadcast monitoring that allows for new camera angles and precise, flexible fast adjustments.  This has generated a number of positive responses from video users, many of which had first lamented the departure of Final Cut Pro and the arrival of X.

Apple uses superlatives to describe the new tool including “revolutionary” and a “major breakthrough in video editing”.

Since this is essentially version 1, there is bound to be controversy over Apple’s new product which seems in many ways to reflect Microsoft’s destruction of Visual Basic and the implementation of  .NET platform, which was essentially a complete rewrite under a new object orientated programming paradigm.

“Video pros find themselves increasingly looking at other software options,” said Ars Technica.

“The new version of Final Cut Pro was controversial—there were significant changes to the Final Cut interface, a plethora of editing features were taken away, and worst of all, Final Cut Pro X was rendered unable to import projects from previous versions of the software. “

Just about every blog and news media agency seemed to slam Apple for taking this action, with some real-world examples of big ad agencies switching away from Final Cut to other rivals such as Avid.

In reality, the problem may stem from the fact that it’s tough to learn skills while also trying to make a living.  While web and video professionals are undoubtedly used to change, Final Cut X perhaps requires a “one step back and two steps forward” approach.

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