Apple’s new iMovie Pro. (aka Final Cut Pro X)

Say goodbye to the Pro Apps as you know them. The writing has been on the wall for several years, yet many Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Studio users continue to cling to the hope that Apple will make a major leap with Final Cut Pro and bring it into 64-bit computing, and finally address the numerous issues that have been on wish lists, sometimes for an entire decade.

Well, Apple demoed iMovie Pro at the FCP SuperMeet this past Tuesday April 12th and made absolutely no qualms about visually signifying the end of the Pro apps as we know them. There was no talk of Color. Soundtrack, Motion, Compressor, DVD Studio Pro, Blu-ray authoring, 3D authoring, feature film features, etc. No the focus was solely on Apple iMovie Pro.

How did we get to this sorry state? Well, I think there was a conversation in January that sort of went like this:

Steve: Did you see Avid’s latest software? And the CS5 thing is killing us. Ugh!
Get Randy on the phone.

Randy: Wassup Stevie baby.

Steve: Stop acting like a kid. We need something to keep our Pro Apps users on board & buying hardware. It’ll take too long for QuickTime X and Lion to enable the infrastructure for a new & power Final Cut Studio. What do you have?

Randy: Well, consumers love the new iMovie!
Well, they did after we put back many of the features I threw away when I redid it.
But they love it now! It’s the only version of iMovie they buy any more!

Steve: Randy, it’s the only version of iMovie we offer any more.

Randy: Oh, yea, righto, Stevo.

Steve: Stop it Randy.
I really need a rabbit out of a hat here.

Randy: What if I dress up iMovie with some cool higher end features I’ve been thinking of and we call it iMovie Pro?

Steve: What? That’s inane. Nobody’d buy into that bullshit.

Randy: No, really! If we present it just the right way, and I make sure it has a few of the most asked for features that people have been begging for in FCP for a decade… they’ll gobble it up!

Steve: Oh yea, the “reality distortion field thing?”

Randy: Exactimundo!

Steve: Okay, I’ll bite, what do you propose?

Randy: Okay, I’ve always wanted to have the software, like, autodetect things- like faces, people, etc. Like the iPhoto thing. And we can have the clips slide around in the timeline like it did with iMovie 1 back in 1999.

Steve: That’s going back a ways there, Randy.

Randy: …oh, and I know people hate waiting for rendering, that’s why Premiere is so cool with that whole GPU thing. That ROCKS! The way you can just stack up HD clips an—

Steve: RANDY!

Randy: Oh, yea, sorry. Anyway, I could also grab background rendering from iMovie 1. FCP users will just gobble that UP! We’ll talk about 64-bit and all that, but we can fudge what doesn’t really work in software.

Steve: No render bars?

Randy: Nope.

Steve: Can I manually dedicate CPU processing to interface and background tasks so the interface doesn’t slow…

Randy: NO! We make it all “automagically” happen like with the iPhone. The less they have to think, the better. Plus, then they can’t screw it up and blame the application.

Steve: Good point. That has worked well with the iPhone. Control everything. … Can you have this ready by NAB?

Randy: WOW! You thinking of the big stage on the show floor again. That would be awesome! We could…

Steve: No.

Randy: Huh?

Steve: I’ll give a call to the FCP users group and see if they’d be interested in letting us take over the Supermeet. It’s about 1/50th the cost of the NAB booth and we target exactly who we need to target.

Randy: User group meeting? Like, not even at the Las Vegas Convention Center?

Steve: The reality distortion field works best when you fill the room with people who already believe. I’ve been doing this a while. Trust me.

Randy: Wow, you going to present it? That would really be gre—

Steve: No. It’s not worth my time.

You do it.

Yea, You present iMovie Pro.
But you’ll have to come up with a catchier name.

Randy: oh, okay.

Steve: Great. Thanks! (click)


This is the FCP we know and has the 94% satisfaction rating. Look at the incredible amount of information you have at a glance.
"Behold the glorious iMovie Pro! It's so pretty."

There was a slide that showed FCP adoption increasing at 2x the rate of the growth of the market. That’s a fantastic statistic. “First Rule of Video Editing Systems” is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Or, more simply, do not mess with what works. Apple just threw out FCP and FCE and gave us an enhanced up iMovie Pro. All new workflow. All new interface. So every successful professional user – whose livelihood stems from the production of work – must now start from scratch and relearn how to load media, manage it, edit it, export it.

All those tentative FCP users who had been “on the fence” about switching to all the incredible features of Premiere CS 5.5, or jumping on Avid’s current crossgrade promotion for FCP users, or jumping to Vegas which has offered many FCP features years ahead of FCP including 4K and full-on Blu-ray authoring, or even taking advantage of the free trial of Boris’s Media 100 to edit 4K, 2K, and Redcode, needn’t hold out any more. Since Final Cut Pro users have to learn a whole new editing interface (iMovie users won’t) you might as well take this opportunity to try out other professional software.

Apple has shown their hand.
They took over the BEST place to reach FCP users.
They had all the press they could ever want.
iMovie Pro is all they have to show.

Show’s over. Go home.


Par for the course for Apple's actual enthusiasm for this new product, all I have is a blurry photograph taken at the event. There is nothing on Apple's web site about the new product as I write this. It's just not important enough for them to have any PR about it.

12 thoughts on “Apple’s new iMovie Pro. (aka Final Cut Pro X)

Add yours

  1. I am going to reserve judgement on a lot of this till I get my hands on it. But for me, as an editor who spends most of my working life using FCP, switching to Premeire or Avid would be like doing surgery with a saw rather than a scalpel.
    Just having Prores as a editing codec makes FCP a superior product.
    Oh well, back to editing.

  2. I respect Larry Jordan’s opinions, knowledge, and advice. He likes the new FCP a lot. And he attended a demo in person.

  3. Did the author of this article ever look at iMovie???? It’s NOTHING like the upcoming FCP X. And as far as learning a whole new system – that’s complete BS. In an hour or two any experienced FCP user should feel right at home. The magnetic timeline alone is a great upgrade and it’s 64bit. And as far as the other pro apps – it would be nice to see Color, Motion, & Sound Track Pro – but who cares about DVD Studio. DVDs AND BlueRay are both dead men walking. Everyone knows direct download is not only the future, but the here and now. Steve Jobs was just the first to see it. At $299 I’ll download this new IMPROVED FCP the day it hits the AppStore.

    1. The author of this article has used iMovie. It’s a LOT like FCPX. Media skimming, motion control, timeline interface, program window, dark interface. I’d have to ask you, if you think FCPX “nothing” like iMovie, then do you think FCPX looks and works more like the existing FCP? No, I didn’t think so.
      Then if FCPX isn’t iMovie Pro, and isn’t FCP, then it’s something completely new. And if you can master something completely new in just a couple hours, why not switch to Premiere, Vegas, Avid, each of which have been producing 4k work with 64-bit processing for a long while now. As of today, nothing in Final Cut Studio is 64-bit. If the iMovie interface and 64 bit appeals to you so much, then why aren’t you editing HD in iMovie? Because of the amateur interface?

      The magnetic timeline will be nothing but annoyance for editors who are trying to cut a show to time (28:30) and have to fight their media moving all over the place. If possible, it’ll be the first “feature” I turn off. For many industries, physical media is still required. Event video? You try telling a bride that she won’t get any physical copy of her wedding. She can stream it online if she likes. Yea, didn’t think so. Or for tourism. What sells? Impulse buy in a gift shop. Not a coupon for an online streaming video. Physical media is the ONLY solution for many markets.

      I’ll join you in trying the new iMovie Pro out. I embrace new tools. But I prefer to call them what they are, not steal the product name from a successful (94%) industry tool and apply it to something that bears zero resemblance to it, functionally, operationally, or otherwise.

  4. BS…this article is just FUD.
    also by the numbers adobe and avid are not eating Apples lunch, not even close.
    check your facts…

    1. I appreciate your thoughtful and detailed reply. I never said they are “eating Apple’s lunch” but when I personally know people who have dropped FCP, and read forums where people have dropped FCP, and see tutorials on how to migrate from FCP, then I think there’s a trend.
      I never gave any numbers.
      Would you care to?

  5. I am a little suspicious that Apple named this application FCP X. I don’t think they even know how this product is going to be received by professional editors. I think that is why they are holding off with tweaking the rest of the FCP Studio apps. I think they had to rush out a 64 bit app to keep up with the competition. I think they knew they couldn’t tweak FCP studio jsut yet to be a viable 64 bit suite. I think that this FCP X is released to guage how the professional users will react to the software. If it’s real positive; they will go forward. If it’s not, they will go back and tweak the original FCP Studio. I do think FCE is dead. I think Apple feels if FCP X doesn’t appeal to professional editors; it will at least appeal to consumers who are looking for more advance editing features. Of course the risk you take is that you hope you don’t anger or scare off loyal customers of FCP.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts!
      You make a couple good points. The take away I get after reading your comments is that this really _IS_ iMovie Pro, but with an attitude that it might meet the needs of the majority of FCP users. The real FCP and the rest of the FCS line may indeed be undergoing a longer rewrite to leverage future hardware technologies that Apple has plans to implement. Showing this was needed to stem the belief that Pros were being forgotten. But it doesn’t preclude a much more professional took in a _real_ FCS rewrite for 64-bit, GPU hooks, etc.

      However, like Apple making internal batteries non-user replaceable, making supposed “stock” internal hard drives non-user replaceable, the refusal to create a real Blu-ray authoring package, or even make a Blu-ray drive available as a built-to-order, it really seems of late that Apple is making decisions of how _they_ want to do things, that fails to take into consideration the basic business principle: the customer is always right. Apple seems to be creating a paradigm where they do what they want and if you don’t like it, your only alternative is to opt out of Apple products altogether. There is no user configuration, no “options” and feedback paths are seemingly useless. Quite a change from the company & the maverick that turned the publishing world on its head by giving users the tools to do whatever they wanted, and not restricting users with arbitrary and unseemly “holdbacks” of core technologies & tools.

  6. Whoa, today’s the day Apple terminated Final Cut Studio, replacing it with iMovie Pro X, and this article from two months ago looks breathtakingly prescient. Did you have Jobs’ iPhone bugged or what?!

  7. I waited until the multi-cam features were put into FCPX before finally moving forward. It was a tough decision, but ultimately, my place adopted FCPX because of the better organizing ability and the P2 implementation that allows us to edit P2 footage WHILE it is being imported. I realize this isn’t a first-time feature for editing software, but it’s a first-time feature for any Final Cut software. I’ve found that since adopting, I’ve been able to create Motion templates that have allowed me to edit weekly projects much faster than I ever did before. For example, I created a filter for green screen footage that automatically crops the sides, removes the green, moves the subject to the proper place, adds a particular background, and places a reflection and a drop shadow all in one shot. It’s faster, not only because it’s simple drag-and-drop from here on out, but the rendering is insanely fast compared to FCP7 (which I still have for my older projects).

    Overall, I really do like FCPX. I don’t think it’s “better” or “worse”, but it’s very different. I’ve moved this way because I’ve gained speed and some really cool features that are helping my operation out on a daily basis. There are things that I could do without (magnetic timeline and connections sometimes drive me bonkers), but I feel it’s just faster as a whole.

  8. I’ve similarly created projects in FCP-5 with various repeated elements that let me drop new source fils in to nested timelines and the output is updated with near zero new effort. Drop the new greenscreen footage into the “greenscreen” timeline and then in the Edit timeline, the crop, effects, filtering, positioning, etc are all preset (and tweakable) and the underlying backgrounds are easily swappable as well.

    Now I don’t know about rendering, but if you have a recorder that’s capturing ProRes, then there’s not much rendering to do anyway.

    FCP is not 64-bit and background rendering is a VERY nice feature. I remember when I started using in in 1999 with iMovie 1. Why Apple could never implement it in FCP is something we’ll never know.

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