Seeking alternatives – a growing trend among Final Cut users

The FCPX bitching is still going on and an interesting thing is happening, people are thinking about leaving their Macs behind.

A number of commentors from around the production sites are saying that the only reason they are using Macs is to get FCP. These are the type of people who use computers as a tool, the editors and producers of this world who have to have a computer because they don’t shoot on film any more and their Steenbeck machine is looking a little dusty nowadays. These folks don’t care about OS loyalties. It’s just there to do a function – edit.

Earlier, even I started reading-up on Avid and premier products (my knowledge is sorely lacking in both camps, being a Macolite), looking for alternatives to FCPX for that time when my management say – OK so what about this new FCPX thing and I’ll have to answer that it doesn’t do all the things we need it too. In actual fact, because it can’t even talk to our Final Cut Server DAM it’s a complete non starter.

It is of course not personal on Apple’s part, they are just talking to the larger audience  – it is all about the numbers, it always is.

Apple can (in theory) afford to lose vertical market customers like us, we buy ones and twos at a time and there aren’t that many of us. Even bigger organisations don’t have huge numbers of installed seats – in the 10s or at most low 100s.

On a global scale, these customers although nice to have, make-up a very small percentage of overall revenue when iOS devices and stores rake in billions. This is true doubly so for products like Final Cut Server which although I am not party to the numbers, I would imagine has a very small potential marketplace. Where would any sensible company spend it’s development budget? Not on a new version of Final Cut Server.

It is all very understandable, however what agreeves the people caught up in these situations is the lack of communication on Apple’s behalf. At some point they knew that this was going to happen and they were going to have some customers who would be left behind (or more accurately up the creek) following a technological dead end like FCS. It would have been nice for them to be a little more up-front and honest about it really, nods and winks are all well and good but are no basis to justify the huge expense of changing something as fundamental as a DAM system.

On the grapevine, I hear that there’s an interesting new product coming from an alternative supplier around Xmas time.

For now. our systems are all still working, we have sufficient FCPS3 licenses and we still have support for the time being.

You never know in 6 months time Apple may have seen the light and fixed the omissions in FCPX and built a FCServer replacement into Lion server (or whatever).

Not sure if I’d be gullible enough to bet my job on it though. Not again.


Note: I think it is worth pointing out here that the views expressed on my blog are mine only and are in no way shared or endorsed by my employer.

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