Larry Jordan Blog

Wiping Egg Off My Face

Posted by on June 16, 2011

There are about 85 emails in my in-box this morning with links to a speech I gave at the April Final Cut Pro User Group about my reactions to Apple’s presentation of Final Cut at NAB.

While I stand by most of my remarks, there was one unfortunate moment where I said, with a special dramatic emphasis for the crowd, that Final Cut Pro X was not ready for professional use.

I believed that then. I don’t believe it now.

When I made that presentation to the LAFCPUG, it was the week after NAB; a week after Apple presented the new version of Final Cut to the world. When I watched that presentation, I was watching it through the prism of my experience with Final Cut Pro 7 and all I knew about the application was what Apple showed on stage in their demo.

How could anything that radically different equal what we already had in Final Cut Pro 7?

I knew this new version was far more than iMovie – but, at that time, I didn’t think it was Final Cut Pro, either.

Its no secret that Apple gave me rare access to the software by inviting me to a demo of an early build of the software in February this year. However, what is not known, is that they also gave me permission to contact their development team to discuss the new version.

After NAB, and after my presentation at that April LAFCPUG meeting, I finally had time to follow-up on Apple’s offer. And I did. A lot.

I peppered them with questions:

• Why did Apple decide to totally reinvent the interface?

• Why did Apple feel they couldn’t simply do an incremental improvement to what we already had?

• Why did they only talk about Final Cut Pro?

• Why did they add the features they did?

• Why did they not mention others?

• What did they view as the future of editing, and who did they see doing the work?

While I can’t tell you what Apple told me until after the NDA lifts with the release of the product, I can tell you that what I learned during those conversations has completely changed my opinion.

Because so many of us base our lives on this software – both creatively and financially – there is a lot of stress whenever a new version comes out. Especially a radically different new version.

I understand, I feel the same stress.

But I no longer feel, as I once thought, that this is a step backward. Based on what I learned during my conversations with Apple, I believe this release provides us with an opportunity for a large step forward.

Now, we just have to wait and see what Apple ships.

For many of us, this will be a giant leap into something truly exciting. There is a lot of news to share and I can’t wait to tell you more about it.

That day can’t come soon enough.



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Leave a response

  1. Marcus R. Moore Jun 16, 2011 16:43

    Thanks for the clarification, Larry. It’s unfortunate to see people crib one “sensational” line, removing the context in which it was said, and when you said it.

  2. George Loch Jun 16, 2011 17:27

    But the online dialog that was fueled by your original comment have so much fire, they would be burning hot until the final release of the software had you not revised your position. Let us have some fun first :)


  3. nickeditor Jun 16, 2011 18:04

    Perhaps some of those 85 cards are from Apple :p

    Can Apple wait a week with those rumors or show us something really good about FC X?

    I think there are more pessimistic than optimistic :(

    I am one of those that are waiting Mac OS X 10.6.8 to resolve the problems caused by 10.6.7

  4. Michael Krupnick Jun 16, 2011 18:04

    From FCP-L:
    It was hard to hear the audience’s questions very well, and Larry didn’t repeat them all, alas. There was, I’m guessing, one asking (very muffled) if FCPX would invalidate v6 & v7 installations within the same sys disc partition. Larry was very mysterioso about that one, saying that was one thing Apple did tell him, but taking his NDA “5th” and saying nothing about it. Even Mike was a tad startled by that one. Then recently Creative Cow bannered a tutorial on how to get ready for the new upgrades, namely FCPX and Lion. In that, they advised cloning Snow Leopard to a separate bootable drive (partitioned for later Lion installation) and installing FCPX there, not alongside older versions on the factory sys drive. Spooky. I know we’ve speculated about this here before, and basically concluded that Apple probably wouldn’t do that and hasn’t before. But if we’ve learned anything lately, it’s that we don’t know what Apple won’t tell us. Anybody got any hard info (no more rumors, thank-you) on this?

  5. Larry Jun 16, 2011 18:19

    Yeah, it is more fun – but less accurate – to argue about extreme positions than to find the more accurate, but less feisty, position in the middle.


  6. Larry Jun 16, 2011 18:20

    Michael, anyone with “hard info” can’t answer that question – and everyone else is just guessing.


  7. Chris Jun 16, 2011 18:21

    An extremely rational, well thought-out and well-articulated piece. Thank you for writing it.

    The “sensational” line was certainly a surprise for many of us (probably nowhere near as much as it was for the Apple employees working hard on the product though!), and I am very glad to hear that your view has changed.

    Thank you for contributing substantively to the ecosystem.

  8. Steve Hullfish Jun 16, 2011 18:46

    Larry –

    You aren’t the only one with these doubts, however. I’d love to know what kind of conversations went on with Apple to get you to flop on your pronouncement. The first comment said that it was taken out of context. I would disagree with that. There are a lot of questions to be answered about professional applications of FCP X. We’ll see soon enough whether your LAFCPUG comment was right or wrong and whether your switch was somewhat coerced. At the very least, ANY 1.0 software is sketchy at best for professional application, no matter who releases it. Heck, look at Avid MC 1.0 from 1988 and as much as it was used for professional editing back then, it was “not ready for prime time.”

  9. Michael Krupnick Jun 16, 2011 19:10

    Scary question to defer, though, for the user. Hard to buy into if it’s a destructive load. That’s like a step and half away from malware….

  10. nickeditor Jun 16, 2011 19:18

    Michael, install first FCX and first Lion to work is like shooting in your foot. The smart thing is to make a partition to keep trying and wait for updates to correct bugs. The engineers of post-production companies will have many hours of work and operators of Final Cut hours of re-learning and some cold sweat in front of clients in the room.
    And importantly thing that it seems that nobody is in question, will be Final Cut Server updated? How FCX will be integrated in the current Final Cut Server?

    The first week will be crazy about iMovie users complaining about “this does not work”;)

    I would say to Apple “be careful, many people are with his credit card in his hand waiting to buy FCX or not, and S3D (stereoscopy) may be a factor that influence in their decision”

  11. Larry Jun 16, 2011 19:26


    The change in opinion was not coerced – though, of course, every software developer wants everyone to love their products. It was, as I wrote, due to learning a lot more about it.

    I agree, also, that time will tell.


  12. nickeditor Jun 16, 2011 19:38

    Larry, I don’t think that what you said was extremist. When I heard your words I understood theese as a reasonable advice: If you work with Final Cut do not update to work with FCX yet (I think using a program and work with it are two different things).

    There are many freelancers who behave like iMovie users who want the latest without considering the problems they may have.

  13. Connor Crosby Jun 16, 2011 19:48

    Hi Larry, I recently watched the video of you at the LAFCPUG and I must admit I was afraid with what you said. But, after reading this, you’ve helped calm me down a bit.

    Some of the things people are scared about don’t really matter to me. I am just a teenager who uses Final Cut for personal, school, and rare client work. The things I am worried about are: what will the pricing be for the other apps? Will I still be able to keep and use FCP7, and what the learning curb is.

    Thank you for posting this, it’s very much appreciated! Oh, by the way, do you know when FCPX will come out? I know you can’t say the date, but just yes or no, do you? Thanks!

  14. Lawrence Jordan Jun 16, 2011 21:59

    Mr. Jordan,

    You are far too wise and knowledgeable (probably the most knowledgeable person on the planet about FCP) to have egg on your face. You made a statement with the knowledge you possessed at the time and I think everyone with an interest in the future of FCP is grateful for that.

    Apple is making a very, very bold move with this new incarnation of it’s flagship digital video editing software, but that’s the kind of company they are and with the exception of the few years it was run by Sculley and Amelio, the kind of company they have always been.

    They’re taking a chance. The ideas are incredibly bold. Will they have success on the first pass? We’ll see. But unquestionably, as we enter a new era of socially shared, democratic video creation. FCP X will be another paradigm shifting product.

    The marketplace will take care of the “pros”, they do this for a living and have always figured a way to make things work if they want to survive. But as far as “the rest of us” are concerned, what I’ve seen of the product holds incredible promise. If not immediately for those doing 100 million dollar movies, most definitely for those who will make the blockbusters and social and culturally relevant media in the future.

    Thanks for all your great work for the community!

    Lawrence “Larry” Jordan (not you :-) )

  15. Chris Harlan Jun 16, 2011 23:47

    I watched the video today, and I didn’t take it as full of doom. What you said was just common sense. And, good business practice. NO WAY would I interrupt my current workflow with so completely new a version. I’ll play with it, bend it and try to break it the day it comes out, but even if it is self-generatingly brilliant, I will not disrupt my current workflow until I know for certain how I–and the post houses nearby–are going to use it, and that it is solid for my purposes. With normal upgrades, I wait until I have a clear break in production–usually a month or two after release–and with this, it will probably be longer. Doesn’t mean I can’t put it on an old Macbook Pro and start playing around.

  16. Tracy Valleau Jun 17, 2011 02:48

    As a video editor, I’m looking forward to it, and I will be buying it at once. I’ll also be installing it on a second bootable drive before making any big both-feet leap.

    As a programmer of some 36 years, I can tell you that all software contains bugs. Period. 1.0 releases are (in the better houses, like Apple) beat to death until everyone can’t see straight anymore, and the returns have seriously diminished on in-house testing. Time comes when you just have to throw it out there to tens of thousands of users, instead of the 200 or so you’ve been using. That will find a huge rush of issues, and when they slow down, a 1.0.1 release will come out.

    That’s not the nature of editing software; that’s the nature of ALL software.

    No editor who’s getting paid should switch horses in the middle of a project; anyone who does is a fool. But if you’re between cuts, or have a second drive, you bet! Grab it and find some stuff that’s broken. Report it. Help make it better, sooner.

    Personally: I’ve just finished cutting a film on Wynn Bullock, the photographer. I’ve got everything right at hand, and so, for play with the new X, I’ll move it over and see how it goes.

    Sorta hope no one hires me right away, so I’ll have time to play, and decide whether or not to tackle the next project in FCPX.

  17. robertdee Jun 17, 2011 02:54

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for the clarification. As a user since 1.3, FCP is my livelihood. I am, however, an early adopter and think its essential that software changes to keep up with technological developments and simply to improve things. I’ve been looking forward to the new version (I don’t pay attention to experts who haven’t seen the product) and was a bit crestfallen to see these videos yesterday. Great to have it clarified and put into context, particularly with regards to when the comments were made. I don’t want to get conspiratorial but they obviously have a bigger impact a week before release than three weeks before when they can be clarified before the product launch. Looking forward to the app and your comments on it once the NDA is lifted.

  18. Erik Jun 17, 2011 03:22

    I don’t understand all that commotion anyway. If there is a new version (or upgrade for that matter) of your software, then the sensible thing to do is TESTING BEFORE DEPLOYING.

    You DO NOT CHANGE THE SOFTWARE during the work on a project. Same as you do not change the firmware on your RED (or any other camera) while shooting a movie, or would you?

    Take a deep breath everyone! Your old FCP won’t disappear in some magical way, right? So do what you always did, keep working with what you know and test with the new arrival. When the new version is mature enough and you feel that you would benefit from switching, do it.

    It is that easy.™

    Sorry for ranting, but I had to get this off my chest. Happy editing everyone. ;-)

  19. Arthur Donald Jun 17, 2011 06:21

    The safe thing to say was that it wasn’t ready… and it wasn’t… it wasn’t available yet! Saying it is now sounds like your backtracking on a statement that you didn’t need too… perhaps some just took it way out of context.

    You are now the FcpX prophet and we all hang on your words!

  20. MIchel Jun 17, 2011 07:05

    Hi there Larry… I understand what you said first (the caution statement) and I also understand that you had the chance to discuss the issues you raised with Apple’s FCX development team… You obtained answers and got reassurance… I take it that you should have posted comment / wrote article on you being reassured by what you learned AFTER the fact instead of having the FCP fans / users and community worried about the product they would get or the purchase they decided to postpone based on your comments…. Not an easy position to be in but definitely fair for all to have made the correction to reassure… us!

  21. adabis Jun 17, 2011 07:35

    to be honest, I watched those clips from and they were the most rounded and considered opinions I’ve seen, especially after wild speculations and rumour mill expectations going around.

    it’s someone trying to help a community out and getting slammed for doing so, and I might add it was a cheap shot for to sensationalise the post title.

    as you were Larry, no apology needed here.

  22. Robert Womack Jun 17, 2011 09:55

    In the published remarks, your point was that Apple has a poor track record with .0 releases. At least that was the way I took it, and I think it’s a good and valid point. Now you’re saying that without actually using the software, but having spoken with the development team, that the software is ready for primetime? Forgive me for being blunt, but I’m skeptical.

    I liked what you said about switching – how many clients do you have that demand that you use the latest version of the software? I’ll be wowed when I get my hands on the software and use it for an actual project with a deadline (although probably for an internal project, not for a client)! Until then, it still looks like iMovie Pro, and I remain a skeptic.

  23. Steve Jun 17, 2011 10:20

    It was startling to hear that from Larry because, let’s be honest, Larry really can’t be very negative about Apple and FCPX without risking losing his “blessing” of being in the Apple fold. I’m not saying Larry won’t be critical of FCPX when it is released and is more iMovie than FCP7 but for the real hard-edged analysis we’ll have to look elsewhere.

  24. Jody Eldred Jun 17, 2011 23:26

    @Steve: I’ve known and worked beside Larry for a long time, and I can assure you he speaks truthfully and uncoerced by anybody. He does not need Apple’s “blessing” to be the success he has become (after several decades of continuing hard and diligent work) and he is free to be as truthful as he wants to be, which in my experience is 100%.

    Apple is a sturdy company, confident in their products, and easily able to weather criticism of their products, regardless of who it is from.

    And Larry Jordan is also confident in his remarks, his training, his DVDs and his books, equally able to weather criticism– regardless of who it is from.

    “Hard-edged analysis” from Larry Jordan? Count on it. If you have evidence to the contrary I invite you to share it.

  25. Michael Krupnick Jun 18, 2011 01:18

    Larry has comported himself with integrity and dignity in a challenging situation, no question. It’s Apple that is raising all the ruckus here. And not so much because of this release, but a perceived shift in its corporate culture that has the potential to alienate many of its original proponents. As has been repeated soooo many times, the jury is still out on all the unanswered questions.

  26. Michiel Jun 18, 2011 12:39

    Hi Larry,

    Thank you for all your work and efforts you make for the community !

    Regarding FCP X there is one more thing on my mind. Or should i say a ‘who’ ?

    Can you disclose anything about the wellbeing of Bruce the Wonderyak in the new version ? Anything at all ? Please ?

    Thank you ;-)

  27. Larry Jun 18, 2011 20:06

    Can I disclose? No, because I haven’t seen any trace of Bruce recently…

    Hmmm…. I will dispatch my most talented Yak-trackers deep into the heart of Apple to see if we can pick up his trail.


  28. Nance Flynn Jun 18, 2011 20:07

    I think Tracy Valleau wrote the most concise and complete answer to installing a new version of any software.

    BUT, I don’t think Larry was talking about bugs and the usual adjustments that have to be made. He was talking about the design and features not being quite up-to-snuff for professional use. Everyone was saying that it looked like iMovie. That’s why everyone got nervous, including me. I am REALLY looking forward to the speed of 64-bit and background rendering! But I don’t want to compromise control or customization. I hope they didn’t take any of THAT away.

  29. Dan Allen Jun 20, 2011 18:06

    Hi Larry,
    I am a student filmmaker – should i buy FCPX or should i go Avid?
    Many thanks in advance!


  30. Newsman Jun 20, 2011 20:31

    Larry, you accomplished something rare: You rocked Apple’s world.

    I get the feeling they needed to be shaken by somebody with your stature and credibility.

    Perhaps Apple wants a wife and a girlfriend. The wife is the pro user. The girlfriend is the kid/amateur user. The problem with having a wife and a girlfriend at the same time is that you usually have a very bad result.

    BTW Larry, you are an amazing speaker. I’ve never heard anybody with your ability to be serious and wickedly funny in the same sentence. (I’m not from Boston.) You are quite a pisser. (Yes, I’m from Jersey.) If you had gone into politics you would have never lost an election.

    You are very convincing in a paradoxically Big Brother/favorite uncle sort of way.

    Anyway, at least if FCPX sucks, we at least have you around to teach and entertain at the same time.

  31. Larry Jun 21, 2011 09:57


    Now that Apple has released Final Cut Pro X, you can read the specs and decide which system is best for your projects.


  32. Fluffy Kitties Jun 21, 2011 22:51

    Definitely FCP X FTW!!!

    Can’t wait to upgrade from iMovie 11, and dude, can’t find your FB badge..?

  33. Carlos Jun 22, 2011 16:24

    Well, for me it’s really pretty simple; without the ability to import old projects, I can’t use it. What I find really puzzling and no one seems to be addressing is, if Apple is positioning this as a completely new product and not an upgrade, then why did they stop selling final cut studio? I think they could have waited a few months and announced its EOL.

  34. jason Jun 22, 2011 18:15

    This is Apple’s way of telling dedicated professional users of FCP to go jump in a lake and they have discussed as a new product launch. They clearly are abandoning the pro editing community. So disappointing.

  35. nicolas Jul 05, 2011 09:19

    telling people to wait until imovie “pro” becomes professional is like telling iphone users to wait for the next release to make calls ….

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