Get the Latest BuZZ Each Week

New Final Cut Pro Editing Software Draws Mixed Reviews

Apple’s popular Final Cut Pro video editing software got a major face-lift Tuesday, as an all-new, speedier program that requires a new learning curve.

While Apple calls it a “revolution” in video editing, because Final Cut Pro X is much faster to use, editors and filmmakers took to online forums to liken the release to Coca-Cola’s ill-fated “New Coke,” introduction of the 1980s, when Coke tried to update a popular product that consumers felt didn’t need a refresh.

“I’m shocked,” says Paul Harb of Beyond Creative Productions, who was co-editor on the recent films The Expendables and Rocky Balboa. “I’ve never seen a company take a piece of software, say this is the next evolution, and make it feel like 20 steps backward.”

Over the past few years, Final Cut Pro has become the go-to program for serious video editors, competing with video-editing programs from Avid and Adobe. Final Cut is also popular with students, journalists, documentary makers and Hollywood. The movies True Grit and The Social Network were edited with Final Cut.

But John Davidson, a Los Angeles-based producer of TV promos and commercials, says he won’t switch his company over to the new version yet. “It doesn’t do a lot of things pros need,” he says.

The old Final Cut Pro 7 and Final Cut Express have been discontinued in favor of the new Final Cut, which went on sale for $299.99 at the online Apple App Store. The previous version of Final Cut 7 was $999.

The new Final Cut is targeted at today’s video makers, who use memory-card-based media instead of videotape. It has been upgraded to 64 bits, which enables it to run faster than before. In previous versions, the addition of graphics and the use of different video camera formats at the same time would cause the program to stop and wait for “rendering.” The new Final Cut keeps running while rendering occurs in the background.

Larry Jordan, who teaches Final Cut to students and filmmakers in Los Angeles, has been testing the new program since February, and has grown to love it. “It’s huge,” he says.

Some Hollywood pros on message forums likened the new Final Cut to a beefed up version of iMovie, Apple’s entry-level video program that comes free on new Mac computers. But Jordan disagrees. “You can ride a bike and a motorcycle, and while both have handle bars and a seat, the motorcycle has a lot more power,” he says. “The same here. The new Final Cut may look similar, but it blows the doors off iMovie.”

Click to view Jefferson Graham video review of Final Cut Pro X.

Click to original “Apple Overhauls Final Cut Pro” by Jefferson Graham of USA Today.

Click to read original “New Final Cut Pro Editing Software Draws Mixed Reveiws” by Jefferson Graham of USA Today.


Share the Episode