Carlos Corral

Filmmaker / Producer

@mindwarpllc

Goodbye Apple, Hello Adobe

July 07, 2011

Well, its official. Our company has officially switched from Final Cut Studio 3 to Adobe Production Premium 5.5. I’ll state the obvious reasons in this blog post. I will also tell you why we didn’t choose AVID Media Composer along with why we aren’t even going to spend the $299 on Final Cut  iMovie Pro X. But first, a little history.

The History of MindWarp using Apple & Adobe

Believe it or not, I first used Adobe Premiere 5.1c while in high school back in 2000. From there I used Adobe Premiere 6.0. When I went to the University of Texas at Austin in 2002, I was introduced to Final Cut Pro 3.

It was a much different editor at that time and it defined my entire college editing experience. I did move away from Final Cut Pro briefly and tried AVID out for 6 months in one of our advanced editing classes.

While I thought it was great, I had just grown used to Final Cut Pro and decided to stick with it. I used Final Cut Pro all the way before graduating in 2007.

While we used other Adobe products on the side (Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, etc), Final Cut Pro was our main editor. I had tried Adobe Premiere Pro out since it came with the production bundle but I felt it wasn’t quite there yet.

I edited my 1st feature film Hands of God with Final Cut Pro 7 instead. I used After Effects, Color, Soundtrack Pro (for audio cleanup), and ProTools during this process and continued using these programs for the commercial and web video work I do today.  

Not only that, I even wrote a RED camera article RED ALERT! two years ago to the day on how Final Cut Studio 3 fits perfectly into the RED workflow.  But alas, all good things must come to an end.

The Day the Editing World Stood Still

I remember that glorious day came when Final Cut Pro X was announced at NAB 2011. It looked amazing! It felt like Apple was rewarding me for being loyal for so long.

Then, on June 21 2011, the unthinkable happened. Final Cut Pro X was unusable, not just in my workflow, but in every other professional editor’s workflow.

Rather than purchase or panic, I turned to the blogosphere for answers. Why? Why would Apple do this to us? EDL, XML, OMF gone? Multi-cam gone?

How am I suppose to talk to Protools or Col…OMG they killed COLOR? I can’t import my old projects? That was the final straw! It felt like Apple ripped my heart out and said “we don’t care how you make your living”.

Instead of being rewarded, we were kicked to the curb. But then, something unexpected happened that I don’t think Apple counted on. Everyone who had a blog began to write.

I kid you not, I was glued to twitter 24/7 seeing who was saying what about FCPX. We were all looking for answers. Apple chose to stay silent. Big mistake. They finally came out with an FAQ for FCPX but it was too late. The damage had been done.

fcpx_badreviews

FCPX: Love it or Hate it?

Obviously if someone is in a relationship, (Apple & my company) having a working relationship means having communication as the basic core between the both of us. Instead, we got a slap in the face and were told to get out.

Almost like telling us we were too old and Apple wanted someone younger and hipper because we had become to needy. Okay maybe not that graphic, but still.

The question that will never be answered is this: “What the fuck was Apple thinking?” Rather than wait for answers, I looked over at Adobe & AVID to check out what they would offer my company.

With all the bad press of FCPX, they pounced on the pro market and both are offering special crossgrade rates for FCP users. Talk about perfect timing!

Adobe > Avid

I had used AVID back in college but only briefly. It was a pretty solid program and it really fixed a lot of my bad editing habits (I now only use 1-2 video tracks instead of having almost 20 for one project). Unfortunately, my customer service experience with AVID was the main deciding factor.

Being a Protools user, AVID support codes are expensive. If you contact AVID via email, they take as long as 24-48hrs. to respond. If you try by phone, you will wait a minimum of 30 minutes (this is has been my experience). I recently had a ProTools hardware issue that resulted in bad hardware and it took AVID two weeks to understand my problem.

Long story short, I exchanged my hardware via my vendor but ended getting mixed messages from multiple reps. My phone rep told me to do one thing and the email rep said to try something else.

Rather than hassle with AVID anymore, I just went to my vendor, told him the problem and they were able to help me without a fuss. Now that is customer service!

Adobe on the other hand made everything easy for me. People are available to chat online and I can actually speak to someone right away on the phone or via text, and I don’t need an ASC (AVID Support Code). The choice was a no brainer. I was able to try out Adobe Premiere Pro for 30 days and luckily, it was a very easy transition.

I think I’d rather stick with a company that will actually communicate with me about upcoming changes to their editing products rather than get the silent treatment from Apple or long wait times like AVID.

Maybe in a few years I will go back and check out FCPX, but until it’s ready for actual professional use, I will be sticking with Adobe.

Adobe’s Advantages

I’ve been using Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 for the last couple of weeks and I’m actually impressed. It supports every flavor of HD natively including DSLR & RED3D files.

I think what has impressed me the most is the Dynamic Link between Premiere Pro and After Effects. I dragged and dropped several After Effects comps onto my Premiere Pro timeline without having to render. OMF, XML, EDL, and even tape are all still there!

What’s also really smart on Adobe’s part is having the FCP and AVID keyboard shortcuts and making the transition to Adobe even smoother. And that’s not even the best part.

I can export XML files from FCP7 of all of my old projects and Premiere Pro will call up everything the way it was (minus a few 3rd party plugins but I’m okay with that). While the interface was a little cluttered at first, I was able to adjust all the windows properly and create my own custom workspace. Neat!

Below you will find 2 screen shots of a commercial I recently edited that I imported from Final Cut Pro 7 into Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 and used the Dynamic Link with After Effects. I edit on Dual Monitors so I think its kick ass I can have both programs open at once as they talk to each other.

 

Final Thoughts

While I’m not happy with the direction that Apple has taken, I have to ask myself, why didn’t I switch over sooner? Maybe all it took was a little push from Apple.

I guess I should be thanking Apple for dropping the ball with Final Cut Pro X. Without them, I wouldn’t have even considered Adobe Premiere Pro for my professional workflow.

I’m sure one day Final Cut Pro X will be an actual professional editor again, but when a company like Apple turns their back on the creative professionals that made them the company they are today, one must wonder if they can ever be trusted again.

Apple not only destroyed their creditably with the professional market, but they threatened the very means of how several of us make a living, and for that there is no forgiveness.

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