The Case of the X

NAB hasn’t been too long ago and some questions left open way back then now seem to have gotten some answers. As of today (which is incidentally also the official beginning of summer) Final Cut Pro X is available as are its companion apps in updated form. Now certainly the new interface looks sleek in all of them, and given that you can record HD video even on cheap mobile phones these days, affordable yet professional editing apps will sell like crazy, not to speak of of existing users looking to upgrade their Final Cut Studio packages, yet there is a bad taste in my mouth about a lot of this. When I bought my first personal Mac (a now 5 year old MacBook Pro) one of the big motivations behind it was that in my function as an After Effects nerd I not only wanted to understand that side better but I also wanted to look over the fence, as it were, to see if I it can help me explore better workflow alternatives in some areas. A considerable part of that were Motion, Compressor and DVD Studio Pro and here is where it gets interesting and disappointing for me: It seems Apple have declared defeat and very much abandoned those products in terms of what they originally set out to be, having "integrated" many of the features in FCP X or only posing them as add-ons. Now Motion was never more than a glorified title and background generator as Apple didn’t seem committed enough to turn this into a real competitor for After Effects (as far as motion graphics essentials go, the app didn’t even have a built-in parametric lens flare but used pre-made images…. *yikes* :-D ) and arguably, with the era of physical media distribution coming to an end one probably would not mind the loss of a DVD authoring tool too much, but still kinda makes you mourn for the wasted potential. While its deeper concepts may never have taken off because they eluded too many users, Motion was one of a kind and could have been something great. On the other hand, it’s of course good news for After Effects – it’s almost as if Apple have given their blessing to anyone who wants to do something beyond template stuff to officially use it. Now let’s hope that for CS6 we do indeed get something better than semi-automated rotoscoping and warp stabilizers and our favorite program doesn’t end up like Motion did – a graphics generator and helper tool for its companion editing program….

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