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iMovie '08 Was Originally Called 'First Cut', Ubillos on Final Cut Pro X

In a lengthy article on, Josh Mellicker revisits the Final Cut Pro X complaints and what Apple might have to do to address its limitations. The full article may be of interest to video editing professionals.

For the rest of us, the most interesting part of the article was a reference to how Apple's Chief Architect of Video Applications Randy Ubillos had originally created an application called "First Cut" which later evolved into iMovie '08. iMovie '08 was met with similarly mixed reactions due to the complete overhaul over iMovie 6.

Steve Jobs told the story when he originally introduced iMovie during a keynote in August 2007, but left out some details. According to Mellicker, Ubillos returned from vacation and found that Final Cut wasn't ideal for organizing raw footage. From that experience, First Cut was born which would let you import your raw footage and quickly skip through, organizing and building a rough edit. The intention originally was to then export to Final Cut Pro. At some point, Apple officially latched onto the project and turned it into the new iMovie '08.

Ubillos was the creator of the first three versions of Adobe Premiere and later developed KeyGrip which was sold to Apple and released as Final Cut Pro. Ubillos continues to be the Chief Architect of Video Applications at Apple.

With the release of Final Cut Pro X, Ubillos has been answering emails and told one of our readers "I'm extremely proud of Final Cut Pro X, it's a huge step forward in digital storytelling." He went on to say suggest if the user gave it a fair shot, they may be pleasantly surprised. Ubillos also write "Final Cut Pro X 1.0 is the beginning of a road, not the end."

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99 months ago
The real tragedy here is if Apple thinks all the anger over FCP X is just about that particular software, and not the growing fear over the last few years that pro apps and gear are a fading priority for Apple. For instance:

* It took almost 2.5 years to go from Final Cut Studio 2 to Final Cut Studio 3, and Final Cut Studio 3 was just a moderate update. Then it took almost another 2 full years to introduce Final Cut Pro X, which removed tons of features!

* Apple bought Shake, and then cancelled it. Cancelled it! Apple said there would be a next-generation app coming in Shake's place, but that never showed up.

* Apple started letting Logic atrophy.

* Apple "phoned-in" the last few Mac Pro updates, just slapping in some new Intel chips, but not adding value such as 1) more expansion slots (three slots is not a lot for a workstation), and 2) never bothering to include an eSATA port, even though tons of media professionals started using eSATA, 3) never bothering to include a USB3 port, etc. etc. Many people are wondering if the new Thunderbolt port will be Apple's excuse to give up on the Mac Pro altogether.

* Apple stopped updating its "Pro" page almost two years ago, here:

* Apple stopped attending NAB, and other standard industry events.

* Multiple rumors that Apple was trying to sell its Pro Apps division....

People have spent a lot of time and money building their businesses and careers around FCP. But since the iPhone launched, FCP and other pro apps and gear have gotten noticeably less attention.

That makes a lot of people nervous, and left to wonder what Apple's intentions are. You really can't help but wonder because Apple is so ridiculously silent about its intentions, which works fine on the consumer side but not when people are investing tens of thousands of dollars in apps and gear around Apple.

Combine that with Apple shipping a new version of Final Cut that is so radically different and so underpowered, and also discontinuing sales for FCS 3 suites and FCP Server (with no explanation about Server's demise or any intentions on bringing back multi-user functionality) and you can see how the dam finally burst in the Pro community and the angry flood waters rushed in.

Apple better start communicating better with its pro customers, and re-assuring them that it's committed to professional work in this new era of the iPhone/iPad. Otherwise, a lot of people will be heading for the doors...
Rating: 53 Votes
99 months ago

This is the same genius that ruined iMovie.

I guess I really don't have a "learned" opinion on this. I am a high-level consumer video editor at best, Just a few family things and stuff destined for youtube.

Still, I cant help but think back to what this guy did to iMovie. He took a straightforward program that was very logical, and turned it into a toy. Now, some three versions later, iMovie is only now providing some of the control and editing features which it had YEARS AGO before this "visionary genius" changed (ruined) it.

Maybe I am missing something, and I could be totally wrong, but it seems like this guy is in the process of doing the same thing with FCP. He took something which I used to see as professional and somewhat intimidating (FCP) and dumbed it down. i can only imagine what aspects of fine level control and precision has been lost in the process.

You do know that the genius who "ruined" FCP and iMovie is also the genius who created FCP and iMovie to begin with, right?
Rating: 26 Votes
99 months ago

Maybe good later on, but right now it sucks.

Very smart and argument based post.

Funny thing here is that even if it had all the features possible (many features coming soon by the way) no Pro will just jump to use it anyway. What smart people do is install it on a separate computer and leran it, so that when time comes to switch it's not that hard. So that leaves just pro wannabes, trolls and just regular haters and people that have no clue that just take the "omg it has no feature x" and run with it, whining and moaning about this.


Since i'm being down voted it looks like i'm spot on with this one. Sad people are sad.
Rating: 26 Votes
99 months ago

Okay so...

Some guy has difficulty organizing raw shots from his home videos.

New version of professional suite lacks proper color grading tools for (properly slated and logged) footage, and additionally lacks support for cut lists to grade with a more capable package.

I think it's more like

FCP7 is written in Carbon.

If Apple is going to have to rewrite FCP, they may as well give it a fresh start.
Rating: 24 Votes
99 months ago

You got a good point there. I mean we have people bashing Ubillos, the person that created the stuff that these same people are praising.

George Lucas created the original trilogy and the prequels. Just sayin'... ;)

A great example of a company that is doing this is Netflix. They invented the mail-order DVD. And yet they invested heavily in streaming, hurting their own DVD-mail order business. But they knew that DVD-mail order was doomed, so they helped kill it.

Of course a massive difference is that Netflix still rents DVDs. The day it turned on its streaming servers it didn't simultaneous shut down its mail-order business.

Apple's handling of the move to FCP X has so far been a road map of how not to do things. How many professional apps get made fun of on late night TV? David Pogue even came around and agreed that FCP X, as a pro tool, doesn't meet the needs of the industry today. Jim Jannard (founder of Oakley and RED) has said that Apple continues to drop the ball by not communicating w/users. A number of FCP evangelists are now former evangelists.

And it's not just one thing it's a perfect storm of multiple events. FCP X lacks basic yet very necessary features. Apple apparently dropping support for FCS (software recalled from retailers, FCS update links on Apple's site now redirect to FCP X page, etc.,). Final Cut Server, Apple Color, DVD Studio Pro and Sound Track Pro all got axed w/o any warning. If Apple publicly provided a road map or said they'd concurrently support FCS until FCP X was up to snuff none of this would've happened.

The reaction from the pro segment is not knee jerk like some people believe. Editors and post facilities have been waiting for a significant update to FCS for years. The small update in '09 was met with a collective, "Really, this is it?" and people were already making alternate plans for their businesses. Because, like smart business people, they know they are in the editing business, not the FCP editing business. Apple finally launched FCP X and here we are. These people aren't transitioning way from FCP 'cause they are mad at Apple. They are leaving because they can't wait indefinitely on Apple to release a product that meets their needs.

Potential doesn't pay the rent.

Rating: 14 Votes
99 months ago
I like what Ken Segall said:

Imagine if they had unveiled FCPX as the new Final Cut Express instead. Buyers of that product would have been absolutely delighted by the many leaps forward in power and simplicity, and the missing features would have been insignificant to them. A new Final Cut Express would also have given pro editors a tantalizing preview of a new FCPX to come.

Read the rest of his thoughts on this:
Rating: 12 Votes
99 months ago

Very smart and argument based post.

Funny thing here is that even if it had all the features possible (many features coming soon by the way) no Pro will just jump to use it anyway. What smart people do is install it on a separate computer and leran it, so that when time comes to switch it's not that hard. So that leaves just pro wannabes, trolls and just regular haters and people that have no clue that just take the "omg it has no feature x" and run with it, whining and moaning about this.

The problem too is Apple pulled final cut studio. Not selling it anymore is one thing, but they also bought back stock from resellers. So its not out there for the public. Remember too, Lion ships in a couple weeks. FCPX has some significant features (we all know that), not to mention its 64bit, uses GCD, Cocoa foundation, and it really utilizes the GPU; however, its the lack of control over your media thats provides difficulty for Post Houses. But no need to go into it... My point is we either have to use FCP7 on 10.6 or transition to another NLE. Things are still really grey...but every move thus far has said they are no longer supporting FCP7 and are investing in X. I hope Apple releases a statement monday too cuz were all a bit scared.
Rating: 11 Votes
99 months ago
So basically this thread appears to be divided into three camps:

1. The people who actually work in the industry, have a clue, and generally hate the new software.

2. The skinny jeans and pabst blue ribbon hipster crew who just want to edit their fixed gear bike videos and don't have a problem with the software because they don't have jobs and their time is worth nothing anyway.

3. The Apple-can-do-no-wrong contingent, who have managed to drag themselves out of the primordial ooze and while not yet being in the middle of the bell curve, let alone the right side, have managed to figure out how to use internet forums, much to the consternation of everyone else.

B&H has Studio in stock what gives? I think we have quite a few rumors going on here?

B&H (

All the actual Apple Stores pulled their copies, and three quarters of Apple's customers apparently forget you can get things faster and cheaper through third-party resellers more often than not.
Rating: 11 Votes
99 months ago

The real tragedy here is if Apple thinks all the anger over FCP X is just about that particular software, and not the growing fear over the last few years that pro apps and gear are a fading priority for Apple. For instance:

Not forgetting the Xserve getting discontinued and OS X Server being rolled into the mail OS as a small-priced bolt-on upgrade.

Not encouraging for anyone who administers (or plans to) a fleet of Macs in the workplace.

I know it's business sense to cater for your primary market, and home users really are the pretty major part of that these days. But it seems more and more like they're completely turning away form what they used to make.
Which is a shame if what they used to make was the best fit for something.
Rating: 10 Votes
99 months ago
I'll tell you what the biggest problem is with FCPX; the users. Had FCPX been all they'd ever known or used, it would be the best thing since sliced bread, and they "wouldn't be able to work without it". The same FUD was spread around when iMovie '08 was first released - people moaned and whined like no tomorrow, for the simple reason that they weren't used to that way of working, but do you ever hear iMovie complaints en masse, now? Nope.

We all get comfortable in our surroundings - a bit like settling into a home after a number of years. We may be offered one 10 times the size, with all the modern conveniences and time saving gizmos, but we like our home, because we have settled into it, regardless of the cold logic and efficiency that may prevail by moving to the bigger, newer house.

People are the biggest obstacle - they stubbornly refuse to accept change, no matter whether bad or good, and that is a part of human nature. We often cannot see past the end of our noses, no matter how "modern" and "cutting edge" we feel we are.

An example of this is the fact that we fool ourselves into thinking we're all ultra high-tech and modern, with our amazing interfaces, touchscreen iPhones, i7 iMacs and jQuery web UIs... but then when you consider what powers all this technology, it is a massive crash back down to earth - we're still burning coal which is dug out of the ground using hard, back-breaking labour. COAL - dirty, smelly, inefficient... but because we cannot see the source of our power, we ignore the problem. As far as we're concerned, we plug in the MacBook, and it comes on. Period.

My point is that there is always a better and more efficient way of doing something, but no matter how much better FCPX may be than previous versions, there will always be an uproar when something new is released, because people are scared, and partially (or wholly, it seems) unwilling to accept that tape & DVD are dying formats, and because Apple have seen far beyond that horizon of their inevitable death, and made something better suited to eliminate clunky, old fashioned formats, they don't like it, because they feel alienated and threatened.

It is indeed revision 1.0 of FCPX, but could be seen as revision *4* of iMovie, in a way - it's not as if Apple haven't had four years of experience and feedback, upon which to judge the failure or success of this new interface and workflow methodology. The things that are missing will gradually come to be patched in again through updates, but it is by no means a "bad" product at all, we're just stuck in our ways, and refuse to give things a chance. The avalanche of complaints and bad reviews is the sum total of just a few days of use - that's hardly a reasonable amount of time to get to know the software in depth, discovering all its' little quirks and hidden gems, deep in the UI & workflow.

See beyond the surface, and "think different" to the way in which you are used to thinking - is this not what Mac users always used to proclaim? Try something new, give it six months of daily use, and then you'll be suitably qualified to moan and deride it, if it still doesn't achieve the same product at the end, albeit with less pain and inefficiency.

Humans are creatures of habit; therein lies probably the biggest barrier to using FCPX. If you've used iMovie, you're already used to the slicker, newer and more intuitive way of working. It takes getting used to, but is that not worth some investment? I think so, and I think we should stick with it, because Apple rarely fail with a product - why should this be an exception to that rule?

Is the truth of the matter that we feel threatened? The skills and long-winded techniques that we have grown to use over many years, are now consolidated into a couple of mouse clicks - something simple, that even the novice can achieve? Is it that this incredible software has the potential to turn many, MANY more of those who were put off older versions of FCP due to the scaryness and complex interface, into people who can finally realise their creative visions, and turn that into something visible? Do you feel undermined, and less "professional" because the unemployed girl in the flat next door, living on £65 a week, now has the potential and the toolset to produce something that, in time, could rival your work, albeit with less investment in those "skills" you had to sweat over for weeks, because Apple have purged the clunky UI and inefficiency out of the product, so that it makes more sense? It may not make more sense if you are used to doing things the silly, long-winded way, but the end product will look the same, so why not?

Walk into using FCPX with a fresh perspective, and forget that you've convinced yourself it is a bad product, and ignore all others around you who slate it, and then you'll almost certainly grow to love it.

PS: I'm a software engineer, and also a Premiere Pro editor (lesser, but learning), After effects creative, and general Mac/Linux/Windows geek. I don't tell myself I am professional, but everyone else does, and I still cannot work out why. Maybe it's because I don't strut about proclaiming to be professional and know more than everyone else, or telling others that their way is "wrong", even if I may think it to myself. I have zero qualifications in software science, editing or anything computer based, but people from all over seem to think I am brilliant, and tell me often :$ and even my friend who owns a computer shop calls me up for advice on a regular basis - how's that for flattery! :)

My point? You're as skilled as you are - no matter what you tell yourself or others. Words on a certificate don't make you any better than anyone else, and years of skills and shortcuts you may have learned, that have now been replaced by drag 'n' drop, don't make you any "better", just because the way you learned to do that, was 10x as hard as it is now in just two mouse clicks. Software is starting to reach a stage where the masses can edit, focusing on the creative process, and not the six month learning curve of importing differing file formats & framerates, or the locking of tracks so as not to punch them out of sync through not knowing any better, and then struggling for 3 days trying to fix the mess.

We all have potential, and Apple help us realise it, so give FCPX the chance *we all* deserve.
Rating: 10 Votes

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