Apple Scrapped Completed 64-Bit Final Cut Pro 8 to Build Final Cut Pro X?

Following the release of Final Cut Pro X back in June, Apple received a significant amount of criticism from users unhappy with the direction the company had taken with the professional-level video editing software and the many features that had gone missing in the revamp. The outcry resulted in Apple posting an FAQ on the situation and promising that updates to increase the software's functionality would be coming.

fcp.co now points (via Cult of Mac) to a recent interview with RHED Pixel founder Richard Harrington in which he claims that Apple had completed work on a new 64-bit Final Cut Pro 8 product before scrapping the software to build the revamped Final Cut Pro X. According to Harrington:

There was a Final Cut 8 and it was 64bit and it was done and they looked at it and said 'This is not what we want to do, this is evolutionary, this is not revolutionary' and they killed it.

Curiously, the video of Harrington's interview was removed from public view after his comment was publicized by fcp.co.

The report notes there has been no corroborating evidence of a finished Final Cut Pro 8 product, but also that there is no reason to disbelieve Harrington and that it does not appear that the comment has been taken out of context.

Update: Harrington did note in a Tweet that the comment was misunderstood and that he had merely "heard efforts were well underway then killed". He did also comment on the fcp.co article:

I do not have explicit knowledge of FCP8. Wasn't saying I did. Wasn't implying I did.

Just repeating rumors I had heard multiple times. I had been told many times that there were efforts to bring 64 bit to the type of interface used in FCP7.

Harrington's backtracking conflicts with what fcp.co's thought was a clear interpretation, but it does appear that "Final Cut Pro 8" was not nearly in as finished a form as had been initially thought from his statement.

Top Rated Comments

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114 months ago
Makes sense, they already dumped professional users to the curbside...
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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114 months ago
Well, I suppose Final Cut Pro X revolutionised how one recognises a total failure.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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114 months ago
Well, all Mac OS X updates since 10.0 were more evolutionary than revolutionary. Evolutionary is good.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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114 months ago
So lets trash something that FCP users wanted and give them something they don't want... Makes perfect :apple: sense...
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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114 months ago

Seriously you have people calling themselves professionals posting here and there claiming how bad FCP X is for them in a most unprofessional manner. In any other industry the mark of a professional is getting a tool to do what you want. It really doesn't matter what industry you are in, success depends upon making the tools of that industry work for you.

As to what FCP users wanted, giving them that would have caused stagnation in software development. That opens Apple up to more nimble competition from others. The reality is Apple would lose customers either way. In any event the so called professionals that claim FCP X isn't for professional use really do look stupid or foolish.


OK - I'm a professional editor. I've got a window open with Final Cut Pro 7 rendering right behind this one. I make all my money editing, directing and producing. I work freelance at a lot of edit houses/ ad agencies and there's a few things that people who are whining about FCPx aren't making clear to everyone else, let me try:

-We don't really NEED new features. The tools of an editor are mostly cutting clips together. That's why most edit systems look the same. Preview, edit, done. It's like any audio player, for example: you want a playlist, you want a play, stop skip button... but when things like "Ping" are added to iTunes, people wonder why. This is a "pro" app, and the "pros" wanted a FASTER more reliable, 64 bit version of FCP 7, not to be able to import iMovie projects.

-Not one pro I know is using FCPx. At most they have it installed on some other computer and they screw around with it sometimes. It has NEVER been considered as a seriously useful product for people working in a pro environment by anyone I know.

-When you talk about the mark of a professional being able to get a tool to do what you want, yes, we want that. But the problem is that we can't simply all jump onto FCPx and start using it at work. We have to be able to make money and knowing that EVEN IF WE MOVE TO FCPx WE CANNOT OPEN FCP 7 PROJECTS means we'll never give up what we know and what what works for something that's a pain in the ass to lean and doesn't do everything we want it to do. (XML Support in FCPx does not allow you to import XML files created in FCP 7, another "sucka!" move from someone at Apple)

People who whine and complain are all over the web. So are loads of crappy work. I'm sure FCPx makes some people happy, but the people who make the ads and TV shows they watch on TV aren't. That's the problem we're bitching about. I waited so long for an application that I've built most of my career around to be updated and instead, it was completely redesigned into something new. Could you imagine bringing your automatic transition car into a repair shop and instead of fixing it they give you a brand new car. Only, now it's got a right-side steering wheel and it's manual transmission. Oh, and your wife is pregnant and you have to get her safely to the hospital. And there's no body around to help you learn to drive stick. That's basically what happened - we didn't expect the change, and we don't have time to learn something we didn't want to learn in the first place.

Hope this helps you understand why I'm such a pissed off little bitch :)
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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114 months ago
these comments to the article make some good points:

Marcus R. Moore · Hamilton, Ontario
I think the important bit of info is WHEN was he's referring to. Philip Hodgetts has previously written on his blog about how FCP was undergoing a 64bit rewrite- under Carbon. But when Apple's 64bit Carbon initiative was killed in favour of migrating to Cocoa, THIS was when Randy Ubilos and his team decided that if they had to rewrite the entire application from scratch, they might as well take a hard look at FCP and start rebuilding from the ground up with something fairly new.

This is why the "iMovie Pro" comments are so silly. FCPX has been in development for so long, it's likely very muddy where the development of one was spun off into the other.

Marcus R. Moore · Hamilton, Ontario
Here's the link to Philip's original blog post. Basically FCP7 WAS being rewritten to 64bit carbon, then Apple decided to go 64bit cocoa, so the FCP development team was left trying to decide what to push out for the FCP7 release. This is a large part of why it was such a "lacklustre" release. So yes, some cocoa made it into FCP7 as they started playing around [I know the retiming interface is cocoa, for example].

http://www.philiphodgetts.com/2010/11/so-final-cut-pro-7-was-to-be-the-64-bit-release/
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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