Skip to main content

For Apple, another misfire in video editing, pros say

Mark Milian
Apple released Final Cut Pro X, the new version of its widely-used video-editing software, on Tuesday to a furor from critics.
Apple released Final Cut Pro X, the new version of its widely-used video-editing software, on Tuesday to a furor from critics.
  • Professional video editors are voicing their frustrations with Apple's Final Cut Pro X
  • Apple previously misfired with a major revision to its iMovie consumer software
  • Customers have chimed in on Internet forums, review listings and in a skit on "Conan"

(CNN) -- The latest version of Apple's widely-used Final Cut Pro high-end video-editing software may not be ready for its closeup.

Apple "rebuilt from the ground up" the new Final Cut Pro X, the company said in a statement, rather than adding a few features to the familiar interface from Final Cut Pro 7.

For the digital-only release on Tuesday via the new Mac App Store, Apple reduced the price to $300 from $1,000. An Apple statement described the new version, in its signature grandiose marketing style, as "revolutionary."

But some outspoken video producers, who rely on the Apple program in their daily work, are staging a revolt. The backlash is not unlike what was seen when Apple released another retooled video-editing program, iMovie '08.

In a flood of online postings, people who took an early dive into the program griped about the lack of important features from Final Cut's predecessors. For example, users can't easily edit multi-camera shots, layered audio tracks or projects started on older Final Cut versions, they say.

An Apple spokeswoman says the company plans to eventually add multi-camera and more advanced audio features.

The goal for Final Cut Pro X, it seems, is to make the complex editing software more accessible to "prosumers," or folks who fall somewhere between casual hobbyists and working professionals.

Apple hit the same stumbling blocks when it rewrote its introductory iMovie software. iMovie '08 was slammed by reviewers for oversimplifying and leaving out basic features, such as the ability to add multiple tracks. Apple added these features in later versions.

Some customers are having iMovie flashbacks.

"This is no longer a professional application," read one popular Final Cut review on the App Store. "This is just an upgrade of iMovie."

Conan O'Brien and his editors chimed in with a comedy sketch taking jabs at the program. The segment, from Thursday's episode of "Conan," is available for viewing online. "Conan" airs on the TBS network, which, like CNN, is owned by Time Warner.

When Apple makes a change as drastic as it did with Final Cut, the company perhaps shouldn't be surprised by some criticism. Especially after going through something similar once before with its other line of video-editing applications.

The new Final Cut product is getting flogged by customers in its App Store listing. Many customers have doled out 1-star ratings for it and and the app is currently carrying a "C" grade.

"The oversimplification of the interface makes me feel like I've somehow lost a lot of precision and control," wrote App Store user Fraize in a review that hundreds of shoppers marked as "helpful." "I get the impression that folks at Apple that design software don't actually run a production environment, and don't understand our needs at all."

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the criticism.


Most popular Tech stories right now