Final Cut Studio 3 Predictions

There has been a lot of discussion on the Internet the last few months in regards to what Apple is going to do with the seemingly out-dated Final Cut Studio package. Lots of people have written blog articles about what features they would like to see in the new versions of Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Color, etc. The general consensus from the Internet community seems to be that Final Cut Studio is due for a very major update, or even a complete overhaul. Conversations about this are appearing wide-spread on podcasts, twitter, forums and through all the major social networks.

Some people are predicating the death of DVD Studio Pro, others are predicting that Blu-ray burning will finally become available. With Apple filing for new patents, some are predicting that Final Cut Studio will introduce some cool new storyboarding features.

People are hoping for better round-tripping support, better media management, unified solid state camera support, major bug-fixes in Color, 10-bit and 4K support, GPU Acceleration, true 3D in Motion, features from Adobe Premiere (such as searchable text), features from Avid (such as script sync), features from iMovie (such as an updated trim editor), background rendering, Spotlight support inside Final Cut… the list goes on, and on!

Regardless of what new and amazing features end up in Final Cut Studio 3, everyone wants to get their hands on it quick smart! Most people seem to think that Apple will showcase their new product somewhere between now and NAB (even though Apple have dropped out of NAB for the foreseeable future).

So, given all this, what are our predictions?

Well, we think sometime this year Apple will release Final Cut Extreme – a complete overhaul of the Final Cut Studio package.

The name Final Cut Extreme has been around since the lead-up to NAB 2006, after ThinkSecret, writing for PCMagazine, claimed to have additional details about Final Cut Pro 6, Final Cut Extreme, and long-rumoured display upgrades. Final Cut Extreme was said to enable the most demanding users to edit uncompressed 4K and 2540p video. Compatibility was said to include Red Digital Cinema’s Red, Panavision Genesis, Dalsa Origin, Thompson Viper, Sony Cinealta, Phantom HD, and Arri D20 cameras. After this article was released, the online film community went crazy, with heaps of blog posts being written adding to the hype. Unfortunately, the rumours were false, an no Final Cut Extreme was released at NAB 2006. However, in the lead-up to NAB 2007, everything started again. There was the occasional sensible article being written, but most of it was just hype and strong wishing.

However, we don’t think Final Cut Extreme will be designed for the extreme high-end market – we just think that they’ll rename the existing Final Cut Studio package to Final Cut Extreme and keep a similar pricing. It will still be marketed towards their current broad audience – but we also predict, that with a massive new collection of features and simplified workflows, that a lot of the high-end boys and girls will jump on board.

So what will make this new FCX so different? Well, it’s our prediction that most of the Final Cut Studio (i.e. Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Color, LiveType, etc.) will be merged into the one application. We predict a MASSIVE interface and workflow overhaul. No longer will you need to Send to Soundtrack Pro, or use XML workarounds to get your timeline into Color. Everything will be in the one “box”. In typical Apple style – we predict they’ll make things better, by making them substantially simpler.

So how the hell will this actually work? We believe the key is a new Universal Timeline and a set of different Rooms.

The Project Room will be the “hub” of your project. Taking media management to a new extreme, this will be were you can manage different versions of your project, keep track of scripts, storyboards, and other pre-production information. Taking on board features find in other packages such as Celtx, we predict that FCX will have a big focus on ALL stages of the film-making process, including Pre-Production.

User Management will be dramatically improved in FCX. Much like in Avid, you will be able to easily create and switch between user profiles when the application first loads, and also any time whilst you have the application running. You can easily customise the FCX interface to suit your own needs. Currently, managing user customisations in Final Cut Pro is a joke. Multiple users working on the same project will also be supported. Changes will be tracked and logged.

We predict that as an extension to their current MobileMe platform, they will release MobileMe Pro, which will easily allow you to share pre-production documents such as scripts and call sheets, as well as offer everything that Final Cut Server currently has to offer. You’ll be able to easily export rough cuts out of FCX, that will automatically be uploaded to the MobileMe platform, and then producers can access these videos on their iPhone.

The whole selling point of FCX will be making life quicker and easier. In typical Apple style – they’ll take features only found on extremely expensive and high-end products, and make them cool and pretty for trendy Apple users. The integration between FCX, the Internet, AppleTV and iPhones will be extremely important to the success of the product.

Project Files will also be quite different to the way they are currently handled in Final Cut. They will be an archive file, which when opened will contain a logical folder structure containing any pre-production information, scripts, etc. Each bin in the Edit Room will be an individual file (much the same as Avid), allowing you to easily copy and paste individual bins if need be.

The Media Room, will be a beefed up version of a mix between the Media Manager in Final Cut, and Final Cut Server. This will be were you keep track of all your video, audio, graphics and other assets. When you create a new Project, you will be asked to select a Media Collection. This will be the equivalent of your Capture Scratch, Thumbnail Cache, etc. In this file (which will be an archive, so you can right click on it and “view archive contents) will be ALL the assets for your project, all nicely organised in a logical folder structure. Each project will have it’s own Media Collection (similar to Avid’s way to dealing with things). If you delete a file from the collection on the Finder level, these changes are automatically detected by FCX (just like in Avid). You can have multiple version of the same file (ie. you might have a couple different versions of a musical score) – and this is all handled by FCX. One of the coolest features will be a video Face Recognition function, much the same as the one found in iMovie. Video clips will also be scanned, and using a new Speech-to-Text engine automatic transcripts will be written (just like in the new version of Premiere).

Unfortunately, we still predict that FCX will be heavily based around the Quicktime Architecture, meaning that you’ll still probably have to wrap R3D files into Quicktime files. However, this process will be all done in the background. For example, if you drag a MXF file into the timeline, this file is automatically copied, logged and transcoded or wrapped to the Media Collection in the background. You can still do other things while FCX is adding new media (similar to the way Final Cut Pro handles it’s new stabilisation features).

CinemaTools will also be integrated into the Media Room – allowing you to easily go from a ProRes offline, to a 35mm release print.

The Cutting Room, will be the Final Cut Pro replacement. Although Final Cut has come a very long way since it was shown in private room demonstrations as a 0.9 alpha at the National Association of Broadcasters exposition in 1998, it’s still not as “Apple” as it could be. Apple products are known for their slick interfaces, and features that “just work” – and although Final Cut is one of the more beautiful interfaces on the market, it’s still got nothing on the really cheap and friendly little brother, iMovie. It’s our prediction that the Cutting Room will have all the fantastic features of the current Final Cut Pro, but with some very major improvements.

The biggest and most important difference will be the Universal Timeline. This timeline will be common across all rooms. It will be very similar to the current timeline, except more powerful. Just imagine if you merged the Final Cut, After Effects, Motion and Soundtrack Pro timelines together. Audio will be vastly improved on the timeline – as you’ll be allowed to perform surround panning, etc. You’ll be able to group tracks, as well as label, colour code them, and even give them a thumbnail icon.

Although the interface will look much sexier, and modern – everything will function in a similar way to the current Final Cut Pro. Basically, if you can easily find your way around the current Final Cut application – this change over will be a non-issue. The biggest changes will be an improved Trim Tool and vastly improved Effects Engine.

After you’ve cut together your masterpiece, you can then jump over to the Audio Room. After you’ve clicked the Audio Room tab, your timeline stays the same, but the workarea section of the application changes. Building upon the features of both Logic and Soundtrack Pro, this is were you do all your audio mastering. Any simple audio effects you applied in the Cutting Room automatically transfer over to the Audio Room. There is a powerful real-time audio mixer (with all the automated faders and knobs you can handle), support of virtual instruments, plus all the plug-ins you’ve come to expect from Logic and STP. Plugins that work in Logic, also work in FCX. The sound effects library will no doubt be HUGE – and easily searchable via the Media Room.

Next is the Effects Room. After Apple announced the end of Shake, everyone has been eagily waiting for Apple to release the code-named Phenomenon replacement. However, this, so far, has never come about. That said, a lot of the amazing features of Shake have been included in Final Cut, Motion and even iMovie. We believe that the Effects Room will be the Shake replacement. We think that it will utilise a mixture of using the Universal Timeline – but also nodes (like in Shake). You’ll be able to do everything you can currently do in Motion and LiveType – plus utilise all the plugins that Shake has to offer, but the feature set will also be expanded upon. True 3D will be integrated into the package. Using the Media Room, you’ll also easily be able to import effects shots from other packages such as After Effects, and Nuke. The current Final Cut Studio has been very much designed to keep everything in the one package. Getting from Final Cut to After Effects is not a trivial task. However – in FCX, we predict that this will change. Just like MacOS can easily open and manage PDFs, we predict that Apple will try and make everything easier and simplier. Advanced 2D and 3D Trackers, powerful roto tools, etc. will all be stock standard. Masks that are created in the Cutting Room (which you can do using the new and improved pen tool) are automatically available in the Effects Room. Obviously, there will be heaps of amazing templates and “one click” options – all available via the Media Room.

The Grading Room will be the place to go for your final colour correction. Much as the same as the Audio Room, any colour correction effects you apply to clips in the Cutting Room will automatically be transferred over to the Grading Room. Based on Color, but with some added functionality from the Shake feature-set, this is were you can do all your grading. Tracking Data and Masks created in the Effects Room (or even the Cutting Room) are all available in the Grading Room.

Finally, you have the Finishing Room. This is the were you can export your timeline, clips, effects shots, etc. to web, DVD, AppleTV, iPod, etc. Taking on all the functionality of DVD Studio Pro and iDVD, plus all the power of Compressor – you can export things with one click, or customise the settings to the finest degree. Unfortunately, I suspect BluRay is dead – at least from Apple’s point of view (being a “bad of hurt” and all that!). In this room you’ll also be able to export to tape via a much improved and powerful interface.

Of course, all of this is great – but we predict that the biggest changes and improvements will be behind the scenes. There will be a change over from the 32-bit Carbon backbone to the 64-bit Cocoa. Everything will be GPU Accelerated. New low bit-rate versions of ProRes will be released. Less things will need rendering (for example, no more rendering if you simply “flip” an clip), and there will be better rendering management (i.e. if you drag a clip over the top of another clip, causing it to need to render, if you drag that clip away again, the old render files will be referenced – no need to re-render). There will be full meta-data support and Spotlight integration. You will be able to have multiple instances of FCX running – as you won’t be able to load multiple projects in the same application like you currently can. Every room will support distributed/cluster rendering as well as background rendering (this includes all plugins). Up to 4:4:4 4K will be supported, plus there will be better support for proxy files. It’s our prediction that FCX will be almost written from the ground up – so the code will be a lot cleaner and more streamlined, making everything more zippy!

There will also be heaps of little extra bug fixes and improvements, such as improved speed tools in the Cutting Room, better cutting and pasting of parameters, better and more interactive bins (you’ll be able to make your clips any size, and re-arrange them any way you want). The ability to “click and drag” to enable/disable or lock/unlock tracks, or check/uncheck filters (like various Adobe applications). One of the biggest improvements will be better error explanation (i.e. instead of “General Error”, FCX will explain exactly what went wrong and suggest ways of fixing it).

Cool new features will include a full screen bin browser (much like iMovie), new Titles, Transitions and Effects, Animated Travel Maps (available in the Effects Room – taken from iMovie), Advanced Particle Effects, Snap to Beat Markers (like iMovie), Multi-Touch Support (for laptop users), etc.

Customisation will also be a key. You’ll be able to design your own tool plugins for the Universal Timeline, which can be bought and sold as an application on the iTunes stores. If you open a project that has a whole lot of plugins you don’t have, then you’ll be given an option to download any of the free ones, or purchase any that aren’t free.

It’s our belief that FCX will focus on tying the professional application in with the rest of the Apple family of products. FCX will play nicely with the Xsan, Xserve, AppleTV, iPhone and iPod. It will have great connectivity with their new online “cloud”.

Finally – we have a hunch that Apple will release several hardware addons to FCX. This will speed up renders, and transcodes dramatically. But what makes this hardware so special, is that it’s design and source-code will be released as open source allowing 3rd party developers to take on board this technology. Companies like Blackmagic Design will be able to implement this technology in their own capture cards. They will also release a FCX control surface, that allows you to easily control all the various rooms in the application.

So, when do we predict this will be released? We have a hunch that Apple will release a minor update to Final Cut Studio within the next couple of months (fixing some of the bugs and adding some new codecs), but will release FCX towards the end of this year along with a new range of MacPro towers. At first, users will be extremely annoyed with Apple for completely re-designing the Final Cut workflow – but soon enough, people will start to realise just how powerful the new application is. As a result, Avid will dramatically reduce their pricing further, and start to offer Media Composer and ProTools as a single package.

We predict that the package will be AUD$1000.00, and you will not be able to upgrade to it from Final Cut Studio 2.

Will we be right? Only time will tell! Like most people, we do honestly believe that Apple is due for a major update – especially after we’ve just started using Avid for a couple of projects, and have realised just how fantastic the backbone behind Avid is (just the way it handles user profiles and project files is great). But we have “grown up” with Final Cut (in fact, that only reason we went to Apple was due to it!), so we do really want to support it. It will certainly be interesting to see what actually happens in the next few months (especially considering the state of the world’s finances). I don’t know how many people in the world are quite ready to spend a lot of money on new software…

Feel free to send us any comments about our predictions! We’d be really interested to hear what you have to say! But keep in mind, that all of this is just a big GUESS – we don’t have any insider information, nor do we have any connection to anyone at Apple. But after having a good look at Apple’s track record, we think that this is something that has a huge amount of possibility. As we said – only time will tell…

Best Regards, Chris!

33 Responses

  1. Jon Chappell
    Feb 22, 2009 - 05:11 AM

    I really like the idea of selling plugins on iTunes. I think that would encourage more third-party FCP development, as well as alerting more casual users to the expansion options available.

    Steve Jobs didn’t rule out Blu-ray support. He just said it was “a bag of hurt” with the current licensing system. That’s not to say it won’t come in the future.

    Reply
  2. Chris Hocking
    Feb 22, 2009 - 09:54 AM

    Thanks for your comments Jon! It’s very much appreciated.

    Yes, the iTunes Plugin Store would be extremely handy. Lots of people have discussed this possibility ever since the iPhone Apps started becoming so popular. I know some 3rd party developers have been toying with the idea of building such a facility – however it really needs to be done by Apple to be truly accepted by users and developers. I’m not sure if Apple would really want to “bloat” iTunes that much though – so maybe they’ll introduce another application – the iStore Application, which is dedicated to software extensions (i.e. you can download FCX plugins, Apeture Addons, Garage Band Packs, Sound Effect Library’s etc.).

    As for Blu-ray, even though Mr. Jobs didn’t completely rule support out – I still don’t think that Apple users will be seeing Blu-Ray drives in their computers. With solid-state drives getting bigger and cheaper, I think Apple will assume that user’s no longer need Blu-Ray for data storage, and as for Blu-Ray movies – well, unless Blu-Ray REALLY takes off in the next few months, I think Apple will assume, like a lot of people, that the technology is dead in the water. It will either be replaced by something better, or everything will move to online distribution.

    Reply
  3. Justin Howard
    Feb 22, 2009 - 10:56 PM

    The problem is, is Apple really listening to the users, I have a number of suggestions and the feedback system is only one-way, feedback should work both ways.

    All the rooms should be the same, like the idea of a central hub, with rooms off from the central hub.

    Itunes is not available in South Africa, thus the idea of buying off itunes would not work. Lessons for the new version in the form of video should be included, to learn the basics.

    An easier transcoding process, drop the confusion between log/transfer and log/capture.

    Use wizards, this would allow for workflows that use the same style each and every week. A publisher type programme that would allow for user input and would allow for easy subtitling.

    There are many more ideas floating around in the ooze that is my mind

    Reply
  4. Chris Hocking
    Feb 24, 2009 - 07:59 PM

    Thanks for your comments Justin!

    I think Apple certainly listens to its users. However, it’s sometimes hard to tell, because seemingly simple problems take ages to get fixed (just look at Final Cut’s “General Error”). I’d say the main reason for that is due to the sheer quantity of feedback they receive. It must be almost impossible to process it all, and work out what’s actually worth pursuing given they’ve got so many agendas that’s aren’t always easily visible to the public.

    I would assume – if they did go with the central hub idea, that all rooms would have a similar interface, and as I said, a universal timeline.

    I’m sure iTunes will eventually make its way to South Africa.

    Although I have no problem with the current log/transfer and log/capture system, I do think this whole process can be streamlined and improved upon. But to do this, Apple would need to almost start from the ground up again. Only time will tell if this actually happens.

    The wizards idea is an interesting one. I can see it working in many situations, like you suggested. However, you can almost do that as it is, using a base sequence and Motion templates. Intelligent subtitling in Final Cut would be very handy however…

    Once again, thanks for reading Justin! Feel free to post any other ideas that ooze their way up here!

    Reply
  5. GuyM
    Feb 25, 2009 - 12:32 AM

    Chris

    I think your predictions/wishes would make for an excellent software suite. I believe that in time your predictions will be spot on. I suspect the next FCS release will continue with the separate apps but as we move forward into real 64bit and mega amounts of system RAM it would make perfect sense to have all apps under the one roof accessed via “Rooms.”

    I think Apple will deliver a much tighter integration between applications in the suite taking the FCP/STP timeline editing roundtrip further. I expect to see Color 2.0 with 100% FCP timeline compatibility and editing. I’d like Color 2.0 to be able to handle Live Type and Motion projects too. Integration will be the name of the game going forward…..I hope.

    I expect fully optimised use of OpenCL and Grand Central in all apps for RT responsive workflows. Finally RT Colour grading and no render editing in Color and FCP respectively! I also expect a nodal RT compositor application to arrive too either as a standalone app or as part of a substantially upgraded Motion.

    Apple’s target has got to be the likes of Autodesk now. With Snow Leopard and a modern Mac Pro there should be no reason why a Smoke, FFI and Lustre style workflow could not be delivered in FCS3. DO Apple still have the ambition and talent pool to bring it off? I guess we’ll find out soon enough…

    Reply
  6. Chris Hocking
    Feb 25, 2009 - 06:54 PM

    Thanks for your comments Guy!

    I suspect that Apple will release this predicted update to the Final Cut Studio at the same time as releasing the new 64bit version of the OS, and also a new MacPro, probably called MacPro Extreme. Again, I have nothing to back this up (it’s purely guess work), but anyway! However, I do think that Apple will hold off, even if they’ve got a working product, until the world’s markets settle down a bit. No point releasing a product if no one is going to buy it! My prediction is towards the end of this year, start of next. I’m sure they’ll release minor updates to the existing FCS in the meantime – but I doubt they’ll do any major updates such as merging Shake capabilities into Motion.

    I think optimised use of OpenCL and Grand Central is certainly in the works. However, I think rendering will actually become a new feature of Color! Obviously there will be more real-time playback capabilities across the whole range – but I expect rendering will never completely disappear.

    I think Apple certainly have the talent pool – and to be honest, I think even if they didn’t have the right people, they would hunt them down and employ them. I have a feeling Apple is getting ready to let all guns rip, and try and get an even stronger hold on the video editing market across all levels from features to corporates to home videos.

    One thing I would really love to see however is Avid-like analogue sounding audio shuttling, as opposed to Final Cut’s “digital jumping”! Surely that can’t be too hard to implement!

    Reply
  7. Martin Baker
    Feb 26, 2009 - 09:43 PM

    It’s like you’ve been reading my mind Chris :-)

    I’ve been saying for years that it’s inevitable that things will move to a universal timeline model and usually get looks of disbelief. Even suggesting that it there are so many overlaps that it makes no sense to keep Color as a separate app and it should be integrated into FCP, I get reasons why it would be a really bad idea.

    Long term, I think what you’re saying is absolutely the way things will go but don’t underestimate how much work this would be. It’s a mammoth undertaking and I don’t think it’s around the corner just yet. Maybe 4-5 years off. I’m not convinced about the open source hardware and lack of upgrade path though.

    There’s no doubt that FCP is the most used app and is in most need of an overhaul. This year it will be 10 years old and technology has changed a great deal since it started life as a cross platform app at Macromedia. I’d expect to see a rewritten FCP7 this year before all the other pieces are in place. I also think that a much simplified single-user version of Final Cut Server will become the new media management hub of the studio package, though probably not this year.

    Reply
  8. Chris Hocking
    Feb 27, 2009 - 06:47 PM

    Thanks for your comments Martin! It’s always nice to know that people actually read the stuff you produce!

    I don’t think this idea of a universal timeline is that uncommon. I’m sure that lots of people have thought about it even in the early days of non-linear editors. I know other companies have considered building this kind of software in the past – however, the sheer scale and complexity normally kills the projects before they even begin.

    To be honest, I would be against the idea of merging Color and Final Cut IF they used the existing Final Cut interface. Yes – you could put some of the Color functionality into the filter architecture of Final Cut, and probably port some of the tools over as well – but I don’t think you could turn Final Cut into a professional level colour grading package in its current form. For that reason, I expect that Apple may bring some of the features from Color into Final Cut (in the short term), but they’ll keep Color separate (unless until my prediction of FCX comes to life).

    Don’t get me wrong – I completely understand the amount of money and work it would take to build something like the proposed FCX. As you said, it would be a MAMMOTH undertaking. However, I think that Apple has the financial backing, technical knowledge, attitude and willingness to make the impossible, possible. If only for the fact that others would say that Apple CAN’T possibly achieve it – I’d bet that they would divert resources to the project just to prove everyone wrong – just to prove a point.

    I think the lack of an upgrade path will important for Apple. It will create a clear line between Final Cut Studio (the old platform) and Final Cut Extreme (the brand new baby) – two very different products. They will also be able to generate a bit more money from the products (even though profits are clearly not as important in this case as getting more people on the Mac platform) – as most of the users who will purchase FCX will already be FCS users. I also predict that a lot of professional post houses who currently don’t have a FCS workstation in their workshop will purchase a system just to check it out. This product will also be a clean slate. The media and the online community will be all over it (just look at RED).

    I still think this product is “around the corner” (i.e. in the next two years). I also don’t think Apple would completely rewrite Final Cut only to replace it shortly after with brand new infrastructure.

    Apple are GENERALLY pretty clever. They’ve learnt from a lot of their mistakes. They’re also really good at developing a brand new, completely different product (i.e. iPod, iPhone, sexy laptops, etc.) and just “going for it”. I predict that because no one else thinks Apple is up for it – that they’ll gear up to surprise everyone.

    I also don’t think anyone else will be up for creating this kind of system. Adobe have the skills and the technology – but it’s not a very Adobe thing to do. Avid and Autodesk certainly won’t even try it. And I really doubt that a start-up company will be able to pull this off…

    But hey! At the end of the day, I could be oh, so wrong! Let’s just hope they fix some of the really minor and annoying bugs!

    Once again, thanks for everyone who has taken the time to read this blog entry, and please, keep the comments coming!

    Reply
  9. Justin Howard
    Feb 28, 2009 - 11:05 PM

    A followup—
    Hi Chris

    Itunes is not available, and according to a source I have, it seems that with the downturn in the economy, this will be a long time in coming. Apple istores in South Africa, source all stock from London, and often there is a long delay in obtaining spares, and software.

    Was told today 28 Feb at the istore in Durban, it could be as long as 3 months to get iwork 09 as a single user disk, was forced to buy 5user set.

    Hardware for video editing, firewire drives in South Africa, not a huge market for such things, damn USB, and the infernal op-system windoze!!

    USB market huge as South Africa has a love affair with aboobe premier!!!

    What would be nice is to be able to purchase through the istore components you need, they import and you pick up when ggods arrives, Apple staff here not very keen to help.

    WHen I had a problem with a disc, after waiting 2 months later, in the space of 3 hours and 5 phone calls I had the disc in my hand.

    The feedback should be a followup email from Apple, just to let us know that the suggestions have been read!!!

    Hoping for a much improved product later in the year!!!

    Justin-Durban, South Africa

    Reply
  10. Chris Hocking
    Mar 01, 2009 - 08:50 AM

    Thanks for your reply Justin. Sorry to hear that you’re having so much trouble getting your hands on Apple products and support in South Africa. I guess one of the biggest problems is that Apple is in the market of selling “high end” products at a premium – and I would doubt that there would be a huge market for these kinds of products in Africa (in general).

    Reply
  11. Justin Howard
    Mar 01, 2009 - 10:47 PM

    Hi Chris

    Yes, it is a pity that Apple are really not trying very hard to grow the brand, very few iphones were sold when released here in South Africa. Here Apple made the mistake of not being able to use the iphone as an external modem, any cheap cellphone can do that, also the iphone cost 1/3 the cost of a Macbook Pro, so buy a laptop or a brick!!!

    I bought the laptop, when asked by the reseller of Apple products in South Africa, why I ordered then declined my iphone, I said until I can use the cellphone as a modem with my MacBookPro and have access to itunes then I will buy the iphone-referred here in South Africa as the “ibrick”.

    Apple tend to loose the plot when it seems they are on the right track, the imovie 08 debacle as case in point.

    The iphone as example, why does it not have 2 camera’s? A phone 1/10th the price has way more features as the ibrick!!!

    I am so afraid that Apple will drop the ball with Final Cut Studio 3 or Extreme, I hope and pray they do not make it so expensive only major league players can afford it!! $10 000 is far too expensive– $1200 was a battle for me to afford!

    Justin

    Reply
  12. Martin Baker
    Mar 02, 2009 - 05:44 PM

    That won’t happen – Apple are about bringing high end software to the mass market. Look at Shake, Color, Final Cut Server. The affordability of FC Studio has been one of the main reasons for its amazing success. Makes no sense to throw that all away.

    Reply
  13. Chris Hocking
    Mar 02, 2009 - 08:48 PM

    Thanks again for your latest reply Justin… Obviously Apple has a lot to do in South Africa! I guess time will tell what happens with Final Cut Studio…

    And thanks also for your comments Martin. I completely agree – keep in mind that although I don’t think they’ll offer an upgrade path, I still think they’ll keep the price low (i.e. AUD$1000, or approx USD$635). Although it’s still a lot of money, I’m betting it will be cheaper than the current Final Cut Studio package (which is just over a thousand Australian dollars). I predict that most people will purchase the new product, and millions more will pirate it. I still think that even without an upgrade path – they’ll still be bringing “high end software to the mass market”.

    Keep the comments flowing! It’s great to hear what others think!

    Thanks to EVERYONE for reading!

    Reply
  14. Justin Howard
    Mar 03, 2009 - 10:26 PM

    Hi Chris

    From my research it seems that Apple are really not much interested in investing in South Africa, here we are very much aboobe based with everyone having Premiere 6 or greater.

    What is so amazing is that we have 45 million people living in South Africa. The same number of sheep live in New Zealand, a land of 11 million people, New Zealand has itunes, South Africa does not! Why?

    The land that brought us Mandela, does not have itunes or any official Apple stores, only 2nd level stores, relying on imports via France, the future is bleak.

    When I have finished my studies, I hope to move to the USA where I will be able to use my FCS 2 skills.

    Reply
  15. Phil
    Mar 09, 2009 - 09:02 AM

    Great article. A lot of promising predictions made. Though Im strugling as a freelancer, if this software were to come out in the next month or so, I’d gladdly drop $1000 for it knowing it would help me in composing higher quality works of art through film. I think if apple took FCP toward this direction you would see a lot of new artist emerge from the slums of the film world to become stars, all because of better accessabilty to better digital media tools. I’m also interested in seeing what path Final Cut Express will follow! I forgot who said it above, but technology has changed drastically in the last ten years. Look at the Canon 5D MKII, which is slithering it’s way into the film arena! Yes, the next few years are going to be exciting for digital media.

    Phil

    Reply
  16. Chris Hocking
    Mar 14, 2009 - 12:53 AM

    Thanks for your replies Justin and Phil!

    I understand that there’s a hell of a lot of people in South Africa – but I doubt there would be a bit portion of the population with iPods and iPhones. Regardless – it’s a shame that Apple are not keeping you happy!

    Phil – you bring up a very good point! What about Final Cut Express? My prediction, if all this comes true, is that Final Cut Express will be exactly the same as FCX, except the advanced colour correction and visual effects rooms will not be accessible. You’ll still be able to do basic grading in the cutting room however. There will also probably be some exporting limitations (i.e. maybe FCE will only support “consumer” formats).

    Also, for those listening at home, make sure you have a look at this post on the DVi Forums:

    http://bit.ly/XNiVT

    Seems like Liza agrees that all of this is in the works as well! Will the predictions come true? Only time will tell…!

    Reply
  17. Justin Howard
    Mar 15, 2009 - 02:04 AM

    Hi Chris

    All of this speculation makes me wonder, does Steve Jobs read any off this, the speculation and think to himself, what fools we are, wasting all this time, is it just me, but I cannot think that MS or windozy would generate this amount of speculation. It is all over the net, when the new laptop was launched there was photos “leaked” from China, and the photos were not even close to the new unibody.

    If Apple really want to take this to the next level, why do they not do what JVC did, email registered owners and ask them what they want, the new JVC video camera shoots to sd cards and Quicktime. Apple have our details, and when we submit ideas. A coupon for a few $$$ sent our way to use at the istore. Only registered users of PRO-APPS ie FCS2 should qualify, s we are the power users who need the power of 64bit and googles of RAM.

    I could use 2* 8gig Ram in my laptop, would make Compressor work better.

    Also if I can use Windoz on my MBP why oh why can I not import .wmv files into
    Final Cut Pro? 95% of the world uses windoz, and I am sure 95% of those use a pirate version of Premiere. To me this makes sense!!!
    Cheers

    Reply
  18. Chris Hocking
    Mar 20, 2009 - 08:06 AM

    I think that anyone who thinks that Apple doesn’t listen, is very naive. Just like every big company, every time someone writes and newspaper column, magazine article, blog entry or even a twitter, it lands on someone from the Apple PR and/or Legal Departments desk. They certainly keep tabs on all the latest rumors, gossip, and complaints. Both Jobs and Apple both love an encourage the speculation and excitement – that’s what makes Apple so special.

    As for Microsoft not generating that amount of speculation – just look at Windows 7! It’s the talk of the town! More geeks and enthusiasts around the globe are definitely talking more about whether or not it will be better than Vista than about Final Cut Studio 3!

    Apple already does communicate directly to a “select few” who are under extremely tight NDAs. They are in constant communication with 3rd party developers and large organisations that are using their products on a day-to-day basis. For everyone else – the “average” Final Cut users who only own a few licenses, but still use the product daily – I seriously doubt Apple will ever invite us into the “inner circle”. I mean – why should they? If we knew everything that was in development, there would no longer be any spin, speculation and masses of twitter discussions! Rest assured – Apple keep in contact with the people that they need to. If you’re one of the select few, then congratulations! If you’re not, don’t stress! Just like the rest of us, you’ll have to just assume that Apple are listening and doing their best to create an amazing product.

    As for FCP supporting WMV – they’re are plenty of 3rd party application and QT codecs that will do this for you. Flip4Mac is one of the best:

    http://www.telestream.net/flip4mac-wmv/overview.htm

    Why isn’t this support native to Quicktime? Because of licensing issues, but also because WMV is in competition with QT. As you can run QT on Windows FOR FREE, Apple has no reason to support WMV.

    Thanks again for your comments and feedback! I really appreciate it! Keep the discussions coming…!

    Reply
  19. Chris Hocking
    Apr 24, 2009 - 02:51 PM

    As we predicted, nothing new was released at NAB this year. We’ve still got our money on it being released towards the end of the year, at the same time, or shortly after the release of Snow Leopard. Either way, we think FCX will come out at the same time as some major MacPro updates… As always, time will tell!

    Reply
  20. Justin Howard
    May 15, 2009 - 11:19 PM

    Hi Chris

    Apple do not see the potential of South Africa and investing in Africa, NOKIA beat them to the online music store, and still not a word about Apple Itunes in South Africa.

    Maybe at WWDC 09 there will be an announcement, read that Snow Leopard is on the agenda, also something about Juno!!! 09 06 1944 was D Day, and 09 06 2009 is 65 years!

    Something or nothing TWT!!!

    Justin

    Reply
  21. digital dream/films
    May 22, 2009 - 08:58 AM

    I just want no more rendering…in fcs3….But most of all I want it to come out soon..it’s near the end of may now…..and no fcs3 yet….wwdc??

    Reply
  22. digital dream/films
    May 22, 2009 - 09:00 AM

    oh! and blu-ray support…..

    Reply
  23. Chris Hocking
    May 22, 2009 - 09:40 AM

    I agree with the first comment… Smarter rendering would be great!

    I’m confident they’ll bring over a lot of the technology from Motion into Final Cut eventually meaning that you shouldn’t have to render if you apply a simple motion effect, add a drop shadow to text, etc. I’m also hopeful that you won’t loose renders for silly reasons. For example, if you drag an already rendered clip over the top of another layer, you won’t have to re-render it.

    Personally, I think the whole render engine of Final Cut needs reviewing, and I’m hopeful that Apple is already on to it. Looking at the progress they’ve made with iMovie – I think we’ve got a lot to look forward to.

    As for Blu-Ray support – I wouldn’t hold your breathe… But, hey! Lots of people think that it’s coming real soon… I doubt it though.

    Thanks for reading and for your comments! It’s really appreciated!

    Reply
  24. bob
    Jun 03, 2009 - 10:27 AM

    It’s interesting that the next version of Final Cut Pro will support the RED Camera, a Modular Camera that does not depreciate a persons Investment in very expensive hardware, or a developer (like myself) time spent on the RED SDK, and the R3D SDK alpha.

    If Apple does not provide an upgrade offer from Final Cut Studio 2, I will be completely out of the MacPro market for good and move on to a NVIDIA Tesla Supercomputer and work with Adobe software only and 4 NVIDIA GPUs (the new ones coming out).

    I’m a CUDA developer and OpenCL developer and also Blender user.

    Apple has a history of announcing “The fastest MacPro ever” and then just a few months later, after someone in production has spent $26,000, they release “The fastest MacPro ever” with no upgrade options to Nehelem and of course DDR3 is outdated.

    All my friends say that Apple’s “Hardware Blackmail” has a long history to it, but if they keep getting so arrogant as to not allow upgrades and choose full cost, then I am completely out of Apple.

    If your prediction turns out to be true, Apple can go to you know where and I’m back on Windows 64-bit and I’ll move over to Logic Pro and Avid, and Autodesk software with Maya. They will have lost my faith for good as this would be the last straw and I will support Adobe and spread the Word about the Rotten Apple with a vengence, if this turns out to be true.

    I have a history of support incidents in which I discussed it was unreasonable for Apple not to suggest to someone spending $26,000 on their Hardware and Software that it would be in the CONSUMER’s BEST INTEREST to wait a few months.

    They may say it’s legal and “too bad” – but that will be a matter for the FTC to decide if they keep this up — just like they did for the iPhone original release and then price cut (and public pressure made them change). But nothing else is making them change.

    If that prediction is true they will become the NEW PREDATORY COMPANY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM (Microsoft being the former but is being more reasonable now).

    I think the company will eventually fall apart w/o Steve Jobs, he balances shareholder interest with Consumer Loyalty – but if FCX will provide no credit for previous users, No Way in He’L will I support Apple after that.

    Reply
  25. Chris Hocking
    Jun 03, 2009 - 07:56 PM

    Thanks so much for your detailed and lengthy reply Bob! I really appreciate it. Firstly let me say that I think most people will disagree with me. I think the general masses assume that you will be able to cheaply upgrade from FCS to FCX. However, personally I think Apple will treat FCX like a completely new product. I’m sure there will be really cheap educational pricing – but my gut feeling suggests that if all of the above is remotely right, then I think that there won’t be a cheap upgrade path. Why? Because most people who make a living off Final Cut will purchase it regardless. People who can’t afford it (i.e. students – even though they will get a massive educational discount) will just pirate it anyway. Apple knows how much market share they have so they can budget how much time and energy they put into development.

    Having said all this, I’m just guessing like everyone else.

    I certainly don’t think Apple will “fall apart”. I think they’re getting bigger, stronger and smarter by the day. I’ve heard great things about Windows 7 – but I’m certainly not going to jump ship in the near future, simply because the Mac platform is just so fantastic for video editing with both Final Cut and Avid.

    Keep the comments coming! And thanks for reading!

    Reply
  26. Chris Hocking
    Jun 10, 2009 - 06:10 PM

    Well WWDC has been and gone, and as I predicted there is still no mention of any Final Cut Studio updates or overhauls despite many bloggers, twitters and professionals predicting at least a mention of the changes.

    Given this, I think there’s still a good chance that Apple will announce FCX at the end of this year sometime around the time of Snow Leopard’s release, and also at the same time as new MacPro Towers hit centre stage.

    However, given that’s what’s been happening in the world in terms of the financial crisis and also Apple’s recent prices reductions, I am going to retract my previous thoughts on the pricing of FCX and the upgrade path. I now predict that the whole package will be around US$599, with an upgrade from FCS2 priced at US$299, and an educational pricing of US$450.

    Why the sudden change of heart? Well, I think Apple now has some serious competition in the prosumer world thanks to Avid’s recent pricing changes, and with software like Sony Vegas and Premiere getting much more advanced and cutting edge, Apple really need to step up and offer something new and at a cheaper price point.

    Will this actually happen? I have no idea… But I like to think so, and so far the experts have been off, so maybe I’m actually onto something…!

    Reply
  27. digital dreamfilms
    Jun 17, 2009 - 01:01 PM

    well….they could have said something about fcs3…..this sucks……cs4 is starting to look very good about now..

    Reply
  28. Chris Hocking
    Jun 17, 2009 - 06:42 PM

    Personally, I don’t see what everyone’s getting so worked up about…!

    It’s not like Final Cut Pro all of a sudden has stopped working. It’s still a great tool, and can tackle most current workflows.

    Sure it’s not perfect, and it needs a fair amount of improvement – but apart from a couple of reoccurring bugs, there’s nothing life threatening that needs to be done.

    I’m all for FCS3 or FCX or whatever it’s going to be… But I’m also happy to wait a bit longer for Apple to make the impossible possible.

    Be patient everyone! Magic takes time…

    Reply
  29. Chris Hocking
    Jul 27, 2009 - 11:41 AM

    Well, the new version of Final Cut Studio is out and the Internet has been buzzing with excitement for the last few days. I order my copy of the update as soon as it came out, and am waiting for it to arrive so that I can give it a test run.

    As predicted this release only has a few minor updates and improvements – it’s certainly not a complete re-write. I think the engineers were just working on new concepts that they can easily port over to the new code (i.e a better marker system, iChat intergration, better Compressor workflows, etc.). Personally, I still think that the all new FCX is still in development and will come out either at the end of this year, or more likely, next year.

    Time will tell of course – but the fact that Apple only released a very “unimpressive” update at a very reasonable price, despite all the time they’ve had between updates makes me think that the developers have been flat out working on other more exciting things…

    Remember, we still haven’t seen Apple’s recent product purchase yet – storyboarding. You’d think that that chuck that into Final Cut Studio just for a laugh – but no, not yet. Again, I think they might be saving it for a massive Steve Jobs presentation where they showcase their new operating system, new hardware (i.e. amazingly powerful Macs with touch screens), new software (FCX, new iLife suite, new Logic Studio, etc.) and a whole new world of cloud computing and handy online purchases (i.e. purchase stock footage, sound effects and plugins directly from Final Cut).

    Exciting times certainly lay ahead!

    Reply
  30. Chris Hocking
    Jul 27, 2009 - 11:46 AM

    Also.. I want to revise our pricing predictions based on what’s happened recently…

    I now predict the whole suite will cost US$499. Updates from Final Cut Studio 2 and prior will be US$399. Updates from the new Final Cut Studio will be US$299.

    We also predict that you’ll be able to update from the latest Final Cut Studio, and also bundle Logic Studio is for US$499.

    Reply
  31. JoseRS
    Nov 15, 2009 - 03:22 PM

    What’s up?

    Reply
  32. DerrickVal53
    Feb 21, 2012 - 05:47 AM

    Woah thats some sweet info. Thanks :–)

    Reply

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