A Final Cut

When I began working on my early short-films Final Cut Pro, the editing application by Apple, was around version 4 and starting to become an industry leader for non-linear editing. Notably praised by the editor Walter Murch, it solidified its position through the high definition era. That was until version 7. The radical departure of the X design, following interface cues from more amicable and less technical software, alienated many people. It was unfortunate because, technology wise, the software was at its best. Under the hood technologies like optical flow (borrowed from the days of Apple Shake) had matured and integrated into the editing suite itself, yet the user interface felt like a poor cartoonish modernization attempt at the expense of focus and performance during the cutting process. It never got out of the way, it never felt simple. In a quite tangible sense it felt unfamiliar, as if it was an impostor trying vehemently to appear like real editing software.

Now with 10.3, released a couple weeks ago, it finally feels like it has found its way. The interface design is much more subdued, giving proper focus to the film segments themselves, and it ties a few of the novel ideas around the magnetic timeline and roles together more elegantly. I’ve yet to try the touch bar integration, but I’m looking forward to it. All in all, this last effort came as a very welcome surprise.