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Former Shake Product Designer: Apple Doesn't Care About Pro Market

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Apr 12, 2001
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Former Shake product designer Ron Brinkmann weighs in on Apple's Final Cut Pro X release. The latest release of Apple's video editing software has received much criticism from professionals due to absent features. Brinkmann was on the original team that developed Shake image compositing software prior to Apple's acquisition of the parent company. Brinkmann continued to work at Apple from 2002 until 2007 as Shake Product Designer.



As Brinkmann explains, Shake was "entrenched in the top end of the visual effects industry" with most major motion pictures of the era using Shake in some fashion. After Apple acquired Shake in 2002 there was concern about the company not willing to cater to the market, and sure enough the entire software was end of life'd a few years later. Brinkmann bluntly sums up Apple's attitude towards professionals:
And back then the same questions were being asked as now - "Doesn't Apple care about the professional market?"

In a word, no. Not really. Not enough to focus on it as a primary business.
Brinkman goes on to explain that there are maybe 10,000 "high-end" editors in the world while the market for an easier to use more casual product is "at least an order of magnitude larger". The market size, however, isn't necessarily the only reason. Brinkmann offers an interesting anecdote about how the high end market tends to be 90% driven by product requests from the big customers. Apple doesn't work that way:
After the acquisition I remember sitting in a roomful of Hollywood VFX pros where Steve told everybody point-blank that we/Apple were going to focus on giving them powerful tools that were far more cost-effective than what they were accustomed to... but that the relationship between them and Apple wasn't going to be something where they'd be driving product direction anymore. Didn't go over particularly well, incidentally, but I don't think that concerned Steve overmuch... :)
Apple's hierarchy is also described where easily demo-able features tend to be easier to promote within the organization. He goes on to say that in the case of FCP, Apple would rather introduce more easy to use features for the broader audience even if it means pushing out some items for high end editors.

Still, he is complimentary of Apple's products and describes them as an "incredible bargain in terms of price-performance", but that "if you're really a professional you shouldn't want to be reliant on software from a company like Apple." In the end, he says "your heart will be broken. Because they're not reliant on you."

Article Link: Former Shake Product Designer: Apple Doesn't Care About Pro Market
 

akm3

macrumors 68020
Nov 15, 2007
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I'm sure he's not mad at all about his baby being taken and discarded; that said I think his assessment is probably pretty accurate. Apple tries to make products that do 90% of what 90% of the market needs, and by focusing on doing those really well, they make great products, but they aren't for everyone.
 
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NT1440

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May 18, 2008
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Uh...Steve says the same thing every keynote: We want to enable the masses to create their own content.

Are the declarations of a focus on the average joe not clear enough?
 
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wonderspark

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In the end, he says "your heart will be broken. Because they're not reliant on you."

That's all that needs to be said.
 
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slrandall

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Jun 15, 2011
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If I didn't know any better, I'd think at least 1,000 of those 10,000 had nothing better to do than post on these forums ... Perhaps people are misusing the "pro" qualification.
 
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nuckinfutz

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Jul 3, 2002
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Brinkmann NOT a Billionaire. Nuff said.

Publicly traded companies need more than "hey this is cool" to appease
shareholders that expect a return on their investment. Projects that don't
bring in the revenue/profits don't get the most attention.
 
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Howardchief

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I found this article very interesting as I just now explored the new Final Cut. Decided against buying it because it seems like a souped up iMovie and not something that works well with other software for some intense editing.

Very interesting commentary by the man.
 
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w00t951

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Jan 6, 2009
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I really don't don't see why Apple screwed up so badly. They could have kept Final Cut Pro "Pro," and dumbed down Final Cut Express or maybe created a lite version of Final Cut Pro for the masses... This is a huge mistake.
 
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arn

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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

I found this article very interesting as I just now explored the new Final Cut. Decided against buying it because it seems like a souped up iMovie and not something that works well with other software for some intense editing.

Very interesting commentary by the man.

It was a very interesting read. But unless you are planning to be a professional editor, I don't think you'll run up against the limitations of FCP X.

arn
 
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RebootD

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Jan 27, 2009
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In the end, he says "your heart will be broken. Because they're not reliant on you."

That's all that needs to be said.

Been feeling that since they ditched matte screens in 2007. Lion just reiterates his point by making OSX more "consumery".

I can foresee many professional creatives migrating back to windows within the next year or two once it's painfully obvious (and somehow it isn't yet) that Apple has moved on quite some time ago.
 
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iDisk

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Former "Shake" guy.. who is probably bitter that Apple never made a viable replacement for that product when they axed it.... Apple isn't interested in the "pro" market but they're interested in developing more users of FCE and iMovie into pro's by introducing FCPX....

The "Pro" market complainers need to THINK DIFFERENT, not Apple, cause FCPX is different..


I'm tired of the 10% nascent market of "Pro" whiners.... Apple has people who use their products, that can create a great video with the tools they have.. thats called innovation and creativity.

The "Pro" market relies or (relied) on Apple, Apple doesn't rely on them... And if the complaining "Pros" will be patient then they're version of what they think FCPX should be, will return soon... but Apple nor Myself will wait for the "Pros" to give there said blessing on the product...

Quite complaining and just Innovate, remember the guy who edited entire Hollywood blockbuster film on something equivalent to iMovie (but was really final cut) thats called innovation people!!
 
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NT1440

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I really don't don't see why Apple screwed up so badly. They could have kept Final Cut Pro "Pro," and dumbed down Final Cut Express or maybe created a lite version of Final Cut Pro for the masses... This is a huge mistake.

Yea, I'm sure they won't make millions from this product. :rolleyes:
 
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Howardchief

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I think I agree. I'm sure I would anway if I knew more about video. I'm audio trying to get into video. Certainly not a pro, but I like options.
 
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arn

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Former "Shake" guy.. who is probably bitter that Apple never made a viable replacement for that product when they axed it.... Apple isn't interested in the "pro" market but they're interested in developing more users of FCE and iMovie into pro's by introducing FCPX....

I think you are agreeing with him.

arn
 
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nuckinfutz

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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

I found this article very interesting as I just now explored the new Final Cut. Decided against buying it because it seems like a souped up iMovie and not something that works well with other software for some intense editing.

Very interesting commentary by the man.

Well Nuke would would be just a souped up After Effects using the same logic. The complaints about FCPX mainly surround importing older projects from FCP7 and earlier, Multicam (which is coming) and being able to export OMF/AAF, XML and EDL for finishing.

Most Final Cut editors don't need all of these features. Steve was right...they're going to deliver features that most people need...not a small subset of Hollywood producers.

Apple doesn't care about pro users, yet their computers (and every other product) is overpriced....At least spec-wise

Every thought that the reality is more likely that you're simply underpaid? This isn't a slam on you but millions of users per quarter don't seem to be going through the same issue. Value is all perception.
 
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iDisk

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I think you are agreeing with him.

arn

Arn lol I didn't read the article, to be honest, I just saw another FCX headline, and just ranted on....

Wouldn't you agree that the "Pros" should just innovate with the tools they have? meaning just give FCPX a shoot, starting from scratch... I think the pro market needs to THINK DIFFERENT this time around, Not Apple.
 
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hotcocoa

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Jan 30, 2011
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I still don't understand all the uproar. The fact that the product is new means that there will be a lot of missing features initially. Its like when the iPhone was first released. It lacked a huge number features that people wanted or needed, but the potential was there.

Why can't people keep using the old version until the new one is more mature?
 
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nuckinfutz

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Jul 3, 2002
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Arn lol I didn't read the article, to be honest, I just saw another FCX headline, and just ranted on....

Wouldn't you agree that the "Pros" should just innovate with the tools they have? meaning just give FCPX a shoot, starting from scratch... I think the pro market needs to THINK DIFFERENT this time around, Not Apple.

What's the end game? To "me" it's simply the final result where you look at the finished movie or whatever and it represents the vision in your head.

What I see when I read these complains from editors that feel like there is only a handful of acceptable paths to take to complete their story and that's sad.

I've noticed that people look for ways to fail far before they look for ways to succeed.
 
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commander.data

macrumors 65816
Nov 10, 2006
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Brinkmann NOT a Billionaire. Nuff said.

Publicly traded companies need more than "hey this is cool" to appease
shareholders that expect a return on their investment. Projects that don't
bring in the revenue/profits don't get the most attention.
I don't think what Brickmann said is necessarily opposed to what you are saying. In this case "hey this is cool" is the motto of publicly traded companies, except that mantra is directed at the broadest market possible, mostly consumer, where a few flashy selling points are very effective in driving sales.

I'm tired of the 10% nascent market of "Pro" whiners.... Apple has people who use their products, that can create a great video with the tools they have.. thats called innovation and creativity.
That's a good philosophy to have as long as Apple walks the fine line between enabling customers to excel because of their products vs. requiring their customers to excel in spite of their products.
 
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arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
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Arn lol I didn't read the article, to be honest, I just saw another FCX headline, and just ranted on....

Wouldn't you agree that the "Pros" should just innovate with the tools they have? meaning just give FCPX a shoot, starting from scratch... I think the pro market needs to THINK DIFFERENT this time around, Not Apple.

I'm no video editor. But the main problem isn't that people aren't willing to learn a new system. It's that they've excluded necessary features for certain high end pros.

Like support for multiple camera angles. I don't think simply going to one single camera is a solution for most TV/Broadcast/Film.

arn
 
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RebootD

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Jan 27, 2009
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Arn lol I didn't read the article, to be honest, I just saw another FCX headline, and just ranted on....

Wouldn't you agree that the "Pros" should just innovate with the tools they have? meaning just give FCPX a shoot, starting from scratch... I think the pro market needs to THINK DIFFERENT this time around, Not Apple.

You have no idea what you're talking about obviously. Pro studios can no longer add seats if they don't have extra licenses around for the older Final Cut Pro/Studio because Apple, foolishly, EOL'd it when they released iMovie Pro. If you have 15-20 editors all working on projects together, that cannot be imported into iMovie Pro, then they are screwed.

Let the 90% have their 'suped up prosumer app but at least make FCS available for real pro's until they can afford to switch everyone over to AVID or Premiere.
 
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swingerofbirch

macrumors 68040
I remember when Apple's focus was on making tools to empower people, tools for people who were going to change the world (their words). I wonder now if that was a stopgap PR move to appeal to their remaining customer base (creatives) as Apple got itself back in form to appeal to the Angry Birds computing segment (about 95% of the market). Their goal now seems to be to make computing as simple as appliances. Intuitiveness is not part of the equation anymore. I will say their products are simple and easy to use. But still, less intuitive. Less a blank slate, more an appliance that predicts what you want to do.
 
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