Upgrades? We don’t need no stinking upgrades!

Apple has just announced Final Cut Studio 2, including updates to Final Cut Pro and its affiliated programs (like Motion, Cinema Tool, etc). This is fairly exciting news – they are promising a substantial jump in the capabilities of a program that is rapidly taking over the world of film editing.

Film used to be edited by cutting film into bits, then taping the bits together. A little more than a decade ago, computers entered the fray. By the turn of the century, it worked like this:

  1. Shoot film.
  2. Telecine the film – capturing it onto videotape.
  3. Feed the video into a computer.
  4. Edit on the computer – this is called non-linear editing.
  5. Use an edit decision list to guide the actual splicing of the film itself.

Some of the dominant NLE systems include Avid, Lightworks, Media 100, Adobe’s Premiere Pro, and Apple’s Final Cut Pro. Apple’s editor has been taking the world by storm over the past few years, in part because it allowsoff-the-shelf computers and hard drives to replace very expensive proprietary systems.

Think $5000 or $10,000 systems doing the work of $100,000 or $200,000 edit suites!

Apple’s new announcements are breathtaking, another great leap forward.  In concert, the video converter and interface maker Aja has announced a specialized interface, the Io HD, which promises great performance at the very reasonable price of ~$3400.

There is one big rub for Casual Dog Productions: upgrading.  Unlike Avid, and Sony, and Autodesk, and Cakewalk, and Adobe – Apple doesn’t offer upgrades to academic customers.   They sell us Final Cut Studio for about 60, but want us to pay the same 60% – for us, just one month later – to get the new version.  So I’d end up paying 20% over the price of the full retail version!

I have sent  a letter to the CEO.

Of course, all this is a big distraction from actually making What’s Inside, Professor?  We’ll be shooting again in a week or two!

One thought on “Upgrades? We don’t need no stinking upgrades!

  1. Apple has responded. Sort of. An assistant in their corporate relations department checked with Sales, then told me “Sorry, we don’t offer upgrades on academically priced products because they are already so discounted.” Huh. That’s what I wrote to complain about.

    So buying Final Cut Studio, then upgrading a month later, would set me back the deeply discounted sum of $1398. The new, retail list price is $1299, with upgrades from the retail version $499. Huh.

    Should I file a small claims suit? Not because I don’t like the price, but because the no-upgrade policy was not meaningfully disclosed in advance of my purchase.

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