Apple silent on FCPX plugin support

Amidst the excitement for the dramatic FCPX revamp, EOSHD is starting to get a better picture of what Apple man Larry Jordan meant when he said FCPX is ‘not ready for professional use’. As we know Final Cut Pro X is a ground up rewrite of the popular editing software. It had to be since the FCP7 was based atop of code and design dating back to 1999. There comes a point where development must start afresh to best make use of current hardware.

So where does that leave our favourite plugins?

I contacted Graeme Nattress – one of the best known NLE software developers – to ask if the current SDK (software development kit) FXPlug will be in FCPX – that would mean that more modern FCP7 plugins will be compatible sooner rather than later.

Incredibly he says Apple haven’t told him yet, days before the launch of FCPX – complete silence. That’s unusual, because usually developers are the first to know – they need the lead-time to make their software compatible. It’s therefore highly unlikely that any plugins will work in FCPX on the day of release.

Therefore I recommend that you keep a copy of FCP7 on your system for serious work and use the time to get to grips with the new UI of FCPX. Because it isn’t ready for professional use yet – especially if you depend on third party plugins.

It is still possible that FXPlug will be used in FCPX at a later date of course, which means plugin developers will be able to quickly make their code compatible. But seemingly it is not yet ready and Apple have no reliable indicators of when it will be.

Neither have they announced a completely new SDK that might replace it. The time to do what would have been at least 6 months ago anyway, to give plugin developers enough time to rewrite their software from scratch. So if a new SDK is under development, it will be quite a while before we get to use our favourite plugins again.

There’s also the question of whether Apple will drop support for the older FXScript plugins. That seems highly likely.

It seems FCPX has had rather a late gestation, and seemingly Apple moved quickly only once they realised FCP7 was becoming incredibly dated in performance terms relative to Adobe Premiere CS5. I think FCPX is something Apple should have begun development of a lot earlier, instead of putting some of their best video people behind iMovie revamps.