I attended the 2009 London Supermeet when Walter Murch was previously a guest of Daniel Berube and Michael Horton. Back then, he discussed his editing process for Francis Ford Coppola’s Tetro.
This time round, we spent most of his time on stage talking about his latest project, HBO’s Hemingway & Gellhorn starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman. The buzz for this event was even greater then usual as this was also the 2-time Oscar winner’s first public appearance since the release of FCPX.
Chris Portal was the first to post details on the presentation and is still the most comprehensive so read it here for all the details, however I’ve included Chris’ summary of what Murch had to say about FCPX.
Walter was in Cupertino when Final Cut Pro X was first dangled in front of a few editors. It was a beta version, and Apple highlighted things like 64 bit support. After that initial exposure to FCPX, he dove into making a film, and it wasn’t until June when FCPX was published that he revisited it. He quickly looked at it, and said he couldn’t use it, wondering where the “Pro” had gone. It didn’t have XML support which he depended on, the ability to share projects on a raid with people, etc. He was confused and wondered what was happening.
He wrote Apple a letter asking what was behind everything that was happening, especially since they had end-of-lifed the current version, as well as a list of things he needed. Like a report card children often get, without XML, Walter explained to Apple that FCPX “did not play well with others”. The lack of tracks was another killer for him. While he doesn’t really need to work with 50 tracks, he does need to leverage the ability to selectively raise or lower the levels very specifically.
Walter sees there having been a shift at Apple over the last 10 years. They have benefited from the professional market, and we all have made a lot of noise about Apple, but starting with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, Apple has broadened out into a mass-market creature, wanting to democratize capabilities even further.
While Walter is encouraged by the updated FCPX version last month, he hasn’t used it on any real work yet, so he is cautiously optimistic (and still traumatized he says). “Do they love us? No…I know they like us….but they keep saying they love us??”
Also worth a read is the FCP.co post on what Murch had to say, if only for the reason that it suggests that one of the all time great editors doesn’t know what he’s talking about and that they expected more of him! **Update** There is now a video of Murch at the Supermeet and all the comments are fun to read too.