Apple Ends All Support for Final Cut Pro 7

Posted on by Larry

This week, Apple sent notices to registered users of Final Cut Studio 3 (which includes Final Cut Pro 7, DVD Studio Pro, SoundTrack Pro and other apps) that it will not be supported – meaning the software won’t run – in the next version of the Mac operating system called “High Sierra.”

NOTE: You may not have gotten this notice if, like me, your email address changed after you initially registered the software.

Some websites trumpeted this as the “Death of Final Cut Pro 7.” But, truthfully, FCP 7 died five years ago; back when Final Cut Pro X was released. However, like all truly useful software, many of us have continued to use it long after its official demise.

Final Cut is what got me started in this business. First introduced in the Spring of 1999, I started using it in 2002 with version 1.2. That’s back when it was still called “Final Cut,” the “Pro” was added years later. Since that first release, Final Cut has gone through multiple changes with an entirely new industry springing up around it.

The world we work in today bears almost no resemblance to editing prior to 1990. Then, shooting video required cameras attached to technical support trucks, while editing required massive video tape machines costing a quarter-of-a-million dollars apiece. Film required shooting expensive film stock then using razor blades and glue to edit the finished product. Neither technology was cheap, easily accessible to beginners, or spontaneous.

The introduction of DV cameras and Final Cut changed the world – expanding video creation in areas that no one predicted. Video shooting and editing is now taught daily in elementary schools. Tens of thousands of college students are eagerly pursuing media careers. And the world has shifted from print to video – seemingly overnight.

Now the lack of support for Final Cut Studio doesn’t mean that any existing copies of the software will stop working. It just means that you won’t be able to upgrade to the latest version of the macOS and still run the software you love.

Specifically, you need to hang on to older hardware, running an older OS, for any editing for which you want to use FCP 7. This also rules out using more recent codecs or plug-ins.

On the plus side, there are plenty of alternatives to the program that started it all – Final Cut 7: there’s Apple Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Avid Media Composer and DaVinci Resolve; to name the four most popular professional programs. But there’s also iMovie and Clips, both of which run on your phone!

Take a minute to think about that: Over the last twenty years, video has moved from large mobile trucks to smaller DV cameras to cell phones. This doesn’t mean that professional tools have died, but, just as the consumer video market exploded with the advent of DV cameras, it has done so again with cell phone video. You only need to glance at any social media post to realize the impact video has on the everyday life of each of us today.

Still, this week seems a good time to reflect on the impact one software program has had on the lives of so many – from movie goers to film makers to the countless developers of utilities and plugins that supported it to… well, just about all of us.

When Final Cut was first released, Apple’s advertising slogan was “Think Different.” We did – and the world changed because of it. Final Cut is dead – yet Final Cut lives on; and video is more essential to our lives than ever before.

As always, I’m interested in your comments.


27 Responses to Apple Ends All Support for Final Cut Pro 7

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  1. Mike says:

    I miss working on FCP7/FCS3. My disappointment with FCPX runs deep, so Premiere Pro it is, and Avid when it has to be. Sometimes Lightworks gets a moment to shine every here and there, too. But FCP’s old incarnation is done, and it’s really time to move on – legacy projects needing recovery not withstanding.

    DVDSP was great for its time, but Apple is done with physical distribution of media. They’re not going back, and any lamentation will be summarily ignored.
    I have clients who still ask for SD DVD, but the number is dwindling. In many cases it’s those who don’t want to, or can’t, pay for something like Aspera Faspex. Sometimes it’s that they’re in locations where connectivity is inconsistent, or simply not fast. Or they don’t want to pay for 5th Kind, or MediaFly, or any of the long list of online services available that do video review. Security concerns aside, one could easily export a small frame size, low bit rate H264 and send it via Google Drive or Dropbox to serve the same function.

    This should serve as a reminder that at some point we need to find our way out of our editing bays, break the chains of the old ways, and learn how others are solving these same challenges. We depend on our old workflows to inform the new, but we shouldn’t be artificially limited by them.

  2. I am curious – this relates to those who have discussed using DVD Studio Pro on your El Capitan OS computers. I have DVDSP, and kept it on Mavericks, then tried using it recently and found that I could not select any colors under the button menu for highlight color, then select color and neutral color. (The drop down menu appears, but no colors are there) I assumed it was a bug using it with Mavericks because DVDSP was not meant beyond Lion. With that problem I could not use it on Mavericks. I ended up going back to a much older system I had on Lion and my button color selection allowed me to apply colors. Then I could create the DVD. Is this an unusual problem? Can anyone tell me what I need to do to use DVDSP on a newer system? (Pre Sierra, of course) Thanks, Rick

    • I’m using DVDSP on a Yosemite machine. Yes, the color palette is not visible, but if you click in the blank areas where it should be, the colors are there. It just takes a bit of trial and error to find the right colors.

      Other than that, the program works perfectly well as far as I can tell. I make complex DVDs using it all the time.

      I will NOT be upgrading this machine.

  3. I’d like to see a third-party developer provide more DVD production functionality (More of the stuff we relied on DVDSP for) within FCPX or maybe Compressor, as a plug-in.

    But I don’t foresee it happening because Apple’s stance since before Steve Jobs died was that physical, optical media was a dead end. Long term, they’re probably right, but we still use and need it here in the Now. And for probably another five years. That’s money sitting on the table, for someone willing to pick it up. Roxio could maybe do it.

  4. Slightly OT: last night wanted to burn a simple DVD from my FCP7 timeline, and it kept failing because it couldn’t find QMaster. Any link to a fix for this?

  5. Warren Nelson says:

    If run through all those iterations, too, Larry. Pretty amazing when I start list the film and video media I’ve use. Remember the Steenbeck flatbed film editors? Thought I’d died and gone to heaven!

    I hated cutting on analogue videotape. It was like trying to paint an oil painting from the left to the right in vertical lines only!

    Then there was the Montage (I fell in love), the EMC2, which I beta tested, the Video Droid and finally, the winner (for a while) the Avid. CMX editors scoffed because it had a mouse. Unlucky for them, I guess.

    Then one day a friend showed Final Cut. I was skeptical but several years later, after ditching video production when I tired of chase clients whose high school nephews were out-bidding me with VHS gear, I re-engaged in the SD era.

    And, then, in less than a decade, tape was gone!

    I jumped into Final Cut Pro to cut a DVD for a friend and, thanks to you, Larry, I got it kinda figured out.

    When FCPX hit, since I was doing video professionally and had zero investment in gear, I jumped in! And oh my, the world turned!

    Layers v tracks blew my mind! We’ve kinda back off of that a bit but I’m sitting here looking at a timeline on my 27″ 4K monitor and feeling like I’ve fallen into heaven! LOL

    Thanks, Larry, for providing such consistent, easy to use and understand tools to help geezers like me keep in the game!

    I love the digit age, but I’m still look for the replacement for the FCP “tttt” command in FCPX. I KNOW I saw it somewhere in one of your tutorials!

    Thanks, again, Larry, for all you do!

  6. Pingback: Blackmagic Adds Features To DaVinci Resolve, Fusion and Ultimatte

  7. The king is dead. Long live the king!

    Final Cut Pro was and still is my favorite video editing tool.

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