In 1998, I remember hearing about a new editing program called “Key Grip”, written by Randy Ubillos, the creator of Adobe Premiere. It looked like a nice blend of Avid/Premiere-style non-linear editing and After Effects-style keyframing, two programs I had been using for years.
At NAB 1998, I was ushered to an underground room at NAB, where Randy was demoing the program on Mac and Windows, since renamed “Final Cut”. I met Randy and some of the development team.
In February of 1999, my phone rang. It was Andrew Baum, genius product manager for Final Cut Pro, who told me Apple had bought the program and dev team, and was going to release the app at NAB later that year. He told me it was important that there be high quality third party training available the day it was released, and he thought our software training CDs were the best he’d ever seen.
Even though at that time, there were very few people creating desktop video, the future was clear to us. Our business vision was creating an support and education ecosystem behind a non-linear editing software program, including a line of training discs, in-person desktop video workshops, user groups, forums, blogs. We had chosen Premiere 5.0 as the editing program to get behind, and we talked to Adobe about including a tutorial disc of ours in the Premiere box, but they ended up going with Total Training instead.
Andrew sent me the Final Cut Pro beta, and I was very impressed with the design, so we switched gears and prepared to put our vision behind Final Cut Pro instead.
After working day and night on the tutorial disc, called “Final Cut Pro PowerStart”, it was finally replicated and delivered to our hotel room just hours before the Final Cut Pro release.
NAB was a historic event. I was demoing Final Cut Pro 1.0 in the ProMax booth, the only Final Cut Pro demos at NAB besides Apple. Since we started demos right when the show opened at 9, I guess I am the first person ever to demo FCP 1.0 in public. We were jammed and selling Final Cut Pro PowerStarts like crazy. After every demo of Final Cut Pro in the Apple booth, Andrew would announce “And here’s Final Cut Pro PowerStart, a training CD for Final Cut Pro and it’s the greatest training CD ever made!” and people would flood the Promax booth waving cash and credit cards. Since then, literally hundreds of Final Cut Pro books and training discs have been created.
That following Saturday, May 1, 1999, I hosted the world’s first Final Cut Pro users group meeting at Promax Systems, in Irvine, CA to a standing-room-only crowd, continuing the first Saturday of each month after that. In the months and years to come, many other user groups sprang up around the world.
A few weeks afterward, we launched the world’s first Final Cut Pro focused website, finalcutpro411.net. (It has since morphed into finalcutstudioplanet.com.) Not too long afterwards, 2-Pop.com was launched, by a great editor and visionary, Lawrence Jordan, followed by dozens of others over the years.
Thousands of companies and editors purchased the Final Cut Pro PowerStart CD – many even before buying the app itself, using the tutorial as a demo of the software. Apple bought thousands to train their own staff on the program. This was to be the only FCP training product on the market for almost 9 months, until Lisa Brenneis’ book and Phillip Hodgett’s “DV Companion” CD.
I also consulted with Apple on marketing materials and trained Apple development executives on presenting FCP. I worked with Apple to do coast-to-coast free Final Cut Pro seminar tours, along with two Final Cut Pro interactive CD projects. At the same time, DVcreators.net launched 3-day workshops, called “The DV Revolution” starring Final Cut Pro, in every major city in the U.S. These workshops were immensely popular and sold out quickly. Some weeks we had 3 or 4 instructors, including Michael Wohl, a member of the original FCP development team, Eric Schultheis, and Guy Cochran, teaching in different cities across the country. Guy once taught in three countries in the space of a few weeks.
At NAB 2001, Apple once again entrusted DVcreators.net with a vitally important mission- running Apple’s first-ever hands-on training lab on the floor of the NAB show in 2001. It was such a resounding success there was a stampede each morning when the show opened as people rushed across the floor to get tickets for our training sessions.
Over the next several years, DVcreators.net and Apple worked together to present digital video training workshops in over 60 cities in 5 countries, and we released a series of training discs for various versions.
We are proud of the supporting role we played in the Final Cut Pro Revolution in the critically important first few years, supporting the software with coast-to-coast seminars and training, tutorial discs, user groups, web resources, and making sure that supporting Final Cut Pro was “the cool thing to do.” Many at Apple and active participants in the digital video scene acknowledge DVcreators.net’s early efforts as being an important driving factor in Final Cut Pro’s early adoption and subsequent growth in the marketplace. And Apple, in turn, provided a great launching pad for DVcreators.net to help hundreds of thousands of digital video creators learn and improve their skills.
Happy 10th birthday, Final Cut Pro & DVcreators.net!
And Happy Birthday to Bruce, the Wonder Yak as well!