Death of an F (or the Final-ity of a Chicago Users Group Name)

Update and clarification: None of the film editing users groups mentioned in this posting are dead. Some have simply changed their names. I received feedback on this article from concerned readers who pointed out to me that by simply looking at the headline title of this post in a web search, it could result in some confusion about the well-being of the Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group, now known as the Chicago Creative Pro Users Group, as well as the health of other editing users groups around the country.

They are all alive and well and I’m happy to report that as new filmmakers and editors around the world continue to enter our industry that all of the groups are reporting increased membership and high turnouts for monthly meetings.

They are all still here. Nothing is dead. Some have, as the Chicago Creative Pro User Group has done, simply changed their name to reflect a less Final Cut Pro-centric mission going forward.

My apologies for any confusion, stress or spit-takes that may have resulted from simply reading the headline without reading through to the entire posting.

Thank you for your continued reading and support.

Billy

 

It’s with equal parts amusement and bittersweet acceptance that I noticed a bit of name changing going on in the professional film editing community the past few weeks. It’s just one initial, but it might as well be a thunder-clap.

As many of you know, I was one of the founders of the Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group back in 2002. Yes, ten years has flown by. CHIFCPUG (pronounced SHIFF-see-pug) was, and still is, a great community of editing professionals who gathered together once a month to discuss, troubleshoot and share the knowledge about our favorite film editing tool, Final Cut Pro.

And then, depending on who you talk to, in June of last year, Apple released either a revolutionary new editing program, or as many more professional editors came to believe, Apple took ten years of good faith and flushed it down the toilet. Final Cut Pro was dead. And in its place FCP X.

The debate on which scenario it actually was, still rages on. But perhaps most telling is that here in Chicago, as well as in many other cities with Final Cut Pro Users Group Communities, there has been a small but very significant bit of name changing going on.

CHIFCPUG is dead! Long live CHICPUG!

Notice the difference? Very similar, yet the difference represents a chasm. Just one letter, but it epitomizes the significant shift in my corner of the professional editing community world.

The Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group is now The Chicago Creative Pro User Group.

And it’s not just Chicago. When the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention takes place in Las Vegas next month, there will be no Final Cut Pro Users Group SuperMeet. In its place will be the Creative Pro Users Group SuperMeet.

Once again, the F is no more.

Ditto for Boston, Washington D.C.-Virginia-Maryland and others. New York is the Moving Pictures Collective of NYC. San Francisco and Atlanta managed to avoid the name change altogether by being agnostic from the start as SF Cutters and Atlanta Cutters respectively.

Ironically, many of you will recall, Apple took over what would end up being the last NAB FCPUG SuperMeet, to preview Final Cut Pro X to a room full of professional editors. Professional editors, who would, two months later, wake up to their editing software of choice being unmercifully removed from the shelves and replaced with what even the most accepting editors would have to admit was a frighteningly incomplete version 1.0 of software that defied the collaborative workflow many of us made a living with.

Both Avid and Adobe Premiere wasted no time and pounced on the fumble when editors such as myself switched and/or returned to editing software that allowed us to keep working at the level we were accustomed to. Yes, there was a bit of a learning or re-learning curve, but even staying with Apple’s new editing tool would have been a learning curve. It was time to put our eggs in a new basket. A basket that worked today, not someday… maybe.

Probably the silver lining that came out of all the unpleasantness is that the discussion has once again become about the craft of editing rather than the platform specific-ness of the software. Even the best of us find ourselves with blinders on once in a while and it’s been refreshing to reassess the ol’ toolbox in the past year and reconnect with what we love about editing.

So, yes. I am sad to see the Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group end an incredibly successful run. Yet, I am thrilled to see that in Chicago and in many other cities all over the world, that vibrant professional editing group of scrappy creative people, have dusted themselves off and moved forward. On to other tools and methods that will continue to help us all tell the amazing stories that we live to tell.

Long live the Chicago Creative Pro Users Group indeed.

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