Aperture Fades Away
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Why I Am (Finally) Migrating to Lightroom

Last July, Apple announced that development on Aperture would cease. Last October, Adobe announced an Aperture Import Plugin for Lightroom. Both announcements garnered groans from me. The writing was on the wall. It was time for me to finally become an Adobe switcher.

To explain, I have to share a bit of background. I come from video production. Specifically, I cut my editing teeth on Apple’s Final Cut. So naturally, I gravitated to Aperture to manage stills. For the most part, I was content in my Apple bubble. Then, at NAB 2011, as part of Supermeet, Apple announced Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) and the first crack appeared in my bubble.

Unlike many, I was a staunch FCPX advocate. I moved from FCP7 to FCPX almost immediately and found it fit my video workflow much better. And, through a series of point releases, FCPX added back most of the features it lost in the ground up rewrite that spawned it. In my mind, I did not really have a choice. Avid was too expensive to be practical for my business and Adobe’s Premiere Pro was a nightmare when I’d last used it at Version 1.0.

So, I did even consider a change; until NAB 2012. That year, as I walked the show floor, Apple’s absence was conspicuous. It should not have been. Apple has had no real presence at NAB since 2007. But, Adobe was there in force. And, Creative Cloud was just weeks away from launch. Still, I sipped my Apple Kool-Aid and assumed we’d see more from Apple by 2013.

We did not. But, we saw more from Adobe; much much more. Their presence on the floor of NAB 2013 only grew and, for the first time, I attended Adobe’s after hours event with a few friends. That was the moment everything changed for me. As I made small talk with old friends and new, my eye was repeatedly drawn to demo reel for Premiere Pro which was looping on every TV in the bar. Noted filmmakers like the Coen Brothers and David Fincher had either switched to Premiere Pro or were starting the process.

This was huge.

As soon as Creative Cloud dropped, I joined just to see what the fuss was all about. I did not expect to keep my subscription. After all, I just wanted to see if Premiere Pro lived up to the hype. And, while I was not sold on Premiere Pro (yet), I quickly fell in love with regular updates to Photoshop and decided to give Lightroom a try.

Almost immediately, I liked what I saw. Within Lightroom, I could do all of the editing I need, with no round-tripping to Photoshop for anything short of a composite. So, Lightroom became home to all of my stills from that point forward. I still had access to prior stills in Aperture, but migration seemed like such daunting task, I never even considered it.

Still, I was not convinced to give up FCPX or Aperture; until NAB 2014. Much like the prior two years, Adobe’s full court press on Apple continued. David Fincher has moved from experimenting with Premiere Pro on “The Social Network” to moving almost the entire edit workflow to Adobe with “Gone Girl”. And, my friends in the VFX industry were raving about smooth round trips between After Effects and Premiere Pro. Further still, After Effects added tighter integration with Maxon’s Cinema 4D.

I had just signed on to produce an independent feature film and had a documentary in the works that would rely heavily on After Effects to tell the story. It was time for me to put down the Apple Kool-Aid and give Adobe it’s due as a filmmaking toolset.

I still remember sitting across from my buddy, VFX artist, Ryan Summers at IHOP after leaving the Adobe party last year. We were talking about how Adobe was now the 800-pound gorilla that Apple and Avid had to respect.

With that in mind, I knew that with Apple’s end-of-life announcement regarding Aperture, I would not have to wait long for a response from Adobe. I was not disappointed.

So, why the groans?

I knew it was finally time to migrate my back catalog from Aperture to Lightroom. And, while I knew Adobe had greased the skids with the Lightroom’s Aperture Import plugin, this would still be a daunting task. The challenge would come, not from the software migration itself, but from my own poorly designed and executed back catalog.

In short, it was my own DAM fault. But, I’ll save that story for for another post.

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