quartz composer final cut pro

The visual programming tool Quartz Composer hasn't received much love from the Apple team for a while. Should Apple finally kill it off, not only will it be the end for many popular QC based plugins for FCP, it could also be the end of Final Cut Pro 7 itself.

You might or might not have heard of Quartz Composer, but you've definitely seen it in action. From screen savers, to animations in Mac applications, to the internal plumbing of some FCP plugins, it has been the engine used for many cool graphic effects using the GPU.

Whilst it hasn't received the dreaded 'deprecated' label yet, we have heard from a variety of sources that they think it won't be in the next big furry OS X species. This has two large ramifications for Final Cut Pro 7 users.

First of all, there are many plugin writers who use Quartz Composer to build plugins not just for Final Cut Pro 7 but other apps such as FCPX and After Effects. In the latter years of legacy FCP, QC helped speed up plugins by transferring the image processing away from the CPU and onto the GPU. Some products from Noise Industries, CHV-Electronics and others will all cease to work or perform very badly if Quartz Composer insn't a part of the next big cat.

Secondly and most importantly, there is some Quartz Composer internally in Final Cut Pro 7 which means if it dies, so will legacy FCP. This is the first big indication we have seen that FCP7 might not run on a new version of OS X.

Yes you read that right.

So why are Apple not developing Quartz Composer further and what can we do about it?

Quartz Composer started life as PixelShox Studio until it was absorbed into Apple with its creator Pierre-Oliver Latour. It was a perfect match for Apple as it was a very quick and easy way to design graphic animations that could be embedded into Cocoa or Carbon applications. Enter the iPhone and Apple's OS convergence policy and because Quartz Compositions won't run on an iPhone or iPad, you can see why it's been overlooked.

Apple need to know that we would like Quartz Composer out of the intensive care unit and back for more years of happy healthy life. If you have an Apple Developer ID then please contact them and register your interest. This is super important if any products you sell utilise QC. One developer also mentions the need of support for OpenGL Core Profile including a migration path for existing Quartz Composer plug-ins to OpenGL Core Profile.

If you are not a developer, then please use Tweets, Facebook, carrier pigeons or whatever to get the message out there that QC musn't die. The more activity Apple see on the subject, the more likely they will be to respond. A comment below would be good too.

Don't let this be the reason why Final Cut Pro 7 finally gets put to bed.


Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


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