excerpts, quips, and musings on the production and post-production industry, and other stuff of interest

Final Cut X Update - 10.1.4

Larry Jordan has a good write up on the most recent Apple FCPX update. The most recent update certainly seems aimed squarely at the high-end post-production professional with MXF support, AVC-Intra additions, and high frame rate fixes. However, his concluding section gave me the most pause:

There will be much more to come. Apple is not turning their back on the application, but releasing new updates and upgrades essentially every few weeks.

The recent growth of Premiere Pro and rapid development cycles from Adobe are an excellent incentive for Apple to keep pace. Competition is a wonderful thing.

While many can, and do, quibble with Adobe's subscription model it seems hard to deny the speed at which Adobe now moves to update and bug fix their software. That has ripple effects across the market - Avid, Apple, Autodesk have to respond to that development speed or risk losing ground. I've not hidden my support and daily use of Adobe's Creative Cloud for my post-production team, but what I support even more is the overall competition. If Adobe pushes Apple, and Apple pushes Avid, and Avid pushes Apple, that's just fine by me. We're the ones who benefit from that competition.

FCP 7 on Yosemite

Oh, and that was running Yosemite version 10.10 so we know Final Cut Pro Classic is still working on Apple’s latest operating system. At least for now. I even went between Final Cut Pro 7 and Final Cut Pro X on the same day so the two FCPs are living together in perfect harmony. At least for now.

I can only imagine the outrage that will ensue the day that FCP 7 no longer runs on the newest Mac OS. Never mind the fact that FCP 7 is now 3.5 years (and counting) beyond its supported shelf life. It was EOL'ed June 2011. As a corollary, if you're still using FCP 7 it's time to move on - Avid, Adobe, Autodesk, and Apple all have excellent software options.

Why Don't Developers Spend More Time Fixing Bugs

One of the complaints I hear frequently is: “Why don’t developers spend more time fixing bugs and less time adding new features?” And the answer is: They can’t afford it. Finding and fixing bugs is ridiculously time-consuming and often isolated to specific systems or system configurations. Fixing bugs is necessary, true; but really, really difficult. And we all expect that upgrades to fix bugs will be free.

And therein lies the rub. We want bugs squashed, but we don't want to pay any money for it (historically we've never had to pay for bug fixes). However, as this digital age continues to "grow up" business models have to adapt.

While Larry's post isn't directly aimed at Adobe's CC model it certainly has that in view. Subscription based software is actually moving through all the major media players, save for Apple who doesn't need to move to that model because their money is made from hardware sales (iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc).** But Adobe, Avid, Autodesk, Red Giant, and the Foundry have all moved towards subscription plans for either outright use or maintenance packages.

** You could also make a case that Blackmagic Design won't move towards subscriptions because they also generate a substantial portion of their income from hardware sales. With their ever broadening line of cameras, routers, converters, and switchers software just becomes an add-on that is used to entice a consumer (licensed version of DaVinci Resolve given out with any camera purchase). 

Compare Your Colors

Oliver Peters writing on his blog:

It’s time to talk about color correctors. In this post, I’ll compare ColorResolve,SpeedGrade and Symphony. These are the popular desktop color correction systems in use today. Certainly there are other options, like Filmlight’s Baselight Editions plug-in, as well as other NLEs with their own powerful color correction tools, including Autodesk Smokeand Quantel Rio. Some of these fall outside of the budget range of small shops or don’t really provide a correction workflow. For the sake of simplicity, in this post I’ll stick with the four I see the most.

Oliver offers up a good overview of the color tools available today. If you're curious about which direction you should take your shop or what else you should invest in learning this blog post is a good place to start.

Boxx Tries to Fill A Round Hole

Boxx Technologies, maker of high-end workstations typically known in the 3D software environment, has just started a new campaign trying to steer (all?) creative professionals towards their hardware solutions away from the new Mac Pro.

Convinced? They have a website dedicated to the campaign as well. They aren't the first to do this. HP started doing this months ago with nearly the exact same computer specs.

There are advantages in both camps - Mac or Windows. Ultimately, it depends on your budget, workflow, software, and personal OS preferences. For me and my team, we're currently an all Apple shop. But these other options do look tempting....

It's All in What You Teach

Oliver Peters writing on his own blog:

Change is attractive to new users, with no preconceived preferences. FCP X acolytes like to say how much easier it is to teach new users FCP X than a track-based system, like FCP 7, Premiere Pro or Media Composer. As someone who’s taught film student editing workshops, my opinion is that it simply isn’t true. It’s all in what you teach, how you teach it and what you expect them to accomplish. In fact, I’ve had many who are eager to learn Media Composer, precisely because they know that it continues to be the “gold standard” for feature film editing software.

There are some concrete reasons why film editors prefer Media Composer. For many, it’s because Avid was their first NLE and it felt logical to them. For others, it’s because Avid has historically incorporated a lot of user input into the product. Here are a dozen factors that I believe keep the equation in favor of Avid Media Composer.

That's an interesting take down to the FCP X is the easiest NLE to teach/learn. Maybe some people gravitate to it faster than others. Maybe some teachers find it easier to explain. It may just be in the teacher. A good teacher can make learning interesting regardless of the tool, skill, or concept being taught. But as I've said before:

Let me be clear about this: nobody cares what NLE you use. If you're getting the job done and the client is happy that's all that matters. If a particular NLE caters to your workflow better then another. Fine. Use that NLE. If you need to adapt your workflow to better utilize the NLE then adapt your workflow. But seriously, stop with the "this software is faster" or "I'm 2x faster in..." All the NLE's on the market today - FCPX, Premiere Pro CC, MC7 (and yes, even you Autodesk Smoke) - work well and can get a story cut. All of them are fast, fluid, and when used by an expert, can accomplish the art of editing.

I Don't Need This Stuff

Good NAB wrap-up video by Sebastian over at cinema5D and a good reminder that stories drives video, not simply technology (plus I love the look of Zeiss CP.2's):