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Old January 20th, 2004, 09:18 PM   #1
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A wish for David Neuman

I'm a proud long-term owner of Applied Magic's Screen Play whose user interface is second to none in terms of intuitiveness. I understand you have some past connections with AM. I am hoping that AM will get behind the coming HDV wave with a similar editing unit for the HDV format.
Frankly, the current state of affairs in the HD editing world is where linear editing was in back in the 80s and early 90s--confusing, expensive, intimidating. A sort of elitist clique has once again taken shape. Only a handful of people seem to be capable of even operating the cameras properly and an even smaller portion are able to edit what they shot. The long-awaited movement towards the ability of all peoples to communicate digitally has been side-tracked again. But with companies like AM and their editing appliance, even HD can be affordable and easily editable.
I hope Applied Magic can anticipate the logjam and come up with an HD editing appliance. Someone's got to deliver us from the unbelievably confusing realm of PC-based editing. Any thoughts for the common folk?
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Old January 20th, 2004, 11:36 PM   #2
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Hello Lynne,

Applied Magic is working to integrate CineForm technologies into their HD Cinema workstations. As one of the founders of CineForm and also very nearly a founder of Applied Magic, I am very familar with both applicance and PC based approaches to the NLE problem. Easy of use is of highest importance to me in terms of system design. CineForm was foundered to extend the capabilities of software based NLEs, introducing levels of real-time editing performance never before seen, all to help make the workflow easier. Aspect HD, just like ScreenPlay system, shows what you can do with elegance of design. I hope you get a kick out what you can now do with HD.
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Old January 21st, 2004, 08:54 AM   #3
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but....

But as for an editing appliance for HD, probably not any time soon? It's my feeling that such a standalone unit for HDV could do what the Toaster did for video in the 90s. Everyone agrees the numbers aren't there yet. Apple is trying to bring video to the masses with iMovie with some success but it's my feeling that as long as video editing is closely linked with the whole computer experience, it's going to remain an exclusive specialty. (Reading some of the posts here on the process of editing is proof of that last sentence.)
On the other hand, take it away from the intimidating computer interface, put it in a box with an off-on switch and a few jacks to plug into and bang, you're off and running. And what better time to "let them eat cake?" Let's shortcircuit the DV crowd and give the masses HDV! Then watch the entire video industry go thru an upheaval as never before.
If it's a matter of venture capital, this seems like a winner. After all, someone's got to provide the programming for the new HD channels coming onboard. The programming could drive the industry forward rather than the other way around.
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Old January 21st, 2004, 09:02 AM   #4
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I'd settle for a cheap plug-in for FCP or even iMovie at this point.

An appliance sounds nice, but the HDV crowd is mostly made up of risk-takers or people with a little extra money to buy this HDV camera. I'm guessing an appliance wouldn't be something they would want to invest in above and beyond their current computers - which probably are pretty decent.

That's just my opinon, but who knows - an appliance for HDV might take off. But, I just don't see the users of HD buying a new system. It's tough enough to sell them a video card for HD - people hate buying extra computer hardware because the computer investment is already a lot. Not to mention that we now all believe that PC/Mac's are fast enough to edit DV easily, so why not HDV? It's coming off a Mini-DV tape right?

So, you have an education factor involved. The masses know that Mini-DV takes a certain horsepower and have finally excepted the investment for computing power. If you ask them to re-invest more capital for a seperate box...I don't think it'll happen.

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Old January 21st, 2004, 02:48 PM   #5
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wait, I'm not done yet....

..."the HDV crowd is mostly made up of risk-takers..."


I couldn't agree with you more. That's why I'm appealing to David as the one among us that has the power and the resources to develop an elegantly simple HD editing appliance.
You see, I make my living promoting simplicity. If you go to my website www.lwgear.com you'll see the videos I've produced over the years. One is called "Lightweight Backpacking Secrets Revealed." That video's basic premise is that our pack weights are directly proportional to our fears. Once we identify what we're afraid of out in the woods, we can be more rational in the packing stages and question why we're carrying what we do. (Believe it or not, this was a revolutionary concept within the backpacking community.) I say all that to say this.....most man-made designs are anything but simple. Sitting down with FCP is like staring at the cockpit controls of a 747. The current crop of PC and Mac based editing solutions are NOT simple and NOT elegant. They mentally bog down us creative types making our "backpacks" heavy and our storytelling dense. There is not inherent attraction to anything that smells like organized chaos. No attraction means no sales.
David, the world is awaiting a "why didn't I think of that" editing appliance. HD is the medium to end all mediums. Your other company came close to elegance with ScreenPlay. (You just weren't the first kid on the block.)
If money is an issue, I bet you could find 20 investors willing to put $50,000 each into such a venture or 50 to put $20,000. Does anyone doubt that all roads lead to HD? And won't most folks that don't sleep with computers agree that PC/Mac solutions are intimidating and messy? Someone's going to do it....and I'm hoping it's you!
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Old January 21st, 2004, 02:58 PM   #6
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simplicity is the answer...

http://www.wired.com/news/digiwood/0,1412,61970,00.html

While typing the above reply this link was sent to me. It's about a documentary being shown at this year's Sundance that was edited on an imac with imovie.

If this filmmaker had been forced to learn the complexities of software like FCP the story probably would never have been told. Think of all the thousands upon thousands of people "out there" with fascinating personal stories. Stories that we'll never hear because the process of getting them onto tape and into our hands is just too ..............technically complex.

We need an HD Toaster.
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Old January 21st, 2004, 03:55 PM   #7
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What about imovie HDV?
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Old January 21st, 2004, 04:17 PM   #8
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I do agree with you about simplicity - I'd bet most people do.

However, it still makes no sense to buy an appliance for HD editing when we've all made investments in a box already.

I know you want something easy, but even the easiet linear editing is still complex. I'm serious - I teach classes in television production and there isn't ONE tool out there that doesn't make people squint their eyes when I first show them. It's usually a situation where you need to have them do it over and over.

I'm all for simplicity, but not for dishing out extra $ on another stinking box of junk. (All computers are junk the second you buy it - it's Moore's Law of computing.)

If there is one thing that could help HDV live up to its potential - it's standards. That word needs to be on the box of whatever HDV hardware (appliance or computer) or HDV software we buy. If not, we have to re-learn every single time we buy something new.

So, if there is an applicance made - great. But, if it goes off and tries to cook bagels while editing HDV - I'd run away from it. It should adhere to all commonly known stanards of non-linear editing. The applicances I've seen stink - in short. They're unable to do half of what a PC/Mac can do for about the same price. If you're scared of editing non-linearly I'd use iMovie or maybe you shouldn't be in the video world? It's scary because you have to know what you're doing!

Just my 2 cents...not trying to start an argument. I'm just saying I'd rather see solutions that use existing computers, so our original investment stays intact for at least 5 minutes!

Murph
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Old January 21st, 2004, 05:51 PM   #9
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You're speaking as someone inside the "magic circle." I'm trying to make editing and video storytelling available to the masses. (What might the percentage be of Americans who can shoot and edit--.001%?)
You're worried about protecting your investment in a computer. I'm talking about bypassing the intimidating computer and devising something that everyone feels comfortable with.

I've been in the "business" for almost a quarter of a century. I've got programs on 2", 1", 3/4", 3/4"SP, hi8 and miniDV. I'd much rather have a person shoot a story on their own than hire me at $75/hr. We've managed to protect our turf over the years first by the sheer expense of owning gear, then by the shear size of the gear (the old TK76s weighed 30 pounds and that was just the camera) and now it's by the shear complexity of the set-up. This is not right. I'm saying let's give the power to the people so that the Haitian immigrant in FL can shoot and tell his story in HD. The way it's been up to now (and perhaps the way you'd prefer) is that first he's got to go to a tech school and learn computers and mass comm, then lay out half a year's wage on a computer and related software, then struggle to climb the learning curve. Maybe in a couple years (if he hasn't lost the inspiration) he'll pull it off.

That's not the way it should be...that's what I'm saying.
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