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Old April 17th, 2011, 11:04 PM   #151
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

Not to put too fine a point on it Randy, but as the SuperMeet presentation noted, there are over TWO MILLION LICENSED FCP seats out there.

Want to take a guess at how many of those are in fully pro TV studio environs? I'd bet the total is under 10%. So while esoteric "pro features" like the ability to integrate your work into a 60 seat facility and share petabytes of storage across a 5 acre facility are important to a great many industry insiders - the actual number of users with needs at this level is probably pretty small.

PARTICULARLY since the clear and obvious trend today is in corporate DOWNSIZING. I've done work the past few months that, a few years ago SHOULD have gone to a facility with a $2million dollar plant. - but I do it in my converted hay barn with a fraction of the overhead and in digital collaboration with other pros in other states and the end result all the quality with little of the overhead. It's my primary competitive advantage.

Maybe it's still important for Apple so serve the top of the Pro market. I hope so. I like the path because it generates tools that are useful to me at the "single seat but with nice corporate clients" level.

However, Apple simply WILL NOT survive if it focuses exclusively on what may be even 200,000 "true facility pro customers" - or even event folks who want to keep mailing plastic - if it doesn't ALSO meet the needs of the 1,800,000 others out here who also contribute their money to the FCP Development efforts. Also, it doesn't take a genius to forsee a time where along with your water heater and your air conditioner, houses will come with built in data storage - and when you move you'll simply download your family files to the new house and erase them from the old (with secure backups on the cloud.)

How long away is that? A few years? The wiring is trivial and if the housing industry hadn't cratered, I'll bet you a dime to a dollar that without the real estate bubble burst - it would already be an optional new home feature gaining traction today simply because virtually EVERYBODY needs home based digital storage in their lives today. (Apple TV and Airport rigs making a bit more future sense now?)

As to FCP I certainly hope they keep every pro they're currently got. But if not, I'm sorry, but the pros are going to have to bend in this. Because no business worth it's name survives (or should) if it concentrates on filling 200,000 orders at $1000 when it has the opportunity to fill 1.8 Million orders at $299. Do the math. 529 million against 200 million?

Apple is many things. Business idiots they most certainly are not.
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Old April 17th, 2011, 11:08 PM   #152
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

I don't think it's completely that owning an Apple product is "cool;" I think Apple makes great products that work. While my friends laughed at me shelling out $1400 for an old MacBook (including RAM, bigger drive, etc.), they spent $500 on a solid Dell that died within months, and they bought another, cheaper one. And it died a year later. 3.5 years later and they've spent more money on 4 laptops than I did on one. And I cut a feature film with FCP on that MacBook before selling it for something faster.

When FCP shipped in 1999, Adobe Premiere 5.1 was having serious issues with handling DV, which was fixed by ver. 6, but it was, at the time, too late for them and Mac. Avid had nothing cheap--you had to shell out lots of money just to get a decent NLE. (I'm focusing on Mac NLEs here.)

Even now, if you want to edit a high-end film, you just need a great Mac Pro (or MB Pro with ProRes 422), a bunch of hard drives, a great capture card and a calibrated monitor (think Matrox MXO and an LCD). You're probably out $5,000 - $10,000, while to do the same with Avid, you're gonna end up renting the system because it's so expensive. FCP killed Avid in that dept.

I will agree that, until now, only Premiere Pro and Vegas Pro were really adding in great new features and changing the UI a lot. I have a friend who owns a rental house and he's been renting out Avid systems for years. He told me the other day that, aside from some new features and UI tweaks, Avid hasn't changed much, like FCP, over the years.

I think message boards and communities like DVi, instructional videos, etc., have really helped push people to try FCP and that's why it's been hard for others to catch up. Vegas Pro does it well, too, with guys like Spot and VASST doing some great training discs and books. That's what attracted me to Vegas Pro, and that's an NLE UI that I wasn't comfortable stepping into, since FCP, Avid and Premiere are essentially the same.

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Old April 17th, 2011, 11:24 PM   #153
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

A friend of mine sent me a link about 10 businesses that have seen serious "erosion" in the past 10 years, and post-production houses have certainly got hit pretty hard with apps like Final Cut Pro, Vegas Pro, etc. Something like 48%. And it's not just the economy -- people don't want to pay a lot of money for production anymore.

Up until a year ago, I was working for a company as a one-man band (three of us total, covering Vero Beach to Miami Beach) doing writing/producing/shooting/editing of local commercials for Comcast Spotlight, who laid off something like 15-20 people and the outside company replaced them with 3 of us. Then dropped the price from $1200 for a basic :30 to $550. Low? Very, but it's the reality.

In the past 10-15 years, it's gone from "jack of all trades, master of none," focus on one or two things, which I learned in film school, to "if you don't know how to shoot, edit and do graphics (and possibly write, direct and produce), you aren't working." I spent years as an editor, always with a separate department for shooting, graphics, production, etc. Now it's all one or two people. That's the reality of it, and Apple is smart to capitalize on that market.

I'm glad people are mastering BDs and DVDs; other than working on some films from 04 to 08, the last companies I've worked for, I've had to burn a grand total of, and I'm not kidding, 10 DVDs. 7 for the corporate video company and only 3, literally, out of about 75-100 commercials I did at the local production house. For the most part, the clients wanted a WMV for their website and that was it. I was shocked!

But as I sit here, having just recently moved and my best friend and I were lugging around a ton of DVDs, comics and books from my various and vast collections, I realized I want to use my VUDU and Apple TVs more now, and get an iPad for digital comics and books. I shall NOT be a hoarder anymore. (wink) That's the future, and I said it 3 years ago after seeing the VUDU at CES 2008, even if I only half-believed it then.

One last thing, that 2 million licensed user number is people who bought the app, not "borrowed" it or stole it. So I'm sure there are way more FCP editors out there. On top of it, at the FCS 2 presentation at NAB 2007, they said there were around 800,000 - 900,000 licensed users. So in 4 years, they've more than doubled their user base. (Does it include Final Cut Express? I'm guessing yes.)

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Old April 17th, 2011, 11:29 PM   #154
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kalle View Post
Hi Bill,

Very well said.

I am no marketing expert but I do have a BS degree in Marketing and Poli Science; so, I have a decent understanding of how consumers and people 'think'. With Apple, the reason their products sell so well is due to Branding.
SNIP
!
Personally, my college path stopped short of a Mass Com degree in the 1970s - but as a former ad agency owner, I'll note that branding is functional ONLY if you have products that reflect CONGRUENTLY on the brand. If your brand is CHEAP - the goods HAVE to be cheap. If your brand is LUXURY - then your customers expect to pay a premium and be part of a more exclusive clientele, etc.

We've seen legions of internet pundits try to brand Apple products as "overpriced toys for dilettantes" but no matter how hard some argue for this view, sales, adoption and customer attitudes continue to prove that this view is abjectly wrong.

I'd personally sum up the apple BRAND today as way more than just "cool" because "cool" is transitory. I'd personally define the modern Apple brand as "technology products that inspire feelings of customer delight and consistently operate in a VERY approachable and satisfying fashion"

If FCP-X does that - its another big win for Apple. Simple as that.

And with the expertise and resources they have in Cupertino - I seriously suspect it will.

We'll see soon.
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Old April 17th, 2011, 11:33 PM   #155
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

I think the target audience for a product like FCP is much different today than back when Apple orignally bought FCP. Do they want to make a product that just appeals to movie makers? Commercial? or everyone. Its been like 10 years since i-pods came out and most music is downloaded from the internet yet there are still stores that sell CDs you can download movies from multiple sources yet stores still sell DVDs & BR just because it makes sense to the "techies" of the world like us doesnt make it so. Personally id love to deliver my videos on a thumb drive and let the bride pop it in her media player but were not there yet and wont be for a long time. Personally I think Apple will release a BR solution I think they were even going that way at the end of FCP 7. I think all that stuff about BR being the past was Steve Jobs spinning the fact that they didnt want to put out the money to update DVDSP 4 to handle BR I think now that they are starting over that they will... at least I hope. I dont know what the hold up is there are tons of solutions on the Windows platform from cheap to hi-end.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 12:22 AM   #156
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
... WHY then, NO OTHER software has been able to give FCP a serious run for it's crown in editing popularity?
My take on this is pretty simple...

Roughly 50% of our industry (all inclusive; all markets from Hollywood to wedding videographers to the small town video shop, etc.) edits video on a Mac. I don't think they chose the Mac just for editing video with it; I believe most Mac folks consider themselves primarily Mac folks regardless of video editing.

FCP dominates on the Mac side, and that's the only popularity battle it needed to win. Since the PC side is heavily fragmented between Premiere, Vegas, and Avid (and to a lesser degree by Edius, NewTek and others), FCP wins the "most popular" title overall by default. Too many good choices on the PC side prevent any one of them from rising to the top to emerge as the clear winner, as FCP did on the Mac side. Therefore FCP is the single most popular NLE of them all (Adobe wants to change that though).

FCP's market share would have been much less if the Mac platform itself weren't so prevalent within this industry -- unlike the consumer home computer world, where PCs still outsell Macs by a broad margin. But the fact is, in the world of video editing, it's roughly 50% Mac and 50% PC.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 12:49 AM   #157
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

I agree Chris. Premiere, Edius, FCP Vegas to me are like clubs in a golf bag I pick the right one for the hole im on. Mini golf of course:) the problem im having is I use Edius for most of my editing I bought FCS for DVDSP 4 probably the best author tool on the market which why I want Apple to pick up the BR so badly. All those programs mentioned have one thing in common they all have a DVD author tool tied just for it. Edius's sucks! I need a good author tool im counting on Apple to come through. I-DVD BR would be perfect!:)
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Old April 18th, 2011, 06:33 AM   #158
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

I'm loving Bill's posts and I like his definition of the modern Apple brand.

But I think Steve was right to try to sum up the brand in one word. The majority of marketers consider "Positioning" to be the best book on marketing - http://www.ries.com/images/archive/large/354-1.jpg - and positioning teaches that a brand has to stand for something in the mind of the consumer, usually a single word. Like with the different car brands. Over many years, Toyota came to own the word "reliability" in the mind. (Despite more recent troubles.) Volvo owns "safety". Mercedes is "prestige". And so on.

The only thing I disagree with Steve on, is the word "cool" to sum up Apple's positioning.

The word Apple owns in the mind is "aesthetic". Aesthetic is defined in the dictionary as "giving or designed to give pleasure through beauty; of pleasing appearance".

There were heaps of MP3 players on the market. Loaded with ugly buttons and complex menus. The iPod was very "late to the market" actually. Yet it was simple, elegant and beautiful in comparison. It concentrated on the aesthetics of the user experience. It took over the market. (After all, isn't listening to music an aesthetic experience?) A friend of mine is a computer tech and a real expert on PCs. I remember a couple of years ago he told me that even the internal layout and connections of the Mac (Mac Pro) were elegant and "beautiful" and he wished he could get his PCs configured similarly. The Mac OS (in the way OS X is laid out) is similarly aesthetic for the user experience and I think Microsoft have been smart in their recent releases to move away from a "functional" interface to one which has more of the OS X "look". Same story with the iPhone and especially the iPad. Tablets just never caught on, until Apple concentrated on a 100% aesthetic user experience.

So my vote is for the word "aesthetic" to sum up Apple's branding.

And because video editing is an aesthetic medium (as well as a technical one), I'm not surprised to find that there is a much higher percentage (50% according to Chris) on the Mac platform as opposed to the percentages in the consumer home market. Anyone in this business (shooting footage and editing it) has to be a curious mixture of artist and technician. You can't do one without the other. And that applies to both Mac and PC users.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 07:14 AM   #159
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

Since the release of the iPad i see Apple as primarily a technology interface company.
They let us (humans) interface with technology more gracefully than any other.
Wether it's developing the latest hardware - touch screens, retina displays, touch pads, magnetic power cords; user interfaces; or developing whole frameworks as described in an earlier post - iPod / iTunes . . . they make technology more graceful and integrated.

And as far as branding . . . with some rare exceptions, when i think of Apple i think of Quality.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 07:33 AM   #160
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

I also think Chris has the essence correct. The creative industry was MAC based and Apple had the majority of software for the MAC. Now with the MAC really being an Intel PC and with the ability to run Windows programs on the MAC hardware a different competitive environment now exists. Adobe runs native on the MAC but all the other PC programs now have access to the MAC hardware/customers. There are lots of MAC users running Vegas and Edius on their MAC's so the competitive position for Apple FCP is now much greater than it has ever been.

To the one man shops not all have come from the esthetic side so some of these are pure PC based since there is a lot more software on the PC side and it is easy and cheaper to custom build a PC workstation specifically for a task in a home/business network.

The majority of consumers are PC based and they have the most cameras and these days may have more capable HD cameras than some of the professionals who may still be tape based on SD. Most of these cameras come with simple software and may even come with trials of a range of other software. Adobe Elements is the number 1 seller in this market if you can believe their claims. Elements has most of the features demonstrated in FCP X at $80 on the MAC. For $120 or so one also gets Photoshop Elements integrated with full Bluray and SD DVD creation. This is the PC world competition that Apple has not had to deal with until the Intel MAC's. It now has a lot more competition from all sides.

On the high end broadcast Apple has no hardware to integrate like Grass Valley with Edius for example.

I admit I am a PC user mainly because I like making my own PC with components I want rather than those Steve decides I need. Consequently FCP was never a choice for me. I have had no problems editing files from the MAC for other people and like the realtime performance of Edius my main editor though I do have Vegas and Adobe CS3 as well as a lot of others to choose from on my PC.

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Old April 18th, 2011, 07:53 AM   #161
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

I would be amazed if there are really "lots of MAC users running Vegas and Edius on their MAC's"? The ability to run Windows on Macs seems to be mostly used by people wanting to run games. I have seen the odd posting on the Edius forum from such users but seriously who is going to buy & Mac just to run Windows programs?
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Old April 18th, 2011, 09:09 AM   #162
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

I dis aagree the reason people want to run Windows on a Mac is for options I know hard core FCP users will find it hard to swallow but there are programs on Windows that Mac cant do ie bluray so people want choices Adobe CS collection runs better on Windows than it does Mac so some poeple "hop" over to Windows to create someting save via Mac Drive for NTFS for OSX then go to the Mac and put it in their FCP project. I used to use my Mac for titles with Livetype then go Windows and drop them into my Edius time line.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 09:27 AM   #163
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

I also think people get hung up on the latest and greatest and quickly forget what really matters to editors. To me it isn't just about 64 bit and rendering with 24 cores. What really matters is can I get the job done with the least amount of hassle. FCP seems to have that impression although it isn't perfect either.

I used to edit with Fast/Pinnacle/Avid Liquid. Now this was a pretty old school program and had certain limitations just like FCP. It was based on old code and couldn't use more then 2 cores. It was also 32 bit only and couldn't really use more then 2 GB of ram. At the end of the day however it could edit circles around Vegas, Premiere and Avid MC. It could edit 2D and 3D graphics in RT with full HD and playback perfectly long before anybody else. I could slice through timelines that were over 2 hours long with over 1000 edits and multiple layers and it would not choke with only 2 GB of ram.

My point is that hardware support isn't everything. 2 GB with one NLE is a lot different then 2 GB on another NLE. Adobe needs lots of ram because it is a hog. FCP on the other hand can do impressive stuff with 2 cores and 4 GB of ram. This is why MBP's were always considered darn good edit machines. FCP made great use of modest hardware where other NLEs need great hardware to do great.

When Avid decided to slit the throat of Liquid I started my search for a new NLE. I tried FCP, Vegas, Premiere which we use at work, Media Composer which I had a chance to port to for a very low cost and Edius. Out of all of them and even considering the limitations of ram and cpu support with FCP I switched to FCP. Part of it had to do with industry usage but a huge chunk just had to do with the fact that it seemed like a native choice for me. I liked the way it worked and at the time on my core2duo iMac it beat the pants off of the other NLE's. Now that I have a new 17" MBP it still runs great but I know the rendering is a bit behind other NLE's on this same system. I also have CS5 on here and the Media Encoder does eat Compressor for breakfast. Premiere still doesn't seem to stand up to the aging FCP however. I still feel like I get better timeline performance with FCP.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 10:11 AM   #164
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

Hey gang,

Here's the "10 dying industries" I was talking about, including Video Postproduction Services:

http://www.ibisworld.com/Common/Medi...Industries.pdf

And the actual figure is 43.2%, not the 48% I thought. But I don't think it's post-production, in general, but post- houses. Gone are the days of paying $150/hour when you can do it yourself, or buy an NLE like Avid, Premiere, etc., and hire someone.

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Old April 18th, 2011, 11:31 AM   #165
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Re: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek

Too many things said to respond to specific people but:

What a "facility" is itself has changed. How FCP got to be where it is has to be understood.
Back around 2000 Adobe Premiere was a disaster and Avid announced they were leaving the Mac market. The latter would have resulted in a significant loss of Mac desktop sales (BTW another big "pro" Mac market is Desktop Publishing).

Apple decided it did not want to depend primarily on another company's product for Mac sales (think of how Microsoft Word was important too if you go back to that deal a little earlier).

FCP 1999/2000 was not a serious competitor to Avid though but they had to start. As it grew in features it grew from the bottom up probably first as a replacement for Premiere on the low end and eventually Avid on the higher end.

On facilities. If you looked at the cost of a facility in 1999 compared to 2011 you'd probably laugh at the cost drops. Today's "BIG" facility would have been positively small in 1999. Facilities still have multi million dollar digital LINEAR rooms and some might have been adding Avid Symphonies which dropped costs to from seven to lower six figures for a room. When someone mentions a "2 million dollar" facility I have to chuckle. That might be on par or less than a linear digital room with switcher and FX box and four digibeta decks. A "BIG" facility might have a few of those and a bunch more "offline" rooms (maybe Avid Media Composers and hence the consideration for a Symphony and maybe a Unity).

So when one says "10% to facilities" Apple knows quite well that what that means is going to change. The growth ranges from one man bands, small shops, collaborative groups. That's the growth market and that's expanding. FCPX is targeted to that and those "10%" or going to be there at some point.

Apple's price cut (if it's really a price cut) is probably in large part in line with their cost cutting. Gone is the cost of making install disks, packaging, warehouse costs, shipping costs, supply chain management, preorder management, a little retail shelf space and maybe a few other things I'm over looking. That's a WHOPPING savings for them. While it may be hard to put exact numbers on it but that savings is, at least in part, reflected in the drop in price . . . and the drop in price will result in increase sales volume.

The above may increase sales of MacPros and MacBookPros as well. It also means a bigger market for the video industry peripheral makers ranging from video input to storage to archival, plugins etc.

To say that the Mac has something like 50% of the Post market but a small portion of the consumer/home market overall doesn't point to WHY that post market is that big. For a long time Avid was Mac only for example and Apple kept them hardware loyal. For some part of the corporate market, FCP was often the only Mac in the shop, otherwise they had to look at much higher priced Avid or other Windows NLEs. Keep in mind we're in the early part of the decade and the Windows NLE market was a bit of a mess. Apple took advantage of all that.

Years later Premiere got better, Vegas is good, Edius is good, Avid got less expensive (but still a heavy burden for the small shop). My guess is somewhere around 2007 things began to be more competitive and by 2009 the FCP upgrade might have begone to weaken. It was probably around that point that FCPX was started along with iMovie and the iterations of iMovie since then reflected the simplest changes while happening on some parallel level with FCPX. That's the reason why there's some similarity. It's NOT because FCPX was "based on" iMovie. Apple and Randy Ubellos were undertaking a major interface redesign which, at its fundamental level, would have common elements. FCPX though, given the needed power, was a much longer and more difficult job, targeting architecture which, for Apple, was also still in development (64 bit OS, Grand Central, new Quicktime architecture replacing the old).

So here we are at 2011 with Lion, Thunderbolt, new QT underpinnings, new cost saving distribution model in the App store. This is why Apple business model has been about "ecosystems" rather than individual products. Apple generally isn't about being ahead of the pack in features. It's about aggregation and tieing things together in their entire business model for an easier workflow from features to distribution.
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