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Old June 28th, 2011, 09:23 PM   #1
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Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

At least the world as we know it.

Let me just start by saying that I'm not an FCP user, and that I'm pretty platform agnostic having PC's and Mac's and an iPad.

But from rambling around the fora and the blogosphere since Apple announced FCPX, I'm becoming suspicious that as they say "The end is near". My reading of the FCPX situation is that it solidifies, at least for me, the position that Apple is abandoning the professional content creation crowd in favor of chasing the vastly more numerous content consumer market.

And what distressing tidbits I've seen of Windows 8 leads me to think Microsoft is heading in the same direction.

For the last ten years or so professional software has become much cheaper as the requirements of the consumer (or at least prosumer) market have broadly overlapped the requirements of the pro market, producing what you might think of as a huge "sweet spot"

I've seen this many times in the 52 years I've been in the computer biz - computers have gone from being multi-million dollar items to relatively cheap commodities that could basically cover professional as well as consumer needs. But little by little we see a new class of "computer" emerging that is more attuned to the content consumption market and normal people are flocking to them - I think this inevitably will lead to lower sales and higher prices for us content creators. And if the hardware market contracts, then I would expect the pro software packages to start going up in cost as well.

Another example or two - early ethernet switches were expensive but as ordinary people started buying them, the cost for 10 B T and 100 BT and even 1000 BT plummeted. But businesses are more and more going to 2 Gbit or 10 Gbit . And you don't see these products at your local store - consumers just don't have the requirement for this kind of performance.

I've seen it happen in storage as well..

Anyhow, there seems to have been a general pattern of business and professional requirements converging with mass market requirements and bringing prices down, followed by a divergence of requirements that have the opposite effect.

So if Apple and Microsoft and the hardware guys all chase the content consumer and abandon us, where will we go? Maybe in ten years time Windows and Apple will be entertainment focused and the content creators of the world will be using more expensive hardware with pro applications all running on Linux!

Just speculation on my part, but I get the feeling that the handwriting is on the wall.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 10:40 PM   #2
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Re: Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

Take a deep breath amigo.

The camera didn't spell the end of the fine art painting.
Television didn't spell the end of the movies.
And while email is cool, the mailman still delivers a lot of paper to my house every day.

Change is inevitable.

And yes, if all someone is selling their clients is the ability to push the buttons on an NLE, they're going to have a LOT more competition in the future - since the tools get simplified and more accessible in leaps and bounds these days.

But in the end, if you have the ability to convince people that you can communicate ideas and stories in an artistic and compelling fashion - you'll be just fine.

If you don't - you won't.

Couldn't be simpler really.

And is precisely as it should be.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 11:17 PM   #3
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Re: Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

Change is fine. I think we've both seen a lot of it - and will hopefully both be around to see a lot more.

I'm just speculating on the possible nature of the change we might see in the near future and what the mad rush to focus on the content consumer might imply for the pocketbook of the content creator.

We've had a marvelous run with hardware and software generally getting cheaper. I'm afraid we're headed for a period of increased cost and software churn as the requirements of the (relatively few) content creators diverge from the requirements of the (relatively many) content consumers
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Old June 29th, 2011, 12:09 PM   #4
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Re: Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

I'm somewhat cross-platform as well, though primarily PC, I've developed a good set of FCP7 survival skills.

IMHO content consumer vs. content creator is a little bit of a false dichotomy. "Prosumer" has been an interesting class of equipment and software from which working professionals have benefited greatly, and Prosumer represents something between consumer and professional.

I, for one, am very glad to have access to an under-$10k class of cameras that out-shoot the under-$50k cams I learned on. We can afford to spread production work to a more diverse set of clients, custom production ain't just for TV anymore. It wasn't so many years ago that "corporate" only existed in a handful of major markets, and local remote TV was being shot on 16mm if it mattered, or, horrible and unaffordable video.

FCPX *is* more consumer oriented. Apparently Apple is betting that a large group of consumers is ready to move from iMovie. But, these people are "content creators", too.

For working professionals, I think that means that the low end of the production market goes even lower, and, presumably, broader.

If FCP7 was my primary NLE, I'd probably be thinking about Premiere or AVID... If I had to equip an edit suite or facility today, I couldn't do it at a professional level with an Apple NLE.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 01:29 PM   #5
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Re: Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

And I'm very glad to have access to relatively inexpensive PC's as well. What I find concerning is that I think Apple if not others will in the not too distant future also abandon the Intel platform in favor of something closer in capability to the chipset that drives the iPad etc.

When I started out in computers in 1959 you had to go to the computer room to use it - there were sort of rudimentary terminals, but in a lot of cases you had to sit at a console and wiggle switches and look at the lights on the box to figure out what was going on. And then the age of the so called "dumb terminal" was upon us - all processing on the mainframe but remote access available via private networks.

And then computers got cheap enough that sort of regular people could have them at home - freelance acquisition and post production were realities. Now we seem to be heading back to the mainframe days - thin clients, web browser access, cloud storage etc coming on strong.The big difference of course is that the internet has obviated the need for a private network. Except for that the picture looks just like it did in the mainframe/dumb terminal days.

So fast forward a bit and I think the proliferation of really cheap "client" devices and sort of minimal computing will mean that the powerful PC's that we use for acquisition and post production will have to get significantly more expensive as the market contracts. Or we will have to be satisfied with working on low-res proxies of files that are somewhere in "the cloud" And unlike a lot of other applications, the size of the files we work with is not "internet friendly" - at least not with the anemic internet speeds that we have in the USA - to say nothing of how these huge files will get to the "cloud" in the first place unless we want to go to a local service bureau and pay them to pump our files over really high speed pipes to the cloud server in the sky.

No matter how I scratch my head, I just can't foresee any way it isn't going to cost us a lot more $$$. And take us forward to a past where editing was done on expensive specialized stations and freelance post production didn't exist.

Only way I see around it is for us to get a really high speed network infrastructure in place. For which I'm not holding my breath.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 07:05 PM   #6
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Re: Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

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Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
And I'm very glad to have access to relatively inexpensive PC's as well. What I find concerning is that I think Apple if not others will in the not too distant future also abandon the Intel platform in favor of something closer in capability to the chipset that drives the iPad etc...
Maybe. I'm not saying you're wrong, because I don't have a crystal ball that fortells the future.

That would be counter to a lot of hardware/software development patterns. There's been a lot of push/pull between processor developers, computer manufacturers, software developers, content providers, consumers, and standards organizations that has led to tremendous innovation, especially in the last 10 years.

If it takes more processor cycles, Intel likes it. If there is a more capable processor, OS and Application developers like it. They love us video people, and only wish that we would jump on the 3D bandwagon so that our processor cycle needs double. This is, of course, after HD, in which our needs quadrupled.

Maybe you're right, maybe Apple is betting on a multitude of consumers with less-sophisticated needs making more money for the company.

And yes, there is *so much* upside in the development of the mobile market. And, why shouldn't a consumer edit their iPhone video on their iPad?

Quote:
So fast forward a bit and I think the proliferation of really cheap "client" devices and sort of minimal computing will mean that the powerful PC's that we use for acquisition and post production will have to get significantly more expensive as the market contracts...
I don't know, but Moore's law (processing power doubles every two years) is a recognition of an R&D into manufacturing trend, not a measure of anything a consumer does - I think! It doesn't address price-points, but, the processor is the single most expensive component in a modern NLE system.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 07:57 PM   #7
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Re: Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

Of course it's all just speculation.

Go back to the film era and a good medium format camera wasn't all that much more expensive than a high end 35mm camera - basically not so much difference except for the size of the film. Now a top end medium format Hasselblad or Phase One/Mamiya with an 80MP Leaf back can set you back $30k to $50k. - even a top end Canon or Nikon gets close to $10k.

Most people of course get just fine results with low priced point and shoot cams, but the real pro crowd has to shell out big bucks.

I just sort of expect the same dichotomy to reveal itself in the PC arena.

Am I right or wrong? Who knows? Just something to think about.

I guess I feel like it's occasionally a good thing to think about trends and where they may or may not take us and the outlines of the big picture, Sort of a break from all the discussions about which lens cap is most effective at preventing fingerprints on your lens.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 08:19 PM   #8
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Re: Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

I hope that FCPX leads to a clearer definition of the NLE market. We will see. But, I think prices will go up for some software and hardware.

There will always be a business market of some sort. B2B markets have been soft for a very long time and they will recover eventually. The economy will recover I think in big way in 2013 and the big market with all of the money will again be the business market. Apple has at its heart always been sort of a consumer marketed company. If they're smart, they will at least cater to the new "hybrid" ad agencies that also perform full post production. It may be too late for I think Adobe has that market almost locked up. Avid has features, big post houses, broadcasters, and Apple has the rest of a much bigger market. The 3 A's will be around at least 5 more years.

I do believe in 2 to 3 years, cloud-based post production will be the new cutting edge market with real-time access to uploaded material, multi-point collaboration, and one poor editor somewhere getting hammered with too much input from too many people ,,I mean clients.

And they call it progress.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 08:53 PM   #9
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Re: Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

Amen!

But how will we get our footage to the cloud - mail the media to the cloud provider?

My friend in Japan has fiber internet right to his apartment and in Korea it's pretty pervasive as well.

The US - sort of third world at best until we get fiber to the house.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 08:53 PM   #10
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Re: Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

I wouldn't say it's the end of the world just a growing trend of Apple focusing their business on the lower end consumer enthusiast. They made some really capricious decisions of late that have more do with their business model than to address professional need. Take Blu-Ray for example. There is a reason why they aren't a player in the business arena. You have to respect the user base's needs and offer a reasonable path to transition to the next version. Adobe Photoshop is a perfect example of how its possible to innovate without alienating users.

Apple let FCP interface and code base stagnate for too many years and with little thought or care about how current users would feel dropped a bomb. It sounds like they are trying to go back and smooth things over so maybe in a year we will be cheering how FCP 11 got it right. Even if they eventually do, they've earned terrible marks for their handling of this transition.

Frankly I think this is a result of Apple falling in love with the way apps are released for the iPhone. No its not a paradigm shift, professional software has to have some level of accountability to its user base, dropping features, no backwards compatibility. The worst thing is you can't chalk it up to a honest mistake, it was deliberate. Its like they thought they could treat FCP like a new iPhone where only the future mattered.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 11:08 PM   #11
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Re: Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

Everything changes. If Avid and Adobe have similar plans to change a 1990s way of NLE UI and workflows, they've probably shelved it by now. I think FCP X is Apple's way of moving the way we cut into the 21st century.

Google has their free YouTube/cloud video editor, and maybe someone else will do the same. Linux is still difficult to work with, no matter what anyone tells me. And I've tried to use it several times, going back 8 years.

I think Apple's FCP X FAQ is a quiet start; they're definitely listening.

Completely off-topic... I'm a big comic book fan, and I'll paraphrase someone explaining Marvel Comics' geniuses: Reed Richards (Fantastic Four) can build a super computer that can do mind-blowing things. It'll be the size of an office floor and take a nuclear power plant to run it. Tony Stark can make it the size of a lighter. Everything changes, gets cheaper and better.

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Old June 30th, 2011, 02:03 AM   #12
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Re: Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

Here are a few words by Ron Brinkman, the founder of shake on the subject


http://digitalcomposting.wordpress.c...6/28/x-vs-pro/
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Old June 30th, 2011, 03:49 AM   #13
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Re: Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

Go to an Apple store. Don't go in (the staff freak me out personally). What you'll notice is iPhones, iPods and iPads flying off the shelves. The computers also sell well, but now the vast majority of buyers are just ordinary consumers who do little more than browse the web and write a letter.

That's Apple's market. The professional market that sustained them through the dark years is no longer important to them. One time of day the only place you'd see a Mac was in a design studio or editing suite. Now they are everywhere. I know one person who's not long bought a top line Macbook Pro and it's literally doing a job that a Windows laptop costing a fraction of the price could do.

So Apple has refocussed. Sure they'll still sell their computers to professionals who want them, but the idea of attracting professionals by sustaining their own exclusive software line with products like FCP and Shake seems to have passed. They simply don't need to attract customers that way anymore.

We've been suckers. We all fell for their charm when they needed us. Now they don't need us anymore. Sure we can apply pressure to get features added back but long term this looks like they want to wind down their professional involvement and sell iThings instead.

FCP-X may end up being fixed. But is anyone seriously telling me that put that software out without knowing the result? Or did the editors on their payroll just tell them what they wanted to hear? Who did Apple consult, a load of 1st year film studies undergraduates?

The whole thing stinks and the silence from Apple is still deafening.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 04:00 AM   #14
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Re: Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

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Everything changes. If Avid and Adobe have similar plans to change a 1990s way of NLE UI and workflows, they've probably shelved it by now. I think FCP X is Apple's way of moving the way we cut into the 21st century.
Nothing wrong with updating workflows but you need to offer some way to migrate when you know your users have millions of hours of footage they might need to recut at some stage.

The fact they didn't even include multicamera just shows you the level they were working at. Did nobody flag this up as a problem? Fact is multicamera doesn't matter to your average Youtuber or home user which is why it wasn't included.

Sure they are now back peddling. Sure some of the workflow may well be the future way of doing things. But they've truly messed this one up and have lost the trust and respect of a lot of people.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 08:35 AM   #15
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Re: Is FCPX the beginning of the end of the world?

I agree, Marcus, but Apple is promising multicam support. I keep reading posts by people saying they're going back to Avid and are shocked that it's the same thing, more or less, as it was in the mid-90s (when you had to pay $200,000 for it).

Things change, Apple changed FCP and I think Avid and Premiere are do for a major overhaul, but not for a while. If they've been toying with a UI change, I'm sure they shelved it now.

I also don't think we're suckers for following Apple; they deserve all the success they're getting. At one point, my best friend and I figured they were selling an iPod every 30 seconds holidays 2005 at our local Apple Store. But they still make great hardware and operating systems.

I'm gonna ask this, because I posted it on Facebook... how many of you are seriously going to switch to Avid, Premiere or even Vegas? Even if I considered it, I can't afford to shell out at least $800 to $1000 for one of those cross-grade deals, and if it's gone, I definitely can't afford to spend $1699 to $2499, plus training...

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