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Old April 20th, 2007, 10:36 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by Andy Mees View Post
>MXF in many cases competes with Quicktime

Only in the sense MXF its a wrapper format. AVI is a hugely widespread wrapper format too, but Apple support it, in Quicktime, already.

I can't quite see how supporting MXF in the same fashion would weaken Quicktime?
It's the combination of a wrapping the content with metadata that is dangerous for Apple and Quicktime. If I'm basing my workflow on MXF why do I need Quicktime. I theoretically should have all the interoperability and metadata needs that I require.

Apple will likely slow their adoption of Native MXF until they can deliver their new Quicktime frameworks in Leopard. The only way they can compete with an open format like MXF is to make Quicktime full featured and easy to license. Since they control the software it behooves them work harder.

I think this is one of the reasons why I disagree with Chuck about Apple's committment to media. They have poured in resources to improve Quicktime at every level and their applications are what show the power of QT frameworks.

I'm all for adding MXF because open standards are generally a good thing but Apple simply need to make Quicktime the no brainer choice for situation in which MXF doesn't quite cover a particular workflows needs (I have no idea what that would be but we'll see)
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Old April 20th, 2007, 11:31 AM   #47
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>If I'm basing my workflow on MXF why do I need Quicktime. I theoretically should have all the interoperability and metadata needs that I require.

I'm following you but perhaps not quite "getting it" yet. Yes, you are basing your production workflow on MXF as that is dictated by the chosen tapeless shooting format. But your post-production workflow would nonetheless be based on Quicktime as it would be Quicktime that enables you to work with the native MXF.

If Quicktime doesn't support MXF then I feel Apple could potentially start to lose some of those customers, who are basing their production workflow on the format, to alternative platfoms that have native support.
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Old April 20th, 2007, 12:16 PM   #48
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FCP 6 assessment wrap-up

In my previous posts about being disappointed with FCP 6 you read someone who was experiencing a strong emotional reaction to what was purported to be stunning news coming from Apple about MXF support - which didn't happen.

What did happen, is that since both the Apple and Adobe stations were literally next to each other in our Panasonic booth, the Adobe rep took advantage of a priceless opportunity - as he should - to capitlize on *my* immediate disdain for what Apple *didn't* do and proceeded to fill me with exactly what I wanted to hear, which was that the new version of Premiere CS3 would be an answer to prayer. Of which I can now honestly say was hype and not reality.

So what you see now is someone who is *admittedly* back-pedaling a bit. Let me say first, that I'm still very disappointed with the lack of MXF-native support in FCP however, after 10 minutes of running the Pr CS3 Beta Demo there's not a snowball's chance in the fire that Pr CS3 is a replacement for FCP.

Pr CS3 is without a doubt a quantum leap from it's previous iteration and in certain aspects does have greater direct integration with it's cousin software PS, Illustrator, Flash etc. But, when you get under the hood of FCP 6 you find that it still is a deeper, more detailed and cost-effective tool than any other NLE on the planet today.

With the addition of more filters, effects (especially Smooth-Cam and direct integration with Optical-Flow time remapping from Shake), Color, a nicely updated Motion with a ton of built-in parameters not previousy available - and the list goes on - FCS 2 is a great piece of work. And with the option of Pro-Res 422 and the additonal hardware it's beginning to square-off with Avid head-to-head.

The HD-DVD issues and lack of Blu-Ray support are still things that nag at me mainly because I have vendors who are constantly taunting me with their customers who are saying they want one or the other from our content. And right now, there's just no clean and simple way to accomplish that task without going to a post house to check an HD-DVD burn.

That all being said, one thing I am sure of is that once the engineers who were moved off to work iPhone are re-tasked once again to finish OS 10.5 and tweak FCP further that we'll have a little slice a heaven in the Apple-FCP world once FCP is able to take advantage of Core Animation from Leopard.

It's been suggested that both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray with both be winding down in the near future and be "almost-was" formats. I can only say from everything I saw at NAB and what my own direct vendor experiences are with their customers that's just not going to happen. Which of the two will eventually overtake the other? I doubt there will ever be a winner - but what I do see happening instead is both authoring/burners and players being able to do both rather than just one or the other. In fact, there are already one or two players on the market today that have that capability.

And Harrison: About your musings of the new XDCAM, read my NAB wrap-up report on the HVX forum for more info. You might be surprised.
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Old April 20th, 2007, 01:07 PM   #49
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I'm sorry Chuck, but I've got to TOTALLY disagree with you on this analysis.

The FCP product manager and others at NAB this year were delighted to announce that FCP has a worldwide PAID installed base of around 800,000 seats.
[QUOTE=Bill Davis;663674]I think what you'll find is that Apple has shipped 800K seats since FCP first began shipping and that they don't carry anywhere near the many licenses forward with version upgrades. I don't know what that number is but its in the 10s of thousands, not hundreds. Also statistics are funny things, if you placed such an emphasis on seats sold Adobe would beat Avid and Apple combined.

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If even 50% of the installed base upgrades ( a laughably small figure) at even if they ALL did it at the lowest (imaginary net) upgrade price of $450 simple math tells you that would generate 188 MILLION bucks in positive cash flow to the bottom line.
Again, that is more likely the total amount of FCP sales, not annual cash flow.

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If the reports are right about the iPhone reaching a million "Let me know when it's shipping" email hits - with even a 50% conversion of those to sales - and figuring that Apple's slice of the 600 bucks or so retail at 50% - that means the iPhone (in my totally guessing imaginary financial comparison) could easily yeild less bottom line profit than FCP for the forseeable future.
Even if your assumptions are correct regarding the revenue of FCP, over 300M cell phones have been sold, over 10M iPods [which are selling on average 300,000 per quarter] or $90M. I'm not suggesting that Apple will get even ten percent of the 300M cell phone market, however, the market cap for integrated cellphones and required services is huge compared to the professional entertainment market. Also, Apple doesn't play the 50% retail price game, I doubt resellers get 30%, which is why Apple is opening their own stores. Again these are retail stores mostly for consumer products. Yes you can purchase FCP there but its very rare if you can find a sales person older than 23 who has any idea what FCP is let alone how to use or demo it.

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Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
It's not about any ONE product, it's about developing a LINE of products that delivers an exceptional user experience and seamless full-line connectivity.
I didn't miss this point at all, I just don't happen to believe that FCP is a part of the value chain. Does the user of any of Apples consumer products need FCP do create content? For them, iMovie is great is just fine. The reason I brought up the companies who have come and gone from our industry in an earlier post is because just about all of them had aspirations of pushing their products to the mainstream market and failed. That transition is impossible for several reasons. We, early adopters of technology love to get the latest and greatest and if its only 60% baked thats even better because we can add our own special ingredients and make it special. But the consumer are pragmatists who want none of that, they want to buy it because they already use it in one form or another or because 10M of their closest friends use it.

Apple as a consumer electronics company has done a great job of marketing the fact that if you purchase an Apple anything it just works. But as much as people don't like to hear this the company that's in the best position with its software solutions is Adobe. They are pushing their consumer products up the food chain while Apple "was" trying to productize it pro applications for consumers.

I think Adobe is winning this market share battle, not because of PPro vs FCP but because of Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Dreamweaver and Flash. You talked about 800K seats of FCP sold, that pales in comparison to the numbers of these products sold, they are in the tens of millions. And don't forget Apple has failed at this before, remember the Newton? Apple could not make that product fly when shorty after Palm made almost the identical device, the PDA become a business staple.

I'm not saying that Apple can't compete, in fact I think with their recent change in focus they are doing a great job. But what I am saying is that continued FCP development will suffer. Apple is competing for Billions of dollars in marketshare, FCP revenue is less than 10% of that but what percentage of dollars spent is on the development of the pro-applications?

Also please don't think that I'm throwing "bombs" or damning FCP with faint praise, I want it to continue to improve, I very much want the development of FCP to increase [I can hardly wait to get version 6], but I think in order for it to live long and prosper it needs a ground up re-write. They should take all that they've learned and start over the way Adobe did. And given the economic forces at play I doubt that will happen.

I hope I'm wrong, I think Harrison's comment about the need for OSx is an intriguing one. I think that's where SGI blew it, IRIX was way ahead of everyone. Once SGI announced they were going WindowsNT and then Linux it was the beginning of the end.
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Old April 20th, 2007, 02:01 PM   #50
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Robert I'll be glad to read your findings. I love the idea of P2 and AVC-Intra product and I hope that Pansonic continues to bring these down the line to more and more product.

Chuck - I really think Apple is in it to stay. They certainly aren't afraid of Adobe. After all Adobe abandoned the platform and then came back. What does that tell you?

Final Cut Studios is a difference maker
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Old April 20th, 2007, 02:19 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Harrison Murchison View Post
Robert I'll be glad to read your findings. I love the idea of P2 and AVC-Intra product and I hope that Pansonic continues to bring these down the line to more and more product.

Chuck - I really think Apple is in it to stay. They certainly aren't afraid of Adobe. After all Adobe abandoned the platform and then came back. What does that tell you?

Final Cut Studios is a difference maker
Before I dig myself into a hole, thanks for debating this. Its easy to talk about which filters do what and how do I configure this or that. But I don't think there's nearly enough debate about issues that could effect our business or profitability.

Harrison that can be taken a lot of ways. Adobe left because Apple was not enough of their total revenue to warrant spending the R&D dollars to meet Apples demand that it be an NLE that supported quicktime. Also, Adobe runs on both platforms whereas FCP only runs on a Mac, which do you think has the greater potential for growth?

Maybe Adobe should buy FCP???
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Old April 20th, 2007, 02:35 PM   #52
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I like seeing Adobe back with Premiere quite honestly. I think Apple learned a valuable lesson. You must help 3rd party developers as much as possible but becareful on relying too much on them. Microsoft never allows themselves to rely on other sources outside of their company for the big stuff. That philosphy has allowed them to grow the whole pie so that even "bit" pieces are enough for companies to thrive in certain areas.

Apple will not sell Final Cut Pro. In fact I see a goundswell of activity. Shake is being replaced hopefully next year with a new product. Logic Pro is being heavily modifed. Apple now has color grading and SAN based media management.

These are not the actions of a company looking to exit the market. The pro app media divisions make Apple money directly and indirectly with Xserve and Mac Pro sales.

I don't care how big the iPod/iPhone gets Apple is going to be delivering tools that keep it in the spotlight.

Hell I don't think they should stop. I want them to make a product that combines Illustrator vector features and Photoshop like tools into one app and make it video enabled.

Apple's thing now seems to be "non-destructive" where applicable. Soundtrack Pro's effects are and Aperture applies non-destructive edits on RAW photos. Apple should attempt to extend this as far as possible.

There's too much work to be done. Steve Jobs is a perfectionist. I'm sure he's having too much fun right now.
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Old April 20th, 2007, 04:02 PM   #53
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The whole thing about Apple dropping "Computer" from the name is really pointless. The fact is, the Iphone is a mini computer, the AppleTV is a mini computer, and The PRO APPS are a huge source of revenue for Apple.

The new Final Cut Studio is the biggest release the company has ever done for their editing line. They finally attacked and surpassed even what a $60,000 Avid Symphony Nitris can do. Apple is not slacking off at all.

The reason we did not see Blu-Ray/HD DVD yet is likely due to a few things.
- New Mac's are on the way that have internal players
- These players will likely require Leopard
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Old April 20th, 2007, 05:13 PM   #54
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While I can see why many are concerned about specific support of certain codecs/formats in FCP 6, the real message Apple is sending is - use Prores for all things post* (*I qualify that with ALMOST everything post). It is designed to convert any acquisition format into an optimized codec that will give you the smoothest workflow in FCS.

In my mind, this could resolve a lot of issues for those dealing with multiple source types and expensive cpu overhead on native editing like HDV.

-gl
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Old April 20th, 2007, 05:17 PM   #55
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I asked this question earlier, but nobody responded. Do you think the new FCP will be compatible with my Macbook (2ghz core duo, 1 gig ram)? I use FCP 5 and it works fine, and I won't be using motion, so I don't see why the inegrated graphics card should be much of a problem.

I am interested, however in Color, which would be great if it could run on my machine. The website doesn't list the Macbook as being compatible, but I doubt Apple would isolate such a large chunk of its consumers, even if the macbook is branded as being non professional.
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Old April 20th, 2007, 05:21 PM   #56
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I asked this question earlier, but nobody responded. Do you think the new FCP will be compatible with my Macbook (2ghz core duo, 1 gig ram)? I use FCP 5 and it works fine, and I won't be using motion, so I don't see why the inegrated graphics card should be much of a problem.

I am interested, however in Color, which would be great if it could run on my machine. The website doesn't list the Macbook as being compatible, but I doubt Apple would isolate such a large chunk of its consumers, even if the macbook is branded as being non professional.
I am pretty sure it will not work. FCP 6 now offers FXplug effects that use GPU for rendering. So, while you may get it installed, it won't perform very well. I am actually wondering how well it will run on my 1st gen MBP.

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Old April 20th, 2007, 07:12 PM   #57
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>I am interested, however in Color, which would be great if it could run on >my machine. The website doesn't list the Macbook as being compatible, >but I doubt Apple would isolate such a large chunk of its consumers, even >if the macbook is branded as being non professional.[/QUOTE]

I almost hate to write this but here goes...

You buy the BEST hardware you can find TODAY and expect that...

In about six months expect it to be functionally behind the industry.
In about a year, expect it to be obsolete tho still functionally viable.
In about two years, expect to be past it's lifespan and limiting your capability to do things with ever increasing pressure to dump it for an upgrade.

You buy ANYTHING less than near the top of the line, halve or quarter those time predictions.

This is not about your laptop for watching DVD's or writing letters - it's about computer hardware you're using to make your living doing digitlal media work.

The reality is that software writers push their products and rev them to add functionality constantly. The new functionality is almost always accompanied by complexity that requires more hardware capability.

So my bet is that your (and my) MacBooks will be essentially worthless for running a modern NLE within a year or so after purchase. They might technically do it, but it's gonna be an ugly productivity experience.

My Quad G5 desktop rig bought right at introduction six months ago is now bested by the 8 core machines. Because it's a workhorse it might give me another year - perhaps a little more. I'm thankful it will even run COLOR - I've been through some software upgrades that didn't even allow you to RUN it on previous generation hardware (Motion?) FORCING an upgrade if you wanted to play.

That's just the way hardware is today.

If your business model can't support - in net/net bottom line profit - totally paying off any new hardware in a few jobs or at worst a few months - you're NEVER going to keep up with the pace of technology these days.

And worse this means paying for it with "after expenses/after taxes/after overhead" dollars AND after you take enough money home to pay your bills and LIVE.

It's an ugly fact. But I think it's a fact none the less.

It's weird thinking of busting your butt to afford a $10k tricked out computer and in a couple of years, having it worth a tenth of that. But if recent history teaches us anything, it teaches us that the downward pressure on tech value is MONSTEROUS.

For what it's worth.
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Old April 20th, 2007, 11:31 PM   #58
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While I can see why many are concerned about specific support of certain codecs/formats in FCP 6, the real message Apple is sending is - use Prores for all things post

agreed George, but how does this message fit in with the whole tapeless workflow paradigm, which promises and enables faster than realtime or even instant access to the media?

the ProRes message above requires losing time due to a need to transcode to this intermediate format, either due to realtime capture via one of the new IO HD boxes or simlar, or due to the time needed to recompress the already imported footage.

on the FCP/Apple debate I have to agree to disagree with Chuck. I see the point being made about successful companies who have, to some extent, unexpextedly exited the market place, but I don't see that Apple is in the same position at all. their software/hardware business model differs significantly from almost every company cited. thier Pro Apps software generates significant hardware sales, and thier aggressive pricing generates significant software sales to not only to pro's looking for the most cost effective toolset, but also to a market segment otherwise unpenatrated, that being consumers ot hobbyists who like to play with big boys toys ... hardly the same as the Accom's, Lightworks, SGI's etc.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 02:34 AM   #59
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agreed George, but how does this message fit in with the whole tapeless workflow paradigm, which promises and enables faster than realtime or even instant access to the media?

the ProRes message above requires losing time due to a need to transcode to this intermediate format, either due to realtime capture via one of the new IO HD boxes or simlar, or due to the time needed to recompress the already imported footage.
On the PC Cineform, which is equivalent to ProRes captures and encodes in real time. They also offer some devices that offer instant access to media.

I think for the most part the quality of dedicated post production codecs out weights the instantaneous access to data. All of the codecs designed by camera manufacturers are good but they are limited to the bandwidth/density of the media. Since computers don't have the same constraint the image quality can be significantly better.

I have not seen the ProRes codec, but both the Sheer Video and Cineform codecs, although very different, are very impressive. In all of the comparisons I have seen they have been compared to uncompressed HD and the images are almost indistinguishable, they are both significantly better than DVCProHD.

Since I'm kind of retired I don't care as much about the widgets anymore, my focus has changed and I'm a lot more interested in profitability, "Show me the money!" I think this was a very important step for FCP, having the ability to choose a codec designed specifically for post production will enable the user to manage the look of the content and therefore differentiate themselves [and if their smart] be able to charge more for higher quality. Obviously the best quality is uncompressed, but an almost equally important ingredient to profitability is efficiency and not only do these codecs help develop a look but they significantly help efficiency.

In a sense you'll be able to balance the data rates with the level of quality equired for a given budget. All this before we even begin discussin how the digital intermediate plays a role in this equation.

As far as agreeing to disagree, I give up- I agree with everyone else...
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Old April 21st, 2007, 11:13 AM   #60
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agreed George, but how does this message fit in with the whole tapeless workflow paradigm, which promises and enables faster than realtime or even instant access to the media?

the ProRes message above requires losing time due to a need to transcode to this intermediate format, either due to realtime capture via one of the new IO HD boxes or simlar, or due to the time needed to recompress the already imported footage.
It is a RT transcode with existing footage (software-based) and an instantaneous conversion with a HD-SDI/HDMI card (h/w based). It couldn't be faster. You will also be able to use it with the gamut of BMD and AJA products.

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