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FCP X and the "industry"

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Glen Hurd
FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 2:40:16 pm

This is going to be a long post, but it was triggered by David Roth Weiss’ interview with Mr. Lawrence, when the latter spoke of the importance of language, and how language reflects philosophy, and is tied, by necessity, to the way a program functions.

Let me begin with 3 strands, and then tie a knot. Culture, the “elite,” and education.


Culture.

Language is tied to culture, and culture is borne by sharing a common philosophy and language to describe it. A culture’s vernacular also becomes the secret handshake of that culture, allowing us to quckly identify whether we’re dealing with someone who is familiar with our world and our methodologies - or not.
For instance, walk up to some-one who is building mattes for a composite, and say, “Hey, cool white silhouettes! I like how they follow the footage” and you’ve just identified yourself as an outsider.
But say, “Are you using planar or point tracking to match-move your rotos?” and you’ll likely have started a conversation.
In one sentence the artist has a pretty good idea of whether he can talk to you like a “outsider” or “insider” - professionally speaking.
We, in our communities, live in a culture (or, more accurately, in sub-cultures) where certain behavior and certain terminology is expected and highly regarded, because a common culture creates efficiency.


The “elite.”

Within any industry, there are those who stand out at the top of their profession. These positions are not attained easily, and usually require a great deal of commitment and insight into the industry in order to achieve this status. And while the word “elite” can carry negative connotations, it is also a word that means exactly what I want it to mean - those who have worked hard to achieve a measure of greatness through personal dedication and devotion to their profession. These are people we respect for their contributions back into our own profession, and it’s something that needs to be stated here.
Now, within these forums there’s an argument often being made that the top 5% of our industry don’t really matter when it comes to FCP X’s target clientele - they are insignificant in terms of sales - and usually have access to whatever software they need simply because of the “massive” availability of funds they work with. So Apple would be financially foolish to seek their approval or modify software simply to meet the needs of the elite.

But to simply dismiss these people because they are numerically insignificant seems short-sighted - if not just motivated by a little jealousy. The elite, in any industry, have enormous impact on that industry. They represent both the financial and intellectual peak of that profession’s achievements. They are the measuring stick by which a culture defines success, and their opinions carry weight, because the intellectual component to their success is undeniable.


Education.

Education is a business. And as a business it survives on reputation, a reputation of turning out students who can at least find employment or, better yet, achieve varying degrees of greatness within the industries they enter. Schools don’t fill their brochures with stats on how many graduates end up flipping burgers or serving as greeters at Wal Mart. They are interested in turning out as much cream as they can for their own competitive reasons. As a result, schools build curricula based on several parameters, in order to be successful.
One of those parameters is industrial standards. It is of no benefit to teach a student to use tool A, if tool A’s application is limited to the bottom 10% of an industry, when tool B can be taught, and is applicable to 99% of the industry.

So the question then is, how do educators discover which tools have the widest acceptance within industry?

They talk to the elite.

Think about that.

A school’s goals, out of pure self-interest, must be to teach its students a curriculum that gives each student the maximum chance of success, with the fewest limitations.
The maximum reach of any industry is defined by its elite.
So, schools teach what the elite define as their culture, as well as the tools the elite accept as useful, or at least representative, of their own tools.

This doesn’t require or assume that each student will end up at the top of their profession. It doesn’t even mean the students all want to work there. But it does mean that every student is learning in an environment with the most opportunity for employment and growth.

So here’s the irony. Those “insignificant 5%” elite end up being the gatekeepers to our own culture and to the educators who keep filling our ranks.


FCP X (you knew this was coming)

FCP X arrived as an update - anyone saying different is using damage control.
And FCP X broke FCP’s upgrade path for all 3 of the just mentioned strands in my comments here.
An FCP X upgrade breaks functionality with the elite - on many levels.
FCP X cannot be used to upgrade the curriculum for the educators - because it comes with a glass-ceiling.
And FCP X breaks with the established editing culture.

Normally, when we break things for the sake of progress, we introduce new things that are better. Most people are very cautious about this step, since it does introduce a little chaos, and is usually best addressed over a period of time. Even Apple, in transitioning from OS 9 to OS X, never broke the old tech while introducing the new. Files created on OS 9 could be worked on with OS X. We still had a finder, hard drives showing up on a desktop as icons, etc. - in other words, the culture was essentially preserved and improved, not thrown away.

So FCP X’s arrival was quite unique - dare I say, radical - or foolish. And it occurred within the environs of a culture outside of Apple’s control - unlike Apple’s upgrades for OSes and hardware in the past.

But perhaps Apple’s goal is not to play the same role it did with FCP 7 - but rather just sell nifty software, with a more populist approach. In some ways FCP X reminds me of the work of another video pioneer. Maybe Apple could even improve its communication skills by imitating this marketing piece.



. Swell!

One thing is sure. Until FCP X can meet the needs of the elite, it will never regain the reputation and acceptance it had 1 month ago.

Man is that going to tick some people off.


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Marvin Holdman
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 2:56:40 pm

"So FCP X’s arrival was quite unique - dare I say, radical - or foolish. And it occurred within the environs of a culture outside of Apple’s control - unlike Apple’s upgrades for OSes and hardware in the past."

Interesting observation. Perhaps the goal of this release was to regain absolute control of their product? It is certainly part of the love/hate relationship that we've always had with this company. On one hand, sand-boxed systems are inherently more secure and somewhat more robust, on the other, they are typically limited.

I'm beginning to believe that they are trying to combine the best of open source development (core program with 3rd party development) with greater product control for a profit motive (all 3rd party apps sold via app store).

We'll just have to wait and see what the long term benefits to the industry might be. Would have to agree this is a very ham-fisted way to attempt such an endeavor. Part of what was destroyed in the process is the trust of the very people most needed for success, pro's and developers. It's a huge gamble to rely on the broader consumer market to rebuild this trust via conscripted usage en masse.

Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv


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Mark Bein
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 3:20:56 pm

[Glen Hurd] "The elite, in any industry, have enormous impact on that industry"

What elite?
TV sweat shops?


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Chris Jacek
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 4:05:37 pm

Very well put. I could not have said it better myslef.

Professor, Producer, Editor
and former Apple Employee


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David Lawrence
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 4:54:42 pm

Very incisive post, Glen. It will be interesting to see how Apple addressees the issues you raise.

_______________________
David Lawrence
art~media~design~research
propaganda.com
publicmattersgroup.com
facebook.com/dlawrence
twitter.com/dhl


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Glen Hurd
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 9:21:10 pm

Thanks, David. You're input here at the cow has been quite an inspiration.


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John Christie
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 5:32:30 pm

Glen

Best post I've seen on the topic. In Vancouver, most of the colleges and universities teach FCP. One film school taught Avid. I'm guessing the others will switch to Avid. So the future "elite" 5 to 10 years down the road will have no knowledge of FCP.

I loved your culture reference. We have a lot of post facilities near my office. I was walking back after lunch one day and overheard two guys saying "and the software reads R3D files based on the EDL" I chuckled to myself, wondering what percentage of the population could understand this little random snippet of conversation.

Cheers

John


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Andree Franks
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 8:35:33 pm

[John Christie] "Best post I've seen on the topic. In Vancouver, most of the colleges and universities teach FCP. One film school taught Avid. I'm guessing the others will switch to Avid. So the future "elite" 5 to 10 years down the road will have no knowledge of FCP"

Hmmm interesting! I would not even teach any students any software more the art of editing!
It's like saying your elite knows how to drive a automatic Benz with all the assistant gadgets, well my know how to drive to drive the car. ;) hihihihi

In fact I remember in school we never where forced to learn a program more the Fundamentals of 3D animation with a arsenal of applications.

P.S. I don't need culture I create my own! :D



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Chris Upchurch
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 7:05:20 pm

I'm not a professional video editor. Heck, I'm not even an amateur (though I have an interest in learning). However, I am an educator in an area (Geographic Information Systems) that's somewhat similar in that we're both trying to teach students to perform a complicated task using very specialized and complex software made for a niche market.

When I took my first course as an undergraduate I was one of the last students to be trained on an old version of the software before a major revision. The difference between the old and new versions of the software probably wasn't as big as FCP7/FCPX but it was pretty big, a lot bigger than your usual upgrade from one version to another. Effectively, my software skills were obsolete within about six months after I learned them. However, my knowledge of the underlying techniques remained. I might have to poke around to find out how to do something in the new software, but I still knew what it was doing, when a given technique as appropriate, etc.

Fast forward about ten years and now I'm teaching these things to students. Most of them come to class with the mindset that they want to learn to use this piece of software. I try to emphasize that they're not just learning how to use a particular piece of software, they should be learning the underlying fundamentals. That way, when the next big software revision comes along and changes everything, they won't be left behind. Or as Jeff Atwood puts it, "How lasts about five years, but why is forever."

In this respect, I think that editing actually has an advantage over Geographic Information Systems. In my field, there's one company (and one software package) that has about 90% of the market. I've got to make my points about the underlying fundamentals using just that one piece of software. The video editing market seems like it has several major players who are all fairly competitive (Avid, Adobe, Apple). If I had the luxury of multiple software packages to choose from, I would probably aim to teach students at least two of them. I would probably pick the two most different ones, to give students a broad a view as possible and to better illustrate how the underlying fundamentals exist separate from the software that implements them.

From everything I've read here, it sounds like FCPX is the odd man out. So, teaching it alongside one of the more 'conventional' products would probably do a better job teaching the students about editing than teaching the conventional product alone.


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Marvin Holdman
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 8:29:39 pm

"Or as Jeff Atwood puts it, "How lasts about five years, but why is forever."

love that

Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv


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Bill Davis
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 10:31:08 pm

If your traditional "top down" analysis is valid, you will turn out to be right.

However.

From the advent of DV - a funny thing happened.

DV and Firewire and the MAC OS in very rapid order cut away the very foundations of the "top down" paradigm you're describing.

I was there when ALL the people at the top TOTALLY DISMISSED 3.5 Mbps digital video as sub-standard, non-professional - and the mark of an amateur.

Many of us ignored that and simply saw that we could do work with less expensive tools and circumvent the prior era requirements of working in multi-million dollar shops with an active "priesthood" that while positively passing down the best possible practices, simultaneously had little interest in making their knowledge available to a larger pool of practitioners.

FCP always was and always will be a BOTTOM UP technology. Your so called "pros" were astonishingly late to the game. It wasn't until a few guys like Walter Murch broke ranks and FINALLY came to the realization that you could work with non-custom hardware and off-the shelf software and do as well or better than the purpose built monolithic production house that personal NLE capabilities become a defacto standard across the industry. And Mr. Murch, himself, I believe, noted that what pushed him to adapt was a singular occurance where he was working on a project for Mr. Coppola had to work out of his house during an illness and so installed a functioning FCP system in his home.

The point is that your vaunted "top down" model is typically far less predictive than it is "reactive."

The large players change only when it's safe. And their reputational power very much protects them from needing to live on the cutting edge. The funny thing is that when Mr. Murch decided to make the change, he had to go out and find the very EARLY ADOPTERS that had adapted early - and these became the people surrounding him - NOT the guys from the shop who had kept cutting the old way.

Take whatever lesson you like from that reality.

But the truth is that in the modern distributed information access environment - by the time the industry adopts a tool, the guys in the streets have likely been using it for years. You can choose to be one of them - or not. Thats up to you.

If FCP-X should proved to be yet another "bottom up" evolution - and if history is instructive, listening exclusively to those "at the top of their profession" is a great way to slip significantly behind the curve. Facility pros, are often the MOST vested in traditional thinking and the slowest to truly adapt.

As a case in point, I saw a presentation by a very capable editor who works for a local public utility last night explaining why their shop is NOT moving to FCP-X. Bottom line? With their X-SAN infastructure, they've had to REMAIN on (wait for it...) FCP 6!!! purely for compatibility issues. He was very well versed in X as their shop was a beta seed site - and he could clearly see and articulate both great advantages and disadvantages to it's deployment - but only from a perspective where change was functionally IMPOSSIBLE in his shop given his facility constraints.

Just different perspective.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Gary Huff
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 11:39:09 pm

[Bill David]I was there when ALL the people at the top TOTALLY DISMISSED 3.5 Mbps digital video as sub-standard, non-professional - and the mark of an amateur.

That's right! And now you see all these great broadcast commercials and all these theatrically released feature films that were originated in DV!

Err...wait.


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Bill Davis
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 11:54:00 pm

You are correct in the sense that if your definition of "professional" is reduced to only those who create feature films or high end commercials - you clearly win the argument.

However, I'm sitting here in my own purpose built production studio surrounded by 600 plus 120 minute DVCAM tapes the production of which earned me an extremely comfortable living for decades.

If I let you define my success as someone who didn't do "MOVIES" or NETWORK TV - I guess I am in trouble.

However (and youngsters watching this discussion from the bleachers, pay careful attention here) if you define success by the ability to engage in work you love, live in a fashion that makes you happy, and attract work that pays you a robust and sustainable living wage - I implore you NOT to let others define what success means for you.

Letting others define what makes you a success or a failure is the ultimate suckers game.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Gary Huff
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 11:58:55 pm

[Bill Davis]You are correct in the sense that if your definition of "professional" is reduced to only those who create feature films or high end commercials - you clearly win the argument.

However, I'm sitting here in my own purpose built production studio surrounded by 600 plus 120 minute DVCAM tapes the production of which earned me an extremely comfortable living for decades.


Oh, Bill, I'm sorry. You said "ALL the people at the top" and I take "top" to mean those professionals whose work is broadcast nationwide or is shown in theaters. Can't get more top than that.

I guess by "top" you meant anyone who works in video?


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Bill Davis
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 12:13:42 am

A fair point.

I did say "top" - but in the context that for many years, NOBODY at the top would consider, for example, using DV sourced material for broadcast ... right up to the point where EVERYONE decided it was absolutely fine to do just that.

Do you remember when suddenly everyone from Brian Williams to Anderson Cooper started trotting around with hand-held DV cameras in far flung lands and putting their footage directly into "nightly news" packages - the precise same thing that all the "professionals" were arguing was akin to "amateur" the month prior.

Now, a solid percentage of news coverage originates on formats and equipment that broadcast engineers found LAUGHABLE a decade ago. Heck, on our local stations, I see more shots of TWITTER displays shot off lousy LCD monitors as the local anchors try desperately to remain HIP by putting on TV the exact same stuff that people are LEAVING their broadcasts to watch on their computers.

Look, I'm not arguing that there's not a devaluing of standards at work here. I'm arguing that yesterdays "this is absolutely unacceptable" is tomorrow's commonplace IF it presents a superior enough value or convenience proposition to the market.

That's what drove DV, then DVCPRO, then XDCAM, then 5dMkii files first into competition, then into DOMINATION over Ikigami, Sony D-900s and their ilk. The last few times I've been on location around news crews, they're probably using some JVC SD Card camera that would have been considered a JOKE a few years ago.

Tech moves on.

The tool does NOT define the professional. And if you think it still does, good luck with planning your career on that basis.

If someone CAN cut a news package on FCP-X - you can BET YOUR LIFE they will. And sooner rather than later. Because it's an alternative in a world where standards are not fixed ideas, but rather, rapidly evolving moving targets.

That's just how it is. Like it or not.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Tim Kolb
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 12:54:17 am

[Bill Davis] "If someone CAN cut a news package on FCP-X - you can BET YOUR LIFE they will. And sooner rather than later. Because it's an alternative in a world where standards are not fixed ideas, but rather, rapidly evolving moving targets. "

2 years from now a version of the iPad will be the news camera, the edit system, and the cellular uplink.

TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Adobe Certified Instructor


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Bill Davis
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 1:33:34 am

I was imagining last night what it would be like to have an iPad the size of the Cinema Display I'm writing this on....

THAT would be an interesting editing platform, wouldn't it?

And a dirt simple evolution of the "all in the display" iMac models popping off the assembly lines right now.

Hummmm....

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Gary Huff
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 1:18:26 am

[Bill Davis]Do you remember when suddenly everyone from Brian Williams to Anderson Cooper started trotting around with hand-held DV cameras in far flung lands and putting their footage directly into "nightly news" packages - the precise same thing that all the "professionals" were arguing was akin to "amateur" the month prior.


That's a very poor example. What they are doing is trying to emulate that look, for the sense of immediacy that YouTube has given to videos that look like that. They would never shoot a sit-down interview with an important figure using those cams. It is done specifically for an intended purpose.


The tool does NOT define the professional. And if you think it still does, good luck with planning your career on that basis.


But in some ways it does. When you're on your own, shooting weddings, family doctor web videos, or whatever, no one is going to care that you edit on Windows Movie Maker. However, if you want that recently posted editing job at your local news station or mid-level production house, do you think you'll have any chance at all if you can't say that you know FCP7/AVID? In certain environments, it doesn't matter how cool a video you have on your reel if you did it in iMovie and your competition for the job has experience in a network-based AVID workflow, even if his stuff is not as flashy.


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Bill Davis
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 2:00:03 am

=I'll just say that from what I see, your "local news station" is seriously endangered. The last High Def spots I delivered to a major market broadcaster were bounced from my studio to the station, who forwarded the clips to Atlanta, who served them back to the market since that particular NBC affiliate had recently TORN OUT master control.

I further think that the "mid level production house" is an equally endangered species.

My reasoning is that as a talented person with a laptop can perform more and more of the functions of the on-line suite, the editing functions will move CLOSER to the data origination locations. In the past, when the producer or researcher or corporate client wanted to "make video" they needed to go to a fancy room in which to do that.

If ALL the same tasks can conceivably be done on a laptop - why wouldn't the client want the editor to simply show up at the point where the project is being assembled when the team is ready to assemble it?

What FUNCTION does the production house serve if the tools don't require fixed racks and serious HVAC requirements any longer?

We HAVE to think about what HAS happened and extrapolate that into the future.

A two room dedicated voicebooth/mixing board and half a mile of wiring was REQUIRED when I started doing professional voiceovers.

Now, a decent mic and a Zoom H4n in a small bag is EVERYTHING I need to do the same job - BETTER, FASTER, and CHEAPER.

Look around. It's NOT the same out there. And if you keep thinking that it is, you're doomed.

That's what all I'm saying here.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Carsten Orlt
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 8:53:35 am

You are so spot on it hurts :-)

Carsten


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Forrest Burger
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 12:23:31 am

[Bill Davis] " if you define success by the ability to engage in work you love, live in a fashion that makes you happy, and attract work that pays you a robust and sustainable living wage - I implore you NOT to let others define what success means for you."

Well stated, Bill. I was one of those video editors that was "on top" in my industry. I worked for "60 Minutes" and chose to leave the show to return to my home state and pursue what I considered a better quality of life.

Now I make a comfortable living producing, writing, shooting and editing my own video creations. And, I'm currently editing some of them on FCP X. Does that make me less of a "professional" now?

Forrest



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Ben Scott
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 9:00:26 am

not at all

you are one of the clever ones


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Richard Cardonna
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 3:38:59 pm

The problem with the anaolgy is that while those big guys used equipment that cost millions the low fcp did much more for much less.

So does fcpx do more than fcp or any other nle?

richard


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Chris Kenny
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 10:49:33 pm

[Glen Hurd] "But to simply dismiss these people because they are numerically insignificant seems short-sighted - if not just motivated by a little jealousy. The elite, in any industry, have enormous impact on that industry. They represent both the financial and intellectual peak of that profession’s achievements. They are the measuring stick by which a culture defines success, and their opinions carry weight, because the intellectual component to their success is undeniable. "

But they are rarely first-movers. The dominant pattern in this industry over the last decade has been that new apps/techniques/approaches/whatever start with 'outsiders' (who don't have unlimited budgets and aren't wedded to current approaches), who prove them. They're then picked up by more adventurous elites, which eventually makes them 'safe' for less adventurous elites, at which point they become accepted tools for high-end production. Whether you're talking about the original FCP, AfterEffects or the Red One, it's the same pattern.

Given this pattern, it is in fact expected (by Apple as well, I suspect) that FCP X, with its fairly radical changes, won't be accepted by elites at first. People are making long-range projections on the basis of this lack of immediate acceptance, but immediate acceptance is virtually unknown for any new tool different enough to actually be interesting. The question to ask about a product in FCP X's position is not "Will elites accept it immediately?" but "Is there a unique value proposition here that could cause some talented outsider to choose this tool over other options and do something interesting with it?" That's the first step. And I think the answer is very clearly "yes".

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Bill Davis
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 21, 2011 at 10:54:31 pm

Well said, Chris.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 3:41:35 am

[Chris Kenny] "The dominant pattern in this industry over the last decade has been that new apps/techniques/approaches/whatever start with 'outsiders' (who don't have unlimited budgets and aren't wedded to current approaches), who prove them. They're then picked up by more adventurous elites, which eventually makes them 'safe' for less adventurous elites, at which point they become accepted tools for high-end production."

Chris,

That's a pretty story. Is it true?

Also, and correct me if I'm wrong, I assume you're casting Apple as an 'outsider', posed rebelliously against 'elites'. Am I correct?

Franz.


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Andree Franks
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 7:03:56 am

Why does everybody argue about what format and what tool is professional?
Isn't a professional a person that can take anything and through at him and he will make something out of it that worth awhile? Because of his experience in the field.
iPad camera with celluare uplink? Cool



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Chris Jacek
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 12:25:26 pm

[Andree Franks] "Isn't a professional a person that can take anything and through at him and he will make something out of it that worth awhile?"

Not really. Ask a master carpenter to build a deck with a Swiss Army Knife and balsa wood, and I don't think the results would be too good.

Professor, Producer, Editor
and former Apple Employee


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Andree Franks
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 7:15:56 pm

[Chris Jacek] "
Not really. Ask a master carpenter to build a deck with a Swiss Army Knife and balsa wood, and I don't think the results would be too good."


Hmmm that's why I wrote he will make something out of it that worth awhile besides have you seen a European master carpenter work? ;)



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Joseph Owens
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 25, 2011 at 3:29:10 pm

[Andree Franks] "Isn't a professional a person that can take anything and through at him and he will make something out of it"

Maybe. Buddy Ebsen (yes Jed Clampett, and Barnaby Jones) defined a "professional" as someone who did their job without making everyone else's lives more difficult.

jPo

You mean "Old Ben"? Ben Kenobi?


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Walter Soyka
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 25, 2011 at 3:39:44 pm

[Andree Franks] "Why does everybody argue about what format and what tool is professional?
Isn't a professional a person that can take anything and through at him and he will make something out of it that worth awhile? Because of his experience in the field.
iPad camera with celluare uplink? Cool"


If this were true, why would professional products exist at all? We shouldn't need fancy broadcast or digital cinema cameras -- we've got iPads!

Professionals may outperform less-experienced amateurs on the same same sub-par tools, but I'd argue that part of being a professional is choosing the right tool or material for the job. This is precisely why you'll never see a professional build a deck from balsa wood with a Swiss Army knife (as Chris so brilliantly pointed out): pros know that these items are not well-suited for the task.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Bill Davis
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 26, 2011 at 6:37:06 am

But Walter,

This is to argue that FCP-X is an fatally limited or insignificant tool in and of itself. Something that it a LONG way from being proven. Don't forget that a swiss army knife, in the hands of one of the last generations "slicing block and razor blade" editors could undoubtedly edit a world class motion picture - no problem. Because the central necessary process - cutting celluloid - could be done with many, many different tools.

And since the vast majority of motion picture style editing is fundamentally knowing how to place cuts - your analogy only holds up if FCP-X can't do that. But it most certainly can. A Swiss army knife can't functionally build a deck. But once upon a time all decks were built with hand saws. Today, virtually NONE of them are. The power saw changed everything.

The current debate is whether the 10+ year grown ecosystem of enhancements, bells and whistles which have been appended AROUND the FCP central editing system has been functionally lost in the move to FCP-X. And the clear answer is that a good measure of that has.

But that's not the end of the story to the chagrin of many of the early voices who seemed pre-disposed to stop the debate at what the software in it's initial release LACKED.

By way of a cooking analogy, most of the loudest voices here appear to be complaining that they (and by extension everyone else cooking on FCP - MUST have access to a fully equipped "world class" automated kitchen - with dedicated tools for everything from slicing bread to piping colorful rosettes in icing - if that kitchen is to be considered truly "professional." And further if too many of said capabiiities are missing, professional cooking will be necessarily impossible!

At one level they are correct. For the top flight chef that must turn potatoes into mini-sculptures for 1000 tonight - then pivot and build snap pea castles for 1000 the next - every possible tool and food prep device that can help must be at hand - all a reasonable "workflow".

But there are also plenty of cooks out there who are willing to work in less fancy kitchens, with more basic tools and can STILL turn out KILLER meals.

FCP-X it seems to me has said, hey, here's a new cooking machine. It can't do the stuff your zillion dollar hundred-gadget kitchen can currently do - and you need to spend some time learning how this new gizmo works if you want to benefit from what it can do particularly well - but if you take the time to learn what it can do - you'll be surprised at how convenient and efficient it can be!

Maybe FCP-X will turn out to be something akin to a brash new microwave oven in a shop full of classic Vulcan ranges.

It is absolutely true that microwave ovens are NOT ideal for all cooking. But I don't know of a single professional kitchen that doesn't have them around because what they do well - like softening butter in seconds rather than minutes - is a HUGE improvement over the traditional process of leaving it out on the counter for an hour.

And there are whole very successful restaurants that are based on the modern "commissary kitchen" concept where all they do is essentially heat and serve "dish-out" concoctions - and make a handsome profit by keeping the need for too many in-house "top chefs" minimal. In fact, that's the typical structure of most Mexican, Chinese, Thai and many, many other types of restaurants. Dish-out rules over "cook to order" - precisely because it's much, MUCH more efficient and much less labor intensive - so restaurants of that type are typically more accessible to more people than chef-run "fine dining" establishments.

And here's the big deal, to my mind. When the microwave oven got to a certain stage of development - some smart person noticed that while it heated INCREDIBLY WELL - it had difficulty with browning - so they combined the super-efficient microwave oven with a convection oven in the same device and like magic - people suddenly get the faster cooking times of the new gadget WITH the nicely browned crusts that were missing for awhile.

Times and tools change. So must we. Simple as that.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Walter Soyka
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 27, 2011 at 12:37:46 am

[Bill Davis] "But Walter, This is to argue that FCP-X is an fatally limited or insignificant tool in and of itself. Something that it a LONG way from being proven."

Sorry if I was unclear, here, Bill -- but I definitely wasn't trying to argue that. I didn't mention FCPX at all in my post on purpose.

I was challenging Andree's assertion that a professional is "a person that can take anything [you throw] at him and he will make something out of it [that is worthwhile]."

I think an important part of what a professional does when working on a job is to choose the appropriate tools and materials for that job. Neither balsa nor a Swiss Army knife are appropriate for building a deck.

Of course, that doesn't meant that balsa isn't the right choice for a different project. They used to build airplanes with balsa wood, and it's still frequently used in composite materials.

So it goes with FCPX.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Andrew Richards
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 1:26:13 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "Also, and correct me if I'm wrong, I assume you're casting Apple as an 'outsider', posed rebelliously against 'elites'. Am I correct?"

I read it as the outsider user, not the outsider software developer. For legacy FCP, this pattern was true. The high-end elite didn't hop on board till after Soderbergh and Murch took the plunge, and even Soderbergh and Murch only did it a few years and a few major revs after FCP1 came out.

Best,
Andy


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Chris Kenny
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 2:40:07 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "That's a pretty story. Is it true?"

I provided several examples. I think so.

[Franz Bieberkopf] "Also, and correct me if I'm wrong, I assume you're casting Apple as an 'outsider', posed rebelliously against 'elites'. Am I correct?"

I was referring to 'outsider' vs. 'elite' users. But, yes, what Apple is doing with FCP X is a classic outsider attempt to introduce disruptive change into a market. It's unusual because it's coming from a company that was very much on this inside in this market... but Apple is a little crazy like that sometimes.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Walter Soyka
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 2:05:57 pm

[Chris Kenny] "The dominant pattern in this industry over the last decade has been that new apps/techniques/approaches/whatever start with 'outsiders' (who don't have unlimited budgets and aren't wedded to current approaches), who prove them. They're then picked up by more adventurous elites, which eventually makes them 'safe' for less adventurous elites, at which point they become accepted tools for high-end production. Whether you're talking about the original FCP, AfterEffects or the Red One, it's the same pattern."

[Chris Kenny] "The question to ask about a product in FCP X's position is not "Will elites accept it immediately?" but "Is there a unique value proposition here that could cause some talented outsider to choose this tool over other options and do something interesting with it?" That's the first step. And I think the answer is very clearly "yes"."


I agree with Chris -- this pattern is real.

I'd add that "safety" or "prestige" were not the only factors that initially held FCP, After Effects, and RED ONE out of high-end production. Adopting FCP, AE, and RED all involved enduring quite a bit of workflow pain before their benefits could be realized. I think the same is true with FCPX.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Liam Hall
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 7:49:22 pm

[Glen Hurd] "Language is tied to culture, and culture is borne by sharing a common philosophy and language to describe it. A culture’s vernacular also becomes the secret handshake of that culture, allowing us to quckly identify whether we’re dealing with someone who is familiar with our world and our methodologies - or not.


It's true, in the film and television industry there is a widespread use of slang and technical terminology that is lost on many. I think this a bad thing. It's borne out of arrogance and elitism. It's designed to exclude, not encourage.

Liam Hall
Director/DoP/Editor
http://www.liamhall.net


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Andrew Kimery
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 8:09:15 pm

[Liam Hall] "It's true, in the film and television industry there is a widespread use of slang and technical terminology that is lost on many. I think this a bad thing. It's borne out of arrogance and elitism. It's designed to exclude, not encourage."

Isn't this use of specific language and short hand true in every field though? Heck, even when I was younger and worked at Blockbuster I had to learn the corporate vernacular as well as the slang that was used in our store (and our store slang might not be different from slang in other BB stores).


-Andrew

3.2GHz 8-core, FCP 6.0.4, 10.5.5
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (6.8.1)



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Liam Hall
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 8:21:47 pm

Yes, it's true, but that doesn't make it right.

One man's rushes is another man's dailies...

Liam Hall
Director/DoP/Editor
http://www.liamhall.net


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John Christie
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 8:33:55 pm

[Liam Hall] "I think this a bad thing. It's borne out of arrogance and elitism"

I don't think it's arrogance and elitism. Every industry has a language born out of necessity that's required so you can get things done and explain what you're doing. I don't want to say a "list of edit decisions in a machine readable format" when I can just say EDL. Mechanics don't say "a mechanism to vary engine torque to the wheels" when they can say transmission.

Cheers

John


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Andrew Kimery
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 8:54:10 pm

[Liam Hall] "Yes, it's true, but that doesn't make it right."

I don't think this naturally occurring process is a moral issue. It's just pragmatic to create situation specific vernaculars. If some people take knowing their specific trade's lingo as some sort of badge of honor then so be it. I don't think only speaking in layman's terms about everything is a viable alternative.

It's like saying we should get rid of the concept of money or property ownership because some people are greedy or materialistic.


-Andrew

3.2GHz 8-core, FCP 6.0.4, 10.5.5
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (6.8.1)



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Liam Hall
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 22, 2011 at 9:05:41 pm

[John Christie] "I don't think it's arrogance and elitism. Every industry has a language born out of necessity that's required so you can get things done and explain what you're doing. I don't want to say a "list of edit decisions in a machine readable format" when I can just say EDL. Mechanics don't say "a mechanism to vary engine torque to the wheels" when they can say transmission.

Cheers

John"


EDL is an acronym. Nothing wrong with that. And I can never understand anything my mechanic says - which kind of proves my point:)

Liam Hall
Director/DoP/Editor
http://www.liamhall.net


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Gary Huff
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 24, 2011 at 8:36:40 pm

[Liam Hall]EDL is an acronym. Nothing wrong with that. And I can never understand anything my mechanic says - which kind of proves my point:)

I didn't know a lot of the terms when I first started out, but I wasn't so arrogant that I didn't learn them as I gained experience. If there is "exclusion" it's your own fault.


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Liam Hall
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 24, 2011 at 10:15:29 pm

[Gary Huff] "arrogant"

Don't worry Gary, I'm not arrogant, and I know all the words and phrases. Though, I can't work out why people are getting so hot and bothered over what Apple has called certain functions in FCPX. Language evolves. So do editing systems.

Liam Hall
Director/DoP/Editor
http://www.liamhall.net


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Gary Huff
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 26, 2011 at 1:33:00 am

[Liam Hall]Though, I can't work out why people are getting so hot and bothered over what Apple has called certain functions in FCPX. Language evolves. So do editing systems.

Because it was change merely for the sake of it.


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Bill Davis
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 26, 2011 at 6:45:19 am

Well that's kind of presumptuous, don't you think?

You think the FCP development team sat down and said "Hey, lets' screw with our customers and change what we call things in order to make their lives miserable."???

The thinking behind their changing naming conventions might not be intuitive to you or to me - but that does NOT imply that it was done without thought or consideration.

Perhaps someday we'll learn why.

But until then, the contention it was done just to piss current editors off is a pretty massive stretch, IMO.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Gary Huff
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 26, 2011 at 1:59:27 pm

[Bill Davis]Well that's kind of presumptuous, don't you think?

You think the FCP development team sat down and said "Hey, lets' screw with our customers and change what we call things in order to make their lives miserable."???


Why does it have to be this particular scenario? Maybe they didn't think they, maybe they just thought they were being cool.

The thinking behind their changing naming conventions might not be intuitive to you or to me - but that does NOT imply that it was done without thought or consideration.

Perhaps someday we'll learn why.


That's being just as presumptuous, and why do you give this almost religious-like power to a tech company...as if everything they do is ABSOLUTELY right and only we need to see it, even if its purpose is not fully understood until due time?


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Bill Davis
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 27, 2011 at 2:01:50 am

Because every single person on the FCP development team are among the lucky elites in the software coding industry. They're working with an industry leading, wildly successful product - and for a company that commands resources that rival any company on the planet.

To accept your view, I'd have to believe that the hiring managers for this team are so fundamentally stupid that they are willing to employ and award access to the code base of this hugely successful product - to people willing to write and install code that allows "cool" to trump functional.

Sorry, but that's NOT intelligent thinking, IMO.

I base this on KNOWING that while FCP-X works very differently from what came before it - it also works, very, VERY well to do the vast majority of things that the average video editor needs to do - and does a lot of stuff that has formerly been IMPOSSIBLE to do anywhere near as efficiently and easily.

Does it NOT do popular and important things that the earlier verision did? Absolutely. It took 10 years of development to put all those feature rooms under the FCP roof. X is a starter home with a couple of years of development and a couple of months of life behind it.

In presenting this package to the market, Apple elected to lose attributes that smaller segments of the users class have VERY passionate feelings about - but that aren't CRITICAL for everyone.

I personally think this is going to be a massively winning strategy.

But time will tell.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Leo Hans
Re: FCP X and the "industry"
on Jul 23, 2011 at 11:05:48 pm

I make an analogy to Software Developers.

Every few years new programming languages appears and then programmers have to re learn how to do the programming.

The mind behind the programmer is the same, but the programming tools change and evolve. They loose the opportunity to add features to an application without rewriting it but in favor to a more powerful language.

The real difference with editor is that our industry tends to be more conservative.

Leo Hans
Editor AVID - Final Cut Pro
http://www.leohans.com


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