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Editor's Dilema

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Glen Hurd
Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 5:17:29 pm

For those confused by the angst over FCP X, I offer the "Prisoners' Dilema."

We have two players: Apple and the Hollywood Editor.

Each player has two choices.

For Apple, it is to support the Hollywood Editor by providing tools that make their efforts more productive (and lucrative) and providing the necessary hardware to make that software meaningful. They must also encourage 3rd party development (hardware and software) wherever they feel that Apple cannot or will not compete. We'll call that decision, Trust.

Apple's other option is to provide software for the much larger collection of casual users - with an emphasis on simplicity over power, with minimal effort in encouraging 3rd party support, causing the Hollywood Editor to constantly search for workarounds, and eventually have to move off the FCP platform in order to remain competitive. We'll call that decision, Distrust.

For the Hollywood Editor, they can invest the time and resources into learning FCP X, flooding the Creative Cow's FCP X Techniques forum with questions and strategies, trusting that Apple will continue to develop for their needs, patiently waiting for the needed updates and 3rd party assistance, while resting in the thought that Apple has their back. This is also a decision of Trust.

Or they can invest in other packages (which share more in common with FCP 7), and remove their professional dependence from a company whose mind they cannot read. The cost of moving away is insignificant. This is Distrust.

Now for the game.

(I'll be using TT or DT etc to help label the scenario. The first letter denotes Apple's choice and the second letter denotes the Hollywood Editor's choice. So DT would mean a scenario where Apple does little to make FCP X an editing powerhouse, but the Hollywood Editor had chosen to stay loyal to Apple. Distrust/Trust.)

Here we go.

In a trust/trust (TT) situation, both players engage in a trusting relationship, and all goes well, and for very little expense, the Hollywood Editor moves forward with minor angst - as the development of the softare/hardware is exclusively under Apple's timeline and tight-lipped control. It's a good situation, but not one driven by a passion for the amazing (on Apple's part) or a whole lot of feedback on the editor's part. Because he cannot fully incorporate FCP X into a full-blown edit workflow to meet client demands, he must keep using the much slower FCP 7 along with FCP X, choosing one app over the other depending on risks and needs as he sees them. Seeing Apple's response to Hollywood Compositors, when Apple bought Smoke, the Hollywood Editor realizes that, while he enjoys FCP X, he's completely at Apple's mercy, since they have a long history of being the dictators on how and what they deliver - with simplicity being their calling card. Considering that FCP X is a new app with unproven track record, and has limited inroads with post-production houses, and still needs FCP 7 to help cover the gaps, we give this scenario a score of 3.

In a trust/distrust (TD) scenario, Apple stays loyal, but the Hollywood Editor doesn't, The Hollywood Editor moves to another program at minimal expense. The Hollywood Editor also gains more features than he had with FCP X (in its current incarnation) and boosts productivity - being faster than he was on FCP 7, while still being more compatible with other post-houses than if he would be in FCP X. Also, his reputation is unaffected since there is currently no doubt about the capability of the package he has chosen to work with, so he sees a gain in revenue and peace of mind. Because his transition to another software package requires minimal effort and cost (track-based, same language and culture, common keyboard shortcuts available on a majority of features, etc.), he can focus on either mastering new skills, or taking on new work, his basic workflow being unaffected. And because Apple stays loyal, the Hollywood editor doesn't have to leave OSX, so he maintains his hardware and infrastructure, and happily producing more work. We'll give this a score of 5.

In a distrust/trust (DT), however, the Hollywood Editor stays loyal, and Apple stalls, refusing to compete with Avid, et. al. in the broadcast market, refusing to make hardware necessary to meet the growing demands of digital cinema, then the Hollywood Editor loses clients, his reputation suffers, and he's now forever playing catch up to his competition. Score 0.

Finally, if the Hollywood Editor is disloyal, and Apple is disloyal, then the Hollywood Editor is safe for moving away, but as he realizes that Apple's computer division is slowly dissolving away, he has the added expense of moving over to Windows/Linux systems, buying crossgrades for all his programs, etc. While gaining advantage over FCP X devotees, he still has to spend a lot of money to stay in the game. DD (Distrust/Distrust). Score 3.

Now, in the classic Prisoner's Dilema, one party doesn't know what the other party's going to do.
The Hollywood Editor must look at his two choices and compare the score he'll get based on the other player's options.

Let's look at a loyal Apple first.
If the Hollywood Editor is loyal, TT, he gets a 3.
If the Hollywood Editor is disloyal, TD, he gets a 5.

Now look at the disloyal Apple.
If the Hollywood Editor is loyal, DT, he gets a 0.
If the Hollywood Editor is disloyal, DD, he gets 3.

Not knowing what Apple is going to do, the Hollywood Editor realizes that in each situation, by being disloyal, *D, he scores the higher points.

And thus, on this debate forum, a "hater" is born.

LOL.

Now, I may generate some heat for my first set of numbers, but we could even say that TT and DT should both be 5's and I still prove my point. In a case of not being able to read Apple's mind, the only rational decision is to be disloyal.

Game over. Close the forum. Get back to work. ;)


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Lance Bachelder
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 6:02:13 pm

Wait what? I need another cup of coffee....

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Irvine, California



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jamie thorne
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 6:24:05 pm

In a prisoner's dilemma the payoff for both sides cooperating needs to be greater than for both sides defecting. The dilemma is if both sides defect they do worse than if they had cooperated. Boost TT to 4 and you'll have a dilemma.


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Glen Hurd
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 10:26:27 pm

Yeah, I know. But the real point of Game Theory (and, thus, the prisoner's dilema) is to show that if you can grade each combination of choices between two players - whether they are "co-operating" or simply making decisions that influence each other - and then evaluate if a consistent choice can guarantee an improved outcome against an unknown's choices, each time, that you can then make a rational decision. :)


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John Moffat
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 7:09:12 pm

And in the meantime the 'Hollywood Editors' jobs have been outsourced India, Avid has went bust and we're all counting down the days until the broadcast transmission signal get switched off ;-)

Seriously... It is a big planet. If anything Hollywood is synonyms with mass produced formulaic film & TV production and is in need of a serious shake up. So maybe the 'Hollywood Editor' needs to 'Think Different' regardless of what software they use.


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Christian Kinnard
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 7:23:34 pm

I live and work in Hollywood and havent heard of anyone loosing jobs to India. Also, I personally dont think TV has ever been better. Show like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and my current favorite this your UK's Luther.

That said, and I've made this argument here before, it's not the editor in Hollywood that resists change, it the giant system around us. Producers, EP, directors, are used to certain workflow, and when that much money is on the line they fear change.

CK



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Andrew Kimery
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 7:38:41 pm

The entire industry has become too broad to paint with broad strokes. This isn't 30yrs ago where it was ABC, NBC, CBS or nothing. Companies that used to just distributed the work of others (AMC, HBO, etc.,) are now creating compelling content. This is the best of times (Game of Thrones) and this is the worst of times (some Reality TV show I saw about a family that makes fish tanks). ;)

As for what a Hollywood Editor is, I have no idea. Trailers, promos, workout videos, docs, scripted TV drams, reality shows, web-only videos, big budget summer blockbusters, porn, etc., are all done in Hollywood. And they all can have different workflow requirements which may or may not be conducive to what FCPX has to offer.


-Andrew

2.9 GHz 8-core (4,1), FCP 7.0.3, 10.6.6
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (7.9.5)



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tony west
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 8:18:47 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "The entire industry has become too broad to paint with broad strokes."

Andrew, brilliant.

Also I like how you put porn in there. That was very funny (and true : )

Waaayyyyy too many people cutting way too many things to get a handle on it.


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John Moffat
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 7:40:16 pm

To be fair I do think some great TV comes out of Hollywood. HBO in particular. And Luther was the BBC stepping up to compete with HBO. I was just playing devil's advocate as this forum is too hollywood centric especially when talking about the products of global companies like Adobe, Apple and Avid.

Although... Iron Man 3. It is a slippery slop for Hollywood.


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Christian Kinnard
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 7:47:34 pm

I definitely see your point. Andrew also made a good point about reality editors etc. I was thinking about those of us under the Union umbrella, we all lumped in with DPs grips etc, so it would be hard to export our jobs, without fury break loose. Trailer editors are unionized but not most reality editors, and I guess I could see that being a problem.



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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 8:59:55 pm

niiiice! I like it.

and thus this will be one's new flame short hand:

listen, you god forsaken TD, I'd like to think I'm a DT, but we all know what Apple are like: it's DD editing world man, it's just a DD editing world.

http://vimeo.com/user1590967/videos
http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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Glen Hurd
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 10:54:17 pm

Flaming in short hand - what a great idea. Done right, it can sound like poetry. That's one of the reasons I love Brick (2005).

"No, bulls would gum it. They'd flash their dusty standards at the wide-eyes and probably find some yegg to pin, probably even the right one. But they'd trample the real tracks and scare the real players back into their holes, and if we're doing this I want the whole story. No cops, not for a bit."

- Brendan Frye


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 11:31:37 pm

Good God Amen.

Brick: she makes such crazy love to Hammett and Chandler.

I love my Hammett, I love my Chandler. And who doesn't like the word noir? even the way it sounds?

Although.. re-reading your quote there, you'd nearly think there's a bit of dense Runyon poetry maybe flowing there too? ...:)


right so. I'm watching Brick again.

http://vimeo.com/user1590967/videos
http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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Glen Hurd
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 21, 2012 at 10:30:50 am

Dense Runyon poetry - never thought of it that way, but as usual, you've nailed it.

Brendan: Throw one at me if you want, hash head!
I've got all five senses and I slept last night.
That puts me six up - on the lot of you!

Or . . . sometimes it's just stacato funny!


Brendan (sarcastic): . . . You got heart kid. How soon can you be in Minneapolis?
Brad: Yeah?
Brendan: Cold winters, but they got a great transit system.
Brad: Yeah?
Brendan: Yeah.
Brad: Yeah?
Brendan: There's a thesaurus in the library. Yeah is under "Y" . . . . Go ahead, I'll wait.


Brick was cut on FCP, btw.

Looking forward to Looper. :)


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 22, 2012 at 3:20:45 pm

[Glen Hurd] "Looking forward to Looper. :)
"


oh yes, indeedly.

http://vimeo.com/user1590967/videos
http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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Jim Giberti
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 9:04:28 pm

Is there a cliff notes version of this post?


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 9:09:27 pm

Doesn't need it! It's great stuff.

http://vimeo.com/user1590967/videos
http://www.ogallchoir.net
promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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David Lawrence
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 10:04:43 pm

Nice post, Glen. Welcome back.

Jim, I think the Cliffs notes summary would be:

From the the editor's POV, (and I would extend this to *all* pro editors, not just Hollywood pros), any potential upside to trusting Apple right now is far outweighed by the risk. On the other hand, distrusting Apple has only upside, at least until Apple *demonstrates* they can be trusted.

Sounds right to me.

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


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Glen Hurd
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 10:35:07 pm

Thanks, Dave. Can I call you Cliff? Heh. :)
Yeah, I used the Hollywood descriptor a little tongue-in-cheek. The other adjectives seem to generate resentment, so I tried to side-step them for now.

I used to be more confrontational . . . but then I took an arrow to the knee. ;)


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Jim Giberti
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 21, 2012 at 4:24:38 am

[David Lawrence] "Jim, I think the Cliffs notes summary would be:

From the the editor's POV, (and I would extend this to *all* pro editors, not just Hollywood pros), any potential upside to trusting Apple right now is far outweighed by the risk. On the other hand, distrusting Apple has only upside, at least until Apple *demonstrates* they can be truste"


Thanks David, see I just needed a speed reader .

I am more than happy to give Apple my distrust.


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Scott Thomas
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 21, 2012 at 5:20:08 am

There's a great book on game theory I read many years ago:

http://www.amazon.com/Prisoners-Dilemma-William-Poundstone/dp/038541580X/

After this thread, I think I need to go reread it.


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Bobby Mosca
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 9:26:27 pm

Woah!!! I just had a flashback to grad school...

So cold... So much darkness.... So much BULL***T!!!

Thank you, Glen. That was terrific!


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Bill Davis
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 10:19:57 pm

[Glen Hurd] "Now, I may generate some heat for my first set of numbers, but we could even say that TT and DT should both be 5's and I still prove my point. In a case of not being able to read Apple's mind, the only rational decision is to be disloyal.

Game over. Close the forum. Get back to work. ;)
"


Uh, as to proving any particular point, not so much, IMO.

From square one, by choosing a binary construct, you've already pushed the poll.

You've arbitraily set a stage where there are only two seats - the Hollywood editor and "the casual user."

Only by accepting that construct as the "correct" one do you let us play.

And what if we don't?

What if we construct a choice where instead of two chairs - we have thirty?

The Hollywood editor gets a nice one. The Chicago commercial producer gets one. The Tampa Sports editor gets one. The corporate video producer gets one. The wedding/bar mitzvah gets one (hey, they're editing for a living, and at the very top end, believe me, likely making more profit than me or you!) What about the high-speed photography lab doing auto crash test science? can we give them a chair?

I bet we can fill 30 seats with unique "video professionals" in a snap.

And right there, your entire setup falls apart.

People trying to generate reliable data through polling of any kind all know - that the design of the poll itself is typically the single more important factor in achieving a useful survey outcome.

The Prisoners dilemma is useful for teaching the young the rudiments of how to think logically.

But that's about it, IMO.

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'Connor


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Jules bowman
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 21, 2012 at 8:40:46 am

Really Bill? Every time? Bet you're the life and soul of the party.

Bill, the sky is blue.

Bill, grass is green.

Bill, your name is Bill.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 22, 2012 at 1:47:31 am

Right on the money Jules. I was loving this thread right from Glen's great start, then the principal came in and wrecked the party. It was my favorite thread in recent memory too.

Well. nice job anyway Glen - a great concept that had everybody giggling. Well, almost everybody.


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Daniel Frome
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 20, 2012 at 11:24:28 pm

I read that in an announcer-like voice...

"that's it folks" [lights a cigar]
"close the forum" [puts on sunglasses]

Baiting them hard.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Editor's Dilema
on Apr 22, 2012 at 9:19:01 pm

Lots of false assumptions have to be in play for this to work.
The two most obvious:

There are actually three players in the game, not two.
Apple, the so called "Hollywood" aka Professional Editors, and the Casual Editors.

The assumption that Apple can only cater to one type of client. Almost every manufacturer, and service provider regularly sells to both the high-end elite customer, and the plain-Jane, or gray flannel customer. It is a standard business practice, and often (like in the case of FCS and Shake) not very difficult to do. Apple has simply chosen not to, hoping to cover their tracks with the fan base or the RDF.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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