The NLE that wouldn’t die
Here's an interesting observation on FCP X from Oliver Peters.
Even more dubious is why Adobe can't make Premiere the standout choice. We all use Adobe, and I'd be willing to make the stretch that many of their products are the defacto standard. Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, InDesign, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Flash, etc. But for some reason Premiere just can't take hold. On paper it looks great. But every time I pick it up it, in many ways, it feels creakier than FCP 7.
Good article. Sums up the last 17 months. I think though, that FCP 1.x was using the Targa card to capture component. At least they advertised it would. I started at 1.2 and was capturing Beta via a little box from Sony that turned svideo into DV. I captured TC and controlled the decks via RS-422 with a usb to serial adapter that I still would use if I hadn't finally gotten a box with built in RS-422 (ultra studio express).
I was an Avid guy when FCP came out. I remember that many Avid post houses (I recall a turnkey Media Composer was closer to 60k, not 100k at the time) were still stuck on the old Media Composer hardware because Avid had just switched hardware, leaving no upgrade path for those that had just invested in MC6/7 a year or so earlier. Many places stuck with that old Avid hardware until 2002 or so, when they had paid off their Avids and jumped ship to a FCP 3 or 4. I also remember one of the biggest downsides of Avid was that for a long time, it DIDN'T have firewire. If you wanted to capture DVCam, you had to recompress it (usually to 2:1) and take up 4 times as much drive space and require that much faster drives. You also would need a $10k DVCam deck with component output. Your project took another compression hit when you output to DVCam tape as well. On the other hand, we were capturing native DV via firewire and loading it in directly off the DVCam cameras or off an inexpensive DSR-11 or something like that. We could also get by just fine with internal, inexpensive ATA drives because of the lesser requirements of DV. When a project was finished, the native DV was written right back onto tape via firewire. I think that drove a lot of FCP installs. A G4 with a second internal drive, a DSR-11, and you were in business making video that in so many ways was of higher quality than a Media Composer could hope to make.
I think for awhile you'll find FCP 7 suites languishing, getting rusty, unable to update their OS, their hardware, or add on helper apps because everything will quickly rely on new hardware and OS. Since Composer or Premiere haven't hit it out of the park yet, that interval might buy FCP X some time to further address existing shortcomings. Don't know if it can ever fully address the bad PR.
FCP legacy had some big advantages over Avid even in its infancy but the industry has become much more mature and competitive. In one sense, the EOL of FCP legacy is like the breakup of the Beatles. The day of the dominant pop star is gone and we are in the era of many niches. With the cost of NLEs driven down, thanks to the Beatles...er FCP legacy, one has the option of learning multiple tools.
While a facility may not want to setup that way, the special project in need of the special feature set with the specially equipped editor can happen inside any facility as long as the NLE can communicate to the rest of the world.
This is where FCPX sits at the moment . . . my own theory. The SCRI numbers only showed a very slight decline in facilities using/purchasing FCPX compared to FCP??? I think the more likely translation is that any number of facilities might have a single FCPX to a dozen or score of FCP6/7, PPro, MC. So many facilities have FCPX sitting somewhere. I suspect usually there's some intrepid editor, having played with it at home, steps forward because they think it might be appropriate for a given job or ongoing project. It's the "left handed" NLE in a "right handed" world. Even if intrepid editor blazes through a project, that's not going to convert the righties to become lefties. What might happen is a few more might become switch hitters.
One avenue of adoption will be through the young people Oliver mentions, I believe. As they grow up some will expand into business and facilities based on FCPX.
The veteran facilities have other factors to consider and FCPX's growth will be through attrition. While the cost of NLEs have dropped to negligible, the cost of everything else may not have. There's entire workflows, training time, hardware purchases such as storage, media servers etc. that impact compatibility and direct expansion, to consider.
Basically a large number of facilities won't move unless there's a compelling economic reason to. That time does draw near. In some respects much as Avid facilities froze at various points given Avid's upgrade costs, and then jumped to FCP legacy because it was the cost effective move. For the majority of facilities frozen in FCP legacy, neither Avid nor Adobe has offered an economically compelling reason to shift. While Avid MC is certainly not the expense it once was, Isis is, if one is to take advantage of an all Avid solution. Given Avid's ongoing financial problems, Isis probably is not selling all that well. Apparently PPro isn't compelling enough.
Personally I think Avid will continue to... not be compelling. As long as facilities sit on FCP6/7, it buys time for both Adobe and Apple to provide a compelling reason to move. Their approaches will be different in attempting to compel since Adobe is a software company focusing on content creation whereas Apple is a hardware company that uses software to lock you into a hardware ecosystem.
It was a good read.
I was kind of hoping, Oliver, that you made the analogy of Red and Alexa is to Fcpx and everything else.
At least we would agree that they are professional. You don't have to like it, but it is professional. ;)
FWIW - here's my review of the 10.0.6 update:
Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC