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Apples Evolving View of Pro

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Marcus Moore
Apples Evolving View of Pro
on Aug 9, 2013 at 9:37:03 pm

Former Apple ad consultant Ken Segal wrote this blog post. Someone was going to post it here- it might as well be me.

http://kensegall.com/2013/08/apples-evolving-view-of-pro/

I agree with Ken's central thesis that Apple's approach to Pro is changing. FCPX, LogicX, and the MacPro are all clear indications of that. My personal belief is that Apple is trying to define a new medium between power/depth and accessibility. No software "needs" to be difficult to use, as long as the feature set doesn't suffer. I think we're all far enough removed from the launch now to realize that FCPX was simply launched too early- too early to avoid people asking exactly the type of questions they have been since 2011 about what market FCPX is meant to cater to. LogicProX seems to have dodged that dodged that bullet; a substantially more accessible interface without loss of functionality.

With the changes in FCPX being even more profound, I think it should have been even more important to present these ideas complete- without the perception of compromise. The Magnetic, Trackless Timeline, Conected Clips, Roles structure is Apple's concept to prove. I have my theories on how they'll do that, but ultimately its Apple's show.

Ultimately, I think the tools of our trade are being commoditized the way apple is imagining. A 2.5K RAW camera is now available for $2000. All three of the big NLE software packages are available for either $19.99/mo, $299 or at most $999. It's skill and talent that will drive ones worth, vs someone being able to navigate labyrinth software or hardware. I don't think it will make those skills any 'easier' or less valuable. It's just a removal of unnecessary barriers to entry.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Apples Evolving View of Pro
on Aug 10, 2013 at 12:08:27 am

The bang-for-your-buck for gear/software has never been better, but I think we are a good 10yrs or so removed from the time when cost was a real barrier to entry separating the haves from the have nots. I agree that software doesn't need to be difficult but many times 'difficult' is a perceived side effect of having options and flexibility. What a casual user might call complex an everyday/power user might call powerful. And even something that starts out w/the goal of being straightforward can end up more complicated as the years go by and users expect more and more features.

iOS is a good example of this. It started out very clean, simple and purposely devoid of many traditional GUI elements that Jobs felt hampered the user experience. But in a few short what started out as simplistic became limiting so Apple added folders for organization, a 'task bar' (and now cards in iOS 7) for quasi-multitasking and the home button is now a triple press threat (home, task bar and Siri). The idea of expansion doesn't seem to be in iOS/iDevice DNA which is why so many new features seem bolted on. I mean, the current state of the home button is anything but elegant. It's a shame Palm died (and that HP was inept) because WebOS was a great, forward looking mobile OS.

Camera's aren't that much different. For cost saving, size and easy of use companies made cameras with as few buttons as possible (many times just shutter, power and a zoom rocker). Very simple to use, but also very limiting w/regards to controlling the camera and thus the image. So more features were added but not more buttons which led to a byzantine menu system that's more complicated than using a more 'intimidating' looking camera that has those features as external buttons/wheels instead of interior menus.

To quote Alan Kay, "Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible." At some point making complex things possible means the learning curve is going to go up (maybe up a whole lot). And it's always going to be a moving target, IMO. For example, what was a complicated visual effect 10 years ago could be common today and what's complicated today could be common in 2020.




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Marcus Moore
Re: Apples Evolving View of Pro
on Aug 10, 2013 at 1:19:31 am

I agree that there will always be a difference between Pro and consumer- I think the supposition might be that the consumer-side will be able to do more (as the general literacy of video increases), and the Pro side will become less opaque as the UI of the tools evolves; and that its the 'prosumer' tools that are being squeezed out of existence- the lower-tier AVID solutions, the Final Cut Expresses, and the Soundtrack Pros which are disappearing. Now there's only Garage Band and Logic Pro X. iMovie and Final Cut Pro X.



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Darren Roark
Re: Apples Evolving View of Pro
on Aug 10, 2013 at 2:14:24 am

What is interesting to me about this whole pro vs. consumer debate is that it doesn't take into account just how much has changed in the dynamic between editors and clients.

I used to make VHS tapes with window burns for clients so they can do a paper list. Now many have become more hands on and done selects with a copy of their actual footage. Many of these clients who never learned Avid or FCP(1-7) did muck around with iMovie. Many of them can pick up the basics of X really fast. (Others think I'm insane for even liking it at all.)

I see it going more that direction. As clients become younger and more tech savvy, the lines between how collaboration physically happens are going to blur even more.

That to me is the real issue looming over all this. The more clients know what happens behind the curtain, the more is expected, and therefore less pay. We should worry about how consumers now have access to everything we do, it's our bosses we have to worry about.


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Mark Dobson
Re: Apples Evolving View of Pro
on Aug 10, 2013 at 8:45:25 am

Ken Segall's post seems strangely out of date even to the point of reigniting the 'iMovie Pro' debate and is there really such disquiet at the lack of a new 17' Macbook Pro?

Things have moved on so profoundly in the 2 years since Apple launched FCPX that in many ways the editing world has caught up with Apples vision of how people want or need to deal with digital media.

But having just encountered the lack of batch export in FCPX I fully understand why many Pros steered clear of even trying out FCPX, not helped by the worst launch you could imagine. How different it would have been if they had kept Final Cut Studio active for a transitional period of say 2 to 3 years.

For me FCPX only really started to work well after several updates and I had invested in the new iMac. That enabled me to access Thunderbolt storage and since then I've had the editing set up promised in the early promotional material.

And Marcus is right:

[Marcus Moore] "Ultimately, I think the tools of our trade are being commoditized the way apple is imagining. A 2.5K RAW camera is now available for $2000. All three of the big NLE software packages are available for either $19.99/mo, $299 or at most $999. It's skill and talent that will drive ones worth, vs someone being able to navigate labyrinth software or hardware. I don't think it will make those skills any 'easier' or less valuable. It's just a removal of unnecessary barriers to entry."

Just imagine, as an example, what someone could achieve with the new Blackmagic Pocket Camera, a MacBook Pro with a retina screen and a copy of FCPX.

The new MacPro will be profoundly better than an updated version of the existing one with bolted on Thunderbolt capability and I'm just hoping that Apple will price it happy for me.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Apples Evolving View of Pro
on Aug 10, 2013 at 6:57:08 pm

[Mark Dobson] "Ken Segall's post seems strangely out of date even to the point of reigniting the 'iMovie Pro' debate and is there really such disquiet at the lack of a new 17' Macbook Pro?
"


I'd like one, and am actually quite disappointed that there isn't one.


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Bill Davis
Re: Apples Evolving View of Pro
on Aug 11, 2013 at 2:28:32 am

[Mark Dobson] "For me FCPX only really started to work well after several updates and I had invested in the new iMac. That enabled me to access Thunderbolt storage and since then I've had the editing set up promised in the early promotional material."

These days I just laugh whenever I read the old "they should have launched it differently" idea.

I've come to think they launched it PERFECTLY. Hell, I was "backstage" for the launch. And I came away inspired. Here we are nearly two years later and the reality is everything they promised me and more. Just because so many people couldn't see beyond their angst fpr so long - they didn't start learning it as fast as they could - providing a really wonderful jump for those of us who didn't get caught up in big grumpy cluster-spat.

Most people looked at the same stuff the rest of us saw, and because they couldn't see past the blinders of "I want Legacy 2.0!"- they just got it's potential all wrong. "iMovie Pro" is slowly starting to look like a very smart move on Apple's part - purely because the world of video is rushing towards X's core strengths. It's born for a world of file based, small fast and connected projects. It can certainly handle long form and high-rez and complex composited stuff - but not because that was ALL it was designed to be - but because from day one it was re-plumbed to work for where video was obviously going. Anything in. Killer asset management inside. Scads of shortcuts and efficiency boosters (like it's genius thumbnail/proxy/transcoded clip management.) Auto stuff galore when that will do. Precision a few clicks away when you need it. Connected sharing to wherever. And well-managed metadata all along everywhere.

Hell, X started to "work" for me the day it was released. I could ingest. I could cut. I could export. And, most critically, I could START learning how to see video creation as something that could be beneficially detached from having JUST a timeline space to work in - and I got to start learning to work in a connected environment where both Event resources and Projects would stay connected and work together to solve production problems.

I sure don't reget a single hour I spent learning and using X in those early weeks and months - instead of wasting time stuck thinking that because the initial timeline glass was half empty - that also meant the stuff in the other half wasn't very, very delicious.

; )

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Mark Dobson
Re: Apples Evolving View of Pro
on Aug 11, 2013 at 7:28:22 am

[Bill Davis] "Hell, X started to "work" for me the day it was released. I could ingest. I could cut. I could export. And, most critically, I could START learning how to see video creation as something that could be beneficially detached from having JUST a timeline space to work in - and I got to start learning to work in a connected environment where both Event resources and Projects would stay connected and work together to solve production problems."

Sure Bill - FCPX also worked for me the day it was launched, I've not used anything else since, and I honestly think it's a fantastic piece of software but compared to how it works now it was pretty buggy and core functions that should have worked didn't.

And to tell a group of very independently minded individuals (how many editors does it take to change a light bulb?) that the software they had been using professionally and supported for years was EOL was highly controversial and to this day the reason for that has yet to be explained. But it sure put a lot of backs up.

I used to confront huge render times and that lovely spinning ball was a constant companion. That wasn't because I was doing things incorrectly, it was because the software was still in development. And I think that those of us who have been using FCPX since the launch have in many ways been working as advanced beta testers and I'm sure the huge volume of complaints about lacking features will have positively influenced the future updates.

I just can't be as evangelical about FCPX as you are. It would seem from your post that there is and and has never been any faults with the software but for those working in in top end collaborative production units FCPX has yet to emulate the connectivity and customisation that FCP7 had and many editors require.

For me as a director turned shooter / editor it's absolutely fine and like you I'm a big fan of the Event library, and how it enables me to quickly sort out the files and media connected with a job.


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Bill Davis
Re: Apples Evolving View of Pro
on Aug 12, 2013 at 1:17:17 am

[Mark Dobson] "And I think that those of us who have been using FCPX since the launch have in many ways been working as advanced beta testers and I'm sure the huge volume of complaints about lacking features will have positively influenced the future updates."

Yep. Absolutely. And if it had been a "behind the scenes" beta program, some of us would be as smug as hell that we were among the chosen ones to do the beta. But think that through...

All that's different is that there was a huge swatch of early adopters for X that didn't get their brains around the fact that software distribution - and by implication - software testing - had fundamentally changed. It HAD to change the moment that companies stopped burning software onto plastic and shipping it inside 5 pound cardboard boxes. Software is now a living "on-line" creation. Revising it is as simple as pushing a button at Apple corporate. This changes everything. Literally EVERYTHING about how software will be used, viewed and refreshed.

Other than chatter and insider backlash, what's the point of holding back a piece of software that does 50 things right - even if it does 5 things wrong.? Get it out there. Let the market shake it out. Huge swaths of voices telling you what they don't like is HUGELY valuable isn't it? After all, the moment you can sort the complaints into categories, you start to get REAL market feedback - not just from one class of "movie pros" or "event folks" or "corporate trainers" or whatever - but from the entire body of users. Thats qualitatively the BEST survey body of all.

And those who aren't bothered by what's "wrong" can get on with using it. Then the INSTANT the creators re-code what's not optimal, everyone from that point on that goes to download it ESCAPES the issue entirely. For them, the problem never was. Welcome to modern software.

[Mark Dobson] "I just can't be as evangelical about FCPX as you are. It would seem from your post that there is and and has never been any faults with the software but for those working in in top end collaborative production units FCPX has yet to emulate the connectivity and customisation that FCP7 had and many editors require.
"


Look, were there lots of voices that were completely, fully NEGATIVE about X, not paying any lip service to what it did right and ONLY seeing it in terms of what they thought it got wrong. So what's the problem with me on the other side looking primarily at what it did so well? Isn't that PRECISELY allowing an audience to read the position of "ALL WRONG" and balance it against the position of "ALL RIGHT?"

If you can go back and show me where significant numbers of posters in the "all wrong" camp showed evidence of any balanced reporting, then I'll re-consider my position on the other side of it being "all right" and the need to balance that. But you can't. So I feel my position is just fine.

I know X is imperfect. And I suspect that if you want back to read my posts, you'd find a LOT more acknowledgement of that - than posts where any of the "haters" acknowledged it's possible value. So I'm fine with my position in the mix.

Plus with the new distribution model, who cares what X was like in Version 1.2? That changed on an odd Thursday when 1.3 shipped and was NEVER an issue again except for those who want to keep holding onto the past. Just look at how many people keep showing up here and re-litigating the initial release! Who CARES. That's what WAS two years ago. That's NOT where we are now. So all it can be used for is to reinforce an opinion that's no longer relevant. I suppose you can also use it to paint Apple as dumb, or evil, or insensitive if you need something to bolster that kind of long-held opinion. But how long is holding on to a reality from a past healthy? They made cool new software. That's getting cooler. And is cheaper. And more capable in many, many useful areas. I think that's enough for most of us.


[Mark Dobson] "For me as a director turned shooter / editor it's absolutely fine and like you I'm a big fan of the Event library, and how it enables me to quickly sort out the files and media connected with a job.
"


I know you have. And I know at heart we're on the same team. I just refuse to be bullied into the position where one side in a debate is allowed to be extreme - and thinking that the way to balance that is always to show a "appeasing" more "balanced" assessment. You put a 1 pound weight on one side, the best and easiest way to achieve balance is to put a 1 pound weight on the other.

Again, there wasn't a whole lot of weight on the X side in the beginning. So I was and am delighted to be on record as having had my finger entirely on the "keep things level"opposite side. In my view, if the opposition hadn't been so virulent and so outspoken (and they clearly were) then I could have been a whole lot more moderate in my push back. But they weren't. So neither was I. And so it goes!

IMO, I've already reaped nice rewards for taking my position - because just like you - I'm sitting here with a brain stuffed with how X operates and how it can help me do more and better work faster.

The rest of the debate stuff from the past here is just voluntarily participated in fun and games that have long since flowed under the bridge.

Forward! - Happily!

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Kleo Morgan
Re: Apples Evolving View of Pro
on Aug 12, 2013 at 10:22:26 am

I would expand Bill's "...how X operates and how it can help me do more and better work faster":
I found that workflow in X is great for some projects - let's deliver them faster and make look more modern with the help of built-in effects and third-party plug-ins. For other projects I totally switched to Premiere from FCP7 because Premiere later versions overcame the leftover FCP7.
SO for me it's just a matter of choice according to the needs in my current project, and for now I can say that X is MustHave! instrument along with others.

______________________
Kleo Morgan
Video/Photo Retouching&Grading Professional
http://kleoshot.com


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