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Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?

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Stevo Chang
Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 10:00:24 pm

Just a thought -- since Apple's move with FCPX clearly delineates it's support for amateur/prosumer-level users and to simplify editing so non-professional editors can 'dabble' with editing, what impact would this have on professional editors?

Sure, it's easy enough for most professional editors to steer away from FCPX and find another workflow.

But what about news organizations and in-house A/V departments?

If FCPX is truly easy enough for someone unaccustomed to editing to finally edit, does this mean corporations will prefer ditching their A/V departments to save costs and provide FCPX training courses for their marketing department? Does it mean newsrooms will ditch edit bays in favor of MBP-carrying journalists on the road to edit their own story and upload it online?

I wonder what kind of world we'll be living in 5years from this past Tuesday? If Apple is willing to limit a user's internet-experience by banning Flash from their iOS devices, will audiences be limited to watching news clips with open-curtain transitions and star wipes?

All joking aside, Michael Scott, an avid amateur/prosumer editor, would probably be VERY Excited for FCPX -- perhaps as excited as David Pogue from the New York Times? Maybe Michael Scott and David Pogue are Apple's target demographic for FCPX?

FCP -- RIP 2011


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Jamie Franklin
Re: Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 10:17:02 pm

I sometimes think, who are they really trying to target here...

I don't have any data or magic voodoo, but, there seems to be a gap from the prosumer-consumer here just in the price alone.

You have a Mac, you have an editor pretty much these days that can fulfill a lot of the needs of that supposed target...

So who is in-between...hobbyists sure..but I don't think that would threaten a professional editor...

What could be threatening, is forcing the industry to adopt that wretched timeline...editors would probably rather quit than adapt to the architecture and robotic bs...because after 5 mins (and still 4 days tinkering) with it, I want to punch it in the face


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Jim Sprague
Re: Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 10:31:01 pm

this will appeal to all the hacks out there that think all it takes to be an editor is a computer and software. They usually work in their basement for cash, charge $15-$20/hour. I spend a lot of time cleaning up their shite for broadcast, and when the client complains we give them the old line "you think professionals are expensive? Try hiring an amateur>"

BaldyMntPost_pos.jpg


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Jamie Franklin
Re: Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 10:38:21 pm

In this economy and the back slide the industry has taken in the last decade, I really don't begrudge those working in their basement for cash. Nor, do I actually think they would adopt this program if they had previously worked with 7. Even they must look at this mess and go.."whaaaa"

To me, that's how bad this junk of a program is...


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Jim Sprague
Re: Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 10:27:31 pm

I work in a broadcast station as a production editor and former news editor, so I've seen a bit of both.

In house A/V depts. have always had the ability to edit their own stuff and a lot of them already do. FCPX just means their stuff will look better. We used to do a lot of this work, but it's gotten pretty rare in the last 10 years with the advent of Premier Elements and other consumer edit programs.

We have 3 reporters on staff that write, shoot and cut their own stuff and I think they would tell you that it's a pretty tough grind. for the basic v/o stories it's okay, but for more involved features they usually try and book an editor. You can start with a whole newsroom full of one man bands, but eventually they tend to gravitate to what they do best. The good shooters tend to become shooters, the good writers... So that hasn't become an issue for us, we still have full time editors.

We've tried combining jobs to save on manpower and it never really seems to work out, so I'm not too worried about it.

BaldyMntPost_pos.jpg


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Tim Wilson
Re: Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 11:27:49 pm

I've been around long enough that COMPUTERS signaled the demise of professional editing.

Back in 1984, any monkey with a checkbook could buy an EditDroid for $87,000 and use the same system George Lucas uses. Based on laser discs! Film is dead!

Then it was UVW BetaSP. For $25,000, you could have a broadcast deck, a broadcast camera and a broadcast lens -- except that people were adamant that there was NO WAY that a $25,000 kit was broadcast ready. Because any monkey who can afford a new car can now compete with the biggest networks and post houses.

Then, when I lived in Florida, a neighbor of mine offered his kid 3 choices for his high school graduation: a used car, a used boat, or a new Media 100 system, all right around $16,000. The kid took the NLE, and we all shuddered: any monkey who could afford a USED car, or had a generous dad, could now call himself an editor.

And so it goes.

And yes, all of them signaled the death of professional editing. There are many deaths still to come.

Soon, I will be able to close my eyes and edit an entire feature film in my head without ever touching a physical object, and somebody is going to say to me, "What? You close your eyes?"


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Patrick Murphy
Re: Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 11:51:41 pm

I think your reporters are exactly the people Apple had in mind with FCPX. The web has caused a dramatic increase in the demand for video content. But the budget for this content is far below what the average post house would charge to assemble and deliver. So the burden (or opportunity I think) for creating this content is landing on the desks of dual-role people. The majority of people who will use FCPX professionally will be communications professionals, reporters, writers, web content providers, who need to develop content, but who have relatively little experience with the tools or techniques of the trade. FCPX is designed for them, not for any other market. That said, it's a big market, and it's growing.

If you think about it for a minute, isn't this what the original FCP did? It attacked a creative monopoly that Avid enjoyed in non-linear editing. In retrospect, mainly due to Avid's stupidity, and corporate myopia, Apple completely triumphed. Looked at it in context, FCP was a major blow to what would be called the "post production" industry. It greatly democratized the sophisticated editing of video on a budget. It broke the dominance of Avid, and allowed a wide number of new, more modestly endowed providers to offer services competitive to Avid houses.

Meanwhile the needless confusion, angst, and controversy stimulated by Apple this week should be a cautionary tale to anyone falling for the corporate myth that is Apple. There are a lot of ways the roll out of this software could have been handled. The way it was done is destined to become a textbook example of how to not innovate on an existing software platform. Apple's history of disregard for customers is long and well established. Their secrecy and insularity reminds one of either the Vatican or the Kremlin, take your choice. They are a very successful company, but they are a bad partner if you rely upon them for your daily bread. They don't talk, they don't share, they have their own agenda, and unless it's serves their plan, they don't seem to listen. Apple's customers, particularly it's professional customers, deserve better than this.

The question you ask in this post, (are professional editors dinosaurs?) is not easy to answer quickly because the role of the "video editor" is such a complex and multi-dimensional task. The shortest most succinct answer is "of course not, it's merely growing beyond the current accepted boundaries". But for most of the readers of this forum, that's not very functional.

My view, and I've been in the business for a few decades, is that Adobe offers the most serious alternative. The quality of their product, in general, has been consistently high for the last 15 years.
I don't think Apple is a good choice, even given future tweaks to FCPX, because I don't see the Mac Pro line still around in a year or two. You can hang on to them if you wish, but after this recent episode, don't expect any sympathy when they leave you in the lurch. Adobe on the other hand is not platform specific, and in the more recent incarnations of Premiere Pro, it has established itself and a worthy rival.

Overall, if there's anything to be learned by all this "sturm und drang" is that blind allegiance to any platform, software, or singular approach is deeply unwise. I believe that computer companies, and software/hardware companies should serve us, the producers, who are task with creating a usable product. The primary relationship here is between us and our clients. Apple, Avid, Adobe, etc. are toolmakers, and they should make the tools we need to do our job. As long as they fulfill their obligations, they deserve our allegiance and respect. But if they fail, then it's our obligation to ourselves, and our clients, to find a better solution. To me, that's what being a "video professional" means.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 26, 2011 at 11:20:43 pm

One thing that separates working and not working, are clients.

If you have a full scale production shop with the latest gear and capability, but you don't have any clients, I think that will signal your demise.

Things change. You can choose to adapt, or sometimes you don't have the luxury of that choice. Charles Darwin had a few ideas on those theories.

For the record, this same conversation was had when FCP3 was made available with DV and FireWire capability on laptops. Suddenly, professional video was "no more" as anyone with a laptop and a cheap dv camera could get in the game. Through that seismic shift, the ones that adapted and kept clients survived, no matter the gear.

Certainly and eventually, business models were forced to change. Clients went elsewhere as their choices expanded. For the most part, the big post house was dismantled, especially here in Chicago. Over time, some were rebuilt, others died completely, software was ruling the roost vs the aging hardware driven establishments. As a whole though, opportunities and business grew, albeit restructured. How FCPx's role in the restructuring of business as you know it remains to be seen.

If you take one step back and try and observe what is happening to creating/producing media as a whole, the lines between 'professional' and 'consumer' have been blurring for a very long time. Just take a look at the sheer amount of delivery outlets that are available. There's some strictly professional outlets, there's more consumer accessible outlets, and some outlets likely have both. Perhaps starting with the Red camera, the access to exceptionally high quality imaging that was previously unreachable to certain production crews brought a new level of achievement and capability never before seen to non "high-end" productions.

That brings us to HDSLRs and the sheer firestorm they have created, almost overnight. (where are your projects sourced from, by the way?)

What is happening is a new trend. For better or for worse, Apple recognizes trends. They have done it before, they will do it again. Their method of releasing this new trend has been, for lack of a better term, weird and rather heavy handed. Certainly, it has angered many. Most are probably thinking about their next move before taking action, some immediately react and go another direction right away, some accept whats given and start working with the new system right away. The good thing is, there are many choices for us today. Just as our clients had choices in the dawn of the dv era, we as content creators have choices as to the equipment we can use to make our living.


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Jan Maitland
Re: Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 2:02:35 am

Very well said Jeremy.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 2:51:53 am

[Jan Maitland] "Very well said Jeremy."

Thanks for the comment, Jan.


Honestly, it should have been better and I blame myself. I didn't check my grammar as that took forever to type on my iPhone! :)


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Greg Fulcher
Re: Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 3:52:32 am

As best I know, my clients hire me for my experience. A professional editor provides solutions their problems.

As Tim said, this isn't a new fear. My livelihood has been 'at risk' time and time again.

Clients have gone away, opting for their own in-house edit system but almost always come back after a few bad experiences, or I've been hired for my day rate to go in and use their system.

I wouldn't lose too much sleep over the demise of a professional editor.

Remember, video didn't kill the radio star.

1013media | produce. edit. enable.
San Francisco, CA | http://www.1013media.com


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 9:51:18 am

[Greg Fulcher] "As best I know, my clients hire me for my experience. A professional editor provides solutions their problems.

As Tim said, this isn't a new fear. My livelihood has been 'at risk' time and time again.

Clients have gone away, opting for their own in-house edit system but almost always come back after a few bad experiences, or I've been hired for my day rate to go in and use their system.

I wouldn't lose too much sleep over the demise of a professional editor.

Remember, video didn't kill the radio star."


First, I agree that video killing the radio star is a myth.

IMO you have to look at the 'average editor', in the way we would look at athletes, or maybe big name musicians. Just like in these jobs, there are a small group of superstars making the big money. The bulk of the overall participants are the minor league players, and amateurs.
So it really depends on which group you are talking about.
If the professional editor is the guy making an above average salary, they will always have a job. There are just going to be fewer of them each year. They're being replaced by growing ranks of those making average, or less than average wages and even amateurs. This has been happening for quite a while. I got OT on a similar subject in this thread if you're interested.
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/335/6462

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

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...

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


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Marvin Holdman
Re: Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 5:10:38 pm

You can give a thousand typewriters to a thousand monkeys but you still won't get Shakespeare.

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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Scott Sheriff
Re: Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 27, 2011 at 10:30:26 pm

[Marvin Holdman] "You can give a thousand typewriters to a thousand monkeys but you still won't get Shakespeare."

I'm sure you're aware that only the smallest percentage of gigs are looking for, or has the budget to hire "Shakespeare".

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

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...

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


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Tommy D'Angelo
Re: Could FCPX signal the demise of professional editors?
on Jun 29, 2011 at 6:25:05 am

"A one hour deadline with irrational clients" is still "A one hour deadline with irrational clients" no matter what software you use. You are getting hired because you are two out of the three: good,fast or cheap.

I mean the easier and cheaper tech is gonna hurt pro's in some area's obviously, but you also have to realize the same technology is making every company and their brother want media.

Tommy D'Angelo
Editor
Punk Rock Kid
NYC by way of Westchester


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