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ACE Tech Day this Saturday...

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Charlie Austin
ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 10, 2016 at 6:33:17 am

Anyone going? More WTF workflow info, and then Michael Yanovich and Billy Fox, who've been learning X for a month or so, (!) will give their thoughts. Nobody really knows what they will say. Should be interesting. :-)

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~


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Nicholas Zimmerman
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 10, 2016 at 5:44:12 pm

I will be there, and I'm excited to hear what they have to say. I really love the push Apple has been making to get the word out there about FCPX's role in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

________________________________________

NickZimmerman.net
________________________________________


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Tim Wilson
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 10, 2016 at 6:25:41 pm
Last Edited By Tim Wilson on Mar 10, 2016 at 6:28:34 pm

This is interesting in a number of ways. ACE used to do an annual Equipment Survey of what their members were using every year, and needless to say, Avid cleaned up. In fact, the numbers were so consistent during the latter aughts -- Avid FCP at 20%, a couple of projects on Lightworks, and the rest on Avid -- that ACE stopped doing the survey. They didn't feel there was additional insight to be gained.

The most recent year whose results I found is 2009, when there were 350 members -- obviously a subset of a subset of the class "Hollywood editors."(Here's the link), but I'll save ya the step: 19% FCP, 4% unspecified "Other" (presumably including some Premiere projects by then), and the rest Avid.

The number that really struck me from that survey was the trajectory of who was making the edit system choice. In 2004, over 60% of the editors surveyed were making their own choice of what to use, but by 2009, it had dropped to 38%.

This led to the creation of the ACE Technical Excellence Award, which was given to Avid Media Composer. A lot of the language appears to be little more than boilerplate.

This distinguished honor hails Avid's unparalleled innovation, the company's commitment to working hand-in-hand with editors, and its role in evolving the art of cinematic storytelling. The honorary award will be presented to Avid at the 60th Annual ACE Eddie Awards in February 2010.


Hmmm, part of the honor is for "the company's commitment to working hand-in-hand with editors." As opposed to say....who? As the press release continues, they double down. My bold added.


"Editors know that the art of filmmaking is as much about storytelling as it is sharing a mutually-beneficial dialogue with other members in the industry. Avid shares our passion and vision for nurturing the motion picture community and the integral role that editors play in bringing entertainment to life," said ACE President Randy Roberts, A.C.E. "One of Avid's unique characteristics is the fact that many of its employees are also experienced artists themselves, and so like us, they are obsessive about solving real challenges that actually make a difference in the editing room. We appreciate the company's ongoing commitment to talk with us and to understand how we want to improve the way we tell stories. The Board is pleased to distinguish Avid -- and Media Composer -- with this first-ever mark of distinction."



To their credit, Variety (no byline) dug deeper. ACE dropped the coy poses, too.

Harry B. Miller III, an ACE board member and head of the org’s technology committee, said Avid “has always had the superior product” among editing software packages, but recently the company has also gone out of its way to solicit feedback from editors and shape the product to their needs.

Apple, by contrast, has been slow to improve Final Cut Pro. Miller said, “Apple and Final Cut Pro doesn’t listen, doesn’t respond, doesn’t solicit our opinion.”


So ACE basically created an award for the specific purposes of saying, "We prefer Avid, and we should be free to choose it."

Nothing wrong with that. ACE is a membership organization, and it's the board's job to spearhead advocacy that represents the largest part of the group. I'm certainly willing to be that the FCP (and "other") members would prefer to be making choices about their toolset, rather than leaving it in the hands of producers, the studio, etc.

But man o man, has the world changed since 2009!!!

My guess is that the launch of X didn't do much at all. Hollywood in general is in no hurry to change what's working. It's a shame that the values of solidity, reliability, and deep user mastery of the toolset have come to be viewed as perjoratives, but in fact, crafts-person-ship matters, and the ability to deliver without disruption is rewarded.

I've always suspected that FCP never really moved the needle because it wasn't substantially better at anything significant in Avid's core toolset. There has to have been a REASON to switch, and quite frankly, FCP never made its case.

I said in this very forum 5 years ago that X was much more interesting in this context, because it at least offers a reason to consider switching. There are potentially substantial benefits that FCP never even attempted to offer. I have no doubt that there was a bit of, "HA! I TOLD you that Apple wasn't committed to pros" with the advent of X....but as it comes time to turn the crank on new systems a few years down the road, X continues to mature, and I think if anything, it has the potential to move the needle in ways that FCP never could have, and certainly never did.

The question is, WILL it? And when? The answer is clearly farther out than "5 years after its launch."

(I hope I don't have to remind anyone that I'm speaking strictly about this particular subset of a subset of editors, but I will anyway. I'm NOT talking about the world of editing at large.)

In the time since 2009, I think Adobe Premiere has graduated from membership in "Other." At least one member of ACE, Kirk Baxter, has been a high-profile user of Premiere for the last couple of Fincher products.

The last thing that struck me is that the percentage of Macs at use among ACE members went up in the 5 years mentioned in the 2009 survey, from 73% in 2005 to 88%. (I'll note that surveys I was involved in around the 2005 timeframe also confirmed Windows usage around 30% among Hollywood elites, far more than I think is typically assumed around here, if also dramatically less than for the world at large.)

That's pretty substantial. I wonder how the tardiness of the Mac Pro and its eventual configuration affected things. I know that here in the COW we saw a substantial uptick in Windows adoption, but knowing how much more slowly the ACE ecosystem moves, I wonder.

So the fact is that NOW, I think there's a lot of insight that could be gained from a new ACE Equipment Survey....although frankly, maybe not. Does anyone really really REALLY expect Avid to have dropped much below 80% On what basis?

And really, it's only idle curiosity. 350 editors is statistically significant only for its own cohort...but it's a cohort that's responsible for editing a disproportionate amount of the content actually viewed by audiences worldwide.

Besides, what else are we gonna argue about around here? LOL



So Charlie, I'm expecting a spectacularly full report from you. LOL


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Charlie Austin
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 10, 2016 at 10:59:28 pm

[Tim Wilson] "So Charlie, I'm expecting a spectacularly full report from you."

:-) I'l try not to disappoint, though I probably will. lol

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~


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Scott Witthaus
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 14, 2016 at 9:42:31 am

[Tim Wilson] "Does anyone really really REALLY expect Avid to have dropped much below 80% On what basis?"

Probably not much, but is this the ACE you are talking about? The organization with FCPX tips on it's home page?

https://americancinemaeditors.org/

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Tim Wilson
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 14, 2016 at 4:02:26 pm

[Scott Witthaus] "Probably not much, but is this the ACE you are talking about? The organization with FCPX tips on it's home page?"

A nifty confirmation of my theory first posited here almost exactly 5 years ago, that FCPX would move the needle in ways that FCP did not.

Of course, it has indeed taken almost exactly 5 years. :-)

But I thank you for providing perhaps the first confirmation that I've been right about ANYTHING. LOL


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Andrew Kimery
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 14, 2016 at 8:24:34 pm

[Tim Wilson] "A nifty confirmation of my theory first posited here almost exactly 5 years ago, that FCPX would move the needle in ways that FCP did not. "

Cliff notes version of how you thought X could move the needle in ways FCP Legend did not? Like in terms of different workflows? In terms of eventual uptake at the 'top of the pyramid'?


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Tim Wilson
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 14, 2016 at 11:26:31 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "Cliff notes version of how you thought X could move the needle in ways FCP Legend did not? Like in terms of different workflows? In terms of eventual uptake at the 'top of the pyramid'?"

Dude, where have you been for the past 5 years? LOL I mentioned it in my post above, as well as my epic WTF article too.

FCP was, frankly, boring. LOL It didn't ACTUALLY do much to solve the most meaningful issues that Media Composer users had in these top-of-pyramid feature film workflows, and didn't offer compelling advantages of the sort that said, "Hey, this is really worth looking at." It actually looked too much like MC, with some profound deficiencies.

(Speaking STRICTLY for these kinds of workflows, NOTHING MORE. After all, I was an early enough adopter of Final Cut that I still have MY WINDOWS DISK of it, and my Macromedia Final Cut t-shirt direct from HQ.)

The book on editing with Cold Mountain highlighted a lot of the aforementioned deficiencies I don't need to recount here, and did more than anything else to cement Avid's hold on that admittedly small slice of the market. Look it up: Avid's revenue skyrocketed in the next few years after that, and it was virtually entirely based on Media Composer uptake, followed soon after by ISIS.

FCPX otoh offers some profound upsides that FCP never did. I think the reaction that Charlie reported -- "Wait a minute, this looks really interesting, and vastly more capable than I thought" -- is the same KIND of reaction that MC saw in the beginning. This is DIFFERENT. I see OPPORTUNITY here.

And now that Sam Mestman, Ronny Courtens, and other big brains are cracking the nut of Avid ScriptSync-type workflows for FCPX (I don't think most people get what a big fgjking deal this is), and they're working better than the previous wobbly attempts in the FCP era, X starts to look like an actual THING.

The next nut to crack is cracking as we speak, which is the KIND of shared storage experience that MC customers have come to rely on. Not just shared storage -- that's easy. The KIND of shared storage EXPERIENCE that apex Hollywood film workflows RELY on.

I was also struck by Charlie's report that some in attendance felt misled by the anti-X hype they'd heard. In fairness to them, early reports of FCPX not being ready for highest-end feature workflows were 100% accurate. Apple acknowledged as much when they announced a roadmap for the first time in the company's history. The fact that Apple is continuing to deliver on those promises is further confirmation that, in fact, it wasn't ready FOR THOSE SPECIFIC WORKFLOWS upon launch.

Again, I'm just agreeing with Apple.

Which brings me to the concept of moving the needle. It really was dang near 10 years from Avid's launch to critical mass. Given that FCPX hasn't really REALLY reached maturity FOR THESE WORKFLOWS until quite recently, and that some critical workflow components are just now gelling, it's not shocking to me that, so far, Ficarra and Requa are about it for major FEATURE FILMS of the sort that ACE members are looking at as the cream of the cream.

Emphasizing again, that's all I was ever talking about when I'm talking about this. I have ALWAYS been positive on the potential of X, Apple's commitment to it, etc. That doesn't mean I won't make a cheap joke at their expense now and again (this is one way you know I haven't been possessed by a pod), and I'm emphatically high on Creative Cloud for VFX-intensive workflows, and resolute in my firmness that Avid remains the state of the art for some SPECIFIC shared workflow EXPERIENCES....

...but I'm not shocked to hear ACE skeptics seeing the CURRENT state of FCPX and saying, "Wow, I've been thinking about X all wrong." Given the pace of MC adoption in the first place, though, we're probably still talking about another 3-5 years before we see if X actually DOES go farther than FCP.

That is, my feelings about its POTENTIAL to go further than FCP doesn't mean that it actually will. LOL And I do think that Avid at 75%-ish sets the field of play for everyone else.

I am admittedly a little surprised to hear that X tips are on the ACE home page -- thanks again for pointing that out, Scott!!! -- but I'm not AT ALL surprised that there are *X* tips. There were too few reasons to take FCP seriously FOR THESE WORKFLOWS, and too many reasons for X NOT to be taken seriously.

And Premiere should be too for VFX-intensive shows, including VFX in the Fincher-esque sense of reframing and grading every shot. And Avid will probably stay roughly at 75%+. :-)

But I wanted to hear Charlie's color commentary because I was interested to see if ACE is catching up with my prognostication for them, and indeed they are.

I was also looking forward to being right. It's rare enough that I still relish it every single time. LOL


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Andrew Kimery
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 15, 2016 at 12:32:48 am

[Tim Wilson] "Dude, where have you been for the past 5 years? LOL I mentioned it in my post above, as well as my epic WTF article too."

Dude you mention a LOT of things in a LOT of posts which is why I was trying to narrow it down a bit. ;)

With regards to moving the needle in terms of "hey, this is a different way to approach things" I agree that X does that more than Legend. With regards to moving the needle in terms adoption in this specific market space, I think the hypothetical FCP 8 shoves Avid all the back on its heels and 9 sees the king slipping off the top of the hill. Apple releasing X gave Avid a reprieve and PPro an opening (both things those NLEs desperately needed).


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Charlie Austin
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 15, 2016 at 12:50:48 am

[Andrew Kimery] "Apple releasing X gave Avid a reprieve and PPro an opening (both things those NLEs desperately needed)."

I think we're approaching a "tipping point"... Maybe. Or not. ;-) However, in the last 2 weeks WTF has appeared at a Producers Guild sponsored screening Q/A, At ACE, And on Wednesday at the DGA for a screener and Q/A. People are... interested.

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~


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Andrew Kimery
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 15, 2016 at 2:07:53 am

[Charlie Austin] "I think we're approaching a "tipping point"... Maybe. Or not. ;-) However, in the last 2 weeks WTF has appeared at a Producers Guild sponsored screening Q/A, At ACE, And on Wednesday at the DGA for a screener and Q/A. People are... interested."

I think X is around where Legend was in '04.


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Bill Davis
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 15, 2016 at 8:28:02 am

[Andrew Kimery] "I think X is around where Legend was in '04.
"


Could not disagree more. V1 of Legacy did barely anything that other NLEs weren't doing at the time. They all took what was basically a virtualization of the A/B roll ideas of hardware editing and incrementally grew them. They all did the same thing basically. Legacy competed on price and its early links into FireWire and the new DV25 space, but in terms of actual editing ideas it had little new thinking to offer that I can recall. It was just a cheaper and easier form of where the industry had always been going.

X broke LOTS of rules.

X asked us to re- imagine large parts of our day to day editing processes and learn totally new things we had never encountered before

Not like Legacy's development path at ALL IMO.

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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Andrew Kimery
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 15, 2016 at 3:49:43 pm

[Charlie Austin] "I think we're approaching a "tipping point"... Maybe. Or not. ;-) However, in the last 2 weeks WTF has appeared at a Producers Guild sponsored screening Q/A, At ACE, And on Wednesday at the DGA for a screener and Q/A. People are... interested."

[Andrew Kimery] "I think X is around where Legend was in '04."

[Bill Davis] "Not like Legacy's development path at ALL IMO."


Adoption path, not development path.


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Scott Witthaus
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 15, 2016 at 5:09:21 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "Adoption path, not development path"

I don't think you can say this. Back in the FCP4 days, there was a much smaller group of users that could actually "do" visual storytelling, at least at a level that could be considered "pro". Hell, there was simply much less video to cut. The web was not a place you went for film and video. Retail stores did not have video monitors on almost every aisle with product demonstrations or other "educational" material. You could not capture quality video on a cell phone, GoPro or drone. Today, the amount of video EVERYWHERE is multiples of the FCP4 days and because of that I think the adoption of FCPX is far ahead of Legacy 4.x. Capturing, cutting and distributing is much easier these days and almost second nature to up and coming editors.

Unless, of course, you are speaking of the broadcast and film niches, as that niche is very slow to change and adopt new things and workflows (for very good reasons, many times).

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Andrew Kimery
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 15, 2016 at 6:00:28 pm
Last Edited By Andrew Kimery on Mar 15, 2016 at 6:00:15 pm

[Scott Witthaus] "Unless, of course, you are speaking of the broadcast and film niches, as that niche is very slow to change and adopt new things and workflows (for very good reasons, many times)."

Agreed on all points and you are correct that my statement was limited to just 'Hollywood' movies. After 2-3 years of FCP Legend 'toe-tipping' in Hollywood workflows it started to be used more frequently around 2005-2006. If the responses Charlie talked about at the ACE event ripple out then I could see more people learning about possible FCP X workflows this year and then maybe another movie or two (not done by the Focus/WTF team ;)) cut on X later this and/or early next year. If the feedback is positive from that then more people will use it (similar to the building success FCP Legend had in the mid-to-late 2000's).

Even at FCP Legend's peak penetration though the majority of Hollywood films were still cut on Avid, but it no longer was a curious thing to cut one on the old FCP. I could see the same thing happening for X and PPro. How much ground Avid loses though I think is more up to Avid than to outside NLEs as getting people to stay with what they already have is much easier than getting people to switch. One of the best examples of this has to be the vast number of people that stayed with FCP Legend (and might still be on FCP Legend) give years after it was EOL'd.


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Bill Davis
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 15, 2016 at 8:46:16 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "Adoption path, not development path.
"


Legacy was adopted for one reason and one reason only. It was effective editing software. Then cost was a factor.
IMO X will face precisely the same trajectory. People who bought into the fantasy that it was a toy and that Apple just wanted the home movie crowd - popular early arguments that persisted far too long and are still out there today - were always baseless - even when apple was soecificslly saying that.

Now X's adoption will be based on what it always should have been. It's competence as an NLE - a space where increasing numbers of editors of all levels are learning that it's not just competent - it's exceptional.

And I use that rearm advisedly. If it wasn't literally exceptional - there would be no reason for people to use it since there are plenty of other choices out there.

Now it just left for each editor to elect whether they wish to actually learn about it and whether it's exceptional strengths fit their editing style or not.

And that's how it should be.

My 2 cents.

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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Andrew Kimery
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 15, 2016 at 10:13:45 pm

[Bill Davis] "IMO X will face precisely the same trajectory."

I agree. Which is why I said it a few posts ago. ;)

I think you underestimate the cost factor of Legend vs MC though. If FCP was 70, 80, 90 grand a seat like MC was back then (and required all the proprietary hardware MC required) then Apple would've had a dud on its hands. The total value that FCP offered though (performance plus cost) was unmatched. It's Media Manager was nicknamed the Media Mangler, it never had the multi-user features that Avid did, etc., but a lot can be forgiven when you can could get around 10 seats of FCP for the cost of a single seat for Avid.


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Tim Wilson
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 16, 2016 at 3:40:45 am

[Andrew Kimery] " but a lot can be forgiven when you can could get around 10 seats of FCP for the cost of a single seat for Avid.
"


Not for movie and TV productions, which rented systems, and wrote the entire cost off as an expense. In practice, the price was virtually nothing.

Still the case, btw. Same for cameras. Nobody in Hollywood cares how much an Alexa costs to buy, because they don't buy Alexas. They rent them. Hollywood has been built on renting damn near everything for 75 years, and the cost of renting a handful of Avids and Unity really is trivial in the cost of a movie.

And don't forget, ownership has costs. You have to store stuff, and you have to depreciate it against...what? How many productions last as long as a typical depreciation schedule? Owning computers, software, cameras -- none of that makes any sense for an ACE-esque production, or for the studios managing bunches of them. Production to production workflows are so unique (if that makes sense to say, but the phrase used in this end of production is "snowflake workflows") that buying the gear to accommodate even a couple of them just isn't practical.

Now, FCP's price and cheap hardware independence did indeed drive FCP's early success among another segment of the market --THIS one, which had previously been dominated by Media 100. Virtually ALL of FCP's early growth was at M100's expense.

Not talking about DV over FireWire, which was all Apple, and originally, frankly, not at all this end of the market -- but the explosive growth in FCP among the first wave of adopters represented in the COW, using hardware from people like Aurora and Pinnacle even before AJA and BMD -- they were virtually all Media 100 guys who paid less for an FCP/SDI system all-in than they paid for a single year of a paid support contract.

We actually had a front row seat for this here at Creative COW. We've been around over 20 years -- not just predating FCP...and Google, and Wordpress and Facebook, Steve Jobs' return to Apple, Mac clones, etc...but we went online the same month Yahoo did. Just a couple of months after the introduction of Netscape Navigator. (Yes, we predate Microsoft Internet Explorer.) The first incarnation of the site even had Media 100 in its actual name (Media 100 Worldwide Users Group, aka The WWUG), and we watched Media 100 people like the site's founder, and me, and a bunch of folks here, sit on the sidelines, just watching FCP until there were robust SDI solutions, and THEN came the wave.

So for THEM, which is to say, US, the price of FCP and 3rd-party hardware moved the needle. For the kinds of ACE-like movie and TV productions I'm talking about in this thread, not in the least. And the idea of stopping renting in order to buy was insanity.

(Now, FCP's support for cheap HD-SDI when Avid didn't have a Mac HD Symphony, that's another story. Offline on Media Composer, online on FCP, sure -- but that didn't ultimately affect Avid's revenue, because those users weren't typically getting rid of their Avids, and Mac Symphony Nitris was a HUGE success on its release in -- I'd have to look it up, 2007? Something like that. But the uptake was driven largely by dealers, who then rented those systems to productions. Again, the rental price to productions was trivial, and unlike purchasing a cheaper alternative, a straight write-off.)

The other profound advantage that came with renting Avid systems that Apple never offered was a huge, Hollywood-focused service infrastructure, both within Avid and in its vast dealer network. Not to say that Apple didn't care about pros -- I knew and respected the hell out of Apple's Hollywood-facing folks -- but there was no similar dealer network for FCP, and to the extent that those dealers did exist, they tended not to have Hollywood bona fides. And yes, some Avid dealers also started renting FCP systems to productions that wanted them -- but FCP started with nowhere near the feature set it needed, and Apple itself didn't place the resources into Hollywood and Pinewood's lap that Avid did.

(I mention Pinewood, because one of the most remarkable things to me about visiting Avid's European HQ: it was ON THE LOT at Pinewood. Just past the shops where they built the sets. People in costumes walking around -- oh look! There's Harry Potter! There's James Bond! And yes, I saw them both on trips there. Bunches of others. Avid engineers took golf carts from their office to movie sets when support was called for. Hollywood is more spread out, but Avid has a good-sized office, and a handful of even more heavily-staffed dealers, all through Burbank and Studio City, a short drive to other studios in LA proper.

And I regularly saw planeloads of Boston-based Avid engineers and execs hopping on planes to do nothing but spend weeks in LA. I was even on a couple of such trips -- mostly just trying to stay out of the way, mind you LOL, but I don't think people outside the heart of Hollywood have any sense of the scale of the Avid-focused, and Avid-driven, support infrastructure.

Some of you wags might point out that, wow, maybe they could try building products that don't need all that much support, and I'll LOL right along with you....but it is what it is.)

So even if FCP had cost, I dunno, let's say $395 at its introduction LOL, it wouldn't have mattered. Avid's price wasn't causing pain for movie and TV studios, whereas FCP's lack of service infrastructure, and the financial and logistical downsides of ownership, most definitely would have.

And these productions had the documentation to prove it in the Cold Mountain book! I continue to maintain that book may have done more to keep Avid locked into these ACE-esque workflows than anything Avid did.

Bunim-Murray and Pie Town, different story of course. Those guys went hard into FCP with hundreds of purchased seats, and interesting to me, both went back to Avid -- enabled at least in part I think by software-only MC pricing, but I think also driven by fond remembrance of robust workflows and support infrastructures.

Again underscoring that by focusing on this one neck of the industry, with a narrow subset of potential workflows, we're necessarily talking about something very different than the industry as a whole, where OF COURSE the price was a big part of the appeal of FCP.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 16, 2016 at 7:18:22 am
Last Edited By Andrew Kimery on Mar 16, 2016 at 7:21:09 am

[Tim Wilson] "Not for movie and TV productions, which rented systems, and wrote the entire cost off as an expense. In practice, the price was virtually nothing."

Generally speaking I agree, but... (of course there's a but).

This might be an outlier, and I could be mistaken, but I thought I read that FOX went with FCP Legend in-house and that's why a rash of FOX movies (from 500 Days of Summer to The Simpsons to whatever Wolverine came our around that time) were all cut on FCP in the mid-to-late 2000's. To be fair, a division of FOX probably bought all the systems, rented them to the production's LLC at insanely inflated prices and scored a gravy train for FOX corporate (can't let the movie turn a profit on paper 'cause then they'd actually have to start paying people their net profit participation points!). But I digress...

Gearing going from "Hey, I just went to the bank and got a low interest loan for my NLE" to "Hey, I just went to the grocery store for milk and decided to swing by CompUSA on a lark and snagged FCP and the Mac to run it on" didn't just give budget conscious companies a break it also gave individual editors a break. You could have a home editing system that didn't require you to take out a second mortgage on your home. You could experiment, kick the tires and maybe like it so much (and feel comfortable enough with it) that you try and talk the next production you latch onto to use it instead of Avid. Sure, this affordability wasn't unique to FCP (there was Vegas, Premiere, etc.,) but there was something unique about FCP that set it apart from the other NLEs in that price range (maybe it was features, maybe it was just a vibe it gave off) and helped it to gain traction where the others did not.

The price difference might not mean much to the entity bankrolling the film, but it could be the key factor that empowers the editor cutting the film to get comfortable in another NLE.


EDIT:
Of course today the financial and technical situation is completely different than it was back then. All the NLEs are roughly the same price, get along with each other if installed on the same machine, and the need for any sort of proprietary gear has diminished greatly (aside the need for the Mac to run FCP ;)).



[Tim Wilson] "And these productions had the documentation to prove it in the Cold Mountain book! I continue to maintain that book may have done more to keep Avid locked into these ACE-esque workflows than anything Avid did. "

It might have been a reason FCP Legend didn't have more inroads into Hollywood features before Apple pulled the plug, but it doesn't seem like it scared people off en masse from using it. Could Mountain was released in '03, the book was released in late '04, and '05 was when the uptick of Hollywood features using the old FCP started. And I'd assume the Hollywood Feature water cooler talk about FCP and Cold Mountain had already come and gone by the time the book came out and let the rest of the world in on the Adventures in Film Cutting thad had transpired.


[Tim Wilson] "Bunim-Murray and Pie Town, different story of course. Those guys went hard into FCP with hundreds of purchased seats, and interesting to me, both went back to Avid -- enabled at least in part I think by software-only MC pricing, but I think also driven by fond remembrance of robust workflows and support infrastructures."

And the fact that Apple nuked FCP from orbit like it was trying to eradicate an Alien Queen ("It's the only way to be sure"). No, I'm not going to let go of my theory that if Apple did a retool FCP 8 instead of a reset with FCP X then I doubt many (dare I say any?) of these 'switcher' stories would've happened. ;)

Bunim-Murray went back to Avid pretty quick but PieTown stayed with 7 for a while. From conversations with some people there they were optimistic that X would eventually come around and fit their workflow (they seemed to have a very strong relationship with Apple). Obviously they ran out of patience (hope? time?) and moved to Avid and Resolve in late 2014 IIRC. I didn't realize PieTown ever ran Avid, I thought they were always FCP.


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Tim Wilson
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:03:15 pm
Last Edited By Tim Wilson on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:11:05 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "[Tim Wilson] "And these productions had the documentation to prove it in the Cold Mountain book! I continue to maintain that book may have done more to keep Avid locked into these ACE-esque workflows than anything Avid did. "

It might have been a reason FCP Legend didn't have more inroads into Hollywood features before Apple pulled the plug, but it doesn't seem like it scared people off en masse from using it. "


That's why I keep making this distinction in every single post I make on this topic. The topic is ACE-esque editing, and ONLY ACE-esque editing.

That's also why I agree with you that FCP's price WAS a prime mover for the masses (including the COW, which, 300,000 members and 1.7 monthly visitors notwithstanding is still NOT the masses), and the book HELPED FCP's adoption OUTSIDE this one tiny slice of the market that ACE represents.


[Andrew Kimery] "And I'd assume the Hollywood Feature water cooler talk about FCP and Cold Mountain had already come and gone by the time the book came out and let the rest of the world in on the Adventures in Film Cutting thad had transpired."

People were talking about it, yes, and certainly the Murch-ness of it was a big deal, since Murch had won an Oscar for his work on The English Patient using Media Composer, the first time that anyone using ANY NLE had won an editing Oscar.

There was also some schadenfreude in this set when he was only nominated for Cold Mountain but didn't win. LOL

But it was just watercooler talk. The Book didn't just fire up the conversation in a new way, it added specificity. Because for feature editing, the questions were never just about bins and trimming and what goes on inside the four walls of the software.

And the tale told in The Book nailed shut the notion of whether FCP was equal to Avid (not quite) or superior (absolutely NOT) as the engine driving workflow.

Again acknowledging that the rest of the world drew the OPPOSITE conclusion, but the rest of the world hadn't been looking to Avid as a viable solution, EVER. LOL

This is why I pointed out that the first wave of pro adoption of Media 100 guys, who'd made a hobby of pissing on Avid for years. LOL They largely never took Avid seriously. I sure didn't. No finish quality output from Media Composer? No hesitation: no sale.

(Frankly, the cost I paid for my Media 100, $35,000 for the not-quite-top of the line, was pretty dang close to the cost of an entry level Media Composer. It was the differing intent of the products that merited no more than a sideways glance at MC on my way to the M100 cash register.)

For the heart of the Media 100 community already having flocked to FCP, The Book was a confirmation that Avid had outstayed its relevance.

I'm contrasting this with ACE's version of Hollywood because Avid had not only NOT outstayed its relevance -- it's still relevant.

It's not that FCP never existed in these circles. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single Avid facility among the hundreds I visited that didn't have at least 1 system with FCP on it.

But the majority of them also had The Book, and were very clear that it cemented their feeling that while FCP was appealing on a number of levels, and had some uses especially for client-facing online houses who needed a way to convert FCP offlines, it was simply not practical for THEM as the heart of a feature workflow.

This includes the feature-style workflows still in place on many Hollywood TV shows -- which is by no means all of them, which is why FCP made a much bigger dent there, especially in B-M and Pie Town style unscripted shows, ESPN (which adopted it first), and scripted cable productions (notably Leverage) that were free to isolate themselves from Hollywood infrastructures.

Keeping in mind again that I personally was an early enough adopter of Final Cut that I ran it ON WINDOWS. LOL I'm not AT ALL talking about how ANY of this mattered outside "Hollywood."

Hey, I haven't posted this in a while, so here it is again, my FC disk that say Windows right there. What's that? Windows is listed FIRST? Yes it is.







So, again, inside ACE-ish "Hollywood: the reasons why FCP did not meaningfully move the needle are wrapped up in the idea that it didn't relieve the pains that those folks did indeed (and do) have with Avid, it didn't provide major new workflow opportunities, and it lacked core feature sets.

Contrast this with X. I don't see much evidence yet that it relieves many pains, but it most definitely DOES provide compelling new workflow opportunities (as I've noted that I feel Premiere also does), and thanks to people like Sam Mestman at FCPWORKS, Ronny Courtens, and a galaxy of third parties, X's feature set is expanding further, faster, than FCP did.

The missing ingredient in fulfilling my prognostication for X's potential uptake in Hollywood is anybody besides Ficarra and Requa agreeing with me yet. LOL A notable gap, to be sure. LOL

And if I once again miss the mark, it will be for the same reason that FCP ultimately did: not enough perceived relief of current pain to ameliorate the potential pain of transition.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 16, 2016 at 9:59:58 pm

[Tim Wilson] "That's why I keep making this distinction in every single post I make on this topic. The topic is ACE-esque editing, and ONLY ACE-esque editing. "

Poor wording on my part. I should have "but it doesn't seem like it scared off Hollywood feature film productions en masse from using it".

[Tim Wilson] "And the tale told in The Book nailed shut the notion of whether FCP was equal to Avid (not quite) or superior (absolutely NOT) as the engine driving workflow. "

Yet more and more Hollywood features used FCP Legend after Cold Mountain than before (right up until Apple killed it). Prior to Cold Mountain Steven Soderbergh experimented with it on Full Frontal but that's the only big name I can remember using it (and Full Frontal was more art house/indie than a typical Hollywood flick). After Cold Mountain it was used on tentpole films.

If it was an inferior tool and cost wasn't relevant then why the increase in usage (especially on very high profile projects)? It seems like we are back talking about how workflows are more than the sum of their parts.


[Tim Wilson] "It's not that FCP never existed in these circles. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single Avid facility among the hundreds I visited that didn't have at least 1 system with FCP on it. "

I remember that too. It was always the redheaded step child sitting alone in the corner! lol



[Tim Wilson] "The missing ingredient in fulfilling my prognostication for X's potential uptake in Hollywood is anybody besides Ficarra and Requa agreeing with me yet. LOL A notable gap, to be sure. LOL
"


Interesting you mention that. Going by the list of movies on FCPs Wikipedia page (which is incomplete) a big chunk of them (possibly the majority, I didn't count) were done by either Murch, the Coens, Kirk Baxter/Angus Wall (Fincher's guys) or were films released by FOX (either 20th Century or Fox Searchlight).


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Tim Wilson
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 16, 2016 at 11:00:10 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "If it was an inferior tool and cost wasn't relevant then why the increase in usage (especially on very high profile projects)?"

Some people liked it better. That's reason enough.

But as you also observe (and which I hadn't really noticed)...

[Andrew Kimery] "Going by the list of movies on FCPs Wikipedia page (which is incomplete) a big chunk of them (possibly the majority, I didn't count) were done by either Murch, the Coens, Kirk Baxter/Angus Wall (Fincher's guys) or were films released by FOX (either 20th Century or Fox Searchlight)"

Exactly what I was saying. A tiny niche within a tiny niche.

Even the 2009 ACE report that had FCP at 19% was actually DOWN from the year before, and is based on a group-wide project profile whose total of network TV, cable, and direct to video combined was over 50%.

I'm willing to bet that the number for features-only was well, well below 19%. Heck, that entire list at Wikipedia is less than 20% of the features in 2009 alone (400-ish if memory serves).

That's alllllll I'm saying. A tiny niche within a tiny niche. The notion of FCP as inexorably stampeding through Hollywood on an ever-upward path just doesn't appear to be borne out by the numbers, and I think the reasons why have less to do with FCP or Avid PER SE, and more to do with the differences between them not being enough to motivate a switch on any wide scale within this tiny niche.

I understand why you're pushing back. This is freakishly, uncharacteristically on topic for me, for an unprecedented number of posts. LOL

So I've probably said it enough. Anyone and everyone else is free to have the last word, and indeed any of the subsequent ones between now and then. :-)


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David Roth Weiss
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 17, 2016 at 12:45:48 am
Last Edited By David Roth Weiss on Mar 17, 2016 at 12:52:36 am

Tim,

If you consider the number of FCP "Legacy" (not Legend BTW) seats that were playing supporting roles in Hollyweird, i.e. used for cutting theatrical trailers, press kits, tv., etc.,etc., etc., you'd be looking at many more seats than your stats reflect.

For example, Disney alone had 149 seats when FCP was EOL'd,and those were being used in a wide number of differing cases depending on the studio's needs.

So, the moral of the story is, I think guys like myself and Andrew will always argue with the FCP stats, because we know that they simply never do/did real justice to the reality of FCP's saturation in this market in which we were both working and watching.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Tim Wilson
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 15, 2016 at 12:59:50 am

[Andrew Kimery] "Dude you mention a LOT of things in a LOT of posts which is why I was trying to narrow it down a bit. ;)"

Fair enough. LOL



[Andrew Kimery] "I think the hypothetical FCP 8 shoves Avid all the back on its heels and 9 sees the king slipping off the top of the hill. "

Not a chance from my view. None. I think FCP had gone as far as it worth going, which is why, after 2005, it didn't really go anywhere, other than the addition of Pro Res in 2007 -- admittedly a game changer for sure, but based on the exact same technology that Avid introduced with DNxHD FOUR YEARS EARLIER....and not really all that much of a game-changer until a couple of years later still when hardware from AJA and camera manufacturers enabled RT encoding.

(Note again that I personally am not pissing on FCP. But the record here in the FCP forums after every NAB is replete with disappointment after disappointment following most releases.)

That's what I'm talking about when I say that nothing that Apple was doing with FCP was really addressing *that market.* They'd have kept playing catch-up, kept missing the mark, and not bringing anything to make anyone stop what they were doing and say, "Wait a minute here."

Premiere has obviously done that, and yes, there's certainly that extent to which Premiere is pretty dang close to what FCP 8 might have been....but I think what's moved the needle there is a more compellingly-integrated After Effects as much as Premiere itself, maybe more.

My own experience when I worked at Avid, visiting hundreds of Avid facilities around the world, and speaking with thousands of editors, is that AE was easily on 80% of projects, maybe more (albeit not too too often being used by the editors themselves, this lot still tending to specialize).

Of course Premiere had to be capable of a lot in order to be worthwhile on the front end. This is the limitation that MANY folks have observed here for the Resolve editor-colorist workflow, that there's not yet quite enough "there" there YET for many people to use Resolve as an editor, especially not when Resolve's interop with other NLEs is pretty well-established.

But Premiere did indeed do the hard work to modernize in ways that simply weren't worth Apple's while relative to what Apple REALLY wanted to do, which was to stop playing everyone else's game, blow it all up, and start over with the question, "What would we do if we didn't HAVE to do anything to answer anyone's agenda but our own?

"And Step 2, what kind of scaffolding do we need for third parties to do the rest?"

Which is what they did. Create a product that addressed their own priorities first, then in subsequent iterations, seeded an ever-greener meadow for third parties to shepherd the flock to FCPX when it was ready for them.

And I think it was the best move they could possibly have made. The sooner they acknowledged that FCP was zombieware -- shuffling along, but not actually ALIVE for years -- the better. It's clear in retrospect that they knew this, which is why they released X with the paint still wet and TOLD us they were doing that. The new thing was too important to wait any longer.

Mayyyyyybe when the ScriptSync-style features are nailed down (and maybe they are now) and an MC-ISIS-style sharing experience is meaningfully advanced (not there yet from anything I've heard), but even to get to Legend's 2009 marketshare is likely a couple of years away, and most of the growth will come at the expense of FCP, not MC.

imo, fwiw. :-)


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Andrew Kimery
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 15, 2016 at 1:54:35 am

[Tim Wilson] "Not a chance from my view. None. I think FCP had gone as far as it worth going, which is why, after 2005, it didn't really go anywhere, other than the addition of Pro Res in 2007 -"

My hypothetical FCP 8 though departs from actual events and has Apple developing new features with the same rigor that Adobe and Avid were over the same time period (so 64-bit, background processes, improved multicam, GPU acceleration, better codec support, improved 3-way CC using tech from Color, etc.,). Basically the FCP 8 that everyone was so desperate for because 7 was such a minor bump that barely, if at all, qualified as a full version release. If *that* FCP 8 comes out (and for kicks I'll give it the $299 price point too) then MC is in even more trouble than it was and no one even looks in PPro's general direction.



[Tim Wilson] "Mayyyyyybe when the ScriptSync-style features are nailed down (and maybe they are now) and an MC-ISIS-style sharing experience is meaningfully advanced (not there yet from anything I've heard), but even to get to Legend's 2009 marketshare is likely a couple of years away, and most of the growth will come at the expense of FCP, not MC."

Of course now we are back to the 10-year plan statement and speculation on what's going to happen between now and 2021. Is X now pretty much 'set in stone' the way FCP was around 2005? Since X can be more of a 'platform' will 3rd party development be enough to keep it moving forward? Will customers be more accepting of a slow pace of development since X only requires a one time payment of $299? I mean, many people give Resolve plenty of slack as a work-in-progress NLE because in large part because it's free where as many people give Adobe a lot of flack if they don't feel development is moving fast enough in large part because of the subscription model.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 15, 2016 at 6:22:03 pm
Last Edited By David Roth Weiss on Mar 15, 2016 at 6:26:41 pm

[Tim Wilson] "I think FCP had gone as far as it worth going, which is why, after 2005, it didn't really go anywhere, other than the addition of Pro Res in 2007 -- admittedly a game changer for sure, but based on the exact same technology that Avid introduced with DNxHD FOUR YEARS EARLIER....and not really all that much of a game-changer until a couple of years later still when hardware from AJA and camera manufacturers enabled RT encoding.
"


I agree with Andrew on this Tim, you seem to be assuming that FCP 8 could not have been a total rewrite, as Adobe CS6 showed us could be done.

Not wishing to get involved in yet another BS argument here, but as I've said before, the so-called paradigm shift of FCPX often bandied about here was, in many ways, but not totally, a solution looking for a problem. (***Though many here still think FCPX keywording and database implication is the only way to fly, all NLE apps have different ways of addressing the same needs, even DaVinci Resolve, the very newest kid on the block.)

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Mathieu Ghekiere
Re: ACE Tech Day this Saturday...
on Mar 14, 2016 at 11:09:09 pm
Last Edited By Mathieu Ghekiere on Mar 14, 2016 at 11:11:33 pm

http://www.fcp.co/final-cut-pro/articles/1783-replay-the-fcpx-demos-from-fc...

EDIT: I see these have been posted in Sam Mestman's thread already. Sorry for double post.

https://mathieughekiere.wordpress.com


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