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SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.

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Chris Pettit
SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 1:20:59 am

I don't use SoftImage/ICE, but I've met a couple people that do over the years, and they've devoted their life to its use. It is (was) an extraordinary piece of software.

Example: https://vimeo.com/54739307

Autodesks decision to kill off SoftImage ,without warning, and for potentially questionable reasons, after acquiring it only 6 years ago is another example of how unchecked industry consolidation and corporate self interest may be what is dictating how tools evolve rather than actual market forces.

Regardless of where you stand on Adobe's recent behavior, if you have time, read this article and ponder where this may be all heading. Do the people who purchase (or rent) software really have any control over how the tools evolve or are offered, paid for or accessed?

Small narrative example:

"Changing 3D software is not like changing from, say, a word processor to another," he tells us. "These are very complex programs, which take years of true dedication to master."

http://www.creativebloq.com/3d/rip-softimage-reaction-autodesks-decision-ki...


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 1:29:22 am

[Chris Pettit] "Autodesks decision to kill off SoftImage ,without warning, and for potentially questionable reasons, after acquiring it only 6 years ago is another example of how unchecked industry consolidation and corporate self interest may be what is dictating how tools evolve rather than actual market forces."

Softimage doesn't quit working when Autodesk EOLs it. And this is not unforeseen, since it has been an "add-on" to Autodesk's 3D animation packages for several years. For the record, Softimage was acquired by Avid years ago. Avid sold it to Autodesk at a point when Softimage was not the tool of choice for many 3D animators. Autodesk currently holds a portfolio of numerous 3D animation tools, including Maya, 3DsMax and Softimage. In that situation, Softimage was simply the least productive part of the toolset.

And what sort of "checking" do you propose?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Chris Pettit
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 1:46:20 am

[Oliver Peters] "
Softimage doesn't quit working when Autodesk EOLs it"


Same as saying "what are you complaining about, you have CS6". Eventually it will break. No? I assume you have no sympathy at all for the owner of Glassworks for example. I actually do. (BTW I assume you've read his comments right?) It took you exactly 1 minute to respond to my post so I'll assume you have read his comments previously.

[Oliver Peters] "And this is not unforeseen, since it has been an "add-on" to Autodesk's 3D animation packages for several years."

Well it sure was a surprise to core users like Glassworks. Are you saying they should have known? They appear to see it differently.

[Oliver Peters] "Autodesk currently holds a portfolio of numerous 3D animation tools, including Maya, 3DsMax and Softimage. In that situation, Softimage was simply the least productive part of the toolset."

Supporting my point exactly. It was in Autodesks interest more that the users. They made that clear. Again, my point being that the interests of users MAY have been subjugated to the interests of Autodesk. Why is that not worthy of consideration?


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 2:10:13 am
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Apr 19, 2014 at 2:12:12 am

[Chris Pettit] "I assume you have no sympathy at all for the owner of Glassworks for example."

Nope. No more than any other owner of an EOL'ed product, like Avid DS, FCP 7, every VTR format ever made, etc.

[Chris Pettit] "so I'll assume you have read his comments previously."

I read the comments. His are fine. The forum comments under the post are pointless, uniformed and typical knee-jerk, IMHO.

[Chris Pettit] "Are you saying they should have known?"

Yes, because it was known before. It will continue to be supported via subscription until 2016, so they have a transition period, unlike FCP 7 users.

[Chris Pettit] "It was in Autodesks interest more that the users. "

So you'd rather have a company develop and support an unprofitable product and eventually go under? Or continue to subsidize an unprofitable product out of the goodness of their hearts?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Chris Pettit
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 2:31:17 am
Last Edited By Chris Pettit on Apr 19, 2014 at 2:45:33 am

[Oliver Peters] "So you'd rather have a company develop and support an unprofitable product and eventually go under? Or continue to subsidize an unprofitable product out of the goodness of their hearts?"

Sigh... Autodesk.... Going under... Just let that ferment for a while...

And yes, I'm all about insisting companies ruin themselves out of the goodness of their hearts. Ridiculous

OK, since the discussion has descended into condescension, I'll quit. Mission accomplished Oliver.

EDIT: As a reminder, you're comparing VTR formats to this:



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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 2:46:19 am

[Chris Pettit] "OK, since the discussion has descended into condescension,"

I'm sorry if you thought I was being condescending. I wasn't. But I am asking what your solution is. I guess I'm just tired of people complaining about the big, bad corporation, without offering viable alternatives.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Chris Pettit
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 3:17:56 am

Oliver: a little intellectual honesty might be in order. Here is what you ACTUALLY posted:

[Chris Pettit] "so I'll assume you have read his comments previously."

I read the comments. Pointless, uniformed and typical knee-jerk, IMHO.

Here's what made it to the forum:

[Chris Pettit] "so I'll assume you have read his comments previously."

I read the comments. His are fine. The forum comments under the post are pointless, uniformed and typical knee-jerk, IMHO


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 2:01:35 pm

[Chris Pettit] "Here is what you ACTUALLY posted"

Correct. That's because I misinterpreted your post as referring to the comments at the bottom of the article. I re-read your post and immediately edited my post, because I realized you were referring to his comments in the article and open letter to Autodesk.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Andrew Kimery
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 5:22:58 am

Softimage users are getting a new version this year and it will be supported until 2016... this is considered EOL without warning? Shake, FCP 7, DVD SP, Final Cut Server, Apple Color, Encore... *those* were killed without warning. Not to mention all the hardware based tools (like Avid ABVB, Meridien, Adrenaline, etc.,) that had no upgrade path other than buy new hardware and hope you could sell/trade in your old hardware for something.

As a long time FCP 7 (and Color) user I can certainly empathize with your tool of choice being killed (though getting an 18-24 month heads up plus a brand new version certainly would have cushioned the blow) but no one should expect their tool of choice to be available forever. If you don't have a contingency plan, or at least know that you should have one even if you don't currently, you really only have yourself to blame for being caught flat footed. If Softimage is as much of a workhorse as they say it is it will probably remain a viable solution until nearly 2020. Shake, for example, remained viable for a number of years after Apple EOL'd it. Color, on the other hand, became worthless almost overnight (in large part because Blackmagic released Resolve for $999 and Lite for free during the same time frame).


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Gustavo Bermudas
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 7:19:42 am
Last Edited By Gustavo Bermudas on Apr 19, 2014 at 7:20:00 am

But what happens when the software a company discontinues is being offered as subscription only? In Autodesk case, that could happen with Smoke.


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Chris Pettit
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 2:01:16 pm

[Andrew Kimery] " If you don't have a contingency plan, or at least know that you should have one even if you don't currently, you really only have yourself to blame for being caught flat footed."

Again:

"Changing 3D software is not like changing from, say, a word processor to another," he tells us. "These are very complex programs, which take years of true dedication to master."


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Andrew Kimery
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 4:16:28 pm

[Chris Pettit] "Again:

"Changing 3D software is not like changing from, say, a word processor to another," he tells us. "These are very complex programs, which take years of true dedication to master."
"


Not saying it's fun or easy to change tools, I'm just saying that it's unrealistic to expect your tool of choice to be updated and viable from now until the end of time. Just look at all the wholesale changes that have happened to this industry in the last 30 years alone. How many people spent decades mastering workflows for editing actual film? How many spent decades mastering workflows for linear editing?

Many FCP 7 users I know were mad at Apple when X dropped because all the value of their FCP 7 knowledge and skills just received an expiration date and my reaction then was the same as it is now. Why don't you have a Plan B when Plan A is completely dependent on factors you can't control? Apple's move certainly undercut my skill set too though I wasn't mad at Apple because it's just not realistic to assume that drastic changes will never occur during the course of my career. It's my responsibly to keep myself viable in the work place.

I'm not trying to sound callous, I'm just being realistic.


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Chris Pettit
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 5:00:53 pm

[Andrew Kimery] ", I'm just saying that it's unrealistic to expect your tool of choice to be updated and viable from now until the end of time."

I agree. I'm not saying that if the original creators of SI still owned it that it wouldn't have died anyway, sometimes that happens. And maybe if more people used the software, maybe it would have survived, I believe that software needs to sell well to support it, naturally. You would think I wouldn't have to keep defending my believe in a free market, including the belief that some companies fail and should be allowed to fail. These are all self-evident observations.

What I am saying is that it is perfectly reasonable to ask questions about what Autodesk's motivations have been all along, and wether AD, like Adobe, has gotten a little too big for it's britches. When you buy out a competitor, and then in a relatively short time "shoot my puppy" as one developer called it, and then justify it with "we have too many 3D offerings", why is it heresy to question their actions? Some pretty successful companies were blind sided by this, and they are asking the same questions, publicly, while at the same time, I'm sure moving on to new tools. Instead these observations are "knee jerk and uninformed"

I'm sure you're different Andrew, but there sure are a lot of people who think software companies, no matter how big they get, no matter how many applications and platforms they swallow up, no matter what decisions they make once they have those applications and platforms sowed up and can now act with impunity, never do anything worthy of criticism.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 20, 2014 at 7:03:25 am

[Chris Pettit] "What I am saying is that it is perfectly reasonable to ask questions about what Autodesk's motivations have been all along, and wether AD, like Adobe, has gotten a little too big for it's britches. When you buy out a competitor, and then in a relatively short time "shoot my puppy" as one developer called it, and then justify it with "we have too many 3D offerings", why is it heresy to question their actions? Some pretty successful companies were blind sided by this, and they are asking the same questions, publicly, while at the same time, I'm sure moving on to new tools. Instead these observations are "knee jerk and uninformed"

I'm sure you're different Andrew, but there sure are a lot of people who think software companies, no matter how big they get, no matter how many applications and platforms they swallow up, no matter what decisions they make once they have those applications and platforms sowed up and can now act with impunity, never do anything worthy of criticism."


With this response Chris I feel like I better understand the discussion you are looking to have. I think there are two points being that have blurred together.

1. As users, how do we deal with the tools we need are EOL'd?

2. Corporate motivations.

Question one I feel like we've covered. As users we just have to keep abreast of industry trends and at least be aware of all the tools that out there so if our preferred tool goes away we can start transitioning to a new tool sooner rather than later.

With regards to question two, competition is certainly great for users but not necessarily so great for the companies doing the competing (why compete when you can collude, combine or consume?). I don't know much about SI and Autodesk, but given how long they've owned SI and that they are released a new version this month announced support for it for two years. I don't think they bought it just to kill it. SI users certainly got more consideration than many Apple and Avid DS users received.

Every major tech company, and I'm sure non-tech company too, from Apple to MS to Adobe to Avid has acquired other companies and thus taken part in the consolidation of competition. It's just the way things go unfortunately. Sometimes it's malicious and sometimes it's not. I don't think any company is above criticism though I think some actions get criticized unfairly.


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Chris Pettit
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 21, 2014 at 1:06:33 am

[Andrew Kimery] "Every major tech company, and I'm sure non-tech company too, from Apple to MS to Adobe to Avid has acquired other companies and thus taken part in the consolidation of competition. It's just the way things go unfortunately. Sometimes it's malicious and sometimes it's not. I don't think any company is above criticism though I think some actions get criticized unfairly."

I find no fault with this statement at all. Sums it up well. I think it's completely acceptable to call out bad corporate or industry behavior when appropriate, but sometimes it's fruitless, and sometimes it's off the mark. My original post may fall within those guidelines, but that's why I quoted the owner of Glassworks.


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Jim Wiseman
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 5:07:01 pm

We might also want to be prepared if subscription and customer dissatisfaction with CC as a rental puts Adobe in a bad place economically. At this point we really don't know if the rental uptake will support them. Unless they are perhaps counting on raising rates after you're locked in. They are losing a lot of perpetual customers with this model. Much of their software is a bit long in the tooth, and competition is smelling it.

Jim Wiseman
Sony PMW-EX1, Pana AJ-D810 DVCPro, DVX-100, Nikon D7000, Final Cut Pro X 10.1.1, Final Cut Studio 2 and 3, Media 100 Suite 2.1.5, Premiere Pro CS 5.5 and 6.0, AJA ioHD, AJA Kona LHi, Blackmagic Ultrastudio 4K, Avid MC, 2013 Mac Pro Hexacore, 1 TB SSD, 64GB RAM, 2-D500: 2012 Hexacore MacPro 3.33 Ghz 24Gb RAM GTX-285 120GB SSD, Macbook Pro 17" 2011 2.2 Ghz Quadcore i7 16GB RAM 250GB SSD


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Tim Wilson
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 6:43:44 pm

By the time Autodesk puts Softimage gently to sleep, they'll have had it 8 years. That's not exactly savagery. In fact, I think Autodesk did this exactly the way that people would draw up if they could create an ideal scenario: one more major release, and two years notice to figure out your next step.

Softimage customers have also seen this coming for a while anyway. Avid bought it from Microsoft in 1998 for $285 million, and sold it in 2008 for $35 million. Avid kept DS, which (it seems to me) was the crown jewel for Avid, but still, that's a profound devaluation.

I really loved the Softimage guys when I worked at Avid, some of the smartest, most creative people you'll come across in this business -- but quite a few of them left when things started getting jumpy at Avid a few years ago. The 3D business had seemed like ballast for a long time, both to them, and to customers.

So again, to me, this is hardly a tragedy for the ages. Nobody likes seeing a once-esteemed colleague fall by the wayside, but there's simply no question that the Softimage business peaked a very long time ago.

And far from a cautionary tale, I think Autodesk's clear announcements about future development, and a long glidepath to the end, may be unprecedented in its graciousness and consideration for customers. How could they possibly have done it better?

So maybe, rather than a cautionary tale, it should be seen as a reminder that, no matter how well a company handles the endgame, no software lasts forever.

Except maybe Microsoft Word. My prediction for the next stage of life on earth after we blow ourselves up is that cockroaches will evolve to be able to use Word. We can only pray they don't discover PowerPoint.


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Gary Huff
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 8:37:27 pm

[Tim Wilson] "We can only pray they don't discover PowerPoint."

Oh come on, how do you expect intelligent cockroaches to give presentations? :-p


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Chris Pettit
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 11:16:02 pm

[Tim Wilson] "By the time Autodesk puts Softimage gently to sleep, they'll have had it 8 years. That's not exactly savagery. In fact, I think Autodesk did this exactly the way that people would draw up if they could create an ideal scenario: one more major release, and two years notice to figure out your next step."

Thanks Tim. I will say, the Glassworks guys and others seem to be asking whether it's possible that Autodesk ultimately purchased SI so that they could eventually simply kill it.

From your experience that is a wrong assumption I assume? Do you feel they really gave a true effort but ultimately it was unsustainable?

Sincere question.


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Tim Wilson
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 20, 2014 at 5:44:38 pm
Last Edited By Tim Wilson on Apr 20, 2014 at 6:09:44 pm

[Chris Pettit] "From your experience that is a wrong assumption I assume? Do you feel they really gave a true effort but ultimately it was unsustainable?

Sincere question."


I assumed so. :-) I hope that my previous reply didn't come off as dismissive of YOU...although as you assume, I don't think the "bought it to kill it" position is even vaguely on the right track.

Note that it's Sunday morning and I'm writing from "former production business owner / software product guy" perspective, and so may come off more flip than intended (that's me, Flip Wilson). I've lived through this on both sides, and empathize with the pain it causes. But that's not the point of this particular post.

What follows is my opinion, based on being THAT guy. I don't know anything about Autodesk and Softimage besides what I read, but I'm filtering it through that previous experience, which includes working with the fine folks at Softimage when I was at Avid, a company that had its own share of acquisitions to manage.

So, to address "do I see this as the wrong assumption" part of your post....


First, I look at Autodesk's behavior.

Do you know how easy it is to kill software? Very easy. Stop making it. They could have done that six years ago. By the time they end the development and support of Softimage, it will be EIGHT years.

You don't take eight years to murder something. You kill it by killing it.

Autodesk does in fact know very well how to implement the "just stop making it" method of EOL. Ask any former *edit user.

Instead, Autodesk provided a crisp, clear message about what's happening between now and EOL two years from now. They're including 2 more years of service and support, including promises of Hot Fixes and Service Packs.

And FREE migration to Max or Maya. Autodesk is very quick to acknowledge that the migration won't be trivial in the very same press release -- who does THAT?? Acknowledge that the company's moves will be disruptive to its customers.

Not murderous behavior.


Second, I look at what Autodesk has spent.

Autodesk spent $35 million to buy Softimage. That raises the big question: Was XSI causing Max and Maya $35 million worth of pain?

I can't see how. Avid's 3D revenues in 2008 were around $8 million. If every single one of those dollars was coming out of Autodesk's pocket -- not the case, but IF so, then you'd have to be thinking that this purchase would need to solve at least 4 years of Autodesk's problems, right. (8 million x 4 years = $32 million.)

But Autodesk's 2008 revenues were north of $2 billion! And there's only so much research I want to do for a Sunday morning post LOL but the number that was easy for me to find is that 3DS Max was UP 25% that year, compared to Avid being DOWN.

Maya numbers will have to wait for somebody more committed to this than I am. :-) But you get the idea.

So, no matter how you slice it, how much pain is an $8 million product going to cause a $2 billion company whose 3D revenue was UP 25%?

It's also not greed ("They're just trying to make us buy Max or Maya") when the migration path is FREE.

(Or "no cost." I assume that it will require an active service contract, but I can't imagine many Softimage/Autodesk customers without one. But still, hardly greedy.)

It seems MUCH more likely to me that Autodesk wanted to do exactly what they said in the press release at the time: use the technology and teams to make money.

Somebody who's really really committed to seeing the dark side can say, yeah, but they just did the minimum amount of development to keep making enough money to cover the cost of the purchase, so Autodesk essentially got the customers to buy it FOR them, then screwed them by killing it.

What??? That's crazy talk. A TWO BILLION dollar company whose comparable 3D revenues are UP is feeling NO PAIN from an $8 million product that wouldn't be relieved by just watching Apple circle the drain with it. Who else was going to buy Softimage? NewTek? Maxon?

No. Autodesk bought it because they wanted it. It's the only scenario that makes sense.



[Chris Pettit] "Do you feel they really gave a true effort but ultimately it was unsustainable?"

Nobody outside knows the ATTITUDE that Autodesk has, but again, I look at the behavior: careful, considerate, transparent.

I also think that Autodesk has a heritage of supporting multiple 3D products. We focus on media and entertainment because that's where we live, and there are plenty of other compelling M&E offerings in Autodesk's portfolio (Flint, Flame, Smoke, etc.)

Outside that? For the company as a whole? AutoCAD, Revit [edit: both massively-powered 3D environments] and a bunch of 3D stuff you've never heard of. They've certainly done right by both Max and Maya in M&E, and they can apparently sustain a really large number of 3D products if it's working for them...so my guess is yeah, it probably wasn't making money for them anymore.

Still, to your original point, consolidation may have played a role too. Once they sucked the Softimage technology and teams into the company, they may not need Softimage as a standalone product any more. You see THAT kind of thing all the time....

...but not a 2-year glidepath with free migration. That's not "bought it to kill it," no matter how much pain Softimage was causing them, or the amount of money Autodesk spent to buy, develop, market, sell and support it.


Here's the thing, though. People who are determined to see murder will see murder. I lived through this at Avid when they bought Pinnacle, and I became responsible for aspects of BOTH Avid Xpress Pro AND Pinnacle (now Avid) Liquid.

"Bought it to kill it, bought it to kill it." Man, I heard that all day long. It was never the case. Avid saw an opportunity to expand into a world that they had had ZERO presence in (owner/operator event video in particular), as well as markets they hadn't cracked and never could with their then-current products (notably, China and India).

I worked with many teams of people at both Pinnacle and Avid to create a new dealer channel, both training current Avid dealers and bringing in new ones. I worked on messaging, went to user groups, did webinars, tradeshows, etc etc. That's just the beginning of it, but you can fill in the rest. A LOT of people were committed to its continued life.

"You're gonna kill it for Xpress." I heard this every day. But it didn't happen. XPRESS DIED FIRST. Liquid continued for years afterward!

The most immediate cause of Liquid's demise was when the price of Avid Media Composer software dropped below what they could sell Liquid for. At that point, really, come on. You gotta keep your eye on the ball, and at Avid, that's Media Composer, and at THAT price, Media Composer DID become a compelling offering for every vertical.

Liquid Blue is a little more complex. That story included some hardware issues where the domain experts who COULD have addressed them had left long before the Avid acquisition, and other behind the scenes stuff that has NOTHING to do with "bought to kill." Seriously, there were fleets of people at Avid who were doing anything BUT killing it.....

...but even though it outlasted Xpress Pro by years, there were STILL people who said, "SEE! I TOLD YOU THEY WERE GOING TO KILL IT."

Just like I'm sure there are people saying now about Avid DS. "I KNEW IT! THEY NEVER REALLY CARED ABOUT DS." Sorry man. FIFTEEN YEARS tells a different story, just like EIGHT years tells a different story at Autodesk.

Again, apologies for sounding insensitive. I've just taken enough of your time and am trying to wrap this up quick.

But, from the experience I had as both a customer and vendor, I see this as pretty well cut and dried.


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Chris Pettit
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 21, 2014 at 1:45:15 am

[Tim Wilson] "I assumed so. :-) I hope that my previous reply didn't come off as dismissive of YOU...although as you assume, I don't think the "bought it to kill it" position is even vaguely on the right track."

No, not at all. Let me start by saying how much I appreciate the sheer volume of what you took the time to convey. You're not wasting my time, I suspect the opposite.

[Tim Wilson] "What follows is my opinion, based on being THAT guy. I don't know anything about Autodesk and Softimage besides what I read, but I'm filtering it through that previous experience, which includes working with the fine folks at Softimage when I was at Avid, a company that had its own share of acquisitions to manage."

I assure you the same is true for me, just opinion, but without your inside knowledge. I only purchase the products, have never been subject to what it takes to produce and maintain the products.

[Tim Wilson] "You don't take eight years to murder something. You kill it by killing it."

My only issue with that is politics. You cant be too obvious. No company buys out a competitor and then immediately kills it, there's no precedent for that. But I do accept that my example may be a bad one based on your comments later in your post.


[Tim Wilson] "And FREE migration to Max or Maya. Autodesk is very quick to acknowledge that the migration won't be trivial in the very same press release -- who does THAT?? Acknowledge that the company's moves will be disruptive to its customers."

But never the less, migration to Maya etc is their only option. Free is relative in the long term, right? Am I misunderstanding the offer?


[Tim Wilson] "Autodesk spent $35 million to buy Softimage. That raises the big question: Was XSI causing Max and Maya $35 million worth of pain?"

OK, Mea Culpa. This question demonstrates how little I knew about the back story. I still believe profoundly that the larger a company gets, the more they act with impunity and with self interest (Adobe), but clearly I missed the mark with this example, thanks for setting me straight.


[Tim Wilson] "...but not a 2-year glidepath with free migration. That's not "bought it to kill it," no matter how much pain Softimage was causing them, or the amount of money Autodesk spent to buy, develop, market, sell and support it."

OK, I guess I'm buying that. My only other point is that there are people who actually use the software who are not quite so convinced, but they could be wrong.


[Tim Wilson] "Again, apologies for sounding insensitive. I've just taken enough of your time and am trying to wrap this up quick."

You didn't, I took yours. I appreciate your input. The simple fact is: I'm not on the inside. People who are sometimes have no idea what it's like to try and survive as a small company (present company excepted), being buffeted by billion dollar companies when we have no control over policy, but those companies still have enormous influence on how we do business. Either way, I have a more well-rounded perspective than before you posted, thank you.


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Tim Wilson
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 21, 2014 at 7:20:02 am

[Chris Pettit] " ...there are people who actually use the software who are not quite so convinced, but they could be wrong."

I almost said, "Yeah, they're wrong"...but maybe "incomplete" is a better word.

I mean, you and I and the rest of us have been talking about this in broad strokes, but if Alastair and I were talking about this face to face, I'd have said some of it differently. I'd certainly have had my compassion front and center. I really have been there, with admittedly much smaller problems than 3D pipelines.

I also don't mean to convey that it's wrong for the people in the article to FEEL the way they do, or to want what they want. (Although -- a 4 year transition plan? Srsly?) I'm just saying that it's natural to focus on the most immediate impacts of Autodesk's plans, rather than the larger context that these events are taking place in.

But that's how we are, right? We humans respond most strongly to what feels like the most imminent pain. Big stories are harder to wrap our heads around when we're more inclined to get our hands wrapped around someone's throat.


[Chris Pettit] "Either way, I have a more well-rounded perspective than before you posted, thank you."

Thanks for reading it all! :-)


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 21, 2014 at 1:39:22 pm

[Chris Pettit] "OK, Mea Culpa. This question demonstrates how little I knew about the back story. I still believe profoundly that the larger a company gets, the more they act with impunity and with self interest (Adobe), but clearly I missed the mark with this example, thanks for setting me straight."

At the risk of being irritating again, there is only corporate self-interest. That generally is a good thing. Apple is a prime example. Just about everything Jobs did was in spite of the customer, in the belief that the customer would eventually want what Apple was offering.

Making "insanely great" products created a very profitable Apple. That makes for a win-win, but it's first and foremost driven by internal pressures. Jobs has largely been proven right, but at great risk to corporate survival and alienating the base. The customer acceptance - or not - provides the proper check to bad self-interest. Customers vote with their pocket book. OTOH, it doesn't always work out best for everyone.

Although Glassworks bases their operation on a Softimage pipeline, I think there's probably more to it. Few VFX houses rely on a single piece of software. Part of this is simply due to artist specialization. At the last facility I managed, our VFX department ran 3DsMax, Maya, Softimage, Wavefront and various 2D applications.

Migration is always painful. I've lived this first hand. But that's the nature of technology.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Gary Huff
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 8:36:44 pm

[Jim Wiseman] "We might also want to be prepared if subscription and customer dissatisfaction with CC as a rental puts Adobe in a bad place economically."

Outside of this forum, I am not seeing this at all. I think you should be prepared in case Adobe hits a homerun with their option.


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Jim Wiseman
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 19, 2014 at 10:01:10 pm
Last Edited By Jim Wiseman on Apr 19, 2014 at 10:05:18 pm

I still wouldn't need it. And the dissatisfaction with rental is hardly just here.

Jim Wiseman
Sony PMW-EX1, Pana AJ-D810 DVCPro, DVX-100, Nikon D7000, Final Cut Pro X 10.1.1, Final Cut Studio 2 and 3, Media 100 Suite 2.1.5, Premiere Pro CS 5.5 and 6.0, AJA ioHD, AJA Kona LHi, Blackmagic Ultrastudio 4K, Avid MC, 2013 Mac Pro Hexacore, 1 TB SSD, 64GB RAM, 2-D500: 2012 Hexacore MacPro 3.33 Ghz 24Gb RAM GTX-285 120GB SSD, Macbook Pro 17" 2011 2.2 Ghz Quadcore i7 16GB RAM 250GB SSD


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David Smith
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 21, 2014 at 2:09:38 am

[Gary Huff] "Outside of this forum, I am not seeing this at all. I think you should be prepared in case Adobe hits a homerun with their option."

That's the problem... it's not an option.

For me personally, outside of this forum, I have seen nothing but disgust towards Adobe for its moved to forced subscription.


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Tim Kolb
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 23, 2014 at 10:16:13 pm

I'm not certain why this is seen as such a pivotal moment...

We bought India Titler just before Apple bought it, shut it down and turned it into Live Text and I ended up with no forward path with what I thought was a very handy product on Windows...

Apple also bought Shake in a year when nearly every feature film made used it for effects...I assume some of the tech was cherry picked for motion and they sent it to the glue factory...

Discreet discontinued their NLE called *edit at a time when it was one of the most flexible and capable tools in its class...

Avid buys Sibelius...and well...there's some concern about that.

This sort of thing happens in every industry all the time...

In software, I think the Adobe changes have brought out an interesting notion to me...that users believe they're supporting the company by -owning- the software. A CS3 user who proclaims Adobe has lost their "business" has nothing to bargain with...they haven't been a customer since 2007.

I don't know what the Softimage sales curve looked like, but Autodesk didn't just buy them last year...has the user base been growing? I have no idea. Something tells me if Autodesk saw big sales potential in it, they wouldn't be shelving it...again, the existence of a user base is not the same as the sustained revenue from continuing sales.

In some sense, I'm surprised that Autodesk wouldn't want to test the water to see if users wanted to convert to a subscription arrangement to pay for maintenance before killing it entirely...maybe they did since there are rental customers...

TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Adobe Certified Instructor


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 24, 2014 at 7:17:28 pm

your siren words of measured reason will not work on me kolb. oh no.

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


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Tim Kolb
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 24, 2014 at 7:57:28 pm

[Aindreas Gallagher] "your siren words of measured reason will not work on me kolb. oh no."

Yeah...I get that a lot. :-)

TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Adobe Certified Instructor


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 24, 2014 at 10:17:47 pm

spitballing there mr. kolb - relative to your comment on the 2007 CS3 owner in a huff - do you see any lost opportunity for adobe to gather things with honey in the avid model where they at least lock that CS3 owner into rolling 3-400 dollar service and maintenance annual fees ala avid?
Because in adobe's context they are basically cutting off a long tail that measures around seven to eight million. that is a lot of tail.

I get that adobe may have felt the need to go year zero - but is there no logic to the idea that they might have left real money on the table?

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


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Tim Wilson
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 25, 2014 at 10:32:22 am

Please note: this is written from my perspective of having formerly: owned a video production business; been involved with software development; and been involved with it at Avid in particular. This is strictly personal perspective....


[Aindreas Gallagher] "is there no logic to the idea that they might have left real money on the table?"

They DID leave money on the table, and they KNOW it. Their initial public presentation of the subscription-based future quantified what they believed the losses would be, and how many years it would take them to recover.

I wish I could find the link to the slides they showed with their prediction -- maybe in a post in The Other forum. I may be remembering wrong, but my recollection is that they believed it would take until 2016 (I think) to equal 2013 revenues, with growth from there. Maybe it was 2015, but my point is that they were very specific in the presentation, that they expected to take a few years to fully recover financially from this decision.

That would make no sense to do if the move to subscriptions was primarily a revenue play, but that's not entirely the case. Yes, of course the long run assumes that they'll grow more money than they would have otherwise, or they wouldn't have done it all. But it's very much also a strategic play around the freedom to develop and deploy features.

Think about it this way. You'd have to subscribe for 4 years and 4 months to equal the price of today's CS. (2600 divided by 600/yr = 4.3 yrs. Right? And the $2600 number assumes no upgrades in 4 years and 4 months.) What are the odds that people stick around ANY software for four years anymore? Pretty slim these days, and getting slimmer.

People keep argue that subscriptions lock customers in, but it's entirely equally as true that subscriptions nearly eliminate the financial friction for migration. Learning curve pain, yes, but that hasn't stopped a swarm of migrations in every possible direction in the past 3 years. Taking that into account, once customers only need to lay out a few hundred dollars to switch, and less than that to access old projects, there's every possibility that the churn rate goes through the roof.

So the only way Adobe makes up the difference is to sign up dramatically more customers than they have now, and give them a reason to stay. How can they do that with people hating subscriptions so much?

A) there's a lot less subscription hate out there than there is in here, and b) it's clear that their play is to create an amazing feature set that is too compelling to deny.

And their freedom to develop so aggressively is ONLY possible with a subscription only model.

Avid isn't making a major development play. Theirs is (apparently from what little we know so far) more of a bookkeeping play -- specifically, a convenience play for people who find such things convenient -- and some people DO -- but for Avid, a Sarbanes-Oxley compliance play. It doesn't look to me that they're looking to change the game as much as they're trying to gain flexibility in their ability to follow the rules of the game as they exist.

(I hate bringing up SOX without more context, but NONE of this makes ANY sense without understanding the impact of SOX on SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT, and it's massive. No matter how much you want to say it isn't, it is.)

Adobe is no stranger to bold moves. They ended Adobe Premiere on Mac, and it was four years AFTER the introduction of Premiere Pro on PC before PPro arrived on Mac. (2003 vs. 2007 -- or to put it another way, FIVE years from the last Mac release in 2002 until the 2007 release.)

They lost a bunch of Mac customers, but they made the call that it was better to lose customers than compromise development. They believed that Mac customers would get over their trust issues because of how compelling the Mac feature set now was. Any doubts that Adobe pulled that off?

So yes Aindreas, you're absolutely right that Adobe left millions of dollars on the table, and has lost customers that they may never get back.

And, yes, it's perfectly logical to say that Adobe COULD have taken Avid's path from a business model perspective -- but it was too limiting on the development side. That's my read on it anyway.

I say that because I also completely agree with you, that the more you consider these events as financial choices, the less sense they make. Certainly for the span of a couple of years, but also riskier than you may have thought moving forward.

That's why Adobe folks keep emphasizing the benefits this offers to DEVELOPMENT, and saying that the long-term benefit to customers is potentially enormous...even if some customers today might not be around to reap the PRODUCT benefits because of their objections on other grounds.


Again, speaking strictly personally.


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 25, 2014 at 11:40:44 am

[Tim Wilson] "They DID leave money on the table, and they KNOW it. Their initial public presentation of the subscription-based future quantified what they believed the losses would be, and how many years it would take them to recover. "

I think there's also another aspect. Rental versus purchase also sidesteps the race to the bottom. Easier to maintain a monthly service as compared to the continual pressure to sell the software for a cheaper and cheaper rate. (Resolve for FREE, anyone?).

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 25, 2014 at 12:09:39 pm

[Oliver Peters] "I think there's also another aspect. Rental versus purchase also sidesteps the race to the bottom. Easier to maintain a monthly service as compared to the continual pressure to sell the software for a cheaper and cheaper rate. (Resolve for FREE, anyone?)."

I have been referring to Creative Cloud as Adobe's Kobayashi Maru [link] in the face of an increasingly toxic market for developers for exactly this reason.

I wish I could have said all of this half as well as Tim just did. I've been trying to make the point here since this forum's inception that CC is more than a sales model. That ball of yarn is really one single strand, running through sales, marketing, development and support and offering customers real benefits.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Ryan Holmes
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 12:18:07 am

[Walter Soyka] "I have been referring to Creative Cloud as Adobe's Kobayashi Maru [link] in the face of an increasingly toxic market for developers for exactly this reason."

Walter, I think you should get points just for linking to the Kobayashi Maru! not everyday that people can work in Star Trek culture into their posts! :-)

+1 for you!

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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Jim Wiseman
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 25, 2014 at 8:00:48 pm

All very nice, but I don't need or want all of CS for $2600. I bought Production Premium once for a lot less than $2600, and it cost me $350 a year to keep it up to date. My decision. Everyone predictably on the same software with occasional point releases and bug fixes. It still works without my credit card being debited monthly forever. And it will work three years from now if I decide I like (or would have liked) it where it currently sits. I don't even use all of Production Premium. I value stability over constant software churn. I cannot see how the loss of so many customers will not hurt Adobe in the long run. I know it will hurt me as an independent producer if I were to buy into this interminable model.

How much will I have to pay Adobe JUST TO ACCESS MY FILES, in the next ten or 15 years? Just for a month @ currently $75 doesn't cut it for me, I want to be able to use it whenever the creative mood strikes me. A friend is currently trying out CC. It took Adobe three days to get his activation straightened out. We can't even predict what they will charge in the future. They simply have too much leverage with this model, regardless of the development advantages. Just read the EULA. It all comes down to cost, access, and most importantly, A WAY OUT with usable software.

Would I like the new improvements? Of course. But not without that off ramp we keep hearing about.

Jim Wiseman
Sony PMW-EX1, Pana AJ-D810 DVCPro, DVX-100, Nikon D7000, Final Cut Pro X 10.1.1, Final Cut Studio 2 and 3, Media 100 Suite 2.1.5, Premiere Pro CS 5.5 and 6.0, AJA ioHD, AJA Kona LHi, Blackmagic Ultrastudio 4K, Avid MC, 2013 Mac Pro Hexacore, 1 TB SSD, 64GB RAM, 2-D500: 2012 Hexacore MacPro 3.33 Ghz 24Gb RAM GTX-285 120GB SSD, Macbook Pro 17" 2011 2.2 Ghz Quadcore i7 16GB RAM 250GB SSD


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 12:34:09 am

I more than anything think this gives the lie to the entire notion of the "master collection".

Who ever bought it?

[Tim Wilson] "Think about it this way. You'd have to subscribe for 4 years and 4 months to equal the price of today's CS. (2600 divided by 600/yr = 4.3 yrs. Right? And the $2600 number assumes no upgrades in 4 years and 4 months.) What are the odds that people stick around ANY software for four years anymore? Pretty slim these days, and getting slimmer.
"


again, these are numbers that never made sense to anyone. It just means adobe were in stages aggregating variously useless software (relative to discipline) in different customer terms to the point where it was a joke. It's like an accountancy firm bundling road building software. You can only do this butterfly creative stuff so far before it starts to look like crass financial domination.

[Tim Wilson] "A) there's a lot less subscription hate out there than there is in here, and b) it's clear that their play is to create an amazing feature set that is too compelling to deny."

I'm not sure I buy any of that. At a corporate level there is huge distrust to my limited understanding.

[Tim Wilson] "People keep argue that subscriptions lock customers in, but it's entirely equally as true that subscriptions nearly eliminate the financial friction for migration."

that literally makes no sense, and seems to ignore the basic reality of a subscription that isn't HBO, its every piece of living in process work you ever did with every tool you use. so please come back on that.


[Tim Wilson] "I wish I could find the link to the slides they showed with their prediction -- "

no worries, I've got one in this thing.

http://adobe2014.tumblr.com/

I think they think they're going to look to make more money milking a reduced subscription set. Realistically, and I'm using an abacus here, but its a third of the previous licensees, so, you know - watch out subscribers. these boys not messin' once dem deals run out.


[Tim Wilson] "Avid isn't making a major development play. Theirs is (apparently from what little we know so far) more of a bookkeeping play -- specifically, a convenience play for people who find such things convenient -- and some people DO -- but for Avid, a Sarbanes-Oxley compliance play. It doesn't look to me that they're looking to change the game as much as they're trying to gain flexibility in their ability to follow the rules of the game as they exist.
"


who actually really cares what avid are doing - the important point is they easily constructed a scenario where they could roll existing licensees into sarbanes Oxley cover via a simple mechanism. Where the licensees joined as effectively rolling subscribers. but adobe different much how? So why adobe do anything that stupid. They much bigger. Wait what?

Bad stupid strange now - HULK CONFUSED - oh well let's just forget it. So - beautiful - there are 6-8 MILLION dead adobe licenses on the floor. anyway.


[Tim Wilson] "And, yes, it's perfectly logical to say that Adobe COULD have taken Avid's path from a business model perspective -- but it was too limiting on the development side. That's my read on it anyway.
"


I'm not totally sure I get that, Avid were quite specific saying that their model was frictionless in SOX development terms, they totally audibly said that to Scott Simmons and everything. The man sounded rather confident and all. It sounds like they totally opened a valid maintenance and upgrade door to all license holders. Crazy times there. Because they DECIDED to do it. Because that door was OPEN to them.


[Tim Wilson] "I say that because I also completely agree with you, that the more you consider these events as financial choices, the less sense they make."

In the end, I'm not sure what sense any of this made, but I'm really not sure what financial sense this made to absolutely anyone post avid's moves.

It all feels like crassly aggressive, actual global for god's sake, behaviour with desperately dancing front end marionettes. Adobe need to do better than this to their license holders. they do. that's it. there are a million ways out of this.

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


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 2:02:17 pm

[Tim Wilson] "What are the odds that people stick around ANY software for four years anymore? Pretty slim these days, and getting slimmer."

Tim,

Have you heard of Final Cut Pro? There's a discontinued version from 2009 that's still widely used. People seem to like it even though there hasn't been an update in ages. Also, they paid for it once.

Franz.


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 3:24:14 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "Have you heard of Final Cut Pro? "

Although I've gone back and forth on this issue in these forums, I, too have had to access project files from Avid and FCP "legacy" that are older than four years. Avid was always pretty good, but even there, they've had points where project compatibility was broken.

In the case of FCP "legacy" it seems to have had the best track record of forward compatibility. Even the change from FCP X 10.0.9 to 10.1 has been problematic. So yes, people do need to access old files.

Ironically, the most compatible interchange is STILL videotape, an EDL and a linear edit suite, if you can find the decks! The file-based world has done little to improve this.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 4:27:26 pm

[Oliver Peters] "The file-based world has done little to improve this."

Oliver,

ProTools has been pretty good too about older session formats (from my anecdotal knowledge, which is far from comprehensive).

But I posted more to address this notion that people don't use old software. They do. All the time. And often it does what they need it to do, even 4 years later.

If there's an elephant in the room during discussion of software development models, this may be it.

Franz.


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 4:35:45 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "But I posted more to address this notion that people don't use old software. They do. All the time. And often it does what they need it to do, even 4 years later."

That's the rub for most software developers. Making things are "too good" ;-) Old versions of Photoshop are still more tools than most users ever touch. Nothing yet among NLEs has equalled the versatility of FCP "legacy" and the FC Studio bundle.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 4:39:03 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Nothing yet among NLEs has equalled the versatility of FCP "legacy" and the FC Studio bundle."

™The Legend of FCP™!


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Steve Connor
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 4:47:00 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Nothing yet among NLEs has equalled the versatility of FCP "legacy" and the FC Studio bundle."

Surely Adobe CC is considerably more versatile than FC Studio?

Steve Connor
Mellowing slowly


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 5:15:42 pm

[Steve Connor] "Surely Adobe CC is considerably more versatile than FC Studio?"

No, not in my opinion. Excluding AE and Photoshop as individual items and focusing more on FCP "Legacy" versus PPro. Of course, FCP 7 is very long-in-the-tooth and admittedly on my machines is becoming more and more wonky.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Shawn Miller
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 5:39:58 am

[Oliver Peters] "[Steve Connor] "Surely Adobe CC is considerably more versatile than FC Studio?"

No, not in my opinion. Excluding AE and Photoshop as individual items and focusing more on FCP "Legacy" versus PPro. Of course, FCP 7 is very long-in-the-tooth and admittedly on my machines is becoming more and more wonky.

- Oliver"


Sorry Oliver, this feels a bit disingenuous. I don't think you can exclude two of the most powerful tools from the CC suite and still claim that FCP Studio was more versatile... and that's not even counting the other applications in CC like; C4D lite, Mocha Pro AE, Story, Illustrator, Prelude, SpeedGrade or Audition. Were you meaning to make a comparison of just FCP to Premiere Pro?

Shawn



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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 1:32:40 pm

[Shawn Miller] "and that's not even counting the other applications in CC like; C4D lite, Mocha Pro AE, Story, Illustrator, Prelude, SpeedGrade or Audition. Were you meaning to make a comparison of just FCP to Premiere Pro?"

That is assuming you use all of those. But yes, it can go either way. I would agree that this opinion is mainly formed by FCP 7 versus Premiere Pro. I prefer Color to SpeedGrade. Even with the roundtrip and rendering, it's a faster grading tool. DVD SP is still used. Encore's there, but you have to dig for it.

The biggest issue for me, though, is that Premiere Pro is not very good at sharing. The simple issue of not being able to have multiple projects open at once - or to have projects with only a sequence file (like in FCP 7) - are workflow show stoppers for many.

But I'm not firm on it one way or the other.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 1:41:41 pm

[Oliver Peters] "The biggest issue for me, though, is that Premiere Pro is not very good at sharing. The simple issue of not being able to have multiple projects open at once - or to have projects with only a sequence file (like in FCP 7) - are workflow show stoppers for many."

Oliver, for the first objection, what's inadequate about the way the Media Browser sees into .prproj files?

For the second, what is the benefit of a project with only a sequence file?

Not arguing, just curious.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 1:50:28 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Oliver, for the first objection, what's inadequate about the way the Media Browser sees into .prproj files?
For the second, what is the benefit of a project with only a sequence file?
Not arguing, just curious."


Both of these issues have to do with creating multiple copies of master clips files inside another project. It starts to get messy. This may or may not happen depending on whether projects are copied in the Finder or duped via "save as".

FCP "legacy" has had the ability to move around projects, which only contain a sequence. Helps to keep things very clean depending on what you are trying to do, since project files bloat when you have a lot of multiple cuts, master clips, etc. Send a project to another editor for continued, work? Just dupe the sequence into a new project and send.

These all become workflow issues in shared environments when you compare an Adobe vs. FCP "legacy" vs. Avid workflow - especially in team-edit shows, like reality TV and multi-editor feature films.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 2:02:40 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Both of these issues have to do with creating multiple copies of master clips files inside another project. It starts to get messy. This may or may not happen depending on whether projects are copied in the Finder or duped via "save as"."

Master clips should not be duplicated when a sequence is imported. If you can reproduce that behavior, please consider filing a bug report.


[Oliver Peters] "FCP "legacy" has had the ability to move around projects, which only contain a sequence. Helps to keep things very clean depending on what you are trying to do, since project files bloat when you have a lot of multiple cuts, master clips, etc. Send a project to another editor for continued, work? Just dupe the sequence into a new project and send."

I guess I don't see the difference between this and importing the sequence into a new project. FCP still has to store the "master clip" data for clips used in the timeline, even if it doesn't show it in the browser, right?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 2:24:27 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Master clips should not be duplicated when a sequence is imported. If you can reproduce that behavior, please consider filing a bug report."

I believe it does this when you dupe a project at the Finder and continue editing in the dupe. When you then import the revised sequence back into the original, dupe master clips are created, which cannot be removed. I don't think it's a bug, since Premiere would see this as a uniquely different project. If you create a duped project using "save as" it doesn't occur. I believe there's some internal tracking within the project to prevent this.

[Walter Soyka] "FCP still has to store the "master clip" data for clips used in the timeline, even if it doesn't show it in the browser, right?"

Correct. All NLEs edit what amounts to a dupe of the master clip into the timeline. So technically, master clips shouldn't be unnecessary. Yet, in Premiere, you can't move a sequence around by itself. This is a significant difference between FCP "legacy" and Premiere and is one of the reasons reality show companies have found it difficult to move to Premiere and have opted to return to Media Composer instead.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 8:35:25 pm

[Oliver Peters] "This is a significant difference between FCP "legacy" and Premiere and is one of the reasons reality show companies have found it difficult to move to Premiere and have opted to return to Media Composer instead."

I find that reaching in to a Pr project is a pretty cool feature.

[Oliver Peters] "I believe it does this when you dupe a project at the Finder and continue editing in the dupe. When you then import the revised sequence back into the original, dupe master clips are created, which cannot be removed. I don't think it's a bug, since Premiere would see this as a uniquely different project. If you create a duped project using "save as" it doesn't occur. I believe there's some internal tracking within the project to prevent this."

But if you use the media browser, you don't get any duplication unless there's media in the sequence that isn't already in your project.

I agree that deleting media out of a bin/project that will then subsequently delete clips out of a sequence is not the most secure way to work. Pr doesn't leave behind any kind of record in the timeline, it simply disappears.

But in a true shared environment, if you use the media browser, it's pretty seamless, and you don't miss having a project with just a sequence in it. If you don't have the imported media in your project already, it also imports the subsequent bins.

It's not all that bad, and allows the browsing user to not have to pester the other user to get what they need from their project. There are also different options when you use the "import" dialog instead of the media browser.

I can only imagine this process will get even better, but even now, I find it a significantly more useful tool than Finder/FCP7.

While I agree an option to transcode should be in Pr (which then brings up the codec issue), I think that FCPX has this process down decently well.

Jeremy


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 8:46:51 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "But if you use the media browser, you don't get any duplication unless there's media in the sequence that isn't already in your project."

We aren't comparing the same thing.

Scenario 1

Editor A creates a project with an edited timeline. Dupes that project in the Finder so Editor B can make some other cuts. Editor A imports the sequence from Editor B and gets duplicate master clips that appear in both projects.

Scenario 2

Editor A creates a project with an edited timeline. Editors A does a "save as" to create another version of that project so Editor B can make some other cuts. Editor A imports the sequence from Editor B and doesn't get the duplicate clips.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 9:00:30 pm

[Oliver Peters] "We aren't comparing the same thing."

I know. You seem to be applying a workflow to something that Adobe has actually improved and isn't possible in FCP7 at all, and that is the ability to browse other projects on the network.

You can still use the Media Browser on the duped project, if that is the case, why not just use the Media Browser on the original project?


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 9:11:01 pm

I stand corrected. This appears to have been fixed since the last time I tested it. I just ran a quick test and you are correct. Both instances only bring in the sequence when I use the Media Browser. Thanks for the good news!

Cheers,
Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Shawn Miller
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 4:31:50 pm

[Oliver Peters] "
That is assuming you use all of those. But yes, it can go either way. I would agree that this opinion is mainly formed by FCP 7 versus Premiere Pro. I prefer Color to SpeedGrade. Even with the roundtrip and rendering, it's a faster grading tool. DVD SP is still used. Encore's there, but you have to dig for it.

The biggest issue for me, though, is that Premiere Pro is not very good at sharing. The simple issue of not being able to have multiple projects open at once - or to have projects with only a sequence file (like in FCP 7) - are workflow show stoppers for many.

But I'm not firm on it one way or the other.

- Oliver"


Fair enough. I guess it really depends on the kind of work you do. Since my work doesn't usually require me to share edits, it's not a big deal for me. I do depend on AE, Photoshop and Illustrator quite a bit though. I also find myself needing to remove or "enhance" objects in a scene from time to time, so Mocha is very valuable. Best suite for the job, I guess.

Shawn



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Walter Soyka
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 5:08:24 pm

[Oliver Peters] "That's the rub for most software developers. Making things are "too good" ;-) Old versions of Photoshop are still more tools than most users ever touch."

I think that the rub for software developers is that they don't get credit from their user base for the huge amount of work required to keep mature apps up-to-date.

Photoshop was released in 1990 and ran on an 8 MHz Mac with System 6 and a Motorola 68000 processor. Adobe has kept up with the times for 24 years with this application, hopping from architecture to architecture, changing out pieces underneath, all without drastically altering the user experience from one release to the next. Doing this consumes considerable development reasons -- and provides the user base with considerable ongoing benefit -- even though they don't appear to the user in the form of shiny new features.

Isn't this the treatment that so many FCP7 users wanted? A modern, 64-bit version of their favorite application that supported new formats? Yet when offered like Photoshop here, it's criticized because the old stuff was good enough?

(I'm not talking about you specifically, Oliver, but I am detecting a theme here that Ps CS(x) was good enough and that nothing worthwhile has been added in the last (y) years.)

Users expect immediate support for the new stuff, continued support for the old stuff, the constant addition of amazing new features and workflows (without ever upsetting the old ones), and ever-lower pricing for it all. Tall order!

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 5:13:59 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Isn't this the treatment that so many FCP7 users wanted? A modern, 64-bit version of their favorite application that supported new formats? ... Users expect immediate support for the new stuff, continued support for the old stuff, the constant addition of amazing new features and workflows (without ever upsetting the old ones), and ever-lower pricing for it all. Tall order!"

Walter,

Users are a diverse group with different needs and different financial realities. You can't just describe them as a uniform group.

Perpetual licensing seems better suited to addressing a larger diversity of scenarios and needs. With rental, it's clear (to me, at least) that Adobe have tilted toward facilities and away from a large cross-section of users.

Franz.


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Ryan Holmes
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 5:22:30 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "With rental, it's clear (to me, at least) that Adobe have tilted toward facilities and away from a large cross-section of users."

I think Adobe sees it exactly opposite of that. A small monthly cost ($50/month) is easily affordable by indies, small post-houses, one-man bands, etc as well as larger facilities. I think that's also one of Walter Soyka's points that the up-front cost of entry is dramatically lower for users to get into CC than it was under the CS model (instead of and upfront cost of $1800 for Production Bundle or $2600 for Master Collection).

And I agree with you, users are hardly a uniform bunch. All of us on here demand different things from some of the same software and have different financial constraints applied to us. There is no easy solution as you'll always anger some part of your user base over any change.

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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Walter Soyka
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 5:30:47 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "Users are a diverse group with different needs and different financial realities. You can't just describe them as a uniform group."

Fair, but I think your selective quotation changed the meaning a bit from what I intended.

Could every FCP7 user who wanted FCP8 to be a 32-bit app that required transcoding for any media format developed after 2008 please raise their hands?


[Franz Bieberkopf] "Perpetual licensing seems better suited to addressing a larger diversity of scenarios and needs. With rental, it's clear (to me, at least) that Adobe have tilted toward facilities and away from a large cross-section of users."

It had seemed clear to me that this move makes Adobe software more affordable to hobbyists and freelancers because they won't have to pony up a few thousand dollars just to get started.

But I certainly respect your thinking, so the only thing that's clear to me anymore is that nothing here is clear.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Andrew Kimery
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 6:17:48 pm
Last Edited By Andrew Kimery on Apr 28, 2014 at 6:24:03 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "Users are a diverse group with different needs and different financial realities. You can't just describe them as a uniform group."

I actually think Walter's broad stroke examples did a good job of showing the diversity of the user base and the conundrum developers face because of it. Users can have polar opposite needs but there is only one Avid MC. There is only one PPro. There is only one FCP. It's impossible for one piece of software to be all things to all people yet that's the position developers are put it.

As the saying goes, you can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 6:41:06 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Could every FCP7 user who wanted FCP8 to be a 32-bit app that required transcoding for any media format developed after 2008 please raise their hands?"

32-bit, no. Transcoding, yes. Native media is more trouble than its worth most of the time. And FWIW, FCP 7 supports most of the same codecs that FCP X does. X just handles these more smoothly. PPro handles a lot of native codecs, but not all that smoothly when you have a mix of lots of formats on the same timeline. It's far from a fluid editing experience.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Steve Connor
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 7:20:50 pm

[Oliver Peters] " It's far from a fluid editing experience."

Currently editing a Multicam on CC with XDCam HD, AVCHD and .mp4 files, I've found it certainly is very fluid so far!

Steve Connor
Mellowing slowly


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Walter Soyka
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 1:43:29 pm

[Oliver Peters] "32-bit, no. Transcoding, yes. Native media is more trouble than its worth most of the time."

Are you arguing for the ability to transcode, or the requirement to transcode?

I really like the FCP X approach here -- accept native media, transcode in the background to a managed media store, use optimized media when available.


[Oliver Peters] "And FWIW, FCP 7 supports most of the same codecs that FCP X does. X just handles these more smoothly."

The FCP forum is filled with posters who cannot render/export when using H.264 sources.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 1:52:17 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Are you arguing for the ability to transcode"

Yes.

[Walter Soyka] "The FCP forum is filled with posters who cannot render/export when using H.264 sources."

H.264 is a distribution format. If you edit with it, you deserve what you get ;-)

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 2:06:33 pm

[Oliver Peters] "[Walter Soyka] "Are you arguing for the ability to transcode" Yes."

I agree, this is necessary!


[Oliver Peters] "H.264 is a distribution format. If you edit with it, you deserve what you get ;-)"

Sadly, it is also an acquisition format.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 2:25:11 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Sadly, it is also an acquisition format."

Which is why you should transcode.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 29, 2014 at 9:37:20 pm

[Walter Soyka] "It had seemed clear to me that this move makes Adobe software more affordable to hobbyists and freelancers because they won't have to pony up a few thousand dollars just to get started.
"


I think there is an overwhelming craziness to this argument. Everyone says that the lifetime subscription costs you a few cups of coffee a month.
Fine - owning the license to the entire software basket cost you 2-3 months rent.

The idea that there was an implacable wall retarding adoption of adobe tools is an idiotic argument when they had 12 MILLION LICENSE HOLDERS.
Adobe license holders dwarf all other creative license holder customer pools.

You could roll FCP, FCPX, AVID, CINEMA 4D, MAYA, FLAME, NUKE AND A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE up into a ball and you wouldn't hit 12 MILLION.

sorry - I'm getting a taste for caps off Bill et al. they're fun.

The difference is that that investment was an investment, the tools were owned, and the vendor was a market fearful vendor.

broad adoption, in the style of "but what about the children!!" is not the issue here.

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


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Jim Wiseman
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 5:08:09 pm
Last Edited By Jim Wiseman on Apr 28, 2014 at 5:36:11 pm

If the tape still plays, Oliver. Took some old 1 inch into a studio here in Honolulu more than ten years ago and most of it was sloughing oxide. Stored dehumidified, mostly, but could have been better with the move from SF. Just got a Blackmagic Teranex, and am in the process of bumping multiple formats to ProRes and ProRes(HQ) depending on use. Ironically, the 3/4 inch is looking best of the 70's analog formats. DV and DVCPro are looking good. Quad, who knows? EDL's? Long gone. Worked with other editors on those projects long ago.

Of the digital systems, Media 100 and FCP Legacy still can do it. Especially the Media 100 right up to the current 2.1.5 designed for the tower and AJA LHi and that also is working on old projects with the new Mac Pro 2013 and 10.9.2, at least as far as I have tested it. Original M100 MJPEG codec, ProRes and capable of RED 4K, although haven't had a need for 4K here yet. Using Blackmagic Ultrastudio 4k TBolt 2 hardware on the Mac Pro Late 2013, AJA LHi on Mac Pro Hexacore tower. Will be testing the LHi with the OWC Helios 2 ThunderBolt 2 chassis at some point. AJA says it should work, but will probably leave it in the 2012 tower.

Busy learning FCP 10.1.1. Was learning Premiere, but no longer beyond limited CS6 until the rental thing shakes out. Primarily docs, so really not worried about AE. Motion will do for my limited graphics needs. Honestly, mostly just use Premiere CS6 for ingest of multiple formats (great for that) to ProRes, lower thirds, and legalization/light CC. Audition for audio cleanup. Very curious about resolve 11. Less exposure to Adobe than most, thankfully. I even use Aperture for my stills!

Jim Wiseman
Sony PMW-EX1, Pana AJ-D810 DVCPro, DVX-100, Nikon D7000, Final Cut Pro X 10.1.1, Final Cut Studio 2 and 3, Media 100 Suite 2.1.5, Premiere Pro CS 5.5 and 6.0, AJA ioHD, AJA Kona LHi, Blackmagic Ultrastudio 4K, Avid MC, 2013 Mac Pro Hexacore, 1 TB SSD, 64GB RAM, 2-D500: 2012 Hexacore MacPro 3.33 Ghz 24Gb RAM GTX-285 120GB SSD, Macbook Pro 17" 2011 2.2 Ghz Quadcore i7 16GB RAM 250GB SSD


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 5:15:16 pm
Last Edited By Franz Bieberkopf on Apr 28, 2014 at 5:17:41 pm

[Jim Wiseman] "sloughing oxide. Stored dehumidified"

Jim,

Almost a haiku.

Franz.

Edit: actually, I think you've got it:

was sloughing oxide
stored dehumidified, mostly,
but could have been better


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Oliver Peters
Re: SoftImage and Industry consolidation: Cautionary tale.
on Apr 28, 2014 at 5:22:49 pm

[Jim Wiseman] " Very Curious about resolve 11. Less exposure to Adobe than most, thankfully. I even use Aperture for my stills!"

I think Resolve 11 is going to have serious interest by many, if BMD develops it correctly. If you look at the Apple (and related) options, there's a very good ecosystem/"studio bundle". For example, this combo (as a group) really challenges the Adobe solutions for audio/film/video folks.

FCP X
Motion
Compressor
Aperture
Logic X
Pixelmator
DaVinci Resolve 11

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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