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Re: MacBreak Studio discussion on Avid and FCPX

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Walter Soyka
Re: MacBreak Studio discussion on Avid and FCPX
on Jan 25, 2012 at 7:47:32 pm

[tony west] "It also reminded me how Apple was such a game changer. The money kept most people out of the game early. You had to work in someone else's house. When Apple put out FCP it ended up bringing the price down to the point where you could have your OWN house. That's a huge difference."

This is a fair point to make, because FCP became so popular, but Apple wasn't the only one to shake up the cost structure in the post industry. Remember that Avid was highly disruptive when it launched, too, and there were other NLEs on the market before the four A's rose to dominance.

I think the cycle of falling costs arguably started in the 1980s and has been running ever since.

I don't think it was just FCP's price that was important, relative to Avid -- it was Apple's business model. FCP was sold software-only (in support of Apple hardware), so you could buy a Mac and an FCP license for a few thousand dollars. With Firewire, you could use DV without spending big money on "real" storage, monitoring, and output. (A "proper" FCP setup with monitoring, a VTR, a SCSI RAID, and a CineWave card was still pretty expensive.)

FCP was part of a wave of video products that offered 80% of the capability at 20% of the price, which enabled solo practitioners (like myself), with a little help from Visa, to offer some or maybe even most of what you could get at a post house, but with dramatic cost savings.

One-man shops disrupted the post boutiques of the 1990s, which were funded much the same way -- except with a little help from your bank (with your home as collateral) instead of unsecured credit card debt. Was it harder and riskier to start a post operation then? Of course, but it was even harder and riskier before that. Prior to the emergence of desktop NLEs, you needed seven figures just to open the door of a post facility.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
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