APPLE FINAL CUT PRO: Apple Final Cut Pro X FCPX Debates FCP Legacy FCP Tutorials

Allow me to introduce myself... and a bit of NLE history.

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David Lawrence
Allow me to introduce myself... and a bit of NLE history.
on Jul 5, 2011 at 8:15:01 pm

Hello Fellow FCP Enthusiasts,

I've been a member of The COW Community since 2005 but only recently filled in my profile and started getting active in these forums. Nice to meet you all.

By way of introduction, I'd like to share a document I co-authored in 1987 when I was a designer/producer/researcher at Lucasfilm Ltd. It is the functional spec for what would arguably become the world's first database managed, object-oriented, non-linear editing system.

This document was a deliverable for our partner/client, Apple Computer, Inc. It was part of a research and production collaboration between Lucasfilm, Apple and our third partner, The National Geographic Society. The purpose of the collaboration was to design the future of digital media experience as well as the tools to create those experiences. We targeted education and built with the most cutting edge hardware technologies we could get our hands on at the time. We developed and grew this system over a roughly thee-year period and I used it to produce actual products that were sold nationally.

One of the project's big insights was the realization that a physical world metaphor - for example, digitally modeling the physical characteristics of a Steenbeck, as George had done with EditDroid - was unnecessary. The document above is the first spec we produced and references a "digital light table", but over the course of the project it evolved past this, becoming an object-oriented system complete with a bin-like workspace for collecting media objects and an open timeline for sequencing media events. While much functionality was specific to our unique authoring needs, at its core, we thought of the Econodroid (later renamed MPS - Multimedia Production System) as a general model for the digital representation of time-based media, as well as the tools needed to fluidly manipulate and structure this media into time-based experiences.

We got a lot of things right. Today, nearly 25 years later, many UI conventions we identified are taken for granted and still in use.

The shock of what Apple did the other week is finally starting to wear off. I've had some time to kick the tires on X and gather my thoughts which I'll share in another post. But I wanted to start by giving you an idea of where I'm coming from. I hope you'll find this stuff interesting and I look forward to further conversation.


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