Maybe 10 Years is Enough for Final Cut Pro X - Philip Hodgetts
Maybe 10 Years is Enough for Final Cut Pro X - Philip Hodgetts
I had been thinking about the "next direction" given that Apple did say there was a ten year plan with FCPX. Given how far into that we are at this point, I thought that maybe just as FCPX is settling, much like FCP legacy, we are actually nearing its final leg. Sometime around 2021 the Apple NLE ecosystem may tremble again. Perhaps it will be an NLE built around machine learning.
I just saw this a couple of days ago -
and I think about audio tools like Antares and Melodye for auto tune correction for singers that can't sing. So with the continued development of facial recognition, sound libraries, AI for the Mac and the eventual appearance of an 8K iPhone.
So here's how it works - you get your footage (hey, someone has to have an idea !) - and you import it into the footage (this will all be Bluetooth 10G speed of course). And you select one of the new Apple templates (sales video, music video, action video) and with the help of AI, facial recognition, and pre built music libraries - the show edits itself ! There is even improved voice recognition for the "editor" (apple has renamed this "image constructor")
and you can say "insert a dissolve here" or "fade out to black" - and it does it. No key strokes. Find that image of Tiffany dancing the routine ? No problem - facial recognition is fully functional, and finding those shots of Tiffany dancing away is a verbal command. Who needs those pesky Keyflow/CatDV/Axle programs anyway ! Now, its not innovative cutting edge editing - but hey, it's a sales video, it's a local band or wedding band, it's people filming the school football game (which airs on the local cable channel and the schools YouTube channel).
So guess what - you are all out of a job (except the guys in major shows in LA). Good luck with your new careers.
Rescue 1, Inc.
That's nothing - this baby felt like the money moment in terms of what's coming down the pike.
Autonomous, completely accurate arrangement of the cast in order of appearance, rule of thirds applied, semantic shot analysis, detecting camera zooms and pans, detecting motion blur, on screen violence, depth of field, etc.
It's for analysing stills, but it's the best indication of where it might be going. The point about it is that Netflix has a strong economic interest in optimising and automating high quality show poster shots. A really strong interest given the content scale problem. They've done that, or rather, they've successfully adapted parts of the currently red hot domain specific machine vision learning.
It's... difficult to think of a situation where they'd dump the necessary tens, if not hundreds of billions into generating a fully autonomous intelligence with the correct cultural nuances to replicate a warm body in a seat knocking out a thirty second promo tho - let alone edit together the collected rushes of a film project they'd already dropped millions into, when a reasonably trained human being can knock it out while making decent banter in the room with the director. And the bill is a lot lower.
If you read the Verge lately, in terms of autonomous cars, they're coming as close as they can to calling absolute bullshit on the likelihood of unsupervised learning in unpredictable environments: that's general AI, and solo cars need that. Sorting stills, that's domain specific AI, basically a trained task nub - that's happening.
But sublimating the gestalt of a trained human editor into code is wandering into general cognition AI - if we get to that, we've basically met/made/become god and editing jobs are the least of our worries.
Really interesting article, thanks for posting.
It might be that the traditional assistant editor job might be at risk. If the NLE of the future can organize based on word, phrase, shot type (FCPX has the Find People option now), shot location (GPS), balance the audio, base level grade and other “pre-edit” tasks, is there a real need for an AE? Will this system then be able to string together basic scenes based on Scene #, take # and comments (maybe string together all the “circle takes”)? I could come in after a shoot, ingest the footage, let the machine do it’s thing and come back later and have all that done without another salary on the project.
Visual Storyteller - FCPX, Premiere
Managing Partner, Low Country Creative LLC
Professor, VCU Brandcenter
[Scott Witthaus] "I could come in after a shoot, ingest the footage, let the machine do it’s thing and come back later and have all that done without another salary on the project."
Of course, in that scenario, you wouldn't have the foggiest clue about your footage, how to actually structure the edit, or what gems were ignored by the AI. That's because you've abdicated that role to the machine.
Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com
Scenario: Among our editors: Jane likes things one way because of how she thinks. Robert likes things organized quite differently because of how he thinks.
They’re both great editors - but each resonates with a different process.
The producer (if they’re smart) goes with one or the other depending on how well they fit the projects goals and objectives - just like you pick any artist or designer based on their style.
The AE needs to set up things differently for each. THAT is where judgement beats machine learning - at least for the coming generation or two.
On the long run, bets are off. But I feel pretty safe for the foreseeable future. And I think AES should too.
Just focus on building your judgement chops - not so much the process ones.
Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.
AI/Machine Learning always seems to be framed as a replacement for humans, when, in fact, it's more like augmentation. And perfection always seems like an elusive 5 years out, which never seems to come.
When it comes to editors, we all look at assistant editors as vulnerable. Yet, how many here on this list - or in general - actually work with assistants? I rarely do. I've only done so on features and then not at a Hollywood level. There, assistants do quite a bit more than the grunt work that AI is supposed to replace.
Color me a skeptic, but here are some notable AI/Machine Learning failures - to date in our world:
1. Speech-to-text. A great tool that works well when the audio is clear and the speaker talks slowly with good enunciation. The minute you have 2 or 3 people talking over each other quickly, and with a poor recording, the quality of the transcription drops significantly.
2. Adobe uses machine learning to auto-duck music under speech. But, it's very mechanical and cannot distinguish the differences in musical intensity. It's a starting point, but only marginally IMHO.
3. If I have a silent video file with a slate/clapstick and a separate audio file with clap. No matching audio nor timecode. There is no current automatic way to sync these two up other than by manually setting in-points.
4. Shot detection can determine singles and two-shots, but it cannot correctly determine what the shot is when a shot starts on a single and then later zooms out to become a two-shot.
Maybe in 5 years ☺
Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com
[Oliver Peters] "Yet, how many here on this list - or in general - actually work with assistants? "
I work with assistants and there are invaluable to me. As pointed out earlier, each editor will ask their assist unique tasks dependent on their organizational style. Also I rely on them for dialogue breakdowns and scene stringouts, and sometimes to do rough assemblies of scenes if Im working from dailies. Dont think a robot is anywhere near being able to replace them seeing as how specific some task are.
since this is an "OT" thread, I will express my opinion - that's only an opinion.
What is sad about the possible reality of this is that when you "get into the business" - no one says "ok, you are an editor. You start off as an assistant. The main editor does the creative part, but the assistant (who eventually becomes a top assistant, who is very technical) does everything else - ingest, transcoding, delivery - everything but the creative process. And there are many guys (think Sam Mestman of Lumaforge) who were exactly this person - people like Sam Mestman know more than most about workflow, and all the technical aspects of editing.
And the same applies to camera operators, and the camera assistants, who are the guys that go to the rental houses, get all the setups done, and make sure everything is working. What the assistant is not doing is the lighting direction and "pointing the camera" to do the creative work. But if he is a good assistant, he will eventually become the main camera operator.
Same with a top assistant editor. They become the editor. They make the connections.
What I see now (and as the assistant role disappears, as budgets disappear) is that there are fewer and fewer jobs for assistants. And so the "kid" that gets out of school - well, he owns a Mac Book Pro, and he knows how to use Premiere or FCP X (or both) and he cut a few "shows" for school, and his friends - he tries to start his own company, giving away his services. Same with cameras like the Red Raven. Kid can't find an assistant camera gig (because there are few, and in the future there will be none according to this AI speculation) and so mom gets him the camera, and now he tries to start his own company, and gives away his services.
Everyone says "this levels the playing field" - but what I see is what I saw in the recording studio industry. THERE IS NO recording studio industry anymore. With rare exception, all the recording studios went out of business (LA post audio is the exception) and a small handful of studios with a reputation. And even those studios (like currently in Nashville) have to charge rates lower than ever.
So I believe that as AI starts to actually work, all that will happen is that it will make it much more difficult for young people to "get into" the professional market, and these young people (who are flooding these schools like UCLA and Full Sail, etc.) will get out, and they will all try to compete, and ultimately "give away" their services. You can say that "well - this is the inevitable change of the industry"- but all I see is the same demise for us that happened to the recording studio business, and has pretty much happened for a lot of the post production facilities in the United States. As AI develops, this demise will continue, and the industry as we know it will go away - except for high end jobs for major shows and big budget feature films.
When someone says "all you need to be successful is a paper and pencil and a good idea" - does that mean that it's all going to come down to your 8K iPhone, your 2022 MacBook Pro, and a high speed internet connection ? Is that the future of post production ?
Rescue 1, Inc.
[Bob Zelin] "What is sad about the possible reality of this is that when you "get into the business" - no one says "ok, you are an editor. You start off as an assistant. The main editor does the creative part, but the assistant (who eventually becomes a top assistant, who is very technical) does everything else - ingest, transcoding, delivery - everything but the creative process. "
But Bob, that's a model that only exists in dramatic TV and film - mainly in LA/NY/London/etc and a few other places that work in Reality TV, not in major centers. For most editors who work in news, commercials, corporate - if they started in the tape days - the starting point was a tape operator. Those duties were a lot different than assistant editing. Since the nonlinear days, many of those jobs simply went away, so the foot-in-the-door job came somewhere else - production assistant, runner, operations, etc.
I think today, people entering the field come from a more rounded background, where the experience isn't just editing. It's a combo of production, graphics, and post. So that starting point is varied for the majority of the business.
[Bob Zelin] "does that mean that it's all going to come down to your 8K iPhone, your 2022 MacBook Pro, and a high speed internet connection ? Is that the future of post production "
Unfortunately, for a lot of the industry, that answer will be 'yes'.
Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com
[Oliver Peters] "I think today, people entering the field come from a more rounded background, where the experience isn't just editing. It's a combo of production, graphics, and post. So that starting point is varied for the majority of the business."
While it's true that young people entering the business have a more varied skill set, the need for mentoring remains. Being able to tell a good story in an efficient manner does not come naturally to most. There may be young folks with great technical skills in multiple programs but the technical is always secondary to the storytelling.
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[Oliver Peters] "For most editors who work in news, commercials, corporate - if they started in the tape days - the starting point was a tape operator. ...
I think today, people entering the field come from a more rounded background, where the experience isn't just editing. It's a combo of production, graphics, and post. So that starting point is varied for the majority of the business."
+1. I'll also add to that rounded background, more general communication experience including mastery of social media, tweeting, writing, communication strategy, etc. What people on the board may not like to hear is that I think there is a convergence of communication tasks going on that encompasses video as part of it. It takes time to develop these skills in addition to video skills. That mythical kid who got his first camera will have a difficult time breaking in in this environment also. Yes, there will always be room for specialists at the high end. But it's easy to forget that communication is the goal, not producing the most technically pure video.
And this evolution isn't all good. Artistry takes a hit. Methodical planning of productions takes a hit. Time to work an individual production takes a hit.
But a look at job postings show this is what employers are looking for. The number of job listings in my area that require multiple talents far, far, far outweighs specialized job offerings. It could be I'm in a unique area. Or it could be that I'm in a non-LA, non-NY area.
Just to add to the pot of potential things we'll have to do, or rather be assisted by AI...
I remember when all I need to know was editing and maybe some nice transitions and modest graphics mostly done in Photoshop. Now I edit, do motion graphics and effects, make plugins with Apple Motion for distribution to editors, have to understand compression methods, have to do some light sound work and mixing, and color correction. Students in school definitely have to have a wider breadth of knowledge than I did. Though they also have significantly more tools and access to computing to harness the potential of those tools than I ever did.
[Tangier Clarke] "I remember when all I need to know was editing and maybe some nice transitions and modest graphics mostly done in Photoshop. "
It's a good point but when I think about my old school online days before AVID.............Aaggghhh . After you learned the timecode editor you had to learn that Grassvalley switcher so you could do your transitions through it. Then you had to learn the DVE so you could do your rotating and spinning effects. Then you had to learn the sound board and how to trigger you fades remotely from the editor. Then you had to learn the character generator so you could do your graphics. Then you had to learn the still store system and set up the copy-cam stand. You might even have to pull a tape deck out of the top rack (and what a pain if you didn't have help lifting it out of there or putting it back in. Oh yeah, you had to get up and actually walk around the room to all these different stations instead of just sitting in front of a computer. There was no youtube to watch someone else show you, so you actually had to read a manual and figure it all out on your own. You could call GV and sit on hold for hours if you had time also.
I'd like to take some of these youngsters back in time and say here.......put it together in THIS room. The would be happy to get back : )
Thanks for posting that video also. It's pretty scary actually.
Oh wow, those are some memories! I know what you mean. I believe I was the last class to splice film at LMU and it pained me to have to (by force) learn how to edit using several tape decks and one (or two) just for adding transitions and effects. I don't miss those days, but they probably made me a better editor. Since I had already learned non-linear editing going from AVID VideoShop to AVID proper in undergrad, then to have to deal with tape and film at LMU, let's just say I was none too happy. Though when FCP 1.0 came along I quickly ditched our AVID and Media 100 stations and many heated discussions with my professor then ensued about what was and was not possible; me advocating for FCP things that people thought were not possible.
...that character generator was awful and I don't miss reading heavy manuals. Now that shelf space is taken up with countless 3.5" hard drives in silicon sleeves ;)
[Brett Sherman] "But a look at job postings show this is what employers are looking for. The number of job listings in my area that require multiple talents far, far, far outweighs specialized job offerings. It could be I'm in a unique area. Or it could be that I'm in a non-LA, non-NY area."
To me this seems like just the natural progression of specialist vs generalist. The market, and the niches within that market, will certainly influence the breadth and depth of skills that you need.