Blog: Post NAB - The NLE Wars between the "A's" will continue, much to the users benefit.
by gary adcock on May 1, 2012 at 4:00:22 pm
SInce NAB 2011 the NLE market has been aflutter. Apple announced release of FCPX was heralded until the new version of the App hit the street and Apple, in my humble opinion, placed that product on the market about a year too early for the majority of users to understand or handle. < http://macw.us/A3zc7i >
Since than Apple has released 4 updates that end up covering a larger number of my complaints including the announcement for FCPX 10.04 that very quietly removed the "Beta" tag on output of true Broadcast Quality Monitoring. Aja, BMD and Matrox released final " broadcast" drivers within hours of the pre-NAB announcement.
Apple has responded to critics. The advancements in the app in less than a year have been impressive for a company that was immediately seen as not caring about it's NLE business. I understand that large numbers of people do not get FCPX, I can assure you the "kids" creeping up behind your business will use it, it has more metadata understanding,power and power under the hood than any mainstream NLE app I know of, hell the only other apps with this much power on the Pro side are customized application toolkits like NextLAB from Fotokem < http://bit.ly/ISciRP > or ColorFront < http://bit.ly/InsPgH > dallies tool sets.
OK, Avid had a chance to really take back the market they had lost to Apple, but somehow they have managed to let that chance evaporate into thin air. Last year they had bought ProRes as codec into their infrastructure ( and a thank you goes to Arri for forcing the issue because of Alexa's rapid acceptance). Avid pretty much owns the commercial and episodic editing space, mainly due to a multi-user editing environment, efficient and effective media handling and an integrated shared network infrastructure that frankly could have taken back a good deal of their lost market share had they not squandered the chance, I saw very few installed versions of MC6,even at Avid's own booth this year, most of their display machine were touting Symphony as the new tool to have, now with a sub $1000 USD price point.
Avid rules in a couple of the spaces I work in, without question the vast majority ( over 80%) of the OnSet work I do goes for edit on Avid systems, whether that be on a Commercial Shoot or working on features and episodics. The have had infrastructure figured out for a while and that will keep them at the level they are at currently working. However since their tools are not targeted at entry level editing I see fewer and fewer students or small independent production companies going forward with Media Composer like they did with FCP.
While the Smoke on the Mac 2013 < http://autode.sk/Ksrcgm > announcement was a bit of a surprise to many, it has been in the works for sometime, Autodesk is one of the few companies that can truly give Avid a run in the Multi-user editing environment, having already been one of the leaders of shared toolsets driven by their animation division's Maya, AutoCad and 3DStudioMax toolset.
Let's be honest here, Smoke has not been an app that was intuitive or friendly to the user. Other than a few coding geeks, most editors have no idea what a "Gateway" was, not that it was little more than a IP based entry point or location identified on your network. Smoke 2013 throws all of that server level UI controls back under the hood, thankfully. I have been a advocate for both Smoke 2011 and 2012, but the level of use that Autodesk has incorporated into Smoke 2013 is just phenomenal. You will now be able to Drag and Drop files from the desktop into a project, edit and finish in one timeline, much like Avid is messaging with Symphony.
The interesting sidebar here is that one of Apple's largest advocates for FCPX, @RadicalMedia's Evan Schechtman was the main presenter at Autodesk's Smoke 2013 announcement, touting the possibilities with XML interconnection between the 2 apps. Maybe there is far more going on here than any of us are thinking about. Maybe there will be something more between these 2 companies in the future.
This NAB, Adobe was hands down kicking ass all over the show floor, < http://adobe.ly/JPVvlq > with the CS6 Suite announced just before the show opened, Adobe revealed a radically new version of Premier Pro with a fully customizable interface, vastly improved AfterEffects and increased Photoshop's video editing functionality dramatically. So Premier Pro has moved into the position that FCP had about v5, groundbreaking, yet functionally designed for smaller facilities and indie filmmakers that are the vast majority of NLE users.
Premiers functionality update is nothing short of spectacular, with RAW file integration driven by the acquisition of DI industry leader Iridas, has brought nothing short of a miracle to PPro's ability to handle and playback the myriad of camera native formats. Look there is no other editor I know of that you can drop native R3D or ArriRaw files into a timeline and get anything truly close to realtime playback. Add to that the underpinnings that Speedgrade brings into the Adobe Toolset, I cannot wait to see what is next up, because right now Adobe has peaked everyone's interest by offering the community a fully functional NLE that is delivering and usable today. No waiting and minimal re-education necessary.