What about the non-Broadcast arena?

As a followup to my previous post, I received this question (or something like it) in a few emails: “do you think this same trend will hit the non-broadcast arena?”

The answer is, it depends.

It depends on what kind of work you are doing. Final Cut Pro X is not an unusable editor for many folks. Undesirable for some, but it is capable of editing programs together. People who are editing for the web or for DVD delivery, are probably going to have very little cause to think about switching away from FCP-X.

That being said, there’s alot of stuff that FCP-X does differently than FCP7. It is different enough that, for all intents, it *is* a different NLE application. There will be a learning curve. There will be new ways you will have to learn to handle tasks in a different fashion. Some tasks just don’t work the same way as they did before. From little things like setting In & Out points on a clip to big things like media management, FCP-X will be a new thing for whoever picks it up.

So, while the main premise of my previous post doesn’t completely apply to smaller firms (Go big or stay small), I think that there needs to be some serious consideration given to the kinds of work you are currently doing and the kinds of work you might be doing in the near future. You will need to factor that in to your decision. FCP-X just isn’t going to have the same kinds of support FCP7 does. You won’t be able to send an FCP-X project to a post-house and have them work with it as-is. Once they receive it, they are going to need to run it through some extra steps in order to get a timeline exported for use in audio or color in an efficient manner.

On the other hand, both Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro support many of the same import and export paths that FCP7 does today. So, if you are looking for the closest non-FCP match, then you may want to explore those platforms. Also, FCP7 is probably going to remain a viable editing application for a few more years. It won’t be updated, but it could probably remain serviceable for some time. What we don’t know, is if some future update to OSX or to Quicktime will break the functionality of FCP7. If that happens, then in order to maintain an FCP7 system, you will need to have a older installation of OSX and Quicktime running to make it work. In my opinion, that’s a temporary solution and not something I’d trust as my primary production platform for very long.

The issues of drive space and hardware purchases are certainly more financially driven than anything else. So if it is a case of planning for upgrades or for planning new purchases for your operation, I think you need to do your research about FCP-X, Avid, Premiere Pro and anything else to see what the future might hold for you if you make a choice to go down a certain path.

One thought on “What about the non-Broadcast arena?

  1. Nice series of posts, Ben.

    There’s an interesting discussion of the future of post houses on The Terence and Philip show, here:

    http://www.theterenceandphilipshow.com/2011/12/episode-39-post-houses/

    Personally, I’m not sure why anyone would be thinking about building a large post house, these days. Havent they been on a variety of “Top Ten Businesses that are Going Away” lists, lately?

    http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2011/03/28/top-10-dying-industries/

    The point being, it’s not a growth area, there are already plenty of them out there, and the shops that already exist are price cutting like mad just to stay in business. The big, “equipment list” post houses of the past seem to inevitably a hit a tipping point where they get fragile and can’t sustain their investments. Part of that, I believe, is that the rate of change in our business has accelerated over the years. Think about how many years a post house would have had to amortize the investment in a Beta SP deck, back in the day.

    The reaction to FCPX has been fascinating to me. In my mind, only Apple was in a position to completely reboot their NLE software, and risk alienating their existing customer base. I also believe Apple was perfectly willing to sacrifice the top of editing pyramid, the broadcast TV and hollywood film editors, in order to better serve the exponentially larger market of project studios, corporate and government editors.

    Apple did a horrible job managing expectations at the launch of FCPX. Horrible. They blew it, big time. But, as a good friend of mine commented during the wave of outrage following the release, it’s not like your copy of FCP 7 was raptured from your hard drives. It’s still there. Yes, it was already getting long in the tooth, but as Ben writes in this post, you could still get a couple of years out of it, if you need to.

    Here at our little tiny project studio, we’re taking a wait and see attitude. We’re still editing our projects on FCP 7, dabbling in FCPX, and keeping an eye out for what Avid and Adobe are up to. FCPX is intriguing enough that we’re willing to wait until at least the next revision until making any commitments on where we’ll go next. I’m hearing from editors I respect that FCPX is saving them a lot of time on projects. I’m also hearing them say there are some things about it that annoy the crap out of them. We’ll see where it goes, and we’ll make appropriate decisions when we have to. They’re just tools, after all.

    Sure beats editing with a Super-90 and a stack of 3/4″ decks, though, doesn’t it? (Although those were fun days, to be sure.)

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