Recently I’ve had a chance to visit with some of the brightest minds in post production today. These gentlemen arrived at this point in their careers from various paths, but they all arrived at the same place, which was at the door of Autodesk’s Smoke.
Because NLE’s and effects software have become more economically accessible and more intuitive and because there’s enough free tutorial content online, the job market is saturated with some highly skilled personnel. For those who now find themselves in competition with this new breed of post professionals, now more than ever it’s key to up your game and offer something others simply don’t have.
Fortunately, Autodesk’s Smoke offers just that opportunity. The power of Smoke comes from it’s all in one solution centered around an intuitive timeline that allows you to go to acquisition, editorial, graphics and finishing all from the same system.
Return On Investment
Due to its simplified workflow, Smoke promises to reduce the complexity of workflows by replacing them with an all in one solution that has been proven to save time, and therefore, money. An independent study by Pfeiffer Consulting reveals that, “Autodesk Smoke is twenty-two minutes and fifty-one seconds faster than a multi-product workflow when performing an identical set of common finishing tasks.” This 35.4% increase in productivity has the ability to grow the longer it’s used empowering Smoke to increase productivity exponentially.
Shock and Awe
Having said that, the edge that Smoke offers comes at a very high price and just like anything else in life, if you want the best, be prepared to pay for it both in money and in time. My first impressions of Smoke were very similar to my first impressions of two-a-day football workouts: exasperated and overwhelmed.
The impact first came with sticker shock. I, like so many others, have become quite spoiled by the rapidly declining cost of other NLEs and never even fathomed that there was any other software costing more than $2000.00. So when I found out the cost for a single license Smoke is $14,995.00 I just couldn’t fathom it.
Secondly, I was when I loaded Smoke for the first time, and noticed that other than a timeline, nothing was familiar to me at all. Gone is the old familiar file, edit, view, toolbar at the top. As a matter of fact, there is no tool bar at the top. It was at this moment I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore, and began to feel as though I was very much out of my league. Although taken back by the experience thus far, I kept reminding myself, “if I can conquer this, I will indeed have a skill set that few have mastered”.