Imagine having the first cut of your story done for you in less than a minute… by a computer! That is what First Cuts claims to do. Wait a minute, before you discount this concept I have to tell you, it appears to work.
When I first saw a rough version of this software a few years ago, I thought someone was smoking crack. Then it finally shipped this week, and Philip Hodgetts and Dr. Gregory Clarke of Serendipity software have been vindicated. Now they have a bigger problem to face. Public shunning.
What the software does is string out a full edit with sound bites, B-roll and even the proper lower thirds in place. Taking advantage of Apple’s use of XML, First Cuts apply basic editing rules to well logged media to achieve this result. No one would classify these edited pieces as finished. (Except maybe a few news stations I can think of). But they are far enough along that days, weeks or months can be saved in these first rough stringouts, freeing the editor to concentrate on fine tuning. Or so goes the theory of this software.
The other side of the coin is represented by editors who feel their very livelihood threatened. Though First Cuts actually chips more into the story editor or assistant editor’s job, there is validity to the problem of removing the editor from getting familiar with all of the footage available. If the editor walks in with everything that First Cuts deems essential already cut into the timeline, how does he know what gold nugget may have been missed?
I have witnessed some very upset people on a few editing lists already on notification of this product, and the debate promises to continue for quite a while. But that is what happens with paradigm shifts. Are we about to experience another one?