While I found myself defending Avid’s new pricing scheme , I got to wondering about how people actually decide if something is worth its cost. From conversations I’ve had publicly and privately it is clear that logic has little bearing in most value decisions. Here’s an example:
You shop at Costco because the price is cheaper. You can buy a ton of frozen and canned foods and big bags of fruit less expensively than in the local grocery store. However… if they are large cans, do you end up throwing some away? Do you refrigerate the leftovers which then don’t taste as good on the next pass? Do some of the apples in that big bag begin to decompose before you get to them? Do you really get through all the frozen foods before freezer rot hits them? And how long did you wait in line at Costco vs. your local store? Time is money. And don’t forget the gas.
That’s a simplistic example of some of the additional factors that should go into determining value. Upon careful analysis it may turn out that shopping at the local grocery store makes better financial sense. This same logic needs to be applied to our world. When you look at the price of a computer, do you look at the time savings you may get with a faster processor? Adding up a few minutes each day in render and performance times starts to add up quickly when you realize it against your billing rate.
The new Avid products are claiming 6 or more streams of HD in real time. And that can be output without rendering. When you add up the amount of time saved in just that area alone, true value starts to become more apparent. Of course following this logic one could argue that an even more powerful hardware based system would be a better deal. Look at Quantel or Autodesk products for examples of how you can achieve even faster speeds. But then the question of conform rears it ugly head. If most of the effects created in your FCP or Avid offline don’t come across, then you have to spend time recreating them.
When I was trying to decide on our first purchase of a shared storage system, I was having a hard time justifying it. Most of the work we did was finishing work so having shared media wasn’t really necessary. We had Medea Fibre based drives and a fibre patchbay in our machine room, so if we really needed to move media, we would shut down both systems involved, swap the fibre patches, and then restart the computers (with our fingers crossed). Shared storage in our environment isn’t something you can easily charge for. Storage is expected to be included.
I finally sat down and took a good look at our workflows. I could calculate how long it took to shut down the systems and restart them. That was quantifiable. I was also able to get a rough number of times per week that occurred. I then multiplied that times the average rate of an editor. Suddenly I could actually see how I could make enough savings to justify purchasing a Terrablock system.
This is an example of how we need to try and see as many parameters as possible when making purchasing decisions. In the case of our shared storage, it had a benefit I didn’t predict. It opened us up to more offline jobs that we may have just avoided in the past.
So the next time someone says you should buy brand X because it’s cheaper, smile, tell them you’ll get back to them, and go run some numbers. 🙂