To listen to the Terence and Philip Show episode #65 where Terence Curren and Philip Hodgetts discuss what resonated with them in 2014 and how many of those developments are impacting them in 2015, click the player below. A transcript of the episode itself is below the player.
Terence: If you want your project to look and sound better, bring it to the team that cares about your project. Alphadogs.tv
Philip: If you want to smooth out your workflow, translate between Final Cut Pro X and Premiere Pro or even legacy Final Cut Pro, or do the sort of reporting that everyone has to do, then head over to assistedediting.com or intelligent assistance.com
Terence: This is kind of a special announcement for us. We just got the news that Gary Owens has passed away. So for those of you who heard Gary on our show and didn’t know exactly who he was, way back in my childhood I remember listening to Gary when I would watch Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Beautiful downtown Burbank.
Philip: Which was at the time ironic, and now actually somewhat true.
Terence: It is, so it’s kind of funny. It’s kind of hard… when Philip and I started the Terence & Philip show we were trying to figure out what we should do for an open. Do we have nothing, or do we have a standard canned open? Fortunately, my wife’s friend is Gary’s son and we just kind of stumbled upon it, but thought that this would be great. And so there you go. Gary was a wonderful person to just say, “of course I’ll do that for you, no problem.”
Philip: I was reading some of the recollections that people were writing and it seemed like he was a very easy person to work with, and not everyone in this industry is!
Terence: Yeah, everything I’ve heard over the last couple days has all been about how much people loved Gary, and not the usual…
Philip: …where you start to hear the dirt.
Terence: Exactly. There doesn’t seem to be any here.
Philip: That Laugh-In show made such an impression that when we originally started the Digital Production Buzz, which is Larry Jordon’s show, we did a cold open which was very much a homage to the cold open that Gary did for Laugh-In. We were coming from the crystal ballroom at the top of the council, and ultimately the Ralph’s Maytag Museum came out of that same insanity which is what ultimately stuck. But it was really rotating each week. The dusty corridor in the back of the library. I remember it, as we were quite young at the time when Laugh-In got to Australia. It was very late at night too, I’m not sure that I was supposed to be up that late.
Terence: Not with Goldie Hawn in the bikini?
Philip: We’re one step removed from greatness, but it’s nice that we have a recollection of Gary that is ongoing that we can continue to use to honor the memory.
Terence: Yes, I agree. Rest is peace, Gary.
Gary: When we last left our heroes, they were locked into a terribly important discussion. Let’s drop in on them again as they plot the future. Now, from the Top Dogs kennel in beautiful downtown Burbank, it’s the Terence and Philip Show!
Terence: Thank you Gary, once again. And I’m Terence Curren.
Philip: I’m Philip Hodgetts and welcome to another Terence and Philip show.
Terence: We’re going to do a quick recap for 2014. Sort of our year in review.
Philip: I had to look up what happened in 2014!
Terence: Really a stellar year, wasn’t it? Very memorable. 😉
Philip: Well, there’s been a lot of important developments in the year but you tend to not keep remembering them because, you know, Resolve got editorial features back at NAB, and NAB is ancient history now. We’re planning for NAB 2015, so what we saw at NAB 2014 is tending to just blur into the background in my mind.
Terence: That makes sense. NAB tends to go in those cycles, where one year it’s interesting with all new things, and the next year is about how to work with that stuff. Last year was sort of a “here’s how to work with that stuff” year, I think. I don’t know what this year is going to be.
Philip: Another new camera from Blackmagic, another stellar upgrade to Resolve. Let’s see…maybe another purchase to go with Fusion? They announced the Fusion purchase at IBC didn’t they?
Terence: Yes, that’s right. So they’ll have that.
Philip: So I’m not sure what else they need in their suite to round it out. We have a compositing app, we’ve got a color and editorial app…not strong in media management at this point, I have to say, but that’s really the only serious deficit in it. Not as deeply editorial tools as some other platforms, but perfectly adequate at the price point. There is a lot to be said for free!
Terence: Definitely a strong color corrector, of course. The other parts are…being developed. We just had another new release in Final Cut too. Basically, adding support for…
Philip: …MXF natively. Hamburg Media MFX tools disappeared just before IBC or in the first days of IBC, and we were all wondering where they might turn up. I got a strong “no comment” from my contacts at that company.
Terence: So did Apple buy them or just license it?
Philip: I think they bought the rights to the MXF tools. I don’t think they bought the company. That’s why the tools were taken from sale. If they had only licensed them the company could have continued on selling the same tools.
Terence: Well, that’s an interesting thing.
Philip: Yeah. So there’s that. And what is interesting is there are actually Quicktime components that are somehow magically working within a Core Media world, which is a little surprising to those of us that care about that sort of thing but not of any great concern to anybody else because it works. New cameras are around again. Blackmagic have got the camera to distribution almost, so that’s what they need. They need a distribution arm, that’s what’s missing!
Terence: And AJA has their camera.
Philip: AJA has a new camera, yes.
Terence: It’s kind of weird when everyone is in the camera market. It’s a strange universe now.
Philip: Because it’s not like cameras are huge profit centers.
Terence: Right. I don’t understand the thinking.
Philip: All of these cameras are coming out at price points that make them very competitive. So why get into a market where the push is toward “more for less”?
Terence: And that’s driven by Blackmagic because they’re the kings of that.
Philip: They are, and they’re still doing well at it too. So whatever they’re doing seems to be working for them but probably isn’t transferrable to anyone else.
Terence: That’s the problem. They drive these other companies down, but then the other companies can’t make a profit. But again, I don’t even know why AJA entered that market, it just makes no sense to me.
Philip: It was in planning for a long time, apparently. These things take a lot longer to develop and get to market than even the most pessimistic of us planned when we’re planning for it.
Terence: Let’s see, what other exciting things happened last year?
Philip: The Avid Customer Association, which I just noticed has reduced membership costs to, free!
Terence: Yes. For those of you who paid, it is now free. They are still charging to go to the event at NAB.
Philip: That seems reasonable.
Terence: If it’s anything like last year, that was quite an elaborate party. That said, I haven’t seen anything positive coming out of the Avid Customer Association that is adding to the Avid product line or feature set or anything like that. It was and is still being sold as a way for the consumers – us – to select where to spend a certain amount of the research & development dollars. So we would actually prioritize which feature sets, etc. that we want done. But that’s not really happening.
Philip: They did add resolution independence.
Terence: Yes. But the Avid Customer Association is supposed to be providing a list of where they want to put resources right now. 4K was decided by Avid several years earlier. And it’s not actually resolution independence. You can do 4K and UltraHD, but it’s not resolution independence. I noticed that on their website that they actually are calling it resolution independence, but that flies in the face of how we in post define resolution independence. I think of that as After Effects. You can create any size, any thing, any which way. You can take any source, no matter what it is, and work with it in its native resolution. That’s resolution independence, not saying “you can now do 4K in here.”
Philip: Yeah, because other apps haves have gone 4K, 5K, 6K. We’ve seen both being used quite successful in Final Cut Pro X and Premiere Pro. But it seems to be that Avid will now be coming up against this with 4K, but it’s not really resolution independent, because if it was it would already be able to handle 5 and 6K
Terence: And anything else, it doesn’t matter. In the original Final Cut 7, you could go in and setup a timeline that was 720×1648. For whatever reason you’d want to do that I don’t know, but that’s resolution independence. In other words, you can just build whatever it is you want to work. Just like After Effects. It can be whatever size you want.
Philip: Unless you want it to go over 4,000 pixels.
Terence: Well, yes. They had a top end limit. My point is, being able to do whatever you want is true resolution independence. Avid still has your fixed project where you work at this resolution. They’ve added more, but it’s not resolution independence so I think it’s a little disingenuous that they’re marketing it as resolution independent, when it’s not.
Philip: And of course, Avid came back to the stock exchange.
Terence: Yes, that’s true. Of course that was this year…but I guess we can say our year in review is toward NAB. NAB is much more of a demarcation point than January 1st.
Philip: Much more so. I consider my years to be NAB to NAB.
Terence: Same here. But yeah, you’re right. They’re back on the market, and the stock went up a little bit, which is good if you own stock. It was really good if you bought stock at $6.00. Not saying that I did that (coughs), but it could be good. If that was the case. So let’s see, what else is exciting?
Philip: Well, it was Adobe’s coming out party in Hollywood with the Fincher Gone Girl movie.
Terence: Yes, that’s a good point. That was a big win for them. A big feather in the cap.
Philip: Very big feather in the cap, and we now have a release date for Focus, which is the first studio feature film cut in Final Cut Pro X. It was being cut at the same time as Gone Girl, as it turns out, just a different way the studio have their release windows and everything. I believe that’s February 27th, and I suspect that given Final Cut Pro X was used in that there might be a little bit of publicity.
Terence: I would guess it’s going to be more than a little but of publicity.
Philip: Who knows? Who knows what people planned? (Laughs)
Terence: They’ve got another Walter Murch book in the works?
Philip: I know the 1st assistant on that film is actually working on a book for people working in that sort of feature film workflows with Final Cut Pro X. I believe the ibook version of it is going to be out with the movie. I think this is a case where the studio is controlling the absence of publicity.
Terence: What is it about? What’s Focus about?
Philip: I…don’t know. (Laughs) I know it stars Will Smith. And there’s somebody disappearing…or no, that was Gone Girl. Of course, I had no idea what Gone Girl was about the entire time we were associated with getting our change list tool working for that project. Which was a career highlight for us, because Intelligent Assistance got a special thanks at the very very end of the credit on that particular movie, which we weren’t aware of until we went to the Adobe preview day.
Terence: That is cool. That and five bucks will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
Philip: (Laughs) Exactly. It’s funny, when we live in our little world and these things mean something, but you talk to your relatives who don’t live in the same sort of world, and they not only have not heard of the movie, but don’t really care whether or not you got a screen credit on it. When you mention there was a bonus chapter in Creativity Inc. about Steve Jobs, they say, “who’s that?” (Laughs) We live in different worlds with a lot of other people, and we should remind ourselves occasionally that our family probably lives in a very different world.
Terence: That’s why the 4K thing is such a joke. We understand what that is along with the limitations, but if I talk to my family they’re like, “what does that mean?” They don’t care. It’s totally unimportant.
Philip: I guess 2014 was the year that 4K became a thing, and something you had to actually deal with. Whether we argue for or against as we did in the last show, it is a thing that has to be dealt with one way or the other. Whether that would be resolution independence in Media Composer or something else in the pipeline. More storage, better codecs…it’s not going to go away like 3D did. There are still some benefits to 4K in production. 4K in the home I don’t think is ever…
Terence: Within two years you won’t hear about 4K in production anymore. It’ll be 8K by then.
Philip: Yeah, 4K will be done.
Terence: Exactly. But that’s the production side. That’s got nothing to do with what ends up being seen by the viewer. That’s more of our bailiwick. I’m not going to work at 4K if I’m delivering at 1080. Why do it?
Philip: Well, you get the benefit of oversampling at the source. So you’re going to deliver better 1080 with a 4K master, all else being equal.
Terence: The “all else being equal is the catch” there. I’m looking this up…Focus is a romantic comedy starring Will Smith.
Philip: The irony there is that Ben Affleck, who went on to star in Gone Girl, was originally was originally associated with Focus, and going to star in Focus.
Terence: So one way or another, it was not going to be an Avid project.
Philip: No, no. I don’t know what he’s got against Avid! But apparently something.
Terence: So let’s see, what other exciting things have happened this year? Somebody crashed a drone on the front lawn of the White House. What was I saying two years ago about drones? It’s just a matter of time. That one apparently was innocent, but if insidious characters haven’t figured it out, that probably triggered their primitive brain.
Philip: And really, 2014 was the year of the drone, when the aerial platform really took off, pun not intended.
Terence: It’s interesting, I’m reading articles with the Secret Service and they’re saying it’s too late now. You can’t put the cat back in the bag. I remember seeing it two or three years ago at NAB the first time they had some of those drones and I’m like, “this is going to be a problem”.
Philip: I had some exposure to this back in 2012, with the aborted Solar Odyssey project, and it was so obvious that a) this was going to become a great aerial platform. You could just do so much. And b) the software was going to get so much better. So a lot of the skills that I was busy trying to learn had become redundant within a year or two and the software was going to simply take it over. That is not to say there aren’t skills required for flying one of these drones, and particularly for aerial photography.
Terence: For filming you definitely want the skilled operator…it’s not as easy as just, “go”. But if you just want to fly one and just fly it around, it’s simple.
Philip: Yeah, I’ve got as Parrot 2 and it just flies off the iPad or the phone. You just take the phone and slide a bit on the screen and it goes up, comes down and takes off. Previously it was having to adjust 14 things for takeoff at once to keep it from going in the wrong direction and then compensate because when the aircraft turned, forward is now sideways because you’re facing a different direction. Now, you just select one setting and the software always goes wherever the direction is for the tilt of the iphone and the orientation of the aircraft is completely independent. You can put it to the side and then move it forward so you track beside something. It’s a completely software controlled world, but still requires skills, just like editing.
Terence: Software controlled, but experience still matters. How’s that?
Terence: Drones were a big thing. HDR made its premiere this last year. Dolby obviously has their Dolby Vision, which I was blown away when I saw. What’s happened since then is within the last several months I’ve been seeing a lot of other companies are coming up with their own version of HDR, which means now we’re going to have standards hell.
Terence: Yes. Instead of just saying, “all right here’s one, let’s just stick with this concept.” So I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I can tell you that for a consumer walking into a store and looking at televisions side by side, HDR is going to sell TVs. 4K is not.
Philip: I haven’t yet seen the Dolby screen.
Terence: When you do, you’ll go, “oh yeah, you’re right. This is going to sell TVs.” It pops, that is the best way I can describe it. It makes the image actually pop because you have so much more dynamic range. The purest white point on there is so much brighter. Increasing that dynamic range also increases the amount of chroma you can display. It’s really an impressive picture. Overall, the year was sort of advancements on stuff that already existed. There was nothing really dynamic.
Philip: I think Greg told me we did 70 software releases.
Terence: 70? Because of updates?
Philip: Yeah. We didn’t actually get a new app out of Intelligent Assistance this year. That was all updates. We got Lumberjack finally out to market in May so that was this year. That was a big deal for us, anyway. We’ve expanded that out since then with an app for logging already shot footage within that ecosystem. It’s an iPad app.
Terence: So you don’t have to just have it when you’re shooting now? You can actually add to it afterwards?
Philip: Yeah. And it was remarkably easy to do. I had this complicated method of triggering stuff off to the database and Greg said we could just add a bit of custom metadata to the file and look for that in the other app. Okay!
Terence: That’s why he’s the programmer.
Philip: I’m just the agitator. We’re still working on making it very robust when you’re away from the Internet. I realized on my way to Australia that it has to be able to survive being quit by the OS and still return to where you were without having to require a new login. Otherwise we had a fatal design flaw.
Terence: Oops. So that’s fixed now?
Philip: It’s fixed in my beta builds, but not in the released version. Should be fixed shortly. We’re testing to make sure it’s as robust as we want it to be.
Terence: Do you have any test cases? Folks who are using it now?
Philip: We have some. I’m trying to track down one because somebody in a webinar chat said that they had used it on a childrens show and had been very happy with it. That was news to me so I’m tracking him down now.
Terence: Yeah, that would be good to know.
Philip: I’d like to know that what we’re doing is a success.
Terence: We just did a FCPX job that we had to get the audio out to Pro Tools and you have two options. You can buy the very expensive Pro Tools only export plug-in, or you can buy your less expensive Xto7 and you can go out of 7 where the OMF support is built in. So we bought that and we found some interesting issues. I talked to Greg and he was like, “okay.”
Philip: Apparently this has been backwards and forwards, and the first fix wasn’t as complete. It’s nice to be able to do that, to be a small company where we don’t have engineering resources planned out for the next 3-4 months. And Greg will tend to bunch together work on Xto7 or a bunch of work on 7toX.
Terence: That makes sense. Because you get your head in a certain place.
Philip: Yeah. And that’s what led to 70 releases last year over essentially 5 apps. And a couple of our older apps got an update as well. Sequence Clip Reporter got an update as well so that it could do thumbnails, which was something we wanted to do right from the start. In fact, the code was all there but we found that the version of OLE that we were using to build an Excel spreadsheet had a bug. Not our bug, and somewhere in the meantime that got fixed and it was years before we realized it was fixed. So we added thumbnails to both our reporting tools.
Terence: So that runs in Final Cut X now?
Philip: The Producers Best Friend is the product for Final Cut X. Sequence Clip Reporter is for Final Cut 7 XML. Predominately these days for Premiere Pro users. Premiere Pro works with a variation of Final Cut 7 XML. They say it’s Final Cut 7 XML…it’s a variation of XML from our perspective. We can put custom metadata in there for Adobe’s own purposes. And that’s fine if we have sufficient notice and customers who are patient enough to help us deal with that. Most of the updates in the last year or two years for those apps have been really to better support Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps, rather than better Final Cut Pro 7 support, because Final Cut Pro 7 isn’t going anywhere, it isn’t coming back, it isn’t being developed, there’s no variations to deal with.
Terence: You don’t have to worry about updates.
Philip: So we wrote Producers Best Friend to use AV Foundations that are Quicktime as well. That was Greg’s first venture into AV Foundation.
Philip: And it works very much the same way as QTKit did. It doesn’t have as many high level features yet. The base is all there, so as a developer you end up doing a little bit more work to get to the same place as you could do in QTKit, which was more aggregating of common steps together into high level steps. So, for example, you just embed a player into your app and say you want it to have this type of control. Rather than having to write all the code to do a player. That all just reaches down and uses the code that you would have to write yourself. Over time, we get more and more of these higher level commands that reduce the amount of work that a programmer has got to do and long as you’re doing common sorts of things.
Terence: So it’s easier? Writing with QTKit?
Philip: Where the higher level stuff is equivalent is about the same. So getting a player in QTKit was about the same amount of work. But there are other things that Greg has needed to do that were harder to do in AV Foundation as it is right now. Probably, in two years time, we’ll have those higher level commands that would have made the work he’s done right now a whole lot easier. But you want to have it done now.
Terence: It always works that way, doesn’t it? It just reminds me of HPA Tech Retreat, I think it was two years ago, when the theme for it was “Snowflake Workflows.” Where every workflow is different and as soon as you get it worked out it hits the ground and melts and changes. So it’s the same kind of thing. No matter what you do, something gets changed. You get a nice workflow going or write the code, something gets changed.
Philip: I think we just have to learn to just deal with change as being one of the constants that we’ve had to deal with our entire career. The industry that you first worked in and that I first worked in has changed dramatically. Theoretically it’s the same industry, and this might be a different show, but I look back 30 years and think I’ve got maybe another 30 years of productivity ahead of me, but how much more change am I going to have to deal with?
Terence: And it’s so much faster now.
Philip: Yeah. And I think this is one of the ways of staying young mentally. To recognize that you are going to have to constantly learn new stuff, and if you’ve been in position where you’ve been able to complacently not learning new stuff, then things will change at some point where you’re suddenly screwed because there will be too much of a shift to jump. You can jump across a small chasm relatively easy. The wider the chasm gets, there will be a point where you go down screaming.
Terence: That’s what’s happening to a lot of people who have been unemployed for over a year. It’s really hard to get back up to speed on any kind of a job because you’re so far out of the marketplace at that point. You don’t think about it, but a lot happens in a year. A lot changes in how people work.
Philip: Yeah. And it’s going to be continual. There will be no letting up. There will be new codecs. I think this will be the year we’ll see a lot of implementation of h.265, the high efficiency video codec that has been around for about 18 months.
Terence: But you’ve got to have players on the end that play it.
Philip: And this is the year I think we’ll see h.265 coming into players, and therefore we’ll start to see a demand for encoding tools. There are some encoding tools now, and there are some players, but there are not mainstream players like Quicktime player and Windows Media Player. They do not yet support h.265. Although I might be wrong about Windows Media Player, because I’m not sure that the latest or upcoming release isn’t planning to support h.265.
Terence: So you have that and you also have your boxes. Your cable boxes play Blu-Ray players , Smart TVs, all of those things are not going to be…
Philip: Yeah, it’s not going to be a sudden transition from h.264 to h.265. What it’s going to mean is that for a period of time, we’re going to be stuck doing both encodes. It’s not going to make life easier, it’s just going to make life more complicated. Because now you’ll have to do a h.264 encode for players that support that, a h.265 higher efficiency video for players that can do that.
Terence: I was trying to explain to a client just this week how they had issues. They were getting interlacing issues going between frame rates in HD and all that. I said that going to HD we had this chance to start all over and say that it’s all progressive, you’ve got 24 frame, 30 frame, 60 frame, and boom, that’s it. Done. Instead of 29.997, 59.994, etc. I said that all of this still stems back to when we couldn’t just throw away black and white TVs and have color. They had to lay color on top of black and white and to this day we still have all of these variations because nobody ever wants to make the commitment of, let’s just start over. And here we go again. It’s what you’re talking about right now. Even in the codec universe we’re doing the same thing.
Philip: There always seems to be two encodes required, whether it was h.264 and MPEG simple profile or h.264 and Windows Media Encode, or an h.264 and real video at some point you had to do. Or maybe real video was deprecated long before that. There isn’t really any loss of old codecs. People still ask about encoding to AVI.
Terence: Oh yeah, we get those. There are certain companies that AVI is still their deliverable spec.
Philip: A container format that was officially deprecated in 1996. Nearly 19 years ago, and there’s been no development for, apart from some proprietary 3rd party stuff on a container that has nearly 13 years since it stopped being developed.
Terence: How much fun is that? So now we have all those running parallel too. And it’s a real pain because if you’re on a Mac. There’s just no easy way to deal with that. We have a by platform universe, so it’s not a big deal. We just go over to one of the PC’s and you can make the AVI without a problem. But if you’re just in a Mac universe, how do you do it? Or vice-verse if you need to make ProRes, since Apple won’t license it out on the Windows side.
Philip: They do have a couple windows licenses.
Terence: They have one company that claims they have the license, which I think is Cinedeck. But it’s very expensive.
Philip: And Telestream will do encodes to ProRes on Windows.
Terence: Are they using the Apple codec or are they doing their own thing?
Philip: Since nobodys licensed it, it would have to be reverse engineered completely, which is pretty tricky for a codec.
Terence: Right, and Cinedeck is the only that I know of that actually got the license from Apple, which is why they can do an insert edit into a Quicktime movie even with a ProRes file. Come to the Editor’s Lounge this month and you’ll see that. So what else happened this year?
Philip: One of the things that has obviously become a trend, and obviously following Adobe’s lead, is that subscription models are here to stay. Avid have obviously provided that as an option.
Terence: You were forced over by the end of the year.
Philip: There’s a pseudo for-subscription model there and it almost does the same job as a subscription in terms of the benefit Avid gets. If you’ve got a revenue stream even from a permanent license, so that rent or support contract, or whatever you want to call updates to your permanent license, that’s ongoing revenue that they can say they can announce features that are upcoming because they have ongoing revenue from each customer, so they’re benefitting that way. Adobe of course has been all subscription for coming up on two years.
Terence: Apparently it hasn’t hurt them.
Philip: They’ve gone from strength to strength. I believe there are over 3 million subscribers now.
Terence: Of course, that’s across the entire suite. I would guess there are probably more people using Photoshop than Premiere.
Philip: I would not argue with that. Adobe is largely a photography and document handling company. The dynamic media division, which is where we play, is certainly part of that but it’s also web development. I’m sensing that there’s not a big growth in the After Effects market, simply because they’re integrating some After Effects features into Premiere Pro and there are some ways of adding value to the artists ecosystem.
Terence: After Effects is kind of their weakest area now. Even though it’s a very strong app, the code is so old that it’s so cumbersome. I get to listen to my After Effects artists complain all day about how they have to build a RAM preview to see something you’re working on, where I can do that in real-time on Symphony or in Final Cut, or whatever else. Every other piece of software can handle this stuff in real-time.
Philip: I don’t believe any announcement has been made, but a little while back there was an Adobe blog post where the then product manager from After Effects asked the crowd, “if we spent a year with no major new features in After Effects but increased the performance dramatically, would that be a direction you’d like us to that?” I’m paraphrasing of course, but the response was overwhelmingly positive, and I suspect that’s probably what’s happening now as we go through. One of the big advantages that company has and that product has is that the development team is relatively stable 20 years down the track. They’re the same people who wrote the original code. They know where the skeletons are, they know where the squeaky floorboards are, they know where the important trunk connections are in the code, to places where they can hook new code in and out. Always good to have somebody who helped write the thing help update it. The same architect there on the renovation who was there for the original construction is very helpful. So I’m hopeful that After Effects will see that performance boost in a next major release whenever that happens. We’ve also seen the Autodesk subscription model this year, and I think we’ve seen that the subscription model does tend to work for people. At least so far Adobe has been regular with updates. We’ve seen fairly regular updates from Avid.
Terence: Yeah, Avid is cranking them out. There’s not a specific release time anymore. Updates just keep popping out. .1, .11, .2, etc. 8.3, which gave us 4K, was just, “here it is, it’s available now.” We didn’t have to wait for NAB or a specific date. When it was ready it went out. I think we’ll see more and more of that from this point forward. I know there’s an 8.3.1 coming out now.
Philip: And we haven’t had a feature update for Final Cut Pro X other than the MFX support, which is huge which is huge in the markets that support that.
Terence: Well, that is a feature update.
Philip: Yeah, but it was not something that was built in the core app. It’s always interesting when an app gets updates that are either somewhat peripheral to them, like colored markers in Final Cut 7, for example. Important to some people, but not a core part of the app. Or the long gap we saw when they restructured from events and projects into libraries. Generally, if there’s a long gap like that, without many feature updates, like we’re talking about with After Effects, it probably means there’s some sort of architectural change going on that can’t easily be fitted in, so you’ve got to stop doing a certain amount of work before you can move forward. Who knows? I’m sure we’ll see a feature release sometime soon, but we haven’t had one, other than the MXF since December of 2013.
Terence: Wow, I hadn’t realized it had been that long.
Philip: Importantly, it was 10.1.2, because that was the native restructuring of the XML to reformat around libraries, and we were thankful they didn’t make us do that in one big jump. We could adjust to Final Cut Pro 10.1 and the XML changes, but still stick to events and projects. But then, I’m pretty sure, in 10.1.2 that was when we got the full XML, and that was a major reworking of all of our apps to support libraries. In fact, Greg just added library support to Producers Best Friend just recently, which led to another bug report. The discovery of another bug in that same XML spreadsheet builder. When you have a big library, you have a big spreadsheet, and numbers won’t open big spreadsheets in the old XLS format. And we think number support is pretty important. But it wasn’t until we did one thing and someone who is testing with a library of material that we come across this next potential problem, because we never could have got to the point of that bigger spreadsheet
Terence: I guess it’s tough if you don’t have a huge beta testing base. You never know what’s going to happen on something like that until you release it.
Philip: And our experience with Beta testers has been that people’s intentions are good. And I’ve volunteered for various betas of stuff where I feel my intentions were good, but I really didn’t add value for the developer. And sorry to every developer that I’ve ever done that top, as being on the other side of that particular equation is not as much fun.
Terence: When I’m in the beta phase I’m just using the application anyways, so if my particular workflow doesn’t hit any bugs…
Philip: Yeah, but you don’t go and demonstrate anything. It’s tricky when you say you can’t go and do a user group in Boston or wherever with the version of whatever is on your machine right now! So it’s back into Time Machine to bring you back to a version you can show in public. (Laughs)
Terence: What else this year? Oh, one other thing is that Blackmagic had their film scanner that came out.
Philip: That’s right, the film scanner, which of course is a fairly niche product so I don’t tend to hear anything about it.
Terence: Yeah, I don’t even know if they’re shipping yet. It’s a $30,000, 4K film scanner because they bought Rank Cintel. It’s interesting because in the last week we just had an announcement that the studios signed a deal with Kodak to guarantee they’re going to buy a certain amount of film each year. Of course, it’s kind of a joke because if you’re not doing release prints you’re not generating enough to make it work. So now the studios are on the hook to buy the film whether they use it or not. I don’t know where they’re going to develop it. FotoKem I guess is it. They better hope FotoKem doesn’t shut the lab down or that’s it.
Philip: It was really the year that we saw film fade out, if not die.
Terence: Yeah. I never thought I’d see that day, but here it is. It’s gone.
Philip: The film printer shutter is getting closed. It’ll be fade to black. A year of consolidation, not really a year of terribly exciting transitions.
Terence: I would say that. I concur.
Philip: And 2015 is coming up, we’ll have to wait and see what comes up with that. In the meantime, I’m Philip Hodgetts.
Terence: And I’m Terence Curren.
Philip: And do something creative.