Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro creator Randy Ubillos honoured with 2017 SMPTE award

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

SMPTE (The Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers) have announced that former Adobe, Macromedia and Apple employee Randy Ubillos will be receiving the Workflow Systems Medal at the SMPTE 2017 Awards later this year.

The Workflow Systems Medal, sponsored by Leon Silverman, recognizes outstanding contributions related to the development and integration of workflows, such as integrated processes, end-to-end systems or industry ecosystem innovations that enhance creativity, collaboration, and efficiency, or novel approaches to the production, postproduction, or distribution process.

The award will be presented to Randy Ubillos in recognition of his role in establishing the foundation of accessible and affordable digital nonlinear editing software that fundamentally shaped the industry landscape and changed the way visual stories are created and told. Ubillos’ revolutionary work with creating and designing lower-cost editing software such as Final Cut Pro® and Adobe® Premiere® shifted the film and television industry toward a more inclusive future, giving storytellers of diverse backgrounds and experience levels the ability to tell their stories and rise as filmmakers, technicians, engineers, and key players in every facet of media and entertainment.

His work significantly enhanced and transformed the world of postproduction, popularizing and commoditizing file-based workflows while removing significant barriers to the creative editing process for millions of users worldwide.

I interviewed Randy at the first FCPX Creative Summit in 2015. Topics covered included where Adobe Premiere 1.0 came from, the story of Final Cut Pro at Macromedia and working with Steve Jobs:

Ubillos: iMovie’s codename was RoughCut, it was conceived originally as a front end to Final Cut - for creating a rough edit for Final Cut. I worked with a graphic designer to make it look good. When I did a demo of it to Steve [Jobs] in about three minutes he said “That’s the next iMovie.” So I asked when it was supposed to ship, and he said “Eight months.”

[…]

The very last conversation I had with Steve Jobs was right after the launch of Final Cut Pro X. I was getting ready to get on a plane to go to London to record the second set of movie trailers - we’d hired the London Symphony Orchestra [to perform the music that was going to be bundled with the next version of iMovie] - and Steve caught me at home: “What the heck is going on with this Final Cut X thing?” I said “We knew this was coming, we knew that people were going to freak out when we changed everything out from under them. We could have done this better. We should have. Final Cut 7 should be back on the market. We should have an FAQ that lists what this is all about.” He said “Yeah, let’s get out and fund this thing, let’s make sure we get on top of this thing, move quickly with releases…” and he finished by asking: “Do you believe in this?” I said “Yes.” He said “then I do too.”

Congratulations to Randy. Although he is probably making the most of his retirement, I hope his contributions to the history of video literacy are not over.