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BlogAvid’s new target: YouTuesday, August 11 2015

In the last year the case studies Avid chooses to report on on its blog have changed. As well as regularly reporting on aspects of making studio feature films…

August 2014:

We’d take a 2.40 frame and decide where it’s going to be when viewers see it displayed in regular, non-IMAX theaters. I did versions of the tilt scan for setting the 2.40 look from the IMAX frame using the Avid resize effect. Then the assistants replaced the Avid footage with a black-and-white trackable grid pattern, which we then rendered out and delivered to EFILM.

October 2014:

The Expendables 3 features a huge cast of A-list action stars, which posed a major challenge for the editors. “You’re trying to fit in a lot of big personalities, and a lot of big sequences,” Sean says. “There are about 17 main characters in this movie, so we needed to make tough decisions about which individual character stories got told.”

…they’ve started to report on much smaller films:

June 2015:

Because of the film’s small budget, I served as both the editor and the VFX artist. And as you can tell from the following photo, the production scrimped and hired a total noob as my assistant.  He turned out to be a lazy punk, uninterested in performing his DIT and assistant editor duties.

Yesterday:

Given the scale of the project, and the fact that I would be acting as my own assistant editor and liaison between later partners in the post production process, Media Composer was the logical decision.

Avid’s Tier 3

The change in case studies is due to Avid targetting a different market.

As quoted from a Seeking Alpha transcript of Avid’s Q1 2015 analyst call in May:

So we generally think about the media technology market in three tiers comprising a total addressable market of almost $8 billion. We define the three tiers as large media enterprises, businesses and institutions and finally individual creatives. It’s worth noting that there’s also a consumer market at the very low end of tier 3, which is not an area of focus for us. However, we do have tools for discovery so that nonprofessionals and enthusiasts can determine if they like to aspire to become a creative professional. (My emphasis)

There’s a video on Avid tiers on their investor relations website (Uses Flash and requires an email address to play).

In yesterday’s Q2 2015 call, Louis Hernandez, Avid’s Chairman, President and CEO:

We have had our early returns better than we expected, but we think that the Tier 3 leadership, the programs, the systems, the processes, those are still being put in place so we’re encouraged with the early returns there.

Other interesting Avid facts:

  • 12,000 paid subscribers (5,000 at end of 2014)
  • 25,000 MediaCentral licenses sold so far to Tier 1 accounts
  • Tier 1 is mostly buying still on a licensed perpetual model
  • Tier 3 market, a largely untapped by Avid – potentially amounts to $1.8 billion

While others have forced customers to move off of perpetual contracts on to subscription, we recognize that this model does not work for all of our customers

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BlogBig Final Cut Pro X events: Make them happenTuesday, August 11 2015

Without much fanfare outside Latin America, at the weekend Leo Hans and the Argentinian Association of Audiovisual Editors organised one of the biggest Final Cut Pro X-dedicated events yet.

Leo has written up a detailed report on the day at fcp.co:

We didn’t have learning centers here since Apple is not present in Argentina, but we do have resellers. So I started to teach FCP X to some friends of mine until one of the members of the board of EDA (Argentinian Association of Audiovisual Editors) offered help trying to find a location to hold that meeting I’d been thinking about for a long time.

Interesting that an professional editors organisation thought an initial meeting about Final Cut Pro X was worth supporting. Perhaps this is more likely in countries with less of an established high-end post industry.

Countries concentrating older workflows don’t yet consider those using newer tools much of a threat. This might change when local ad agencies and production companies start spreading the word to mulinational clients… “that Argentina ad works well, repurpose it for Asia.”

Maybe the EDA has a higher proportion of freelancers, who might not all be moving over to X, but need to be more open to newer tools and workflows.

We took the risk to ask the Audio-Visual District to use the main area, a tent for 330 people. And again, we ran out of space in a matter of hours with 450 people who signed up including those who wanted to stay in a waiting list.

An important lesson from Leo’s story: he didn’t wait for Apple to kick the Final Cut Pro X marketing into gear. He took on the task of spreading the word himself.

In this case it is a matter of the Final Cut community not waiting for Apple, but going out there and getting it done –  even if sometimes it’s down to just one person making it happen.

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BlogMacBreak Studio: Final Cut Pro X – Shiny 3D textTuesday, August 11 2015

Ripple Training have uploaded another free Final Cut tutorial to YouTube. This week it covers how to use two of their free plugins to make 3D type look extra shiny.

If you like Ripple’s style, subscribe to them on YouTube or download their free Mac application Lessons for Final Cut Pro X. It has a 8 free lessons with the option to download an additional 14 additional lessons through in-app purchases.

If you’d like to brush up on individual topics, I’ve made a playlist of 136 of their Final Cut-related MacBreak Studio videos. As Final Cut Pro X 10.1 changed the way timelines and footage are organised, I start the list explaining the new way of working, followed by most of the rest in order – apart from the content that has been superseded.

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BlogFinal Cut Pro X: the Android of NLEsMonday, August 10 2015

The choice of which video editing application to use shouldn’t be based on market share. You should choose the tool that fits you best.

However some people find comfort in choosing popular tools – especially when it comes to hiring editing talent. On high-end jobs the ability to fire staff is important too, which you can only do if there are talented people to replace them.

As to what are the market shares of Media Composer, Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere might be, none of the NLE vendors regularly reports on sales, all anyone can do is make guesses.

Reading this article by Horace Dediu on smartphone switching prompted me to see some parallels in the NLE market:

Apple may have also lost a few users to Android but overall gained switchers from other platforms, mainly Android. This is what would support Tim Cook’s comments.

Thinking further ahead, as the markets mature globally, they may well evolve into the way the US market evolves today. Apple’s brand promise ensures loyalty while competing platforms slowly “leak” users. If this sounds eerily familiar then you’d be right. This is exactly how the PC market behaves today.

My first thought was that Final Cut Pro X is iOS in this story. However, this article is about those switching from and to iOS, Android, Windows Phone and not having a smartphone.

Perhaps Avid is like Blackberry, established users are sticking with it because of its business support and traditional business use. Windows Phone is like Final Cut Pro 8 – if Apple had brought out a more modern version of an established application.

Most established editors are probably switching to Adobe – as it offers an Apple-like walled garden of a complete solution but doesn’t require them to change too much.

Most Final Cut Pro X users are switching from not having edited before – just as most Android users are switching from not having had a smartphone before. Experienced editors might also consider X as the application that people who “who don’t know any better” would choose.

In case of these competing NLEs, which one is likely to ‘leak’ users? What makes a platform leaky?

Switching isn’t just down to price, it’s down to the whole experience. As it is inconvenient, there have to be very good reasons to switch. Those switching to iOS from Android find the Apple brand promise appealing.

I think Apple consider that video editing is an untapped market, whereas professional video editing isn’t. For an NLE to do well, they should go after both markets.

That means once the Final Cut Pro X users who were new to editing get comfortable, Adobe must entice them over to Creative Cloud.

Conversely Apple must also convince people who help Adobe Premiere ‘free’ with Adobe Photoshop to try a video editing tool they have to pay for, and that is less well integrated with the tools they use already.

I’m looking forward to those Adobe and Apple case studies.

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BlogWant to predict the TV graphics of tomorrow? Try the smartphone graphics of todayMonday, August 10 2015

If you are working on graphics to be used in TV shows and documentaries that you don’t want to go out of date too quickly, it is a good idea to keep up with TV graphic design trends.

Given the lead times of some documentaries can be months and years, it is best to be influenced by trends that TV follows instead of following TV itself.

Over the last 10 years, smartphones have become much more important in most of western culture. It’s no surprise that smartphone OS design is a major inspiration on TV graphics. Take the UK’s Sky News for example. If you visit tvnewsroom.org, you can see their branding seemed to change in 2008 in response to the launch of the iPhone. The graphics started looking like iPhone on-screen buttons.

In recent years the design of iOS and Android has flattened – Apple and Google no longer need as many UI cues to say that an object is interactive – that it can be tapped or dragged. Sky News has followed – their news graphics have become flatter.

Directions in iOS and Android design

Given this ‘TV follows mobile’ trend, if you want your documentaries not to look out of place over the next few years, I suggest you absorb Onur Oral’s Mobile:2015 UI/UX Trends:

Whether on an app screen, a web browser, or a wearable watch face, design is one of the most important drivers of consumer engagement. From flat design to Material design, I analysed what trends have evolved, and share a few of my insights with you — what are these trends? Why are they beneficial to the user? And how are they created?

On the other hand, if your audience will primarily be online, consider keeping up with trends instigated by Kickstarter videos and YouTubers!

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BlogThe 2015 ‘Media bubble’ – will it burst or deflate?Sunday, August 9 2015

Two stories this week point to a parallel between today’s media market and 2008’s credit market.

The LA Times reports that a statement from Disney in about a lack of subscribers for premium cable content caused media stocks to be sold off:

“One sentence from Disney and nearly $60 billion in market value gets wiped out,” Doug Creutz, media analyst with Cowen & Co., said Thursday. “Can you say panic?”

The Hollywood Reporter quoted FX Networks CEO John Landgraf:

“This is simply too much television. My sense is that 2015 or 2016 will represent peak TV in America, and that we’ll begin to see declines coming the year after that and beyond”

[…]

Still, the FX/FXX chief was careful to note that he doesn’t foresee the aforementioned bubble outright bursting, so much as slowly deflating in the years to come. What will become increasingly key, in his mind, are strong network brands, which he likens to a mission statement or promise to viewers. “Programmers without a defining brand identity and the scale to support that brand with great and plentiful programming and marketing are going to have a huge struggle as time goes on”

While those who fund content weather the storm over the next few years, maybe it would be a good idea for those who make content to develop alternate business models. Part of that might be involvement in developing brands that appeal to modern audiences. For creative people, it’s a matter of finding different routes to market. Gary Newman, chairman of (TV show makers) Fox Television Group as quoted by the LA Times:

“On the most simplistic level, our point of view is create content, we’ll figure out some way to get it into the homes and on the mobile devices of consumers,” Newman said. “We’ll be able to figure out a business model that will allow us to continue to do that.”

Ilene Chaiken, an executive producer of ‘Empire,’ agreed.

“I would venture for most writers I know, none of that matters,” Chaiken said. “We’re all about the story. Wherever our work is being seen, whatever technology is distributing or producing it, we’re doing the same thing: We’re telling the very best story we can. And I think you can tell those stories on broadcast TV, on cable, on streaming services — just give me the opportunity to tell my stories.”

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