Has the slow development of FCP damaged the industry?

I found the following post from pat@horridge.org.uk on the Avid-L list.  He raises some interesting questions about what Apple’s Final Cut Pro has done to the English post industry…

– Dave


Been following some posts on the ups and downs of FCP and it’s impact on the UK post production world and would be interested in peoples thoughts on my view on this:

The introduction of FCP was a real kick up the butt for the then market leaders in Post NLE tools. Avid being one of those key players.  It was cheap and effective, if a little buggy.  It allowed a lot of new players to get their hands on an editing tool and join a market that was actually shrinking.

Also FCP was easy to “pick up” for students and those less concerned with actually paying for their software, as all you needed was a working serial number (where as most other systems used activation or a hardware dongle for protection and so where less accessible)

This flood of FCP skills and equipment forced most Post houses to initially attempt to bring FCP jobs from FCP into their reliable and predictable systems with limited levels of success. (Automatic duck really helped here for a while)

The unsatisfactory nature of that process forced many to bring on board FCP systems to run along side their traditional finishing systems and help broker the limitations of Color as a finishing process (and all that rendering)

Many early adopters will have struggled with the frustrations of FCP as a serious and reliable finishing tool and found their quoting structure for post work difficult to apply to a product and work-flow that proved to be so variable.
While this was a small part of a Post houses workload it wasn’t a problem but as FCP grew in popularity so it became an ever increasing element of a Post houses day to day work.

Suddenly jobs that could be predictably scheduled and budgeted turned into jobs that could consume far more resources and time than could be charged for and that at a time when budgets where being driven down and down.

If FCP had evolved and grown the landscape would be different I’m sure but it hasn’t very much. It’s improved and is a lot more stable than ever before, but it’s still not strong on media management, Real-time playback and creative editing flow.

The UK Post Broadcast Industry is struggling through difficult times and I wonder just how big an impact FCP has had at the top end of that industry.

For sure the bottom end has flourished and expanded with more editors now available than there are molecules of oxygen in Soho. But far too few of them have real skills in managing an edit. They can cut but they fail to understand the full post process and the need for systems and order. And FCP allows them to work in a haphazard and potentially nightmare inducing way. Media management and asset management isn’t even a consideration for many and we’re now looking at a tape-less future and just how bad that could go in the wrong hands.

The top end finishing has to pick up those pieces and make quality content for less and less budget using tools that we often know just don’t deliver what’s needed.

There’s no going back of course and I hope either FCP moves to 64bit and has a major overhaul that brings it in line with the other systems in the market or it’s killed off by Apple in favour of something new and shiny and runs on an iPad!

Interested in your thoughts folks 🙂

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