The present and future of post production business and technology

NAB, Rumors and business

Why does the Apple rumor mill get so frantic coming up to NAB? It’s not like we don’t all know to delay purchases until after NAB unless you can get a pay back in the months between now and then. So what is it that makes us frantically review rumor sites and set the forums and email groups buzzing when ThinkSecret purported to leak (yet again) from within Apple?

Nobody can confirm or refute the rumors until Sunday April 17th, and in reality the rumors don’t do much more than supposedly “confirm” what can reasonably be inferred from existing public announcements (HDV support in FCP “next version” is an announced feature); known intentions to meet customer desire (heck there was even an obscure reference to Multicam in the FCP 4 manual suggesting it was, at one time, proposed for that version); or reasonable inference (CoreVideo technology in the OS would enhance FCP’s real time). New applications for sure – that’s called progress and until Apple have a full and complete set of professional tools in the Pro Apps product lineup then they’ll keep announcing new tools.

Since I am only guessing and have no knowledge, I won’t be publishing my guesses here or on DV Guys but ask me privately and I’ll make my guesses. Even though I think I’m as good at guessing as the next person I still expect to be surprised and impressed come NAB.

But that’s not the point – lots of opportunity for rumor mongering all over the place. It doesn’t do any good, it doesn’t influence business or buying decisions so why is there this intense speculation about what Apple might be going to announce? And why mostly Apple? Avid haven’t pre-announced their NAB releases. There’s the same level of secrecy going on but not the speculation.

Is this some bizarre desire to be “on the inside”? A sort of technological one-upmanship? It’s not like knowing there’s a new version of Final Cut Pro coming sometime (probably) in the next 2-3 months makes editing any easier today, or eases the pain of any “undocumented features” currently existing.

Until this last year or so I was as keenly interested in listening to, and spreading, any rumors I could find and yet now I find myself strangely disinterested. Curious yes – I’ll go read the rumor and consider whether or not I think it’s reasonable – but I find myself not as interested in spreading the guesses and inference.

I wonder why that is? Is it finally maturity, or is it finally evidence that I am, officially, jaded? 🙂

Update March 1 – there’s just been a purported “leak” of Avid’s NAB announcements. While the leak is almost certainly bogus, this type of malicious leak can be very damaging. The supposed prices are way below what is reasonable for Avid (although if true, would be a real change of direction) and there are other key giveways for the educated reader, that this is not a real release. But now, whatever great announcements Avid had for NAB will be compared with a totally unrealistic, bogus release setting up expectations that were never reachable.

At least that’s my take. If not and Avid do announce $5000 Unity and open interoperability with AJA and Decklink on April 16, then that paragraph will have never happened 😉




4 responses to “NAB, Rumors and business”

  1. Yes, Philip, you *are* jaded, but I think all of us in this business who’s been around for while and seen the fortunes of companies rise and fall are a jaded, if not at the very least cautious. 🙂

    I relate your comments about the desire to be “on the inside” to the phenomenon of public announcement of being a beta tester. Time after time, you’ll see a magazine article profiling a production company, who’s lead animator/editor/sound designer will puff up and announce, “well, ahem, we’re beta testers for product X, so we’ve had access to the next generation of tools. We simply couldn’t have completed this project on time without them!”

    Well, let me tell you, we’ve beta tested our share of products over the years, but we generally don’t do it anymore. Why? Because it’s a PAIN IN THE ASS! Loading up unstable, unproven software more often than not turns out to be not worth the time and headache. Sure, it’s fun to have a sneak peek at what’s coming next, and there’s that cool feeling of being “on the inside” which, evidently, comes with bragging rights, although it seems like lately companies have clamped down on even mentioning that you are beta testing for them. But honestly, how many of us can afford to risk mission-critical apps to buggy beta software?

  2. Carey Dissmore

    Yes Philip, you have become jaded…but if you are like me, it seems to be temporary. I went into the last two NAB seasons pretty jaded, but somehow this year I’m back into the rumors, etc. Go figure.

    Gotta agree with Dave on Beta Testing…although I continue to do a bit of it. Although I’m currently not testing anything, and ramping up IMUG is taking all the ‘spare’ time anyway. But really…is there ever ANY spare time these days?

    Anyway, while Final Cut rumors have the potential to impact my future greatly…I’m actually most interested in rumors and speculation vis-a-vis Panasonic’s answer to HDV, since I’m in the market and the lack of a 24P / 720P mode gives me pause about the Sony, as does the level of compression. Nice write-up on the hub about HDV though. Very comprehensive.

  3. So, we’re all agreed… I’m jaded 😉 I just can’t get that techno buzz anymore. Probably for the best, it gets in the way of sound business decisions. As for beta testing – I totally agree it can be a pain in the neck and certainly not worth it for the small buzz being ‘on the inside’ gives. OTOH, I am fortunate in that my business has only rarely had on-site, over-the-shoulder clients and I’m moderately good at troubleshooting problems. And have sufficiently good backup routiines that I’m data-loss tolerant.

    I’d be much happier with a 720/24 P mode in HDV but it’s not in the spec (although I fully expect someone will do it anyway). 720 30 or 60 P are in the spec and I expect JVC’s NAB announcements to be good news in that area.


  4. I know what you mean about the lack of techno-buzz. I wonder if the entire industry has reached a level of sophistication that there’s very little left that’s truly impressive any more. Real-time layers? Used to be impressive, now it’s pretty much standard out of the box. Image quality is a non-issue, with plenty of compressed and uncompressed codecs available to choose from. So much stuff comes “standard” these days that the magical quality is gone. Compare iMovie with Media 100 v2.0. These days my high-school aged interns all come with a basic understanding of video editing. There’s nothing exotic about it to them. (Remember when you would have to explain to people what “nonlinear” meant?) It’s a completely natural thing, the manipulation of media, be it text, audio or video.

    So, my friend, it seems your predictions about everyone having basic media manipulation competency are coming true. 😉