The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

Archive for July 2011

Back to the future: Is media returning to the 19th century? http://tinyurl.com/3te5m53 Mass media is going to become a historic anomaly.

analyzes a series of articles looking at the evolution of media in a digital age from The Economist. The premise is that mass media is a byproduct of its era. Before mass media there were hundreds of small media voices, often opinionated (just like blogs) and ultimately that’s where we’re returning with hyperlocal news and altered nature of “news”.

You should read the whole article, because it’s a good summary of The Economist articles:

As The Economist notes, up until the early 19th century there was no “mass media” in the sense that we think of the term now. Newspapers had not really been invented yet, and news still travelled via word-of-mouth, or via hand-printed pamphlets written by people likepolitical theorists Thomas Paine and John Locke. And even when newspapers as we know them started to be published and distributed, they were opinionated — and often gossip-filled — publications that catered to a tiny audience, much like blogs did when they first appeared. Says The Economist:

In many ways news is going back to its pre-industrial form, but supercharged by the internet. Camera-phones and social media such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter may seem entirely new, but they echo the ways in which people used to collect, share and exchange information in the past. “Social media is nothing new, it’s just more widespread now,” says Craig Newmark.

Although we think of “mass media” such as television, radio and newspapers as fixtures in our lives and in the media economy, says The Economist, “the mass-media era now looks like a relatively brief and anomalous period that is coming to an end.” As media and publishing become something anyone can do, whether on their blog or via other social tools such as Twitter or Tumblr, media companies are having to reinvent themselves to take advantage of this phenomenon — and to survive.

A new generation that has grown up with digital tools is already devising extraordinary new things to do with them, rather than simply using them to preserve the old models. Some existing media organisations will survive the transition; many will not.

He also talks about the risks of having only opinionated news but seems to think it’s OK if it is revealed.

Of course, the implications for the mass market media producers would, by inference not be that great. If mass markets (ultimately – not next week or anything) disappear, then the production workflows and support technologies will change as well.

The only thing we really know about the future is that it will NOT be like today.

http://tinyurl.com/3ls73kv A great perspective imho

I rather like this take on the reaction:

Beyond that, the new FCP is supposed to be easier for people who have never done serious video editing before. Pros don’t care about this, of course. In fact, many don’t like the idea of making video editing easier and expanding the pool of people who can do quality video editing. Making a task or software easier to use both makes current users’ jobs easier but also lowers the barriers to entry.

The thing about many Pros is that they like complexity on some levels. They like the idea of being elite and doing something that very few people can do. Or, more precisely, doing something that very few people would put up with. Just look at how complex and ugly Bloomberg Terminals are to see how people and industries like using something that looks complex and hard to comprehend by outsiders. Wall Street veterans have resisted a easier-to-user, easier-to-learn, more attractive Bloomberg Terminal for years.

All My Children a killer app? http://tinyurl.com/3ue2fmr

You may have heard the announcement that All My Children and One Life to Live (cancelled ABC Soap Operas) are heading to Internet distribution. (In this context “app” means use not literally a software application). He runs the numbers on whether or not this could work financially – something I’m always interested in.

Fifty million dollars is $192,000 per episode or $4,370 per finished minute based on 44 minute shows. That’s a lot of money but a lot less than primetime TV budgets. It’s also the absolute most any soap has ever cost with most costing less. Certainly there are some savings to be found in there. Let’s claim a 20 percent labor savings from moving to the Internet, bringing per minute costs down to $3,496.

Actually, there are plenty of additional savings. Some savings will come from lower labor costs as actors accept smaller paychecks as an alternative to retirement or unemployment. But an even greater savings will come from any Internet soap’s ability to offer online every episode ever broadcast — the long tail — at an effective production cost of $0 per hour.

If a third of Internet viewers are watching old episodes that drops the effective cost of new episodes by a third, so we are down to $2,342 per finished minute.

With sponsorship he brings it down to around $2,000 a finished minute and then compares it with the (rumored/reported) budgets for YouTube’s future professional channels.

According toVariety, YouTube will shortly bring some professional channels to its service with budgets of $1000-$3000 per finished minute.

My biggest concern about this particular example – not about the trend to Internet delivery and alternate funding in general – is that the target market for the Soaps may not be technically savvy enough to pick up and continue on the Internet.

TalkAbout Tech 013: Like Ripping Off a Band-Aid http://tinyurl.com/43uxe8m More from me on FCP X.

I recently wrote about Airplay as a possible solution to external video monitoring for Final Cut Pro X, and that would indeed be a cool monitoring solution but not for critical work as it’s H264 compressed and 8 bit.

With Matrox’s announcement today of their monitoring solution, which confirms uncategorically that there is no “broadcast quality video” out of Final Cut Pro X, I had to rethink what I thought they were thinking!

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When you’re designing software you always have a “use case” or typical user in mind. For our Assisted Editing software I can pretty much name every person we had in mind when creating it. First Cuts was definitely made for me. Transcriptize was an idea from Larry Jordan and was made for him. Sequence Clip Reporter‘s inspiration was from my friend Les Perkins.

So, when I had the opportunity to ask Apple who their typical user is, I had hoped for something more specific than “the vast majority of their current Final Cut Pro users”. Without knowing the demographics of their current user base, we have no idea how to work out who exactly is buying Final Cut Pro X, or who ‘should’ be buying it.

It’s hard to point fingers at who the “2 million installs” equates to, or even the year-earlier “1.4 million unique paying customers” (and there are likely a couple more installs that didn’t pay).

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Episode 31: Is Branded Media the future of Production Finance? http://tinyurl.com/6447cvh A new episode of The Terence and Philip Show.

Sponsored movies of the 70’s and 80’s were the precursor to Branded Entertainment, and it’s a major way of getting funded today. But is it the future?  Terence and Philip discuss examples and why it might be more successful.

Over the last year I’ve managed to have some valuable insight on the direction Apple has been, and is, going with what became Final Cut Pro X, but of late the timing – June 21 – has got me thinking. One of the things that has bugged me is that Final Cut Pro X seems like it’s only most of a story. That there are still “other shoes to drop”. Since I don’t know how to quit when I’m “ahead” on the forward looking insight, here’s some more.

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I was have a beer last night with my friend Joe B – @zbutcher on Twitter, follow him and check out his Final Cut Pro X curation site linking to all the stories he can find – and naturally the conversation covered the current Final Cut Pro X release and the consequent debate. In my mind, a good discussion is one I come away from with enlightened or changed thinking. And this was a good conversation. (more…)

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