The Post FCP Fog

On Friday night, I had the opportunity to join the 9th annual Pre NAB editors lounge panel discussion as a last minute fill in.  I found myself uncharacteristically less participatory, mainly due to the experience and stature of the others on the panel.  The brain power on the panel could power a small town.

During the mostly esoteric discussion, one of the comments I made was along the lines of “In the post FCP 7 fog, neither Avid nor Adobe have been aggressive in pursuing those in the fog”. (paraphrased) I had been ruminating on this notion for awhile, and off-off-off record conversations with folks at Adobe and Avid seemed to agree, so I honestly didn’t think it was a major point of contention.

Editor's Lounge Pre-NAB 2012 Panel Discussion
Editor’s Lounge Pre-NAB 2012 Panel Discussion

Au contraire!

It seems this may not be the overwhelming viewpoint I had built up in my mind’s eye. Rather than turn the stage into a further off topic discussion, I thought my warm corner on the ‘net may be a good resting place.

A wise man reminded me recently that consumers buy products for many reasons. Of the many reasons – and one of the easiest and most powerful – is the notion of comparative analysis. “I’ll buy Brand X sheets because they have a higher thread count than Brand Y”. “Car A gets better gas mileage than Car B.” It’s simply a way we as consumers put into context the value of an item. It’s not the end-all-be-all of sales and marketing, but it is one of the most powerful. In the realm of technology, simplifying things often is just what the doctor ordered.

It’s somewhat frowned upon in the corporate world to make such public comparative declarations. I get the psychology: no one wants to be an imitator, no one wants to use a competitor as a benchmark. IMHO, as a result of this, neither Avid nor Adobe have made a substantial marketing push around the concept of”

“We know Final Cut Pro 7 had many features that were very beneficial. [Our Product’s] tools complement the workflow you’re used to, and even improve upon it.  See how our media management concept is familiar…”

Seems kind of like a no brainer, right?

Editor's Lounge Pre-NAB 2012 Panel
I see things through rose colored glasses. Sometimes they are blue, too. // Editor’s Lounge Pre-NAB 2012 Panel

I admit that my viewpoint is a bit unique from the rest of the panel: I no longer sit in the chair as a daily editor, I’m not a single facility technologist, and I’m a bit younger.  I do, however, work with editors, producers, C level managers from virtually every vertical: gov/ed, post, independent, television, rental, and house of worship. My vantage point allows me to not just observe, but interact across the Post landscape as a whole. The common reoccurring concern is “FCP, as we know it, is gone. What now? What do I switch to?” They are often begging for someone to point the way and to guide them. While I and my employer enjoy being resource looked to in order to answer these questions, how many millions of editors do not have us as a resource? They need someone – or some thing – to stop with the marketing bullshit, and tell it to ‘em straight. Cast a wider net: not just appealing to the ones the ones ‘in the know’.  Stop ignoring the pink elephant in the room by simply offering cross grade pricing or the ability to work with FCP media and projects (this seems like getting the horse to drink before you’d led them to water, eh?).  Publically own up to the gap, fill it, and reap the financial benefits. This is what I mean by not being aggressive. There is a finite window to capture the hearts and minds of the editors lost in a fog before they choose a product that may not be yours.

4 Comments

  1. Marian:

    Avid offers a permanent cross-grade discount (I think final price is 60% of RSP), Premiere can import FCP XML, and both can handle FCP media with no conversion (MC6 can even use ProRes natively on OSX). And both companies are pretty active in offering and pointing to resources for switchers.

    • Thanks for the input, Marian.

      I think we may differ on “pretty active” and “aggressive.”

      A discounted price and an ability to use media & projects is for the user who has made up their mind to switch – it’s not rescuing people ‘from the fog’ – and giving them direction. Also, if you recall, the Avid cross grade pricing existed prior to the EOL of FCP 7, and Premiere has been utilizing FCP materials for years. I don’t see those points as anything new or pro-active after the launch of FCP X.

      Avid and Adobe are certainly trying to mine the FCP user base. IMHO, they are falling short in one area that is desperately needed.

      • Marian:

        I can’t relate to the editors “in the fog” as I’ve been using Avid almost exclusively for the past 11 years. So, the crossgrade pricing (which was news to me when FCPX came out), plus the halving of MC’s price at Xpress Pro’s EOL seemed agressive enough for me.
        One way of doing things would be for Adobe and Avid to adapt their workflows to resemble more FCP’s, but Avid got enough grief from dedicated users with the introduction of Smart Tools (I hated it too, but after I learned to use ST properly, I’ve grown to love it).

  2. Thanks for writing this post. I have been using FCP for many years, currently using FCP7. I have yet to jump onto any other program because, as your article suggests, I haven’t been pulled either which way – not to mention that I have been pushed away from FCPX (although I hear things are slowly getting better).

    Now I could be totally wrong on this, but I still get the feeling that Avid is still the “go-to” software. In many behind-the-scenes footage of big budget films and tv shows, what do you usually see on their screen? Avid.

    Adobe Premiere Pro does seem to have a lot of interesting features, especially with the latest installment of CS5.5 – with CS6 probably just around the corner. Being a heavy After Effects user, the integration between the two alone is tantalizing. However, they just don’t seem to have the market share with in the post-world. No point in learning new software and investing time in it if no one else uses it.

    I know FCP7 is on it’s last few dying breaths. Frankly, no one seems to be finishing the job.

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