"As always, we're happy to provide answers from the people actually making the hard decisions about the products and technologies in which they'll be investing their money, their time, and their expertise." Tim Wilson muses on the "End of Film" issue of Creative COW Magazine.
As is often the case, the theme for this issue came together by accident.
First came the release of Apple Final Cut Pro X. It was so disruptive to many longtime FCP professionals, that many of the staunchest Mac advocates found themselves publicly questioning if they could trust Apple to develop anything that addressed their needs as media production professionals. For the first time that we can recall, many Mac professionals swore their next computer would be running Windows.
The impending release of Avid Media Composer is rumored to look an awful lot like the last pre-FCPX version of Final Cut Pro. But In the race to proselytize, the immediate beneficiary seems to be Adobe Premiere Pro, which ironically, dropped its Mac support in the early part of the century. They returned in 2007. You might even say that they returned with a vengeance and certainly with a refusal to settle for second place on anyone's list, supporting native formats and dramatic GPU acceleration that far outpaced the field via NVIDIA's Mercury Engine.
The remaining question was, is it Pro enough? You can find the resounding answer in the forums at CreativeCOW.net.
In these pages, Joe Bourke takes a look at how well Premiere Pro worked for him in the production of on-air TV graphics for a network affiliate and, now, in his own business. He looks specifically at asset management, which has been one of FCP's short suits for a dozen years now, with some hints for optimizing this in the Adobe Creative Suite.
In the meantime, it's not like the previous versions of FCP have stopped working or like people are dropping it in droves. There are markets where it will be the dominant force for years. Many of the stories in this issue are by authors using it, and CreativeCOW. net's FCP forum remains our most trafficked, being the largest FCP community online.
The second impetus for this issue begins with the story that Tamera Brooks tells of her indie film production. And indeed, they shot their indie film with film, finding that it was cheaper to do that than to rent digital gear, thanks in part to new indiefriendly pricing from Kodak. They even found that the cost for developing the film was going to be less expensive than the time it would have taken to prepare their digital files for post in, yes, good ol' FCP. I have to say that I was quite surprised to see how film was getting a new lease on life.
Ironies abound again.
As I was preparing that article, I heard a rumor that no new film cameras were being manufactured, so I asked Debra Kaufman to look into this for us. Indeed, Aaton, ARRI and Panavision are no longer manufacturing film cameras. Despite the fact that this happened as early as 2009, we found that none of the cinematographers we spoke to had heard this definitively, and we have certainly not seen it reported anywhere else. The fact is that with over 1000 film cameras on the rental shelves of Panavision alone -- and all three vendors providing active service and support for the thousands of film cameras already circulating -- plenty of "films" are still "film." But it changes the conversation when you know that the people whose core business included making film cameras, have gone all-in on a digital future.
I'm not sure that this has ever happened in the history of human artistic endeavor: simply ending the creation of the tool for the age's dominant medium. Yes, you can say that the tool has simply morphed, but there is no shortage of chisels, and you can still buy oil paint. You can certainly paint on the wall with your fingers and a mixture of blood and spittle if you have the mind to. But there will come a time when film cameras are the tools of tinkerers. This won't happen soon, but perhaps sooner than we thought.
All of which has prompted the question we most often hear at the COW, "Now what?" Or might I say, "How now, Creative COW?"
As always, we're happy to provide answers from the people actually making the hard decisions about the products and technologies in which they'll be investing their money, their time, and their expertise.