Videoguys Top 10 Products of 2011
- Avid Media Composer 5.5 & 6
- Adobe® Creative Suite® 5.5 Production Premium®
- Matrox MXO2 Family with Thunderbolt Adapter
- Grass Valley ADVC-G Series
- SONY Vegas Pro 11
- Avid Studio
- Reds Giant Software Suites
- Boris Continuum Complete 8
- Roland VR-5 Mixer
- Class On Demand Online Training Catalog
2011: The Year of the X
That's "X" as in FCPX and XGrades (crossgrades)
2011 has been quite a year for Videoguys, and our industry. In April, at the FCPUG SuperMeet during the NAB show in Vegas, things changed dramatically when Apple gave a first look of their new FCPX editing software. I was at the event, and the room was filled with excitement, energy and anticipation - that is until after the Apple presentation. The professional editors and broadcasters in the room left feeling nervous and uneasy about Apple's commitment to them, their workflows and the needs of professional post-production. When Apple actually released FCPX later that summer web blogs and forums were lit up with frustrated FCP editors, wondering why Apple would abandon them and leave them drifting in the wind.
FCPX isn't just Apple's attempt to revolutionize video editing, it also spurred a revolt amongst their loyal FCP editors. Before we get into the backlash, lets talk about what we like about FCPX.
FCPX - Power to the people!
The first thing you have to understand and accept about FCPX is that Apple did not design it for professional post production. it was designed for the millions of people who shoot, edit and upload video everyday. Yes, there are millions of folks doing this, and for some of them, they need and want video editing software that goes beyond the low end consumer products like iMovie, Windows MovieMaker or Pinnacle Studio. Our Videoguys' techs have noted for years now that there is a demand for an advanced NLE software priced under $500. We haven't had a software solution come close to that since Avid pulled LIQUID off the market. Apple recognized this opportunity and they launched FCPX, at a price point of $299, delivered directly to your Mac via the App store. PURE GENIUS. No cost of packaging, distribution, sales organization or even advertising.
FCPX - I admit it, I like it.
For the record, I like FCPX - but I don't edit video for a living. I mainly make videos of my travels, family, kids sports and other events. I like what FCPX has going on under the hood - 64 Bit processing, native file format support, automatic correction and detection tools. I like the magnetic timeline and I like using keywords to manage my clips. For a new generation of video editors these new methods of editing will become 2nd nature to them, and quite frankly, many of them will never want or miss the old fashioned timeline. That said, FCPX has a long way to go before it gets accepted into professional post houses, broadcast television stations and Hollywood studios. Many hope Apple will get back there, I'm not sure they really want to. There is nothing wrong with having the world's best, most innovative video editing software for the average Joe, soccer mom or skateboard kid to use. After all, there are millions of you, while only a handful of folks go on to edit feature films or television programs.
Editors Revolt - Crossgrades for Everyone!
As we all know, FCPX released without several must-have features (Multicam, MXF import/export and 3rd party hardware support to name a few). That left professional post houses no choice but to investigate alternative products for their facilities.
Avid and Adobe seized this opportunity to aggressively go after frustrated and disgruntled FCP editors with new crossgrade campaigns. This was the first time ever that editors have been given the chance to buy Avid Media Composer or the full Adobe Production Premium for under a thousand bucks! The success of these offers also inspired similar promtions on Sony Vegas Pro and Grass Valley EDIUS. Some of these crossgrade opportunities have even become regular product offers and will be available until Apple makes their next move.
Apple has already promised a major release in early 2012 that will add Multicam & Broadcast Quality Video Monitoring. They did not provide details so it will be interesting to see exactly what that upgrade delivers. Will it enable existing 3rd party hardware to work or will it only work with new Thunderbolt based hardware? Will we get full I/O, or just preview? What other new features or refinements will be included to win back the hearts of loyal FCP editors? Will this release give editors everything they want or will there be another round of post-production editors crossing over to Avid and Adobe?
Enough about the year of "X", lets talk about the this year's list of
Videoguys' Top 10 Products of 2011.
1) Avid Media Composer 5.5 & 6
In all our history of writing our annual Top 10 articles, this is the first time ever that a software designer has had two major releases in the same calendar year! In March, Avid introduced Media Composer 5.5 and then, in November, they released Avid Media Composer 6. WOW! Media Composer 6 is a major release that I am sure has been on Avid’s roadmap for several years but was probably accelerated because of the Apple FCPX fiasco and the opportunity that created. In any year either release would be enough to make it onto this list but with two releases packed with features we have to give the top spot to Avid Media Composer!
Avid Media Composer 5.5 adds additional 3rd party support and MC6 Opens the flood-gates with Avid Open I/O
In 2010, Avid released Media Composer 5 with support for the Matrox MXO2 Mini hardware for preview output only. Although limited, this was a major milestone for Avid, because up until that point Avid required using their own proprietary and expensive I/O hardware. When Media Composer 5.5 was released Avid expanded on their support of the MXO2 Mini and Matrox's MAX technology and announced support for the Aja IoExpress. While this was another step along the path to making Avid more open, it still left existing AJA Kona owners without support. Then, Avid Media Composer 6 delivered on Avid's promise of even more supporrt with Avid Open I/O! Now you can use Avid Media Composer with hardware from AJA, Matrox, Motu, BMD and Bluefish444 with no restrictions and no limited functionality. Hats off to Avid for giving editors what we have wanted for years – hardware choice!
New versions add format support with Avid AMA
Avid AMA allows you to edit native HD tapeless file formats directly. You just copy them from your media onto your hard drive and start editing. Actually you can edit directly off the original media, but Videoguys does not recommend this, as you could end up accidentally deleting or modifying your original footage. With Avid Media Composer 6 AVID now offers AMA for AVCHD, Red Epic, DSLR, ProRes, XD CAM, P2 and Quicktime. It just keeps getting better and better. Avid also allows you to mix & match footage from multiple formats and framerates on the timeline.
Avid gets better... and faster!
Avid Media Composer is a fully 64-bit application. Now you can take full advantage of today’s multi-core processors, huge amounts of RAM and 64-bit processing. This not only improves performance, MC6 handles like a dream, it makes working with really large complex projects so much easier and faster. Avid also gave us a new and improved user interface, which enhances your workflow without forcing you to re-learn how to use Avid to edit. They added tabbed bins, which make organizing your workspace so much better and gives you quick access to the tools and clips you use most. Avid has also begun integrating the Avid Artist series of control surfaces with MC6. I really like what they have done with Color. Not only is it a great surface for color correction and grading, you can use the disks around the trackballs to control the video in three different trim windows at the same time. Now that’s cool!
Final Cut Owners can crossgrade to Avid Media Composer for $1,475. Owners of older versions of Media Composer, Avid Xpress Pro or DV can upgrade for $575, all you need is your old dongle. Videoguys also has some fantastic bundles with 3rd party hardware, Artist Color and G-Tech storage together with MC6 upgrades, crossgrades and full versions. We have also updated our Avid Configurator for even more savings when you create your own custom bundle.
2) Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium
When Adobe released CS5 at NAB 2010 it was a very big deal. The Premiere Pro Mercury Playback Engine allowed you to edit native HD tapeless files with ease. Adobe accomplished this by tapping into 64-bit processing, memory, multi-core CPUs and CUDA based graphic cards. With CS5.5 the Mercury Engine got even more powerful.
Adobe Mercury Playback Engine
When the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine was first introduced Mac users were left with limited options because only NVIDIA GPUs have CUDA processing. You could buy a Quadro4000 Mac card for around $800 bucks, or just get by with the software only Mercury Engine. However, when Adobe released CS5.5 they tweaked the software only engine to take better advantage of the processing power inside your Mac, so that now, even without a CUDA card, it delivers very good results. On the PC side, you can now find graphics cards like the GTX570/580 which for just over $300 that deliver incredible Mercury performance.
One of the coolest new features in CS5.5 is the After Effects Warp Stabilizer. Image stabilization plug-ins have been around for years, but they often left the footage looking more steady, but not quite natural. Existing stabilizers allow you to select a couple of anchor points, and then the image is zoomed and cropped to create the stabilization effect. More often than not you still have some degree of jerkiness or bouncing.
Adobe After Effects Warp Stabilizer
The After Effects Warp Stabilizer analyzes the entire image, using thousands of reference points. It then uses sophisticated algorithms to stabilize your footage. The results are simply incredible. Not only does it stabilize the footage, it makes it look silky smooth, as if you used a steady or glide cam while you where shooting. You can also apply the Warp Stabilizer to DSLR footage to correct for motion blur and other DSLR related artifacts. What makes the Warp Stabilizer even more fantastic is how easy you can round trip footage from the Premiere timeline to the Warp Stabilizer and back. I must tell you that 9 out of 10 times the presets do such a great job that you will not even have to go into After Effects and tweak it, but of course, you can at any time.
The true integration and interoperability of the included Adobe software titles is what reall sets the Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium apart form all other NLE software suites:
- Change a graphic in Photoshop and it automatically updates in Encore or Premiere Pro or After Effects.
- Send your audio track to Audition, clean it up and remove some noise and hiss and it is now corrected on your Premiere Pro timeline
- Create a 3d motion effect in After Effects for your Premiere Pro project, then go back into AE and tweak it, the footage is updated automatically inside Premiere Pro.
- Send some footage to the Warp Stabilizer and it comes back into your timeline looking silky smooth.
Upgrade to Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium Before It's Too Late!
Adobe has announced that when CS6 ships some time in 2012 (we expect it to be around NAB), that only owners of version CS5.x will be offered upgrade pricing. While I’m not so sure how I feel about this, at least Adobe is giving you a heads up and a great promotion. You can save 20% when you upgrade from CS2, CS3; Upgrade from CS4; or upgrade from a point product including Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator and more. Videoguys has tapped into this promotion and we are offering some really nice bundles with Matrox, AJA, Bluefish444, Motu, Quadro4000, and G-Tech storage with CS5.5 upgrades, You can also use our Adobe configurator to create your own custom bundle with even more savings!
3) Matrox MXO2 I/O devices with Thunderbolt
In 2011 Matrox did not introduce any new external MXO2 I/O devices, but they did introduce a Thunderbolt adapter that allows you to turn any MXO2 into a Thunderbolt device. Thunderbolt is the new high speed interface that Apple & Intel introduced last year. You can learn more about Thunderbolt in our Videoguys' Guide here.
I think what Matrox did was brilliant. Rather then force you to invest in all new hardware, all you have to do is buy a Thunderbolt adapter for $199 and your existing MXO2 plugs right into your new iMac or Mac Book Pro. This gives Matrox MXO2 I/O devices an incredible amount of flexibility. You can install them in workstations with a PCIe card, on your laptop with ExpessCard or to your new iMac with Thunderbolt. In fact you can move your MXO2 from machine to machine, just by purchasing inexpensive additional adapters!
The Matrox MXO2LE MAX with Thunderbolt lets you add professional level SDI, Analog & HDMI I/O to Avid Media Composer, Adobe Production Premium or the old FCP7 running on your new iMac, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini or MacBook Air. Plus, with the MAX technology you get faster than real time H.264 encoding. Avid Media Composer editors can encode directly from the timeline to H.264 files for Blu-ray, iTunes, Vimeo, YouTube, Smart Phones or any other devices. For $1,495 that is a tremendous value. Videographers who do not require SDI can get the MXO2 Mini Max with Thunderbolt for $949 or the MXO2 Mini with Thunderbolt for $549. Videoguys offers some incredible bundle deals with Avid and Adobe software and you can also select the MXO of your choice using our Avid & Adobe configurators.
Another great product that Matrox did introduce in 2011 is the Matrox Mojito MAX with all of the features of an MXO2LE MAX built into an internal PCIe card for under $1,000! The Matrox Mojito MAX gives you SDI, Analo & HDMI I/O plus the Matrox MAX technology and it supports Avid Media Composer 6, Adobe CS5.x and the old Final Cut Pro 7.
4) Grass Valley ADVC-G Series Converters
The ADVC line of converters have been the industry standard for HDV/ DV/Analog converters going back to the days of Canopus. Grass Valley purchased Canopus several years ago and with the introduction of the G-Series the ADVC line-up has grown up to fill the needs of broadcast professionals and post houses that require SDI connectivity and conversion.
What I like best about the G-Series of converters is the combination of quality and rugged reliability, at affordable prices. When you get one of these babies in your hands, you can immediately tell from the look and feel that they are up to the task in even the most torturous professional environments. This is not to put down other lines of converters, I just really like the rugged design the Grass Valley team came up with.
- The ADVC-G1 at $1,199 converts your analog, HDMI and DVI signals to HD/SD-SDI. It also upconverts SD footage to HD which makes it perfect for editors with older legacy gear trying to integrate it into an HD workflow via SDI.
- The ADVC-G2 at $999 converts your HDMI and SDI signal to analog. Converts HDMI to SDI. Also downconverts your HD footage to SD making is a great choice for anyone looking to pull HD content into an older analog or SD workflow.
- The ADVC-G3 at $999 converts SDI input into HDMI output. Combines dual SDI input into a single HDMI output. Editors working with 3D footage can use the ADVC-G3 to combine both inputs into a multiplexed 3D HDMI output.
- The ADVC-G4 at $699 generates Sync for multiple devices using a single input. This is for those who need to sync multiple SD and HD signals for use in broadcast production environments.
5) Sony Vegas Pro 11
Sony Vegas Pro 11 continues to fill a niche in the industry. It's an affordable NLE that is loaded with power and performance, that combines a feature rich toolset with an incredible engine that taps into and scales with your CPU. The more CPU cores and power you give it, the better the performance. But it can also scale down to give more than acceptable results with an older, less powerful machine.
Sony Vegas Pro 11 is also the only NLE that recommends AMD and Intel processors equally. In fact, when you talk to the Sony product guys like I do, they give the nod to AMD ;-)
Sony Vegas Pro 11 now also taps into your graphics card GPU power. Unlike other NLEs, Vegas can utilize either NVIDIA or ATI graphics. This gives Vegas a big leg up when it comes to running well on "off the shelf" desktop and laptop machines found at your local consumer electronics superstore.
Vegas was the first NLE to go 64-bit and, with Vegas Pro 11, Sony continues to push the envelope on getting the most bang from your NLE buck. The processing engine under the hood of Vegas Pro 11 has been tuned-up and optimized to handle DSLR and AVCHD footage even better than before. They also added support for RED EPIC.
Sony is going after the 3D marketplace big time. They make 3D televisions and 3D cameras, so it's only natural that Vegas Pro would have 3D editing capabilities. While 3D editing was introduced with Vegas Pro 10, in 11 it gets much more powerful and easier to use.
Of course, like the other software titles in our year-end wrap up, we have some great bundles with SONY Vegas Pro 11 with hardware I/O from AJA, Blu-ray bundles featuring the Pioneer BDR206 and storage bundles featuring the G-Tech G-RAID.
6) Avid Studio
While our top 10 list tends to focus on professional level gear, this past year Avid introduced a prosumer software that deserves mention among them. Avid Studio is designed to be a step-up video editing application that gives the user more professional tools then consumer video editing applications like Pinnacle Studio, but still maintains a level of ease of use and simplicity that allows anyone to use it.
In a way, I guess you could say that Avid was ahead of Apple on this, because you can see that Avid Studio is aimed at the same audience as FCPX - namely the prosumer or as Avid calls them "advanced enthusiasts." Avid identifies this group as people who have done some video editing before or are familiar with other content creation tools such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. These users want a video editing tool that lets them do more with their video without an expensive price tag or learning curve.
Avid Studio delivers the tools and features that "advanced enthusiasts" want. You can edit footage from any source and it gives you the ability to log and organize all your media including video, photos and music. Unlike basic consumer video editing programs, Avid Studio gives you unlimited timeline tracks for multi-layer compositing and multi-layer effects, an extensive library of media and plug-in effects and the ability to pre-process your media before you bring it into the timeline. I have to admit, I am very impressed with what you can do with Avid Studio, and I think it is the perfect choice for DSLR photographers looking to get into video editing and production and who may not be ready for the professional software titles like Adobe Premiere Pro or Avid Media Composer.
7) Red Giant Software Suites
Ok I admit it, I love Red Giant Magic Bullet Looks. It's been one of my favorite NLE plug-ins for years and has been very popular amongst editors as well. But, did you know that Red Giant also offers a whole suite of additional color grading tools beyond just Looks? And that they also have a complete line-up of NLE plug-ins for adding filters and effects? Well, they do! And they're just as great! Of course Red Giant offers all of their titles individually, I'm a HUGE fan of their suites that include a bundle of several amazing tools and are available at an incredible value.
Last year, Red Giant gave all of their Suites a 64-bit makeover, so that they would support the latest versions of Adobe After Effects and other 64-bit NLEs. I am of course disappointed that they do not fully support Avid, even with the new 64 bit support from Media Composer 6, but I hope that wish will come true in 2012!
Red Giant Software currrently features 4 software suites but Magic Bullet and Trapcode are my two favorites.
- Magic Bullet Suite 11 is the newest, hottest release of red Giant's definitive toolkit that brings professional tools to filmmakers everywhere. Designed by seasoned colorist and film director Stu Maschwitz, this Suite produces professional Hollywood-style results on an indie budget. Its nine essential tools let you capture the emotion of your subject, making your footage more personal and compelling. With the addition of Looks 2 and Cosmo plug-in for easy skin smoothing, MBS 11 keeps outdoing itself, giving more expert products at an even greater savings. Whether you are creating a color treatment or adding a beauty pass, Magic Bullet Suite helps create the final look that tells your story perfectly.
- Trapcode Suite is the industry standard package for high quality broadcast design and 3D motion graphics. Its full-featured tools create beautiful realistic effects -- with an emphasis on flexible 3D content -- for text titles, animated backgrounds, logo treatments and VFX design. Trapcode Suite gives you 3D styled elements like a powerful particle system, volumetric lights and organic forms, all built for the After Effects 3D environment. Get nine addictive plug-ins at an affordable price for a comprehensive addition to your studio workflow.
8) Boris Continuum Complete AE8 and AVX8
The folks over at Boris FX refer to Boris Continuum Complete (BCC) as the Swiss Army Knife for video effects (VFX). I agree! BCC is available for several different NLE software hosts and each includes more than 200 filters and effects that plug right into your NLE application (After Effects Cs5.x or Avid MC6). What I like best about BCC is the tools used to manipulate and control each filter and the fact that the effects use the same GUI and controls as your host application. This make using and working with these very sophisticated, complex filters and effects a breeze for experienced video editors.
Some of the filters and effects included in BCC8 are: 3D Objects such as Extruded Text, 3D particle effects, image restoration tools, lens flares and lights, award-winning chroma keying and compositing, a full suite of color correction tools, time-based effects such as Optical Stabilizer, warp and perspective effects, blurs, glows, and cinematic effects. All BCC filters take advantage of either multi-processing or OpenGL hardware acceleration for an interactive effects design experience.
You also get over 1,000 professionally-designed presets included free with every installation of BCC. In addition, via the Boris Transfer workflow utilities, BCC is the only plug-in set that allows easy VFX migration between Avid, Adobe, and Apple editing software – with parameters and keyframed information intact. Boris Transfer AE transfers Avid or Final Cut Pro sequences to After Effects while Boris Transfer FCP transfers sequences between Avid and Final Cut Pro.
9) Roland VR-5 AV Mixer and Recorder
Without a doubt, the Roland VR-5 is the most significant advancement in video switchers in years, especially for worship, education and event video producers. The Roland engineers have seamlessly integrated web streaming with video mixing for under $5,000 making the VR-5 the all-in-one solution for many organizations.
The VR-5’s “all-in-one” solution greatly simplifies production, recording and streaming of any live event. The VR-5’s innovative design incorporates a video switcher, audio mixer, video playback, recorder, preview monitors and output for web streaming all in a single unit. It lets you switch between 5 sources (3 Video, PC and pre-recorder video from it's hard drive) and has dual LCD monitors with touch control for easy video source selection. It also features a built in scan converter for PC output. Not only does it stream your video, it can also record your production into MPEG-4 for archiving and post production editing.
Streaming your production to the web is a breeze with the VR-5! The VR-5 plugs into your computer via USB and is recognized with Plug and Play drivers just like a webcam. This means that any streaming service that supports webcam streaming will also automatically support the VR-5, and setting it up is as simple and easy as setting up a webcam!
10) Class On Demand Online Training
We've been selling and promoting Class On Demand (COD) training for years. In fact many of our most successful bundles have included COD training as part of their value. COD training is different than that of other providers because they find trainers who are authorities on each title and present their courses with very high production value. This gives you training that is very powerful, educational, and interesting to watch.
In 2011 Class On Demand has migrated from disk based training to online or "On-Demand" training. This training is available with an access code token sold on a Class On Demand Training Card. You can now purchase a COD Card that will give you access to a single On-Demand training title, or to the entire Class On Demand library - including video editing and content creation training as well as advanced IT training and more for a limited time. You can take a look at the comprehensive training library available from Class On Demand and make an investment in getting more from your video editing and content creation tools.
- The COD Black Card at $99 has up to a $199 value and entitles you to choose any single title from online training library and access that course at any time for up to 2 years. For a limited time only, Videoguys.com is offering the COD Black Card for just $1 with any purchase over $100!!
- The COD Sapphire Card which is currently on sale for $149 gives you a full-year of unlimited access to all COD online titles. COD’s huge training library grows every day and covers today’s most popular software and hardware products. You will also have instant access ALL new titles added throughout the year. This a special offer just for Videoguys Customers. Watch as many On-Demand training courses you can and as often as you like for the next year!
- The COD Platinum Card at $299 gives you the same unlimited access as the Sapphire Card but is good for TWO years! With hundreds of hours of training (with new titles added regularly) to choose from, this is the absolute best value for the serious digital content creator who wants more from their tools from the leader in online. This special promotion is only for Videoguys customers for a very limited time!
That concludes our Top 10 article for 2011. As we do every year, we will soon be releasing our wishlist of new products and features that we hope to see in 2012 and take a look back our 2011 Wish List to see what the video editing genies granted.
Videoguys' Top 10 Wish List: A Look Back to See What Came True in 2011 and What We Wish for in 2012
When we write the Videoguys' Top 10 Products of the Year article I like to take out our crystal ball and make some predictions and wishes for the new year. I am happy to say that some of our 2011 wishes came true! Here's a look at what each of the key manufacturer's gave us in 2011 and what we're hoping for this year.
We hit a homerun with our 2011 Avid predictions! Everything we hoped would happen, did! Avid had two major Media Composer releases this past year and made all our wishes come true.
- I wished for support for the rest of the Matrox MXO2 product line. Avid went beyond that and added support for all 3rd party hardware. In 2012, I'd like to see the ability to encode directly from the Avid timeline using the Matrox MAX technology on Windows, just like you can on a Mac.
- I wanted AMA support for AVCHD in Avid Media Composer 6. Once again, Avid delivered. In 2012 I'd like to see them tweak the engine so that you it can handle multiple layers of AVCHD fotage with ease.
- Avid also added better integration with the Artist Color and Media Composer 6. I would love to see them continue along this path in 2012 and give the same, tight integration with the Artist Control.
- I wanted them to make a price move similar to what they did with ProTools 9. They did this with their extremely successful crossgrade program they launched at NAB to go after FCP owners. At $999 crossgrade sales were off the hook. Since they raised the price on the crossgrades to $1,499 sales have slowed down, here's hoping they re-introduce the $999 promotion in 2012
Adobe - With the release of CS5.5 Adobe continued to raise the bar for Premiere Pro and the Production Premium. The Mercury Playback Engine is the real deal. It allows you to handle all tapeless HD formats with ease, and with the right computer and GPOU, you can handle multple layers of even AVCHD footage with real-time playback.
With the introduction of FCPX, Adobe seized the opportunity to go after professional post and broadcasters. With their aggressive SWITCHER program they grabbed tons of seats, and more importantly, opened up professional's eyes to all the enhancements they have been introducing since CS5. As I like to tell my more experienced customers who may have cut their teeth on Premiere 5-10 years ago - this is not you father's Adobe Premiere. In fact, for many FCP editors, Adobe Premiere delivers much of what they had hoped Apple would give them with FCP8 - if they had ever released it. Here's hoping that Adobe re-introduces a new SWITCHER promotion in 2012!
As you already know from the main article, my favorite new feature in CS5.5 is the Warp Stabilizer. In 2009 Adobe introduced content aware fill for Photoshop. In CSA6 I'd love to see video content aware fill in either AE or Premiere. I'm still hoping to see Adobe incorporate touch technology into the interface, so that you could use an iPad, tablet or other touch screen to actually manipulate your video, filters and effects. That would be super cool!
Apple - Well I don't think anyone saw FCPX coming on 2010, but after they hijacked the FCPUG Supermeet to give a 'sneak peak' of FCPX, it was clear to many that Apple was abandoning professional post. That's not to say that pro's can't use FCPX, they can, and they will. In 2012 Apple will be adding back some glaring omissions, but the damage has been done and many of our customers cannot longer trust Apple to support their workflows. I think that's a little harsh, but Apple brought it on themselves by killing FCP7. If they had introduced FCPX as iMovie Pro or Final Cut Xtreme or anything other then FCP ver 10, the backlash would not have been anything, but then again, neither would the free publicity and buzz it created. Apple as always is laughing all the way to the bank!
Apple did introduce Thunderbolt which I love and which I think will be one of the major technology impacts of 2012. What they have not done is refresh the Mac Pro line. This fact combined with FCPX has resulted in some FCP shops not just switching their NLE to Avid or Adobe, but switching some of their workstation to HP. Incredible! I don't think Apple is going to abandon the MacPro market, but I do think they may change the way we configure and utilize high end hardware. Perhaps it's an iMac that allows you to attach several Mac Mini's to increase your computing power beyond just dual Xeons.
Getting back to FCPX, I'm not sure if we'll see this next one in 2012, but I feel strongly that it's coming. When I first saw FCPX at the Supermeet my first thought about the new interface and magnetic timeline was that it would be even cooler if it was a touchscreen interface, and that ultimately this was what the designers have in mind. I'm not talking about an iPad here, but being able to use a future iMac laying on your desktop at a 30 degree angle, that you would actually touch and manipulae your timeline and video with.
G-Tech - You guys had a tough year with product shortages because of the disasters in Japan and Thailand. Now that these are behind us and production is starting to come back to pervious levels, it's time for you to unleash the full potential of Thunderbolt. I know that you guys already announced G-Raids with Thunderbolt and I think that's great, but it's just the tip of the iceberg.
I want to see G-Speed T. Basically take a G-Speed enclosure and add Thunderbolt. No need for an expensive RAID controller. Just plug it in via Thunderbolt and configure it for your preferred RAID level (we always recommend RAID5). Super easy, super fast, super value would make G-Speed T a SUPER product.
Grass Valley - Last year I asked for higher end HD converters to be added to the ADVC line and Grass Valley delivered the G-Series converters. I had also hoped for an Edius I/O device that would be similar to a Matrox MXO2 Mini for Edius. Edius is very strong in the Event Video market, especially with companies that deliver Same Day Edits (SDE). Grass Valley gave us the HD Storm Mobile which had the potential to be that product, but with a cost of $1,500 including Edius 6 it was out of the price range of many Event Videographers. So for 2012 I'm hoping they either bring down the cost of the Storm Mobile or open up Edius to third party hardware like the MXO2 Mini.
Matrox - Matrox did a great job launching and shipping Thunderbolt compatible devices. The fact that anyone who owns an older MXO2 can turn it into a Thunderbolt device with just the adapter is really nice. Matrox did enhance their Vetura capture software, but I'm still waiting for stand alone encoding and playback tools.
For 2012 I'd like to see them figure out a way to have MAX do more then just encoding. How cool would it be if the MAX could also be used as a pre-process file conversion engine, to turn any video file into ProRes, DNxHD or H.264 faster then real-time, before you bring it into your timeline. I'd also like to see even better Adobe integration. I wonder if Matrox can figure out a way for Adobe Premiere Pro to see the MAX as another processor to use for the Mercury Playback Engine. Even cooler, how about adding back some of the RTX real-time filters and effects, for both PC and Mac users. If that was possible we could market the Mojito card as an RTX3 for Adobe Premiere.
I have one more thing on my wish list for Matrox. How about giving us a multiport Thunderbolt adapter that would allow you to attach 3 or 4 MXO2 Mini or LEs to your iMac for streaming applications like Wirecast or BOINX TV? Now you could turn your iMac or Mac Book Pro into an HD production and streaming solution for a fraction of the cost of a Newtek Tricaster.
Pioneer - In 2010 Pioneer gave us the first triple and quad layer burner. Unfortunately we are still waiting for BD-XL media to become affordable. Until blank triple layer media drops below $20, I just don't see it becoming a strong feature.
I am still waiting for Pioneer to deliver a sleek, sexy portable external blu-ray burner. Something that's low cost enough for PC guys to want, and slick enough for Mac guys to put next to their iMac or MacBook Pro.
Sony - I am still waiting for broader I/O hardware support for this great software. Come on guys - talk to Matrox - I know you can make it work if you put the resources behind it. You finally gave us GPU acceleration, something other NLEs have had for years, now it's time to give your more professional users the I/O hardware they crave. I'm still waiting to see Vegas get tighter integration with the other SONY apps like Sound Forge and Acid.
What's in store for 2012? Videoguys predictions...
2010 was the year of the DSLR, 2011 was the year of "X", what will 2012 be? I think it's going to be the year of Thunderbolt. We just published our guide to Thunderbolt and if you jump over and read it after you are done with this article, you'll not only get more insight into the technology, you'll get a peak at some future Thunderbolt products I'd like to see.
I wonder is 2012 will be the year that 3D really breaks through into mainstream videography? In 2011 we saw some really great 3D movies like Hugo and some really bad ones as well. What I really liked about Hugo was that 3D was more than gimmick, it wasn't a 3d story, but a story that took place in 3D. I'm still waiting for the first 3D television programming. While we have customers dabbling and playing with 3D, it's not yet something our customers are demanding or doing.
It will also be interesting to see if 2K and 4K become the new HD formats of choice. I'm not quite sure what the extra pixels will bring for 99% of our customers, but the folks over at RED, Canon and other camera manufacturers seem to be banking on a 2K/4K future.
The other big thing to watch in 2012 is the Cloud. Adobe has already announced that CS6 will be the last "boxed" retail version of their software. The future for them will be Cloud/ subscription based. Avid has integrated the Avid store into MC6, allowing you to shop for stock footage, images and music directly while you edit. Apple turned FCP into an app called FCPX. How much longer will we actually "own" the software we purchase.
It will be very interesting to see how consumers and professionals react to this change. Of course the Cloud will not only effect how we create content, it already effects how we view it. Services like Hulu and HBOGO bring programming directly from the Cloud to your device. Will Apple introduce a new line of televisions which will marry the Cloud, iOS, Siri, iPads & iPhones together into an iTV that will revolutionize the way we view and interact with media? It's going to be an interesting year!!