Sunday, 4 September 2011

Final Cut X

Whenever I write a post like this I expect a legion of grumpy media makers to unsubscribe from snuffboxfilms, but that has always been the case, and I'm not precious about surface level snubbing.

I happen to think that Apple's move in simplifying its editing software a good thing. I also think software that isn't bundled is a good thing. As an editor I trained on and used professionally Media 100, back in the day. After its demise at that time (It's been revised) I quickly picked up Final Cut and Premiere, and also spent a lot of time with After Effects (Although jobs I was required to do needed little Motion Graphic dedication). Not to mention that I've used Shake, Nuke and Boris alternately through-out the years. So why would I consider Apple's move to simplify Final Cut as beneficial. Well, it comes down to independent filmmaking, and the headache experienced with software which tries to be all things to all people.

When I process words through software, I don't use a word processor, I use a rich text editor. Bean to be precise. Why? The reason is because I want a simplified interface that provides me with rich functions that get the task of mapping out my thoughts into a scribed form. When I'm editing video I want to be able to concentrate on the rhythm and design of the diegesis not what specs are driving the operation. This is the bane of the creative, when formatting video content for distribution, and the problem lies with the so called 'professional' who can only see creatively through their tech specs.

Back to the word processing analogy, my creative writing ability I think is fairly decent. With a simple rich text editor that exports an rtf file, the effects of my words are not altered by whatever functions are deliriously waiting for me in the menu bar. My paragraphs remain the same regardless, my sentences still need to have their own grammatical style despite tracking and kerning, and the descriptive prose is unaffected by whether or not Bean exports to PDF or can input a formatting feat through the selection tool by a line of clever coding. No, I'm afraid not, all that does not play one important part in writing a decent narrative. There are some writers who fail to put a word down simply because they don't have the notebook or pen that they feel is proper requirement to implement as their tools.

One of the reasons I stopped editing professionally was because of the abrasive point of purpose discussion centered around the softwares capability rather than the capability of the content. Call me naive, of which I have no bones in calling myself when it comes to technical precision, but I'd rather be swept off my feet by ideas than be dazzled with obsessively compulsive definitions on mechanics. If you can't capture something interesting using a Fisher-Price PXL 2000 and editing with EMC2 then I'm thinking you can't capture and distribute anything interesting at all.

This wont concern production line editors subservient to Creative Agencies and Commercial Production Studios for their bread and butter, as their whole game is running around the mainstream maze in order to earn a buck. They aren't usually hired by creative practitioners because their job primarily is to push buttons and attempt to arrange the pencils to make the corporates smile, and in turn jump on forums and discuss at length the metric diameter of their processors. However, they have wicked tempers and posts like this make their particles over emit. This wont concern amateur filmmakers with nothing better to do than spend hours discussing the frame rate or codec over the deftness of their writing; who if analogised with car manufacture would be better suited as mechanics rather than creative designers or concept builders. No, this concerns those who are weary of being privy to such arduous affectations.

So Apple have revamped Final Cut to produce an efficient device for editing and rendering material for the real world and not the broadcasters of yesteryear. Those who understand that will contribute productively to our cultural landscape, and those who do not will continue to preface their tantrums with "I've been in the industry for thirty years ... I've been a professional yada yada ... I've got a circuit database for a personality ... my technical requirements in lovemaking are ... "fondness is a word like any other word" (Cyberman - Earthshock) ... et cetera.

There are many arguments against this rant of mine, and all are in some way valid but they are not important in regards to the purpose of this opinion. If you are not producing for the now that will be, you've already signed yourself off from creativity, and are simply contributing friction and fraction to the past that delivered you into the present state.

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