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NAB 2012. The Mayans had it right. It's the year of the shift.

This year I witnessed an honest world shaking shift. Yep, 2012 became the year of the world changing from the way we know it, and I could see it happening right before my eyes at NAB 2012 in AJA's booth. I worked in AJA's booth for the entire show, and heard from the whole post and production community there. The carpet was torn to pieces on the first day. I'm not kidding, by the end of the show on the first day, it was so balled up it looked as if it had suffered the hit of a tsunami. That happened the second day as well. There I talked to everyone from the Network big wigs to the one man bands of our industry. DP's, Editors, small operators, Cable companies, churches, the whole industry really... I love 'em all too. But it gave me a wide angle perspective on production and post production points of view.

AJA showed the T-Tap. I had a guy tell me he heard AJA had a box for $249 coming. He said he was already a buyer of any box that AJA made at that price point. Then he asked me what does it do? I think it's the stocking stuffer present of the year. AJA, with a product like this, a 4K solution Ki Pro, and DNX to boot just blew the doors off everyone and anyone who came into the area. I think 50,000 walked through on day one alone. I'm not kidding either.There was an exciting product for anybody in the business in that booth. DP's came by to see that T-Tap and KiPro Quad. Engineers came by to see all the little and big boxes, and of course, most every editor at the show came by. They'll sell a gillion T-Taps within a month of release. And then there's a given that they'll do just fine with that new rack mounted Ki Pro. Yep, just fine.

The shift didn't come from one direction either. But three fundamental shifts in the way we'll likely post sooner rather than later reared right up to the front in everyone's dinner conversation at the show.

First, it's the beginning of the end of the use of towers. Not just for Mac's either. It's going to be the past in most of our lives sooner than we all think in all but a very few niche sort of places. Witness my year old MacBook Pro 17" quad being faster by 40% rendering than my first gen 3 gig 8 core intel tower. Just witness the miniaturization of computing in general. Thunderbolt is going to make my Mac Pro dreams evaporate. It's a dead issue folks, I really don't think we'll see a new one, even though I'd be first in line. If Apple shows us a new iMac with fast graphics, and another TB port or two. It's pretty much over. I think they that this all planned a year ago. They knew the smaller computers would be "fast enough" for most users a long time ago.

AJA had a Sonnet box enclosing a Mac Mini Server and a couple extra drives running ALSO a Kona LHi card. There ya go!
AJA also had a Magma Thunderbolt Chassis proudly housing a Kona with a couple extra slots open for whatever save a GPU... Running on an iMac of course. Solutions during the shift to soft land possibly.

Second big shift: All of the A's (save Apple- so they could hog all the headlines when they announce anything) announced or made big strides at NAB. The democratization of the hardware throughout make it way different. Even Avid works with my AJA gear! Wow. So does Adobe, Apple, Audodesk software... all at the same time. AJA had it happening on every Mac Station. Including current Mac Pros. But why is this a shift? Don't they always try to do this? Well, just a couple of years ago this really wasn't being shown on the same station any way.

Well... the SHIFT is in the fact that the largest group of NLE users on the planet (Final Cut Pro 7 users) are IN the market for the first time in at least 5-8 years. No longer just waiting on a new version of FCP. THAT is the shift. I heard an earful, that's for sure. I have solutions though... Just ask me sometime. Last year we were in shell shock of the way FCP X was launched. This year we've seen it grow into what should have been shown last year... and the bitter pill is we have to learn something new sometime soonish no matter what. No more FCP 7 is inevitable. Slow decline, yes. I did't hear of a lot of people already switched... I heard of where they stand now. Mostly still running FCP 7 quite frankly. So anyone telling you otherwise isn't quite right about it don't think. Adobe's sales have risen I know, but that's just not enough fuel to point to a shift in the market. They are mostly staying pat, but looking at what's next. And make no mistake, there were plenty of FCP X users coming into the booth to see what's up for them. FCP X users are quiet I think.. LOL. too quiet. FCP X has a lot to like. I personally can use it professionally, along side FCP 7 and other NLE's now. woo hoo.

This shift also witnesses furious competition happening in the NLE field. Apple, Adobe, Avid, and Autodesk! The latter three had a huge NAB. Everything in AJA, BlackMagic, and others are all playing nice with all the NLE's and they all are after the FCP crowd. I can't remember a time in the past quite like this. All open architecture turns the editor on for sure! It's a great thing this competition for users especially. Bravo this shift. Uptick shift we'll call it.

First it was Avid vs Media 100. Then there was Avid vs FCP, Avid held it's own and survived for this day. They've one last shot at being number 1. But they have Adobe to contend with. Jumping into this fray for the first time is Autodesk's future version of Smoke selling for less than a new car! In fact, one could run FCP X along side Avid, Adobe, and next fall, SMOKE for less than $10,000, and run it all concurrently on an iMac. and an io XT. That same Io XT could also supply support for a second computer display from MacBook Pros. Hint: if you're worth your salt you'll learn and use 'em all. You use the one who handles the task at hand the best every time.

When you vividly remember million dollar suites that did less than that mac mini I played with this year in a Sonnet enclosure... that, my friends is a shift... a big one. Autodesk did change everything. They lowered the price of entry by 80%. That's a goodie in anybody's book. All that yummy and mature 64 bit code affordable now!

But there was that third thing that was seriously shown at NAB 2012. Cloud computing solutions. Everything from just Cloud collaboration (not all that new) to actual cloud editing, which, represents the real shift. Can you imagine uploading proxies of your media you then stream and make edit decisions from anywhere on the planet with a broadband connection? Edit in the park, edit on the ski slope. It's a fundamental shift in the way we will work, and it will be everywhere being used by everyone within 5-8 years. Offline in the cloud, online locally will be the deal before ya know it.

Man. The shift is certainly upon us all. 4k?? no problem. a recording solution that's NLE agnostic for the price of a KiPro, and the laptop you bought last year with a Thunderbolt connected mac? wow... just.. wow.


Posted by: Jerry Hofmann on Apr 22, 2012 at 1:05:21 pm Editing, Final Cut Pro

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