In my previous post I wrote about the demise of Shake and XServe. Now we’ll see how the future of editing is bearing down on us unexpectedly. Just look at YouTube Video Editor and Avid’s “edit anywhere” technology preview. Notice what these lack? A filesystem.
I used to teach nonlinear editing at a University and from my experience students had the most difficulty in three areas:
- input: digitizing footage into the NLE.
- output: exporting a finished project.
- file management.
Once the footage was ready for editing, the cutting and trimming came easily. The current barriers of entry for nonlinear editing are technical. And the future belongs to whoever can eliminate them.
Final Cut Server was Apple’s attempt to abstract away the filesystem in order to make editing more accessible. But abstracting the filesystem away on the desktop is difficult for multiple reason. People are used to downloading files and putting them on a “media drive”. But if Final Cut Server were moved into the cloud… well suddenly the file system isn’t a problem anymore. Just like…
Word processing! Document management and sharing used to be the province of your computer and the sneakernet. Then Google Docs put it all in the cloud and now problems such as “where is the most up-to-date document” are a thing of the past.
Writer’s note: Sadly, old habits die hard. I’m still surprised by how many of my peers continue to lose data because they refuse to use Dropbox!
The future of editing will be like this. Xsan, Avid ISIS, and similar SAN solutions are stopgaps. We’re really only waiting on the bandwidth.
Writer’s note: And we’re still waiting…
Apple is the one company that won’t hesitate to kill a technology on the decline before the rest of the world is ready. They did it with the floppy drive, they’re doing it with the optical drive. If the future is going to look like
Avid’s “edit anywhere” Adobe’s Project Rush why develop and support the stopgap?
Writer’s note: In hindsight I overestimated the availability of high speed, low latency bandwidth in the United States. Sadly the situation is only getting worse. Also, my loathing of file management is just as strong today as it was eight years ago. If technology, especially in the motion picture industry, has failed us. It is in this realm. That Apple would lean into the file system on their iOS platform truly caught me by surprise.
In the final part of this series I will explain why content creation tools are the antithesis of Apple’s design philosophy.
Note: Revisited September 27, 2018.