If you work professionally in television and contemplate last year’s announcement from Apple that FCP X has over 2 million users, you are left asking yourself post production’s version of the Fermi’s Paradox: “Where is everybody?”
But I think we need to take an expansive view of post production for a moment. Something Philip Hodgett has been writing about for quite awhile:
Pre-printing press and general literacy – being literate (having the skills of literacy) made you a hot commodity. The work you did was appreciated by many although most didn’t understand what was involved. In fact, at that time, if you were literate, then your entire career was probably built around it: copying scripture (and other Holy works); reading it to people; interpreting it.
I think that’s where we are now: there are still those who use their “video skills” as their primary income: they put “Editor” on their tax return and employment questionnaires. For the record there are just slightly more employed as ‘Television, Video, and Motion Picture Camera Operators’ (26,300 in 2008).
His post is seven years old today. Go read the whole thing.
I used to teach nonlinear editing on Final Cut Pro 7. From my experience most of my students understood editing intuitively. It was the ingesting, media management, and exporting that tripped them up.
After my first semester teaching I made one important modification: before the first class, I would pre-load all of the media onto the computers. My first few classes would focus on what we traditionally think of as editing: insert, over write, trimming, etc. After giving my students the opportunity to build confidence, we’d move into the difficult areas. Rightly considered, ingesting and exporting, isn’t really editing anyway, it’s file management (and humans are generally very bad at file management).
Adobe recently announced Project Rush. This is a Very Big Deal for the future of the NLE! Project Rush represents a future without traditional ingest, media management, and exporting. Just like the new version of Lightroom, users can work on their phone, tablet, or desktop and have their work sync across all of their devices.
Project Rush will be a boon to IGTV creators. But will probably go unnoticed in traditional motion picture production in the near future. This is foolhardy. The ETC has already experimented with cloud based production workflows two years ago. The benefits of eliminating file management are going to be too great to ignore. (In a weird way you could argue that the Assistant Editor is the current solution for abstracting away the file system for Editors.)
Sooner or later, what we consider editing, and who we consider an editor, are going to change significantly. Are we in the middle of the motion picture’s evolution; from an art form created by a small number of specialists, to a medium of mass communication practiced by everyone?