back to article Apple eats video editing jobs

Workers in the media industry face either an intoxicating future or one filled with doom because of Apple's Final Cut software and unifying digitisation removing layers of complexity from their work. That's the theme coming out of a tapeless media summit in held last week in London's Soho, a centre for media production and post- …


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  1. KazR
    Thumb Up

    article error?

    "The capacity is no problem for now as a 50x4TB node setup has been tested and the company says 24TB nodes would work just as well, meaning a 1.2TB cluster is feasible"

    Should that be 1.2PB cluster is feasible?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    Surely automation of any process comes at a cost. A beneficial one to the running/survival of a business that's for sure.

    The title of the post is also a bit misleading as the Apple software is enhancing opportunities for editors, it is enabling them to manage projects a lot more efficiently allowing them to be more creative..

  3. Anonymous Coward

    $tit le

    "50x4TB node setup has been tested and the company says 24TB nodes would work just as well, meaning a 1.2TB cluster is feasible"

    So, what you're saying is that with 1200x1TB drives this marvellous equipment can achieve the capacity of a mere 120% of one drive?

    Or have you mixed up your units here?

    And surely it should be in binary notation: TiB instead of TB.

  4. Rob
    IT Angle

    Non-linear tapeless on a budget

    Just as an addition, even though Final Cut seems to have the mainstream, in the budget market Adobe's suite is also designed for the tapeless, granted I don't think their Cue Server technology is quite as good as Apple's (although I haven't tried the CS4 version yet) it still offers all that FCP has. The overall build cost is considerably cheaper as well if your on a tight low-end production budget.

    FCP is probably one of the only reasons to still get a Mac if you work in the creative industry though, in terms of what a Mac used to be for in regards to design work, was all blown out of the water when they shifted from RISC-based to Intel.

  5. Alex

    What about the current data?

    Alot of the networks current archives are on tape and will be required if you were to say knock out a Lead Zeppelin obituary. All of this footage will either be referenced as the tape library and seen as separate and out dated but required and staffed (ok a dwindling staff but still there will be more IT staff maintaining the new nodes), or there will be a huge migration from tape libraries requiring even more tape trained staff than we have and seeing the current ones through to retirement. Further as the networks sell off the tape based kit wont smaller networks, student and community TV and prosumers clubs etc require somewhere to put all the footage they get before the trusty old cameras die out?

  6. capn13

    Storage calculation typo

    Don't you mean 1.2 Petabytes at the end? That is 50x24Tb = 1.2 Pt ?



  7. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Tape is cheap

    Thing is, tape is cheap. DVCAM media comes in at about 7 quid for a 40 minute tape (or 60 minute in HDV or DV mode) and should be good for years. In fact Sony guarentee 30 years on their DVCAM media (

    Of course this shouldn't be your only backup but it's a damn good start. The thing is that you can stick the tape in a cupboard and it will still be there when you go back to it (providing you use the proper Sony DVCAM stock and don't cheap out like some of my colleagues and use standard consumer DV at a quid a throw).

    I've used some solid state storage cameras recently (the Sony EX 1) and very nice they are as well. Problem is of course that when you use tape you can keep that tape as a backup. With the new solid state media you have to transfer the footage to a computer and then back it up again (you'll be wanting to reuse the media given the price).

    And how am I going to store this footage afterwards? Hard disk (should be good for 5/10 years), DVD (3/5 years) or data tape (so expensive it's not worth thinking about)?

    There are some major workflow issues to address with the advert of solid state and HD. My old SD projects were about 40-60 gig each and could be archived off to an HD with a DVD secondary backup. However I'm currently working on an HD project that is now over 220 gig! How the hell I will archive it I just don't know!

    Steve for removing the second Firewire connector on the new Macbook Pro's! Cretin.....

  8. Thomas Davie


    FCP is probably one of the only reasons to still get a Mac if you work in the creative industry though, in terms of what a Mac used to be for in regards to design work, was all blown out of the water when they shifted from RISC-based to Intel.

    Pardon? Exactly what benefits did the aging PPC chip confer on designers. They were slower than the Intel chips apple swapped to in every respect, and I can't think of a single advantage of a RISC architecture that has any direct relevance to designers.

  9. Lotaresco

    Where's the beef?

    Sorry I can't understand the point of the article. Nothing new, nothing clever, nothing that isn't blindingly obvious. I worked on the Quantel Clipbox and Avid systems in the early 1990s. It was obvious then that the writing was on the wall for "traditional" skills and equipment.

  10. Ian Davies

    Inverted snobbery

    Excuse me but what, precisely, was the point of all the snidey Apple comments? You have companies like Microsoft who blatantly kill off potential competitors (rather than, you know, actually *competing* with them) and yet when Apple happens to succeed in a market for no other reason than they have "the best tools" (quote from article), it's somehow a cue to drag out the "fanboy' label again. Worse, you try and paint a view that Apple is some kind of evil empire, solely responsible for the rise of digital editing. Are you sure you even know *anything* about this industry? If you had been talking about Shake or Logic Pro, where Apple killed off the Windows versions, then you might - *MIGHT* - have had the hint of a point, but even then, they were hardly the dominant products in their respective markets.

    Really, if you're so insecure, just buy a bigger cock and have done with it.

  11. Chris Mellor

    1.2PB not TB

    Cock-up alert. The Matrix Store 50-node cluster storage capacity limit is 1.6 petabytes, not 1.2 terabytes. Ooops.


  12. Nick


    @Mr C Hill

    Tape media is indeed cheap but the management of it in medium/large organisations over a 5/10 year period may not be.. a couple of posts that may be of interest:

    TCO (Tape/Disk)

    Tapeless Workflow:



  13. Kradorex Xeron

    @Inverted snobbery

    Apple is a monopoly just like Microsoft - Apple, a corporation (like Microsoft) wants to brutally crush or take over any opposition who tries to enter the markets it is in. Look at Apple's 'stores': Only "Apple-approved" stuff makes it there with no appeal to be had if it gets rejected. Furthermore, Apple locks out "Non-Authorized" developers for their mobile platforms.

    It's just articles around here haven't been saturated by Steve Jobs' saint/god complex and people aren't used to Apple getting shots taken at it.

  14. Aaron





    oh wait

  15. Tim Jenkins

    Keep on trucking

    Sure; just keep adding (and replacing) drives in the arrays, add a cluster when those are full, build a new data centre when you run out of room for the racks, put another power station on-line when you run out of cooling capacity and the juice to spin them all... It's not like we're running short of gas or oil any time soon, right?

    Flames because I'm sure it's getting warmer in here.

  16. Tom Smith Silver badge


    So media types will loose their jobs eh?

    But by the sound of it, IT jobs in media are if anything going to increase, which is nothing but good for those of us in IT jobs (ie most of the el reg readership).

  17. Daniel Ocean

    Why FCP?

    Its a terrible piece of software, it has no intelligence what-so-ever. It is not even real time, bloody rendering. It is just a digital version of an offline editor - not a digital editor. Im forced to use FCP often when working with clients and its like climbing a mountain to do even the simplest of operations, it works against you constantly. If more people tried Sony (Sonic Foundry) Vegas they would realise that there are much better ways to do things (and lightning quick too).

    In short, fix the software first before offering a complete digital solution!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Workflow and storage

    The tapeless workflow will suit larger companies, but for small production houses I maintain it's a problem. We can't afford SAN solutions, tape is easier and cheaper. A small production house may only shoot between 100 hours of footage per year, therefore the tapes only consume a small amount of space. The bigger problem is the archiving of projects afterwards in a cost effective manner.

    Don't get me wrong, tapeless is the way forward and I loved using the EX-1. But I know I'm not the only person questioning workflow and storage issues with it. DVCAM and Digibeta is cheap and with a shelf life of 30 years you can have some confidence that it will last.

    For the larger production houses and archives there is another problem. It's not unknown for footage to be bulk transferred to hard disk and then the original tapes junked. Trouble is that older tapes are often badly transferred by people who don't really know the black arts of formats such as 2" Quad. I often see archive footage on TV shows or on the news that is in a right old state because it's gone through multiple generations and been transferred with no care. There's no going back because the originals have been junked.

    The BBC transferred their archive to digital tape a few years back (a process that took many years) but all the original Quad tapes are stored at the National Film And Television Archive. So should something have slipped through the net they can call up the original tape.

  19. Harris Upham

    transition costs

    Speaking as a field mechanic in the trenches of tapeless media, I have helped several of my clients negotiate the transition from tape to tapeless. A common theme is that new, current productions are being done in tapeless formats, but almost nobody has the money to work on their existing tape archives. Some of the biggest media businesses (WB, BBC, Disney, Universal etc) have made fair progress, but most of the smaller players simply can't afford to.

    Will we continue to move forward with a gradual transition while the tape equipment and necessary skills remain available? The longer we wait, the more expensive it gets, with old tape machines getting crankier and the necessary support staff aging and needing more compensation to support families etc. At some point, archive holders will decide that the remaining tape based archives simply aren't worth the price of conversion, and something will get left behind. Before long, young people will reject older programming because it's square and fuzzy, ie standard definition. The new black and white. The value of those old archives will be seen to drop further vs. preservation cost.

    The biggest hurdle we have found in tapeless is interoperability. Balkanization of formats, codecs, and filesystems have made tapeless just as much of a minefield as tape production on multiple tape formats. A high-stakes game of not-invented-here, and it has ultimately raised the cost of tapeless to... something close to tape production levels. Apple has made a few concessions to interoperability, but experience has shown that this to be more of a marketing claim than a design philosophy.

    And we still aren't done with tape! Somebody's always got a relevant old home video, or a videographer just managed to get the best shot of the day with his old backup camera pointing the other way for b-roll. So we'll still need decks and techs for a while yet.

  20. Ian Davies

    @ Kradorex

    Please look up "Monopoly" in a dictionary, then come back when you have a clue.

    Actually, don't.

  21. Christian Berger

    Computer storage _will_ get cheaper

    Video tape probably will be at the same cost for quite some time. It won't get cheaper. Computer storage will however get cheaper by the month.

    As for long-time storage, that still is an unsolved problem. Even if your DV-tapes last for 100 years, where will you get a working recorder for it then?

    What's the solution? I don't know. Maybe in the future we'll have super-slow harddrives for storage which take virtually no power and have vacuum inside so the heads can't crash.

    If you think about long-time storage you have to know what technology there will be in the future. Will the technological progress continue? Will it go backwards because of some kind of war? Who knows. If technological progess continues, harddisks would be perfect. You'd just replace harddrives just like you replace VTRs.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    anecdotal evidence

    I used to work in a company that serviced ITV, CH5 & satellite channels. They took US series and stripped out the breaks to make one seamless episode/film/documentary. Everything was Digibeta when we parted company, Mac's were a dirty word there, tape was king. Now, some 5 years later, everywhere Macs, FCP on the editors workstation. Why? Speed and throughput, before FCP, you had to sit through the whole program to edit out the breaks. Now, it's a few keystrokes and voila, no more ad breaks.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Kradorex Xeron

    "people aren't used to Apple getting shots taken at it."

    How old are you, 12? (reading through your prior posts would indicate not, but your remark doesn't.)

    Do you not remember the almost monthly 'Apple is going bankrupt', 'Apple will be bought by **", 'No one will buy the iPod', 'System 7 sucks!', 'No one will buy the iMac', 'Apple can't build anything that grows its market share, radda, radda, radda.'

    Apple has been a whipping boy for years and years and years and it's decidedly revisionist to think MAC users aren't used to Apple getting shots taken at it.

    There is however the INTERNET where millions of *name your favourite OS here* users can rant in however prepubescent and disengaged method they desire without any real social consequences. Drawing conclusions by the posts you read and surmising that they represent the entire whole is at best dicey.

    Monopoly: a company or group having exclusive control over a commodity or service.

    Example: areas where cable companies operate as monopolies.

    I would love to hear just which commodity Apple has exclusive control over. i.e. something you can't do, perform or buy without Apple involved.

    Smartphones: Yep. lots of 'em. Any WinMobile, RIM, Palm. et cætera.

    Online stores: Yep. lots of 'em: Pretty much the world!

    Online stores for Smartphones: Yep. lots of 'em. Pretty much every cellphone provider has one.

    Computers: Yep. lots of 'em: Dell, HP, Acer, Fujitzu, Toshiba, et cætera.

    MP3 players: Yep. lots of 'em; Zune, Sandisk, Sony, Samsung, Creative, et cætera.

    Software: Yep. lots of 'em: Pretty much the world!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Real Time

    @Daniel Ocean

    What, no real time? What are you running a G4 with Final Cut Express 2?

    Maybe if you ran current hardware and software you could give a better review.

    Real Time

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Nothing new to see here...

    Move along please.

  26. dave lawless

    Tape in the field

    Hmm, tape aint dead on set.

    "Ok cut, 15 minute break while we dump the SD to disk"

    "Oops, I dropped the £300 SD in my tea, we've got to re-shoot that last hour"

    "Oops , I dropped the £600 HD recorder and we've lost 5 hours of recording, can anybody lend my £10k to reshoot?"

  27. Anonymous Coward

    @ Daniel Ocean

    Well from my experience (and I've used a wide range of video editing apps and worked with all different types of editors) people who use Sony Vegas have no friggin idea.

    Sure it works for you - but have you ever followed your footage? (I mean have you seen what happens to it after it leaves your workstation) and found out the shit fights it causes when it just doesn't work?

    Artifacts, noise, wrong encoding, etc have plagued many a project thanks to Vegas and its slap happy implementation.

    One thing that amazes me is people say it works with everything and they can drag anything they want into their timeline - is this a good thing?

    HELL NO!

    At least final cut warns you that your sequence settings don't match the content before you create an unholy mismatch of video files from god knows what origins.

    Just because you can import and use any bit of footage you want doesn't make it a good app - neither does it's simplistic interface.

    Hell I bet you even think Windows Movie Maker is better than Final Cut.

    There is a reason that Final Cut Pro is leading the industry as an editing application choice - Avid sux, so does Premiere and for that matter so does your baby Vegas.

    Final Cut is the master all the rest are slaves.

  28. Ian Davies

    @Daniel Ocean

    ummmmm you don't know what you're talking about, do you?

  29. Nick

    MatrixStore Software

    Hi Chris,

    Just to clarify that MatrixStore software is available globally on the Mac OS:

    The appliance version is currently only available in the UK though we re more than happy to talk to people outside of the region:


  30. Jack


    Im highly shocked at the amount of experts here talking crap! There have been some good comments but the amount of people chucking opinions and rumours around as facts is disturbing!

    Final Cut is, jointly with Avid, the current market leaders and both work wonders, although Avid has more specific broadcast programs such as NewsCutter, not to mention that they produce their own hardware solutions. Adobe's CS4 suite with 64bit rendering and RED compatibility as standard would in my opinion lead it to compete with FCS2 & Media Composer 3 in the near future and would be a great product for smaller, corporate or similar video houses until it receives a larger take up.

    Final Cut might be "a terrible piece of software" to quote the most mis-representative Daniel Ocean but it is currently being taken up by the BBC, ITV and Sky to name UK broadcasters alone. Most of these businesses are currently in transition to P2 cards (a 64gb version is due soon) which is optimised for Final Cut hence it's use (although Adobe's latest update adds promising compatibility). So no actual mention of HDD based solutions anywhere here!

    As for storage I think everyone can agree that server based storage takes up far far far less room than tape based solutions, never require recapturing (once in a recognisable format), and are quick to distribute amongst multiple edit suites at one single moment. Yes tape is still being used at an in-house level but even so, the majority of these now store digital copies of most of their key projects.

    As for cost... Don't get me started!! The cost of space per amount of footage on harddisk based storage already outweighs the cost per amount of footage on tape. If you buy a large HDD you save money over a smaller sized HDD, and that taking into account the cost of a tape easily wins. But wait!! To do this fairly take into account the time and cost it takes to pay someone to capture the footage, maintain the library and tech the decks. A server based solution would require just the organisation and the tech work, both of which can be fulfilled in one job role such as a Master Control Room Operator.

    I love Apple equipment alot, i own two Macs an iPod and an iPhone... But I also love Vista x64 as any true PC user should. I have my own custom Vista machine and run VMware on my iMac so I'm pretty much on the fence, bar that I personally prefer to use Mac as it does what I want in the best way for me.

    As for edit software can I make it clear that I've used everything going from Ulead to Pinnacle to Final Cut to Premiere 4 through to Pro CS4 to Avid Media Composer 3 to Vegas and I have to say by a long shot Pinnacle and Vegas come at the very very bottom of that list. If you want to know what systems Sony use to edit their own footage, like Sony Style adverts look no further than Avid and Apple (asides from CineFilm where even then sony isn't involved). Don't get me wrong i have a PS3 and my P2 camera of choice would be Sony or Panasonic but edit wise there are far better options available that are so much more flexible and feature-rich.

    Any comment, disagreements or the like please feel free to correct.

  31. karl

    Mac and FCP advice

    On an off topic note, slightly.

    I use vegas with tapeless EX1 which works great but never ventured on to macs or FCP. What hardware (MAC) would somebody buy for running FCP on a MAC?

  32. Anonymous Coward


    You all know nothing unless you have edited a long form feature on a couple of VTR's *without* TC or edit controller. The seriously hardcore will remember when we did it with splicing tape and a loupe (and I'm talking about video here, not film).

  33. Anonymous Coward


    ."There is a reason that Final Cut Pro is leading the industry as an editing application choice"

    Yep, and the reason would be mac users are morons who choose style over substance everytime.

    Graphic's folks are generally people who can use a Mac but can't read.

    I have used a lot of different editing software, and would rate FCP as mediocre at best.

    Potato, leek and elitist minority soup;

    Peel and dice 6 potatoes, 6 leeks and one mac user.

    Mines the one that will never have an iphone in the pocket.

  34. Ian Davies

    @Anonymous Coward (surprise!)

    >Yep, and the reason would be mac users are morons who choose style over substance everytime.

    Please explain how this inherently stupid statement applies to platform agnostic video editors who have bought Macs in order to use FCP?

    > Graphic's folks are generally people who can use a Mac but can't read.

    Whereas trolls are generally people who wouldn't know correct apostrophe placement if they fell over it while sticking their thumb up their arse to keep it warm...

    > I have used a lot of different editing software, and would rate FCP as mediocre at best.

    A subjective opinion to which you are entitled, just like everybody else.

    > Potato, leek and elitist minority soup;


    Oh dear... perhaps the 'Inverted Snob' tag should have been reserved for you.

    In refusing to use anything Apple for no other reason than it is Apple, you display all the misguided dogma that you claim to be exhibited by Mac users.

    With such a finely honed line in ignorant, over-generalised toss, I hope for your sake that you never open your mouth on the subjects of race or religion.

  35. Malcom Ryder

    You tube

    If I was making a documentary or rockumentory on led Zeppelin I'd get all my footage from You tube. Sure the quality wouldn't be that great but I would have made it cheaper than all those guys with their pricey Apple gear, and they'd be out of buisness

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