Professionally speaking, I am an editor.
Not to sound like an old curmudgeon, cursing at a world gone mad from atop a mountain, but those were the days that the idea of ‘editing from home’ was about as realistic as building a particle accelerator in your living room. A non-linear system was one part computer, two parts video monitors and mixing board, and five parts peripheral hardware that made your system look like the control board of a NASA Launch.
Oh, and the price? At the time, an Ivy League College Education was cheaper.
So, I entered into the workforce as an editor around the Bastard Year Of Our Lord 2000. I mean, c’mon… if the Village Idiot could be elected President against all good reasoning, why couldn’t I be a freelance editor?
Now, around this time, a little upstart of an editing program, covered in mud and surrounded by the jeers of taunting industry giants, started gaining some respect. Final Cut Pro was at only a few of the Post Houses at the time, and most of my interviews for gigs began with ‘Now, you’re a real editor, right? Not one of those Final Cut Kids…’
Well, that changed. I won’t go into it, it’s easily searchable, but by the time 2006 rolled around, I wasn’t editing on AVID any more. People just weren’t paying me to.
Final Cut was King.
However, Apple has never been known to sit idly. The latest version of FCP lied dormant while Apple was coming up with a new way to overhaul professional editing software, and thus introduced Final Cut Pro X. It did away with outdated editing dogma. Things like Bins. Output to Tape. Backwards compatibility. Multi-track audio editing…
Namely, Apple introduced a product so far removed from what editors knew and were used to working with that the entire post-production community shit a collective brick. The size of the Baltoro Glacier.
I’m not going to go into Final Cut Pro X either. I have thoughts, but that’s for another time. Rather, what’s going on right now is me trying to adapt to What Comes Next. And I don’t know what that is, to be honest. Adobe Premiere has gained some speed, and the cultist-like early adapters of FCPX are screaming into the wind.
So here’s me. Editing on AVID.
Downloaded the trial and working my way through a tool who’s one part melancholy and another part vendetta. I see the improvements, I do, but I also see all the old things about AVID that I used to hate. I love the bins, how they make little homes on the hard drive that flush the RAM their using as soon as you close them down. I see the timeline, which is still confused about what it means to drag and drop. I see the AMA linking, which allows me to import many different types of media. I also see AVID lagging whenever I ask it to do so.
My gripe with AVID was that it refused to change. Even in the days before desktop editing became a household name, they just didn’t listen to what the new editor’s wanted. It’s an old tool, and good at what it does. But what it does is not enough anymore. In an age where people are shooting theater-ready images and popping them onto the internet faster than it takes to load your system preferences, you can’t have a $2,500 piece of software that doesn’t do full color correction. You say good bye not just to a huge market, but a market that will quickly dwarf your current client base until there’s none of them left. When Walter Murch left AVID for Final Cut Pro, that should have been a sign. Instead, they took a stance that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took towards Occupy Wall Street: Keep calling them hippies, even as Alan Greenspan is waving at you while holding a picket sign.
You don’t bring a Model T to the Indy 500.
So, I am going to finish out my trial of AVID Media Composer 6, and I hope by the end I will be proven wrong. I do. In a weird way, I like the solid nature of AVID. I even miss seeing it’s permanently-1998 user interface. But nostalgia will only carry you so far in this market, and so far, I haven’t seen a spot where AVID can pull ahead.