Archive for the ‘Final Cut Server’ Category

Portal

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Cantemo Portal™ (core Theme)

If you work with video then you’re probably on the lookout for new innovations and tools to help you manage your media better, software that helps you preserve and access your projects with ease and solutions that automate those repetitive tasks that otherwise fill up your day. I am. A lot of the people I’ve worked with over the course of my career are too. Which is why, in 2007, when Apple announced a new application called, Final Cut Server my attention was piqued. It piqued the attention of a lot of other folks too. But, in a remarkable turn of events for the company that never pre-announces products, we had to wait close to a year for Apple to release the shipping version.

When that day came it was very exciting. Here was an inexpensive tool that enabled highly-customised labelling of media and comprehensive search tools; low resolution proxy file creation for both browsing and offline editing; automated job creation and reporting; and a check-in/check-out feature for sharing projects and new collaboration opportunities. All of this was tightly integrated with Final Cut Pro and took advantage of both Apple ProRes and H.264. Final Cut Server represented a new dawn, particularly for editors and organisations that relied on Final Cut Pro. I was convinced. I embraced the solution and became a committed evangelist. If you worked with me during this time or met me through the Final Cut Server community, you know this. If you attended one of the classes I taught or presentations I delivered, you know this.

For a little more than three years this strategy worked really well. Then the times changed. There’s no easy way to say it, the plug was pulled. Now, I still know operations who are working with Final Cut Server and remain content for now, but as the ecosystem and supporting solutions evolve, the time will come when a new solution will be necessary. Final Cut Server is the past and we must all look to the future. But where to next?

One compelling answer is Cantemo Portal™. It’s a media asset management solution that offers so much more than Final Cut Server ever could. A number of my colleagues agree with me and we’ve been working on ways to migrate and replace services currently provided by Final Cut Server. None more so than moosystems who recently released CP Migration Tool and Meta Media™ Creative Technologies who have developed the popular MetaMAM™ theme and ScriptRunner™, a Final Cut Server script emulator.

The interest in Portal has been rather overwhelming and I was asked to write an article for fcp.co about my experiences. I’ve also been working with Cantemo on a series of videos to demonstrate specific functionality and workflows. The first focuses on the extensive integration with Final Cut Pro X:

I’m certain I’ll have a lot more to say about Portal, especially as we release more videos and I’m able to start speaking about some of the projects I’ve been involved with.

Legacy

Monday, June 27th, 2011

In time
No one will remember our work
Our life will pass like the traces of a cloud
And be scattered like
Mist that is chased by the
Rays of the sun
For our time is the passing of a shadow
And our lives will run like
Sparks through the stubble.
Derek Jarman, Blue, 1993.

As Patrick Inhofer laments the passing of Color, my thoughts turn to the other applications we appear to have lost this week. Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Final Cut Server and Final Cut Pro 7. As a trainer and consultant my job involved helping people understand how these tools could enhance their workflow and create new possibilities for their projects. Latterly with Final Cut Server I had spent time helping these same people understand the importance of preserving their creative work. Not just keeping it, but making it accessible.

I do understand that software comes and goes. The best one can hope for is that the files are of a sufficiently open standard and that translation tools exist should an ignominious fate befall your tool of choice. Regarding this week’s news my friends at Meta Media Technologies have immediately declared a commitment to help creative companies transition with Final Cut Pro and Object Matrix have announced support for Final Cut Server migration. I’m sure others have similar intentions and I know I’m already embroiled in all sorts of discussions — it’s been rather a long week!

The thing is, you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m not really writing about software. I’m writing about our work. Our collective legacy. A few weeks ago I posted an entry about the importance of creating sustainable, well organised Libraries. At the time I was feeling encouraged by what we had seen of the Events Library in FCP X and had begun dreaming of what that might mean for Final Cut Server catalogues. It seems we’ll never know. In that piece I also wrote about the importance of preserving our media heritage. From home movies to mainstream, big budget media we should be concerned about preserving our stories. That’s what I really care about. It’s what I think we should all care about.

Metadata in FCP X is a great first step. I’d like a means of cataloguing and sharing that information amongst collaborators. It’s my hope that changes to the FCP project structure, while sealing the fate of Final Cut Server, will lead to a new, more robust media asset management system. One can dream.

This time next year (or perhaps sooner) we may all be merrily editing away with the Magnetic Timeline and watching the video playback on a calibrated reference monitor, quarrels about the feature set forgotten. I hope so. But we also need to make sure that we’re able to preserve our projects. Because they are our work. Our stories. The nomenclature of Final Cut Pro X actually recognise this. The developer team do understand. I know they do because open standards were the cornerstone of Final Cut Pro. I hope they understand that a project is never finished. That the work we create ought to live on. To achieve that sort of longevity, project files must to be both accessible and interpretable. We’re all depending on it.

UPDATE: Apple have published an FCP X FAQ, which explains that vast differences between FCP 7 and FCP X it may never be possible to update your legacy projects:

“Final Cut Pro X includes an all-new project architecture structured around a trackless timeline and connected clips. In addition, Final Cut Pro X features new and redesigned audio effects, video effects, and color grading tools. Because of these changes, there is no way to “translate” or bring in old projects without changing or losing data.”

UPDATE 2: In a post titled, Moving Forward, Larry Jordan recommends editors take action to ensure that they have a migration path for legacy FCP projects.