FCP 6 and RED?

Think Secret’s reporting on FCP 6. It’s not a huge leap of faith to predict the announcement of Final Cut Pro 6 at NAB.

Where it gets interesting is that once again rumors are swirling over an Extreme version of the NLE capable of handling a 4K workflow. With Graeme Nattress and Ted Schilowitz, the RED team is loaded with FCP expertise and Apple connections. I’m expecting a RED-capable 4K hardware announcement, perhaps from AJA this April.

I’ve taken a lot of heat for my lack of enthusiasm for RED. For the record, I expect it to ship. I expect it to live up to its promises. And I expect it to meet its targeted price point. What I don’t expect is for a $35,000 camera kit to create a revolution.

The bottleneck for indies is not the cost of acquisition. It’s distribution, distribution, and distribution. Sure National Geographic and Discovery won’t accept images from lesser cameras, but so what? As many readers point out, Nat Geo and Discovery don’t take spec work either. So to get into their distribution pipeline, you need a deal in place and thus you would have the budget to shoot with the camera of their choice. Realistically, even if Nat Geo and Discovery fling open their doors to indies, how big a market is that? (They won’t.) Hardly the stuff of revolutions.

My point never was that RED would not be superior, just that it’s overkill for a lot, though admittedly not all, the people queued up for one.

RED may make inroads into feature work. In fact it’s likely, but that’s not going to be revolutionary. Without getting into a graduate lecture on the price elasticity of demand suffice it to say that since catering costs more than camera rental for so many features, a lower cost camera will not change the industry or its output significantly. It will make RED fabulously successful, but again the indies lined up for one now won’t benefit.

The only puzzle to me: Why did Mr. Jannard choose to enter the market this way? He’s experienced at building premium products and selling them at premium prices. Oakley took sunglasses and made them “thermo nuclear protection.” And it worked. I just laid out $250 to keep my eyes radiation free on the highway. Why be a price buster? He’s not Crazy Eddie. His genius is finding exactly what people want and extracting exactly as much money as they are willing to pay.

The man’s smarter than me, so who am I to question him? Maybe he found the high end of the industry too snobby and cliquish and decided to enter from the bottom. I dunno.

Put succinctly, my issue’s not with RED or the RED team. It’s with the nitwits who think that the lack of a 4K camera is what’s been holding back independents from greater glory. A very few indies will benefit from RED. Most will continue to have problems landing a distributor, even the best camera won’t fix that. Most would benefit more from a viable IP delivery strategy than from a new camera.

I wish I’d put down a deposit last April. It won’t revolutionize my business, but it will be a joy working with its images.

One Thought on “FCP 6 and RED?

  1. Pingback: Studio Daily Blog » Why formats don’t matter

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