We search for the more interesting and provocative news and views of the past week…just so you don’t have to.
This week we learn of a faltering founder of film, more ways to edit video, and an easier way to pick music from a favorite provider.
Kodak Stock Struggles: Film to Follow?
Kodak’s foray into new markets still hasn’t delivered much value over the past decades as it shifted towards digital technology and away from its ever disappearing film business. The company has taken numerous restructuring charges, missed financial targets, and has a stock price still in the dumps. It last made an annual profit in 2007.
Now the Rochester-based company saw its stock take a further nosedive after it had to tap its credit line for $160 million. Most of the Rochester-based company’s income now relies on selling inkjet printers, commercial printing and company patents according to the Times’ Andrew Martin. Film, in particular motion picture film, is far down that list.
Another reason for Kodak’s stock to lose more half its value this past Friday–to the lowest price in 38 years–came after the Wall Street Journal reported that it had hired a law firm that specializes in bankruptcy and restructuring. Bids for the company’s valuable portfolio of stocks are expected this month. But currently a sale could be difficult: if it looked like the company faced bankruptcy, buyers would worry about clear title to the many gems in the Kodak patent pool.
How to Forget FCP
Good article on the Post FCP World by Oliver Peters. While Apple steadily gained NLE market share over the past decade, “Apple tossed it all out and in June the industry changed,” says Peters. On his digitalfilms blog, Peters goes on to say “We all know that Apple is quick to abandon legacy technologies, but no one was prepared for a change quite this radical.”
He offers an update on the situation after Apple’s recent upgrade for FCPX–which hasn’t changed the situation markedly, he notes—and advises, “prudent editors and facility owners should be developing an exit strategy from FCP 7 and Final Cut Studio.” Peters ends the article with six steps to take to do just that.
Building Premiere Up
Adobe shows its strategy for building an NLE that can replace Final Cut’s place by the recent announcement that Automatic Duck has partnered with them to bring more robust interchange functionality to Premiere Pro. Although it’s a small company, Automatic Duck has built a solid reputation over the years for building solid software tools that provide an interchange between Avid, Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Pro Tools, Smoke, Quantel and other AAF and OMF-centric apps.
Wes Plate, co-founder of Automatic Duck with his father Henry, will be joining Adobe’s Product Marketing team, which shows that this is more than just another casual business relationship.
NYC Tries to Change Minds
The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) recently launched a new “digital piracy campaign and consumer awareness initiative” in which teens and young adults are asked to consider the impact of content theft.
A follow-up to the city’s 2010 multimedia campaign “Piracy Doesn’t Work in NYC”, the first leg of the campaign actually debuted in 2007. The emphasis is, of course, the hundreds of thousands of media professionals in the city whose careers revolve around actually getting paid for their labor. The aim of the original campaign was to combat illegal sales and distribution of DVDs. But that format has, of course, quickly dated for the smartphone and iPad equipped young.
The digital piracy campaign launched at recent Creative NYC: Campaign against Content Theft Summit. I assume there was no attempt at irony by choosing the Tweed Courthouse to hold the event, as the building remains a monument funded by one of the city’s most masterful thieves.
Judges for the contest–students are to create PSAs that will somehow convince their compatriots to halt their digital downloading ways–are to include IATSE’s Dan Mahoney and James Schamus of Focus Features.
The idea of cajoling young’ns to stop their copying comes from Sucherman Consulting Group, who concluded that while young people are among the most likely to pirate digital content there is indeed “significant opportunity for education and increased awareness within that age group.”
NYC students can visit StopPiracyinNYC.com where they can enter to “win the opportunity to produce their own creative campaign with the help of a professional production company.”
Flash Goes 3D
Flash as a continuing and viable app for the web gets a boost with 3Defy, a website that uses just-released Flash 11 to add 3D effects to 2D photos ala Photoshop Extended. The site enables users to upload photos that they can then turn into simple 3D pics by roughly defining planes within the photograph and then pushing or pulling to create the effect. Takes a little bit of work to get a decent result, but it shows the continued growth in power apps for the web.
While the 3Defy site might build a business out of this stunt, Adobe keeps at its own knitting by pushing more capable versions of Flash that currently leave Apple’s preferred HTML 5 at the starting line.
The new Flash 11 offers GPU-accelerated 3D graphics rendering, which makes it possible to deliver some pretty sophisticated 3D experiences directly in the browser. But since you can only use a fairly blunt approach on 3Defy’s site when cutting out planes, the app’s actual usefulness is limited.
You can see a YouTube demo by clicking here.
Automation Comes to Editing
Video from smartphones, tablets, and laptops—we’re not counting video cameras yet—proliferates to the point that some 35 hours a minute are uploaded to YouTube alone. So you can imagine there’s a call for more methods, more really, really simple methods, to edit and otherwise manipulate video.
They’re coming. YouTube already provides free apps like GoAnimate, Stupeflix, and Xtranormal to create video even without a camera. Now start up Magisto has a deal too on YouTube’s Create page for its app that automates video editing.
Could it be, should it be any simpler? Users just upload video, select music, append a project title and then click a button. Yes, that’s it. The system searches for what it deems “the interesting parts” and edits those together with the audio. At this point, you’ll not mistake Magisto for a Thelma Schoonmaker effort, but slicker editing apps will certainly be on the way.
Vimeo Moves into Music
If you have use music services regularly, you know it can be a pain dealing with the various interfaces, libraries, and pricing schemes.
Why not have a company that already garners warm-and-fuzzies take over that chore? Well, Vimeo already garners good vibes for its video service and supportive, troll-free community. Now, the Chelsea-based company decided to take on music and sound for postproduction by offering its own simple to use service. Vimeo Music Store offers some 45,000 tracks in this initial release, with a majority cleared by AudioSocket. Not a lot of top, well known tracks in their library though, so some might not be able to find what they need.
But I think many people will be most attracted by its straightforward use and one-stop-shopping.
Pricing is straightforward: Creative Commons tracks are free while the rest go for a few dollars for personal use to perhaps around $100 for commercial license. Other nice touches include easy integration with NLEs and other apps (FCP7 , Premiere, After Effects, and Pinnacle Studio. FCPX is in the future), integrated licensing and the ability to easily indicate favorite tracks.