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ATPM 8.01
January 2002




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On a Clear Day You Can See the Hollywood Sign

by Mike Shields,

Comic Con and DV Expo

Clearly, things have changed since last I spoke here, and time will only tell how they have affected me. And as a result, you, my loyal three readers, drop me an e-mail, to let me know how I’m doing.

This Is a Job For…

Macintosh! Of all the Conventions and Expos I’ve attended lately, the San Diego Comic Con has been the most recent. And, surprisingly, it was the one with the greatest number of Macs in attendance, I guess, for those of us that couldn’t attend Macworld Expo in New York, which took place at the same time. I attend about six of these types of things a year, Macworld not being one of them, for various reasons. I hit Internet World, and the Showbiz Expo, and one or two others.

With the Mac having 40% penetration on the Web, it surprises me to no end how out of the way the people at Internet World go to avoid the Macintosh issue. It’s the same with the Showbiz Expo, as us creative types have skewed the Mac owning statistic for awhile now. Yet, they were nowhere to be found. Sure, a couple of booths were using them as point of sale cash registers, and the fine folks at both Final Draft, Inc. and Screenplay Systems had the decency to feature their fine software (unsolicited plug) on both platforms. However, for the most part, the Mac had gone missing. But not in San Diego. Creative types were giving Photoshop seminars, and various companies were demonstrating their characters and video games on the latest and greatest.

If I were into conspiracies, which I am, I’d say that Bill Gates had spread some money around the industry. And as you my three readers know, when I refer to the industry, I’m of course speaking of, the business. Think of it, Microsoft Inc., as the 21st Century mafia—my connections with the Russian mafia notwithstanding. Ok, I’m not really connected, more on the outside, looking in; but they might finance my film, hopefully, before the new century starts. But I digress. The facts are in place. The Mac is the easiest, quickest, and most cost effective solution to all things movie-related. This was proven out when I more recently attended the:

DV Expo

I walk in, and the first thing I saw was the black booth. Very slick, stylish, yet understated. Minimalist in its approach, with the big fat Apple logo staring me in the face. The words Final Cut Pro 3 emblazoned below. They lost points for not having any free handouts, as well as needing to pay actual money to attend the Final Cut Pro 3 seminar—although they were demoing the software at the individual workstations.

The more serious infraction occurs when you move to the Matrox with RTMac booth and discover that they’re bundling the board with Adobe Premiere. I asked one of the vendors why, and they said Apple is not returning their calls. This is perplexing, as I’ve seen FCP get a boost from the Matrox board. Yet another conspiracy? Only time will tell. If I don’t tell you before then….

Well, that’s enough Apple and Mac bashing for one column, I think. Good things about FCP3? Many. There’s the definitive review. The biggest and best thing is, of course, OS X support! That collective sigh of relief you just heard came from G4 users everywhere comes from not needing to run in Classic mode anymore. Personally, I think this should’ve happened when they released OS X, however, beggars can’t be choosers. Other new features include integrated compositing (including Adobe AfterEffects plug-in support) and QuickView, a new preview mode that lets you quickly preview complex effects before you render them. Rendering is a four letter word to most of the DV editing community. Of course, the latest and greatest G4 allows quick render times, however, it’s always good to not render if you don’t have to.

Other highlights, of my day, which may or may not be Mac-related, include, but are not limited to, winning a free T-shirt and mousepad from the aforementioned Adobe; getting yet another T-shirt from the fine folks at DV magazine, one of the sponsors of the event, for simply filling out a form; and finding a lens that I can attach to the Canon XL1s, for a film look. This last one cuts another 50K off of my movie Diamond is a Girl’s Best Friend’s budget, which can’t be a bad thing.

The DV Guys were giving out free tote bags, with their logo on it. I needed one, as the aforementioned sponsors wouldn’t give me one, as they didn’t think I was press. I went there first. I even pitted them against the booth next to them, in a bidding war over equipment. Remember, anything that creates an opportunity to spend less money is a good thing. I did receive a couple of Microwave-of-the-months. Some companies still don’t get that you should give out a cross-platform CD at these events. Or, even provide Mac software in the first place. And before I get e-mails, try ten seconds on high, put it on top of a styrofoam cup, and watch the light show. And before I get other e-mails, no, I don’t actually advocate this.

Another thing I noticed was the size of the Expo, or rather, the lack thereof. I was able to walk the floor in a couple of hours. This included the three demos that I attended. I walked around twice, just to make sure that I didn’t miss anything. I didn’t. It was indeed fully one fourth the size of The Streaming Media Expo that I’ve recently reported on to you. And, what’s worse, I didn’t even get any good job leads. If digital video truly is the wave of the future that I believe it to be, and that Bill Gates believes it to be, where was the Microsoft booth? Where were all the companies that support Microsoft and its foray into non-linear video editing that Our Good Buddy Bill is about to buy?

There must’ve been another Expo that week. Or maybe I’m the only one on the DV bandwagon. I’d hope it was the former, as the latter is intuitively denied by the record attendance, as well as the knowledge that everyone who has ever bought a G4 receives a copy of the current version of iMovie, a.k.a. Final Cut Pro Lite. Anyone who can successfully edit the demo clips provided can put together a video good enough to put up on his personal Web site.

I’d begun to think that people were starting to give up on the Mac. This was of course, before I attended last month’s DV Expo. So, popular opinion to the contrary, and conspiracy theories aside, the Mac is back. Hopefully, the various vendors and dealers will be, too. If not, be here next time, when I can tell you all about it.

72 and sunny in Redondo…

E you next time.

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