Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Final Cut Pro X and moving on from tape

One of the principal objections pro editors have with the new FCPX is the near-zero support for tape-based formats - both for ingest and play out. The funny thing is, nearly everyone I've met in the industry seems to broadly agree that the future is file-based workflows and delivery. But the reality is, until a standardised format emerges for final delivery (and possibly capture too), I can't see tape being removed from pro workflows any time soon. And boy, that sucks.

To get this promised "tapeless future" moving, Apple - in conjunction with other industry bodies - could help create this standardised digital file delivery format. Right now the reason broadcasters insist on tape (expensive proprietary formats like HD-CAM SR) is that it gives them a standard baseline to receive final material in. If an open-source, standardised format could be agreed on, we'll all be able to move away from tape forever.

I'd humbly propose this format use a wrapper container based on Matroska and a very high quality video codec, perhaps wavelet based (resurrect Dirac perhaps?). Audio uncompressed, obviously. I'm not a technical expert though, so perhaps someone else can offer their opinions?