No, this is not a review with dry comments about processor speeds, software engines, layout designs, or Mac vs. PC.
This is a throw down!
In a week, eight filmmakers are taking the Dances With Films 2-Minute 2-Step challenge. They've been chosen from a pile of script submissions as the best written. Starting next week, we give them Canon 5D Mark II cameras to shoot and Adobe Creative Suites to edit their two-minute movie and prove who's the best shooter.
And they only have four hours to git 'er dun.
Yesterday at the Showbiz Cafe off Sepulveda Blvd. in LA, the filmmaking teams were introduced to their tools. Sure, most of them knew the camera. Not like a year ago when everyone was in a panic over making a movie under such pressure with a camera they'd never used that looked like it was great for stills but not video. Now many of them own one. Almost all of them have shot with one, and the Canon representatives will be on sight to help. So no worries there.
But no Final Cut? How can they be expected to edit a movie in such a short time on software they've never seen before? I was expecting a riot.
Then we got a demonstration by the Adobe crew.
Folks, it is on!
Not a single editor balked, or said, "what about...?" In fact, it was the opposite. Most seemed to be chomping at the bit to get their hands on this stuff. I'm sure they've downloaded the trials and are practicing at home right now.
I'm not one to do product endorsements, but I can tell you this. We've been doing the 2-Minute 2-Step Challenge going on five years now, and in that time Apple and Final Cut offered no support whatsoever. Sure, we got some software to give away as prizes, big deal, but the computers came from Hula Post. They're great.
When we couldn't get Final Cut to lay back to tape without glitches, and had to screen our films before a live audience in a matter of hours, who could we call? Nobody.
And it's not like we were some punks trying to make our home movies. We had Canon's best people working on this – in the room. On the set. On the phone trying to get someone to help. The internet was lit up with the best forum masters around trying to deal with this issue. Editors all over the world were following our plight. Except, of course, the support team from Final Cut.
Turns out, there was an intermittent problem with loading footage from a Fire Store into Final Cut and getting it back out again. Final Cut didn't seem to care.
Yesterday, for the pre-production meeting with our eight filmmakers, Adobe brought two experts for the presentation, the North American Technical Sales Manager for Pro Video/Audio Products and an Academy Award-winning visual effects artist. They get it. Like the Canon techs who have spent many an hour on a film set, the Adobe folks understand that they are making tools for artists, not a killer app for selling hardware.
So the game's afoot. Adobe is up ten points in my book and we haven't even started yet – but then again, good filmmakers know you make your day in pre-production.
2-Steppers, feel free to comment below with your opinions, and they don't have to be positive. From yesterday's meeting, through your production, to the closing night party, your feedback is our education and entertainment.