Archive for November, 2011


Since a vast proportion of my future business will come from online content production and it was a conscious decision to target the burgeoning new media markets, primarily because I found it more exciting and people are more willing to take risks.  I’m very happy to be in that Vimeo crowd rather than producing tired low budget scraps of programmes and having to invest in all the broadcast level monitoring to service that crud.

The vast majority of the critical voices of FCPX came from the so called Broadcast crowd but let’s not be under any illusions Broadcast does not mean quality.  Broadcast means working to defined limitations of the broadcast network. Some “Pros” are deluded into thinking this is the epitome of media creation, I’m not.

Clearly there are some exceptional documentaries and dramas that could only exist in the Broadcast realm (currently) but alas these landmark shows are the exception. The vast majority of material broadcast is below lower common denominator quality. I’ve recently ditched Pay TV in the UK (Sky) and gone to Freesat because I was paying £40+ a month for drivel we never watched, several hundred channels pumping out chewing gum for the mind.

I have seen the term “Vimeo Crowd” used in a disparaging way when I spend many happy hours a week watching the amazing creative content posted there. The vast majority of which would never be “broadcast.” Google have announced Youtube Channels which may go someway to answering the question of making online content pay and be a real alternative to the closed shops of the broadcast media.

The future is bright.

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The sky is falling again!

The neurotic “Pro” community are up in arms again at the hint of a baseless rumour that Apple are considering the retirement of the Mac Pro. This is my take.

Let’s assume these rumours are in fact the truth and my current 12 core Mac Pro will be the last one I own, so what does this mean as a creative professional using Apple computers for his work? To be honest in almost every task I use my Mac Pro for can be very easily carried out by a much cheaper iMac/Macbook Pro the only area that I need the Mac Pro is for 3D rendering where CPU muscle still counts. In every other area of media creation the Mac Pro looks like an anachronism from a bygone computing era.

Killing the Mac Pro now would be no different to the early removal of the floppy disk drive from the Power Macs of old, a decision that perplexed the myopic but in due course proved to be the right decision. We are entering a new era of computing with heterogeneous high powered mobile devices, high speed interfaces like Thunderbolt and cloud computing. These are all technologies that spell the end of desktop computers as we have known them.

I fully expect in the next 3 years I will be doing all my work on a Macbook Pro and have a render farm comprised of Mac Minis all connected via Thunderbolt running OpenCL to combine the GPU and CPU power for the most demanding tasks. This will be a huge change to the way I/we work as I’ll have the best of both worlds, a powerful mobile computer which I can carry out 99% of my tasks on and for the 3D rendering I can plug into an easily extensible network of cost effective render nodes. I may not even need the Mac Minis as Cloud services are improving all the time. I may choose only to rent CPU power as and when I need it and with the proposed improvement of the internet access one the coming years means it will be almost seamless between local and cloud computing.

You will not miss the Mac Pro and it is absolutely not a sign Apple is dumbing down it’s just about kicking you screaming into the future.