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Lightworks

COW Library : Lightworks : David Battistella : Lightworks
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CreativeCOW presents Lightworks -- Lightworks Review


director, editor, www.davidbattistella.com
Toronto Ontario Canada

©2010 CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


Professional editing goes open source: top editors describe a powerful editing tool being unleashed on the public.



When we think about Non Linear Editing software (NLEs) certain words tend to jump into our minds, Avid, Final Cut Pro, and now even Adobe is making a serious dash into the digital editing arena with CS5.

But when some of these NLEs did not even exist, there was a piece of software helping to define the non-linear editing space; it's an editing system know as Lightworks. Until around the mid 1990's, Lightworks competed in the NLE arena with many top editors world wide using it as their tool of choice in the edit room.

In this ever-expanding world of digital non-linear editing, I had to wonder why Lightworks still had die hard users who had never (or had never wanted to) convert to any of the other major edit offerings over the years.

In the United Kingdom, an editor named Chris Gill -- with credits like "28 Weeks Later" and the Ricky Gervais directed, "The Invention of Lying" to his name -- was gleefully, whenever possible, sitting in front of a Lightworks editing station, his preferred editing tool.

Chris Gill: "The last seven or eight years, it's been mainly Lightworks for me, even though I am a rare event in the UK. Most projects are on AVID. I would say 90 percent work on AVID, but the best editors seem to work on Lightworks. I say watch the work and you'll see. I mean, Thelma Schoonmaker can't be wrong, Martin Scorcese can't be wrong."

Indeed, one of the most famous users of the Lightworks editing system has been legendary editor Thelma Schoonmaker. She used it as recently as the Paramount Pictures film SHUTTER ISLAND. I caught up with Scott Brock ( BLUE ROAD ), an accomplished editor and Thelma Schoonmaker's first assistant on ( CASINO, THE DEPARTED and GANGS of NEW YORK ) and many other projects. Scott has a deep history with Lightworks. He was employed there for a time in the early days and also trained editors how to use the system.

Scott Brock: "The most important tools an editor has are his or her eyes and ears. The Lightworks editing surface facilitates using these better than any other system."

Back around 1990, when digital non linear editing was making its move with the first systems like EditDroid and others there was a small company in England, put together by a team of editors, who were developing a computerized editing system for editors, designed by editors.

In fact, that was one of the early slogans of Lightworks as they tried to compete with a Boston company called Avid, who was also making huge inroads in Hollywood with their digital editing tool, Avid Media Composer.

As was the case with many early systems, Lightworks was designed with a software and hardware component in mind. It deployed a controller which emulated a KEM or Steenbeck film editor. They wanted to take all of the "non linearity" of film, and the ease and control of screening footage back and forth from film editing, and place it squarely in a computer environment.

A lot has -- and has not -- happened in non-linear editing since then. Avid attained world dominance for a time, until Apple purchased a piece of software from a company called Macromedia and released a "semi-professional" DV editing software system called Final Cut Pro.

At a cost of about five percent of a full blown Avid system, users could quickly import DV camera footage, edit, title, output and distribute motion images like never before. The tide shifted, Apple's Final Cut Pro became more refined, and soon it was making inroads in educational environments, TV series. Film makers like the Cohen brothers became fans and users, and Avid persisted -- but had to make changes to their business model to compete and survive.

The big news here, though, is that Lightworks, a tool that many people have found to be the best editor in the category, is going open source. That means Windows, Linux and Mac versions will be available for free -- a little bit of trivia that some editors might be ecstatic about.

I've often maintained that while FCP and Avid are capable tools, it seems that they require many keystrokes with a deep knowledge of the software, and while both have expanded their "capabilities", neither has ever improved the basic way we, as editors, put shots together. Chris Gill agrees:

Chris Gill: "Other systems have never improved the art of editing, whilst Lightworks always had it nailed from the start."

While somewhat cautious about what open source can bring, Scott Brock describes why editors will gravitate toward this tool, not because it is free, but because he feels it really is the best.

Scott Brock: "It's hands down the best editing surface. To me Lightworks means creative freedom. Where Lightworks frees you up is in terms of editing, is that the interface is 'loose'. In Lightworks you customize it completely. It does get back to how editors think about what they are doing -- what they cut."

Chris Gill doesn't make any apologies when he talks about how great the system is.

Chris Gill: "I've always liked that simplicity of it, as well. Nothing ever gets in the way of Lightworks, you edit as your brain is thinking, which is fantastic to have that instant access to your editing knowledge. It's amazingly quick and easy to use -- and I know people say it's a bit quirky, but once you get to know it, the more you realize it's just a direct route of getting something from your head onto the screen in a very simple, organic, speedy way."


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Re: Lightworks
by Amy Jarvis
Hey, I'm a 22 year old.

I know this is an old post, but, I'm pondering the long term use of an open-source NLE. There seemed to be some doubt in this thread about the longevity of an efficient, open-source Lightworks (Firefox was used as negative example).

VLC is the first thing I think of when I hear "open source". I'm not well read on the design philosophy of VLC, but it seems that under all the features, it's a tool that is rooted firmly in the practical needs of media users. If Lightworks is similarly designed for editors, why wouldn't Edit Share be able to keep up with the demand?

Or has VLC also gone downhill?
Re: Article: Lightworks
by Micah McDowell
So, if I'm not mistaken, today is supposed to be the big day for the "unveiling" of Lightworks to people who pre-registered on their website.

I've been looking forward to this for a while; just wondering, has anyone gotten an e-mail yet?
Re: Article: Lightworks
by Eric Müller
It was "unveiled" at the 30th of November. And I was none of the people signin before, but yesterday I could register on the website and download the closed beta without problems.
I guess later on today I will install it and take a first look.
Re: Lightworks
by Allan White
Not much happening on this thread since the article, but if someone wanders in (as I did), here's a few updates and thoughts:

  • Looks like LightWorks' first release might be imminent, perhaps this November.

  • If you didn't check out Lightworks in action at IBC, here's the



    .


Um, YEAH. Looks very impressive. Near the end, you see one user editing the others' timeline. Crazy awesome!

Count me in line.

I have questions - how would this fit in a color-grading workflow? I'm looking at Colorista II or Color.app for the moment. Davinci perhaps? Can I import FCP or Premiere Pro projects, even via XML? How does it do with rich metadata (such as the kind I add in CatDV - Bob Z's right about it's value, most excellent)?

Can't wait to find out! Any other thoughts since then?

- Allan White, Video Producer, Luis Palau Assoc.

Quad 3Ghz Mac Pro, 10GB RAM, X1900 GPU, XSAN, CatDV Server
@Allan White
by Allan White
Whoops, the link got exploded out into an embedded Youtube video. What I meant to say was, this is the video of LightWorks from IBC.

Another thing I don't quite get: what's with all the wasted space in the UI? It's like they're showing off the background gradient or something. :) I assume people can fill the screen with, you know, the tools.

Any other demos or screenshots?

- Allan White, Video Producer, Luis Palau Assoc.

Quad 3Ghz Mac Pro, 10GB RAM, X1900 GPU, XSAN, CatDV Server
@Allan White
by Allan White
One more video from IBC - a product guy talks about their rationale for using OSS:





Re: @Allan White
by Eric Müller
As far as I know this is not just some product guy, it is Mr. Liebman - CEO of editshare.
Re: Article: Lightworks
by Ryan Orr
Am I not understanding something here? I went to Lightwork's site and looked everywhere, and the only chance to download is after you fill out the forms, then you may be offered an opportunity to get it. I did that like 2 months ago, and it sounds like everyone here already got it...

Am I losing it?
Re: Article: Lightworks
by Fred Jodry
Here it is October, Ryan, and that bacon and eggs breakfast never arrived. I wonder what Editshare is doing instead. It`s no time for relaxing. We`re learning and sharing fun things and work instead.
Re: Lightworks
by Alf Hanna
I'm no 'pro' just a serious amateur with too much time on my hands, but I agree that if they can make a better tool with an open source version, that would be compelling. I use both FCP and Vegas, and I agree with the article's comments that if the tool can get out of the way, it will likely be compelling. FCP constantly "gets in my way". It is a great bunch of tools, but a constant aggravation. Vegas is very easy to work with, but Sony can't seem to keep up with the modern look and features of some of the FCP effects. Then there's the 3rd party add-ons, which will be a question mark for Lightworks. Obviously, some of you pros create your own, if you have been using it for 20 years. But the rest of us want something fast to add to the toolkit. I find that to be a problem with Vegas. Just look at what the major players offer on FCP and compare it to Vegas. And there's the issue of cost. Is Open Source in this case meaning "free"? Then the updating issue is valid. This is a very small market, relatively speaking.

But I look forward to trying it out!

Alf
+1
@Alf Hanna
by Allan White
Vegas is very easy to work with, but Sony can't seem to keep up with the modern look and features of some of the FCP effects. Then there's the 3rd party add-ons, which will be a question mark for Lightworks... I find that to be a problem with Vegas. Just look at what the major players offer on FCP and compare it to Vegas.


I loved editing on Vegas. Very responsive, on ridiculously underpowered hardware. Superb audio tools (Acid's DNA). Sounds like it's getting long in the tooth, though.

I wonder, also, about plug-ins. What I'd really want to feel good about is the color grading in particular. I don't need many plugins beyond that, although of course GFX is a big question.

I really love FCP's Motion integration (templates FTW!), and CS5's AE integration/live whatever. Nothing like that here.

Lightworks looks awesome at the core "edit experience" (I can't wait to try it!). What we probably could agree on is that we need good integration with other tools and workflows to make the whole thing sing.

Thoughts?

Hey COW: How about a dedicated Lightworks forum? You know you'll want one soon.

- Allan White, Video Producer, Luis Palau Assoc.

Quad 3Ghz Mac Pro, 10GB RAM, X1900 GPU, XSAN, CatDV Server
Re: Lightworks
by Mike Cohen
Hi - My name is Mike. One of my job duties is video editor. My job duties include creating edited videos which meet a client's requirements. I have used 17 different editing systems since my training, on pc's, macs, MS-DOS computers and briefly SGI RISC processors, and no doubt will use another 17 before my career is up. They all work the same way, that is, they are tools to help tell stories, whether that story is a tv commercial, news item, surgery or a recording of a conference. The craft evolves independent of the tools. Occasionally a tool makes some of the technical things easier or less easy (anyone use an Abner?).

If Lightworks can do what is promised, I likely will take a crack at it too.

Interesting reading.

Mike Cohen
Re: Lightworks
by nick9lives
If you don't know how to make a DVD then your AE is doing it for you.
Nobody cares whether you can make an HD DVD or 10 different kinds of quicktimes for Agency.

In my opinion too many people rely on the tech to make them look good. Nice sexy apple macs everywhere - you must obviously be good at your job !!!

Art is everything my friends.

If anyone thinks Walter Murch or Thelma Schoonmaker would be unemployed today they are being short sighted.

The amount of content today is staggering...but the viewer is more literate than ever and to underestimate the power of real creativity, real creative tools like Lightworks and the power of the the story will only lead to a dissappointing ending.

Re: Lightworks
by Bob Kennedy
We were one of the first users of Lightworks in Canada and used them on TV commercials until about 6 years ago. We have used all of the major non-linear editors on the market and nothing still comes close to the Lightworks for pure editing.

The engineers designed the controller before they built anything else in the program, so the software melded into it beautifully. It was like a fine musical instrument as opposed to the ones retrofitted on Avid and FCP which behaved like 3 note tin whistles in comparison. The result was an incredibly responsive interface that let you feel your way through the footage. The trimming was just done with single mouse clicks, and you could create incredibly complex trims (some extending tail, some head, some slipping) all at once with a few clicks on a large number of tracks at once much faster than any competitive product. The audio scrubbing was better than any film flatbed and way better than digital. You could still get the fine nuances of a music track running at any speed. It's hard to describe how intuitive editing is on a fully kitted out Lightworks. Because it so closely resembled a film flatbed, many new editors dismissed the controller as a throw back to make the film editors feel at home. It is unfortunate they didn't give it a chance, because it brings your body language directly into the creative process unlike anything a traditional computer interface ever could. Back when film editors were making the transition to digital, I used to say it took half a day to be up and running on Lightworks, a full day on the Avid, and two weeks on FCP.

The problem we ran into was that our clients wanted their rough cuts to look like finished onlines and Lightworks never managed to compete with any serious effects capability. Even though we were using After Effects and Flame, they let it be known that they felt we had fallen behind our competition because we weren't using Avid. I always felt that Avid was being sold on the length of the list of features rather than the quality of what an editor did 90% of the time and unfortunately, our clients bought into it. Oddly enough, I think Avid has run into the same thing with FCP.

I'm hoping that by making Lightworks open source, they will finally get the effects capability they could never afford to develop (or at least decent hooks into an effects program) and actually give Avid and FCP some competition - 10 years late.
+1
Re: Lightworks
by David Speace
FREE... isn't that great! I use Mozilla... yes it's free and sometimes it takes a little while to open! And, yes it crashes! Not sure why Mozilla crashes, but when I open it up after a crash it goes right to the website I was on.

When I think of creativity I think of the Dos Equis beer commercial and the Dos Equis man... you know the most famous man in the world... but I'm thinking of the most famous editor in the world... his beer Dos Equis of course... and his edit system... Final Cut or (fill in the blank) and of course the commercial ends with the tag line... stay thirsty my friends! Isn't that the point. We are always thirsty for more or the better product or the killer features, the killer app... faster, better, bigger, more!

Let's see, in the past 15 years I've migrated from Newtek's Video Toaster. where I could get great transitions, graphics and animation (but, this wasn't an NLE it was desktop video) to Casablanca where I could firewire in/out my video that I was shooting with Canon's XL1... this was a great storyboard style NLE that I could throw in a suitcase and take on the road where I shot and edited many national sales meetings... firewire out the final edit to mini-dv tape, run the tape down to the ballroom and voila... a happy audience reliving their successful sales meeting at a ritzy resort... those where the good old days...the Casablanca NLE... it woked right out of the box, just like they advertised! Then I migrated to Canopus DVStorm system... what was interesting about that was you could set the timeline so that you could see all the video frames like it was a strip of film rather than a blank color strip with a file name on it and one thumbnail at the front and a thumbnail at the end of the clip... oh yes, with DVStorm you could have a blank timeline clip, or a clip with a thumbnail at the head, or a clip with the thumbnail at the head and at the end of the clip, and finally a clip with all the frames showing on the timeline! Alas, I left the Canopus system for Premiere where I now edit with CS3 and soon I guess I'll have to upgrade to CS5...$$$ and ... I also have Newtek's SpeedEDIT system which I have used on occasion... mostly for converting different video files. As an editor it is supposed to be very fast to work with, but it is less intuitive than Final Cut or CS3(4-5). But, it gives you a choice between being a storyboard or timeline editor or both at the same time which is interesting, which is why it can work faster than most, because all you do is throw a bunch of clips in the sequence you want on the storyboard layout and they will be in the correct order on the timeline... move the thumbnails around in a different order and the timeline will automatically adjust... trimming is similar to all the other editors. SpeedEDIT has its quirks... when you look at the timeline layers... the timeline that is on the bottom is the video that is on top! It would be great if Newtek gave the user the option to change this, they won't, which is why I rarely use it to edit with. What Newtek does with SpeedEDIT that is interesting is that the audio for each video clip is directly below the clip... so the audio stays with its clip rather than being a separate section of clips below all the video layers. While I have had the opportunity to edit with the Avid, I don't consider myself an Avid editor and would still need a lot more time to get up to speed where I would feel comfortable using Avid. I have a good friend who is a very experienced Avid editor at a top broadcast network station where I have been shooting part-time over the last 5 years... I have spent hours sitting and watching him edit on the Avid... and it always looked complicated... just watching what he was doing... he used keyboard shortcuts... no dragging and dropping... no thumbnails, just files, file names and colored timelines...trimming in popup windows... typing in timecode and many, many layers of video... and he's the editor I see in my fantasy Dos Equis commercial! And guess what... now, he's editing with Final Cut! The station dumped Avid! I suppose they are saving money switching to Apple and Final Cut!

So to me it is definitely appealing to maybe get a robust NLE edit program for free. Maybe I won't have to spend money to upgrade to CS5. But, I am wondering what kind of hardware or interface I might have to buy for storage? Will I be able to use my IDE drives or will I have to upgrade to a RAID or will I have to be locked into Editshare's storage solutions... which will definitely cost something in order to use their free Lightworks software? What about my Matrox card? Do I need an input/output device? I haven't output to tape in 2 years... every video that I have done is a file for the web or the client gets it on dvd and all the copies that are needed. All the shooting I do is recorded to flash cards. And Lightworks outputs video via DVI interface. So any good computer LCD will double as a video monitor...

Let's see... I'm thinking... I'm not really happy with my Blackberry Storm... should I go out tomorrow and buy Apple's new iPhone4... or should I wait until I can get the iPhone4 that will run on Verizon's network! What free apps can I get for the iPhone... stay thirsty my friends!

Dave Speace
Producer/Director/DP
DZP Video
Re: Lightworks
by Alex Udell
Well if they do what I think they will do....

it would be more along the lines of hey everyone...develop our software for us...when we see a good feature, we'll implement it bug free into a commercial version and sell it to those that want stable build....if you want to use the open source version....it's free but unstable...but might get some features first....

in other words....use crowd sourcing to drive product development (do heavy lifting)...but internal engineering to make the commercial release.


just a guess...

Alex
Re: Lightworks
by Bob Zelin
David's review of Lightworks has drawn more attention than the entire EditShare forum's history. People LOVE the idea of a free edit system. Now, this is all brand new for Editshare, but EditShare itself is a great, well established shared storage enviornment (the pioneer of ethernet shared storage), and NO ONE participates on it's forum - but EVERYONE wants to participate on a Lightworks discussion - so I think that this indicates that EditShare has a winner "in the oven" if they can get it out there, and start the buzz moving.

If EditShare can get "college kids" aware that Lightworks exists "for free", they can make a big dent in the user market - but marketing costs money, and I don't know what the ultimate intention is. I always felt that Microsoft would ultimately buy "some" NLE, and give it away for free (with Windows 7 for example, which never happened) - but Editshare is now in this position. Let's see what happens. Autodesk (with *edit), and Boris (with Media 100) and the Aacom/Scitex are all teriffic systems, and they could be "given away for free", and really upset the AVID/FCP market as well. Imagine buying a Blackmagic Intensity card, and getting free editing software for it. I could see this happening, and rocking the boat.

Bob Zelin


Re: Lightworks
by Tim Wilson
[Bob Zelin] "Imagine buying a Blackmagic Intensity card, and getting free editing software for it. I could see this happening, and rocking the boat."

I agree! My concerns about open source should by no means be seen as a criticism of the idea, or the legitimacy of any of the players.


In fact, I proposed something similar when working for The Man - give the software away so that you can sell storage and service. Not being cynical or greedy - done right, it works for everyone.

Of course, Apple has made around $2 billion selling NLE software -- 2 million seats @ $1000. They're part of a long list of people who think I'm an idiot to talk about this.

Still an awesome idea. I'd love to see lots of people get inspired to run with it.
Re: Lightworks
by Alex Udell
"Of course, Apple has made around $2 billion selling NLE software -- 2 million seats @ $1000. They're part of a long list of people who think I'm an idiot to talk about this. "

Sorry for the tangent....

This strikes me a funny.
When I was fanatic about edit*, I had a few misgivings about the $1000 suite of Apple tools. Just as, I'm sure, Avid was defensive at discreet for undercutting them with a less expensive and capable solution.
I suppose it never really ends, and the proof of a whole new value dynamic and biz model with Lightworks here is the way of the market.

One of the side effects of having no barrier of entry (at least by way of cost) is that suddenly, everyone is an editor. (just like everyone was a desktop publisher). Although it's not true, the appearance of cheaper tools and presets, gives the impression that the craft is somehow less valuable. Last year's hot design effect, is this year's preset or plug-in. The waves and havoc it creates for those that use the craft not for the craft alone, but as a survival mechanism is painful. The reduction cycles are so condensed now. There is no "normal," no "plateau," just a slope down. It really does feel like a race to the bottom.

Visually, I feel like I'm doing some of my best work ever now. I've matured in knowledge, experience, speed, and creative capacity, yet in terms of compensation, I'm making not much more than I made when I left college almost 20 years ago and have fewer benefits. I'm no slacker either, I'm not waiting for anyone to do anything for me, I get out there and make things happen for myself.

I suppose the saving grace is that the number of outlets for content has also grown exponentially. So I suppose the game is about about quantity now. To try to be as efficient and do as much, as quickly as possible. Oh and as an aside, if you can....making the content good would be a plus.

You want fries with that?


Alex
off-topic
by David Johnson
Alex,

I just stumbled upon this string long after it occurred, but after reading through it, still felt compelled to tell you two things ...

Edit* was the first NLE I really worked on (after brief Avid stints) and I still consider it the best. As someone else mentioned, to this day, it's sometimes a struggle to get FCP to do things edit* did easily (or Speed Razor for that matter). By the way, for all I know/recall, it may even have been you who gave me and a couple others our introductory crash course on edit* at TV16 in Tampa.

That said, the main thing I wanted to mention is actually how much your "tangent" struck a chord. In my opinion, it really indicates keen observation of the state of our industry, rather than just a tangent. I often think to myself literally everything you said ... in almost the exact same terms. From the effects of "making not much more than I made when I left college almost 20 years ago" on "those that use the craft ... as a survival mechanism" due to being forced to "do as much, as quickly as possible" while only "as an aside, if you can....making the content good would be a plus" ... all the way through to the primary cause being the elimination of all "barrier[s] of entry". Even the "You want fries with that?" is a phrase I use regularly to amuse myself and retain some semblance of sanity in dealing with the cumulative effects of those issues.

It bothers me that I so often think the way I do about the craft I was once so passionate about, but it's also refreshing to hear others express similar thoughts. In other words, thanks so much for sharing your "tangent". Cheers!
Re: off-topic
by Alex Udell
David...

Nice to know that there are some out there that share my thoughts on the industry. I think in the current climate there are a lot of people who think it....but may not be willing to discuss it openly, at least not right now.

Gosh....I did give a lot of edit* training, and I do live in FL. So it might have been me.

Funny, a couple of years ago, I helped out a legacy client/friend get his edit* system running after a drive failure. Muscle memory being what it is, I mused at how fast I was able to sit down at the box and edit without even having to think about it.

Hands down....a feature I miss so much is to simply be able to select the source viewer empty and just type a timecode. Edit* would just load the fist clip that matched that timecode into the viewer and park you on the frame. If there was more than one match you could quickly cycle through them all, until you were on the right clip.

Of course this was the tape era...so in productions consisting of multiple tape shoots, good videographers would increment the hour number on the reel, making it easy to identify the right clip.

Things get a little more cumbersome in the file based world we are in. I find we seem to collect a lot of automated metadata....but people seem to have less time to do it in a disciplined setup to make it useful for post....plus the fact that the whole post process from offline to finish is lumped into one blurry continuous cycle now. Maybe ipads and iphones wirelessly connected to our cameras will make this more convenient to set up and track in while in production.....one can only hope, eh?

Well.....waaaaaaayyyyy off topic here so...why don't we continue this chat in in a fresh thread. :)


Alex
Re: off-topic
by David Johnson
[Alex Udell] "waaaaaaayyyyy off topic here so...why don't we continue this chat in in a fresh thread"

Agreed. In fact, I hope you don't mind that I took quite a liberty to accomplish that as well as something else at the same time ...

A few young guys starting out in the business have posed questions in the Business & Marketing forum that relate to our "tangents" and they've lead to what I think are some interesting ongoing discussions. It seems it would be helpful for them to see a related conversation between two people who've been in the business a while so I took the liberty of copying over your last two post so we could continue there and also see what others are thinking on the subject.

I really hope you don't mind that i didn't ask first ... I've been spending way too much time in the forums lately so it seemed combining two related conversations couldn't hurt.

By the way, I must say that being able to "edit without even having to think about it" is something I miss very much. I know this is slightly different context than you were referring to but, in today's production world of a zillion formats, codecs, software options, hardware options, etc., etc., I find myself (and see others) so overwhelmed by the mechanics that there's no time left to focus on the craft ... seems to defeat the whole purpose of getting in the business in the first place.
Re: off-topic
by David Johnson
Alex,

Only in retrospect did I realize that it wasn't such a great idea after all to copy over all those posts to a thread someone else had started. In any case, this is the thread ...


http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/17/871478#871478
Re: Lightworks
by Michael Phillips
Are those really the FCP numbers? All indications are somewhere in the 1.5M - 1.8M range and includes FC express, Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Studio. Not just Final Cut Pro. At least that's what I read from an Apple press release I found online.

Also, I remember being told that in one of the FCP upgrades, 10,000 upgrades were tied to the same serial number... so there is a difference between unique licensed/purchased and number of users. It would be interesting to see what those numbers are. Not that it makes a difference to Apple since the revenue is made in the infrastructure needed to run those seats. But I am sceptical on a $2B revenue on the software licenses alone.

Michael



Michael Phillips
Re: Lightworks
by Oliver Peters
I'm with Michael on the numbers. Same that I've seen, except that I have been told by Apple that they only count unique new licenses, not upgrades, in this count. However, it includes all FCE, FCP and FCS sales going back to version 1.0. So, if there's an FCP 1.0 license that's never been used again since it's initial purchase, it still counts as one of the "users".

Another unknown would be how many of these are academic licenses sold to schools. Apple doesn't currently offer a great deal for students, but it does offer discounted volume deals to schools on systems that they deploy.

The bottom line is that I doubt that the FCP revenue actually equals 2M x $1K. I'm sure they are still quite profitable, but at a somewhat lower gross.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com
Re: Lightworks
by Tim Wilson
[Michael Phillips] "I am sceptical on a $2B revenue on the software licenses alone."

If you're busting me for being too glib, busted. I also shouldn't assume too close a relationship between registered users and licenses. But I'm still right that there's insane money in software-only NLE sales for Apple. Cut my glibness down by a full 75% to only 500,000 boxes sold, it's still $500 million.

Assume that only 1 out of 5 people of those have ever upgraded once at today's Amazon price of $250, and add another $25 million.

Again acknowledging my unwarranted glibness, it also strikes me as unlikely that only 500,000 boxes have been sold. And in any case, supports my only real point: that there's major money for Apple in software-only Pro Apps sales, and that it's far too early for Apple (and Avid) to consider trading free software for related hardware.

For EditShare, a different story altogether. They support every NLE, and have just cleverly added a really good one back into the mix.
Re: Lightworks
by Oliver Peters
Back to Lightworks...

I think the real question is whether open source NLE development will produce a superior product. There's not much evidence that will be true. Linux is only viable among professional users, because companies like RedHat bring something to the mix. Firefox is briefly better and then it becomes surpassed by other browsers. Open source does drive innovation by other camps. Clearly Apple has built software upon the backbone of open source efforts. Will a Lightworks open source NLE be "just good enough" so that it kills any ability for commercial success for other NLEs?

On the other hand, the direction Lightowrks could take is not open source modification to the core functionality, but rather to make it a sort of platform, upon which others can build. This is really the case with FCP and other apps, like ProTools or After Effects. In that case, a potential ecosystem could grow up around Lightworks making it a pretty powerful option, albeit not actually free in a true sense.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com
Re: Lightworks
by Tim Wilson
Raise your hand if you feel comfortable coding an NLE.

The IDEA of open source is exciting...but look at Firefox. After it came out of the gate as the nimble upstart, it's now more bloated and slower than any other browser out there. Certainly slower to add new features and support for new standards like HTML 5, which others have supported for a while. The plan for HTML 5 in Firefox is this fall, but has already been pushed out a couple of times.

When new FF features show up, they're often just glommed on. Virtually nobody is taking the time to actually optimize the code. Optimization is boring.

That's with thousands of volunteers, a board of supervisors to test and vet everything, and tens (hundreds?) of thousands of beta testers over months and months. And still, that slow to develop, that slow to use, and that bloated.

Yeah, yeah, commercial software development can be slow, but you can pretty easily find the name of somebody specific whose ONLY job is to fix your problem. You can often find them in the COW. Imagine what happens when there's not one single person on the entire planet whose job is nothing but fixing Lightwave. Not one. You'll just have to wait for somebody to take the initiative to actually DO it, on their own time, and hope they don't mess anything up or slow it down.

Now, with Mozilla, there are ptoentially thousands of people laying hands on Firefox code, and a board of directors to vet everything before it gets released. Now add the historically typical slow pace of open source development, a likely VERY tiny number of volunteer developers for Lightwave, and no directors at all to vet the work of those volunteers. Apply that to your NLE, and tell me how you think that would work for you.

Lightworks is the real deal, as is Edit Share. If ES is taking responsibility for managing the course of LW's development, bravo. ES is definitely up to the task.

Otherwise, I see open source as a profound DISadvantage. I hear "open source" and think, "fast and exciting...until it's slow and unreliable. And I have to wait for a volunteer to fix it. And optimize it. Later."

Once again, a show of hands from everyone who can code an NLE...who's not already working as a developer for another NLE. :-)

@Tim Wilson
by David Battistella

Two words.

Cash Infusion.

By somebody who cares enough to make a run in the NLE market. Is Apple developing or buying ? Maybe?

David





Peace
@David Battistella
by Tim Wilson
"Cash Infusion. By somebody who cares enough to make a run in the NLE market."

I have no doubt that EditShare cares. They have for a long time. My question is only, "Who's in charge?" If the answer is EditShare, good. If the answer is "anyone who wants to contribute," not good at all.

You did a great job researching and writing this. You should ask them what they actually mean by "open source." What's the process for altering code? Does anybody get to play, or is there some threshold of experience that you need before they turn it loose?

What's the process for QA before the altered software is released?

What if there are no open sourced contributions? Does the software get altered at all? Is this it?

In other words, who's in charge? What does any of this mean? Because I love y'all and everything, but there aren't many of you that I want writing the actual code to my NLE, man.

Although I DEFINITELY want Zelin writing the error messages that appear when you mess up.
+1
Re: Lightworks
by Louis McLellan
John I think you hit the nail on the head. I know tons of people who only use FCP who hate Avid and vice versa, many of which never use the programs, but to me if you can use one, you can use all. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Lightworks.

Editor, Sound Designer, Stop-Motion Animator, Lighting, and Pack Mule
Re: Lightworks
by John Knapich
The whole Lightworks concept sounds interesting. If the program were open source, we would still need some hardware, No? I looked on the site and there seems to be some kind of raid or I/O device.

FCP 6.06, OS 10.5.8 2x3GHZ Quad-Core Intel Xeon, Kona LHe, Dulce Duo-eSATA 8 Drive, 4TB Raid.

John Knapich
Creative Director/Partner
Assembypix.tv
Re: Lightworks
by Bob Zelin
Hi John,
you see "some kind of RAID" on the EditShare site, because this is what Editshare does. EditShare is the original ethernet based shared storage solution, and Editshare was the first company ever to have an alternate shared storage solution to AVID. Overall, it's a great product. "Giving away Lightworks" is a wonderful opportunity to promote sales of EditShare shared storage solutions, because editing today usually involves capturing data (P2, XDCamEX, RED, h.264, etc.) and managing that media, and sharing that media among several editing stations, which is what EditShare does. Giving away the editing program is a great incentive, and will ABSOLUTELY draw attention from old and new users that want what they already know, or are new, and don't want to spend any money. And when it comes time for a shared storage solution for these users, they will think EditShare. Overall, a great concept.

Bob Zelin


@John Knapich
by David Battistella

The idea is that it will run on MAC LINUX or WINDOWS hardware, that it will be software centric and you will need to build the machine. The only hardware they might offer is the controller, but it will work with an AVID or FCP keyboard and mouse.

The other key thing they are considering is making it completely compatible with FCP and AVID. SO you could have Lightworks as the editing station, AVID for media management or assistant work and FCP for presentation and second assistant work. All three NLE's playing nice.

WIth three generations of editors able to work together....

David




Peace
Re: Lightworks
by andy prada
I work with Avid, FCP and Premiere Pro CS5 on a regular basis for a variety of clients. I prefer CS5 but do appreciate that Avid has a real depth of functionality in its products that is difficult to beat - albeit at a price. Emphasis here should be on what you want to do and what price you put on up-time. if it's your own kit there are obvious considerations.

In a commercial post facility environment down-time is a business killer. If you're like me and work mostly from a home studio on my own with little day to day client intervention - it may not be so important.

I'm just fascinated by your post. I'd forgotten Lightworks still existed and actually did one of the firt AVID and Lightworks courses, back to back, at the National Film School in Beaconsfield, UK many moons ago. I chose Avid as a way forward. (I trained in film on Steenbecks and Kems but couldn't see the point of keeping with a paddle when a mouse or pen seemed more intuitive for NLE.)

I'm glad there's still some old timers out there keeping in touch.

andy
http://www.pradamedia.co.uk

P.S bring back Speed Razor!!!
Re: Lightworks
by Bob Zelin
Now I don't like David's article (but I love David !).

I went thru the entire EditShare lightworks page, and unlike the morons that were saying how wonderful it was with it's "limited features", it is in fact a fully robust NLE, with full capability of ALL the frame rates, ALL the codecs, ALL the resolutions, and all the capability of a full featured NLE, AND ITS FREE (but I still can't figure out what I/O interface it works with). So contrary to the morons that want it to be "like the old days" when "editors were editors" - the modern Lightworks system seems to be the undiscovered gem that is FREE, and only marketing (and a more complete web site) will reveal how wonderful of a MODERN product this really is FOR FREE.

There are no "good old days" - these are the good old days - we live in amazing times, with opportunities for all of us that never existed before. Lightworks may in fact be one of those opportunites.

Bob Zelin


Re: Lightworks
by Job ter Burg
it is in fact a fully robust NLE
And an underestimated one. In general.
It basically eats everything you throw at it. With a superb response time.
Re: Lightworks
by Job ter Burg
unlike the morons that were saying how wonderful it was with it's "limited features"
Who were saying that, Bob? I just can't find it in the article.

it is in fact a fully robust NLE
And an underestimated one. In general.
With a very straightforward user interface.
Re: Lightworks
by Bob Zelin
Hi Job -
you seem to want to roll around in the "editing is a creative process and has nothing to do with technology". I have seen this my entire career - about having an "eye" or an "ear", and having no understanding anything about technology has nothing to do with you being a fantastic DP, or Editor, or anything else in our industry.
I take great offense to those who try to promote this mindset. If you are an artist, or a musician, or do ANYTHING in the entertainment business (unless you are lucky like Lady Gaga), if you don't know technology (music technology, art technology, camera technology, editing technology, graphics technology) - you are doomed. Rembrant would be SCREWED in 2010. If I have said anything negative about Lightworks (after I read thru the entire EditShare website) then I truly apologize due to my ignorance (which was influenced by this review). And speaking of "classis artists", DaVinci (no pun intended for our industry) would have known EVERY DAMN APPLICATION out there, and every feature, so you can take your "creativity" and you know what with it.

Lightworks, (in contrast to my stupid initial comments) seems like a spectacular FREE product - like I said, an unusual gift to our industry, even if it is only to promote the EditShare shared storage enviornment.

As a (ex) musician, I think about bands and musicians from the Moody Blues, to Pete Townsend, to today's Nightwish (Finland), and without the complex hi tech technology, none of this would be possible (with just a piano and a guitar).

Bob Zelin


Re: Lightworks
by Oliver Peters
What's actually unclear at this point is specifically what version of Lightworks will be offered as Open Source. It is my understanding from speaking with EditShare at NAB that they still intend to offer a turnkey system under the product name of Lightworks Film. That will include their custom hardware controller. I think the software will also work with the Contour shuttle devices.

When Lightworks open source is released, it might not offer everything that is being presented as part of the current Lightworks system. I believe that's still an evolving situation. The other part of this equation is that there are few if any commercially successful open source products. Firefox/Mozilla is supported by Google's money. Linux developers like Red Hat make money through value-added services.

The reason it makes sense to offer Lightworks as open source is to gather a cadre of loyal outside developers who can drive the product forward in (hopefully) interesting and unexpected ways.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com
Re: Lightworks
by Bob Zelin
It seems already clear to me that Lightworks users will be instantly drawn to EditShare as the shared storage envoironment for the multi user Lightworks installation.

This is almost an identical model to 2010's best "new" product CAT DV - a free download, which turns into a $340 single user application (which is amazing) which ultimately grows into a $10,000 enterprise version. A product that is "so simple, anyone can use it" to a complex intense application that requires professional integration.

Thank's to this thread, I will certainly persue Lightworks, as it does seem teriffic.

Bob Zelin


Re: Lightworks
by Oliver Peters
For the most part there are no Lightworks owners in the same sense as FCP or Avid owners. There used to be, but I doubt there are too many any more. Rather, the current users (feature film editors) are working on rental systems, unless I'm mistaken.

I believe the truth is in the opposite situation. EditShare sells systems into plenty of other parts of the world where no one cares about Avid, FCP, etc. This allows them to integrate an NLE into an environment over which they have complete control.

In addition, a lot of international broadcast networks, like the BBC and others, have interest in open source. It might make Lightworks an attractive option and a calling card into new markets.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com
Re: Lightworks
by Job ter Burg
editing is a creative process and has nothing to do with technology
No, I don't want to "roll around" in that notion. Just saying there's more than just the tools. And most certainly there's more than knowing about all formats. Yes, most editors these days will need to know about a lot of technical stuff. More so than 10 years ago, perhaps. Still, MOST of the time, our job is about other stuff than the technical stuff. Don't be over-focused on something as trivial as bringing footage in. That may have used to be a big issue five years ago.

Mainly, you just seem to misread almost everything the article is about. These are editors that are passionate about their tools. They praise the machine for having CHANGED their art, not for keeping it the same. They praise it for SIMPLE OPERATIONAL USE, not for "limited features".

You seem to have missed both the power of the machine and the mindset of its user base.
Re: Lightworks
by Mark Suszko
When I saw this announcement, I said to myself: "Why couldn't it have been Discreet Edit* Instead?"
I really enjoyed working with that NLE, felt it had lots more potential to it when they pulled the plug. It did stuff I still can't get FCP to do.
Re: Lightworks
by Oliver Peters
The difference between Edit and Lightworks, was that Lightworks never went away. Edit was formally EOL'ed by Discreet/Autodesk. I think the evolution of Lightworks was something like this: Lightworks to Tektronix to a reseller to a user group-owned company to GEEVS Broadcast to EditShare. All along the product was actively used and improved.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com
Re: Lightworks
by Alex Udell
Mark...

it's still nice to hear that sentiment....as a former demo artist for discreet....it's always nice to hear that people remember edit* fondly regardless of the circumstances surrounding its demise...


Alex
Re: Lightworks
by Richard Cardonna
Yes it would have been great if they had made it software only.
When it was "Discreet Logic" what a sexy tech name. there HQ in Montreal was so chic.

RC
Re: Lightworks
by Alan Lloyd
Agree with much, however:

Rembrant would be SCREWED in 2010.


Rembrandt would probably be the best LD working. After 50+ years of seeing great art in multiple places all over the world, I still stare at Flemish painting in museums and see things I had not seen before in their observations of the behavior of light.

(To divert for a moment, if you think about it, Rembrandt, DaVinci, and the others were in fact masters of the technologies of their time. Those technologies just involved pigment and canvas.)

As a (ex) musician, I think about bands and musicians from the Moody Blues, to Pete Townsend, to today's Nightwish (Finland), and without the complex hi tech technology, none of this would be possible (with just a piano and a guitar).


Oh, Pete Townshend usually sounds pretty good soloing on an acoustic. As does Richard Thompson. And Townshend's a great songwriter in the bargain.

Like I said, I agree with much, just a few little things...
Re: Lightworks
by Bob Zelin
I just can't let go of this, because of Job. Job lives in the Netherlands, home of the GREATEST musicians in the world, home of true creativity and virtuoso's, that have no comparison to the crap being created in the US. And it appears that Job may be reaching a point in his career, where he has "had enough" - and can't or doesn't want to learn new stuff - he is a top editor with YEARS of experience, and perhaps he has a family, and kids, and sick relatives, and other responsibilities, and just can't deal with ALL THE NEW CRAP THAT YOU HAVE TO LEARN to be on top of this game. As I drift from the original point of this thread, Lightworks appears to be a VERY VERY ROBUST editing system, with all the features, and if I have criticized, or insulted editors very familiar with Lightworks, whose true passion is for the creative art of editing, and in fact will never learn the full feature set of what Lightworks can do (becase it replicates cuts editing on a flatbed so well) - well, what can I say. They too, will be unemployed in soon in the coming years.

As I continue to learn "all the new crap" that continues to come out (and confuse me), I realize that our industry (and every industry) continues to evolve and improve, and we all have to keep up. Everyone with an iPhone 4 is a creative genius, but (what appears to be) great products like Lightworks will keep us all ahead of the game (and Media Composer 5 !).

bob zelin


Bob Zelin


Re: Lightworks
by Job ter Burg
it appears that Job may be reaching a point in his career, where he has "had enough" - and can't or doesn't want to learn new stuff

Don't worry, I'm not there yet, Bob. Not by far.
Re: Lightworks
by Bob Zelin
the quote says -
"I would like to see, NLE -- Motion picture Pro, a very streamlined app. [There would be] no configuration at all, it runs 24 frames per second, period. That means if you shoot film or digital, everything goes to 24. The reason for that is that it has been a standard since the advent of sound."

This means "I don't want anything to change ever - it's been good for 100 years, and it's still good. And bring back the Nagra DAMN IT". These guys just don't get that in the real world - including Hollywood - if you can't do EVERYTHING, you are unemployed. Does Martin Scorceze edit anymore ? Would Thelma be given a chance to be employed by ANYONE today, if she did not know RED workflow (and other cameras like Genesis, Phantom, Alexa, and even Canon ?). Companies like Digital Film Tree were born (and succeeded wildly) because of the lack of knowlege of Walter Murch. Being the early AVID guy, and EMC before that, I would see the early film editors that adapted to AVID, and did not want to hear anything else - "do you know why it's the best - because you don't have to LEARN ANYTHING" - it's exactly the way you work now (on KEM flatbeds). Well, those big shot morons are unemployed now.

Not that it's not welcome to see a free NLE edit system available for open hardware development, but to try to create a simplistic NLE in today's world, to satisfy these old bags, who can't deal with todays complex solutions - that is just crazy. NO ONE would hire these people today if it were not for their connections and friends in the business. Everyone is a "creative genius".

Bob Zelin


Re: Lightworks
by Job ter Burg
This means "I don't want anything to change ever - it's been good for 100 years, and it's still good.

How I read it is that this person sees benefits in all applications, and thinks that configurations should be simpler and more fool-proof.

Would Thelma be given a chance to be employed by ANYONE today, if she did not know RED workflow (and other cameras like Genesis, Phantom, Alexa, and even Canon ?)

I think she would, as long as the right AE was added to the mix. Most feature editors don't really need to know about formats, they need to know about storytelling.

Also, all these formats are (or can be) 24fps.

Sorry Bob, but I'm not getting your point at all.
Re: Lightworks
by Bob Zelin
first, let me say that it is VERY generous for Andy and EditShare to make Lightworks a free application to anyone that wants it. This is above and beyond the call of duty of any company (more than AJA giving out AJA System Test or AJA Data Calc).

With that said, if you don't have an existing client base, you can be the best storyteller in the world, and no one will hire you. You can have the greatest concept of lighting in the world, but if you are not familiar with modern lighting equipment, and modern cameras, NO ONE is going to hire you. If you are an editor, and you are not familiar with TODAYS technology (getting XDCamEX, P2, h.264, .r3d files, etc, etc, etc.) into an editing system (and having an editing system that works with these files), then you are going to be unemployed. If you are an established older editor with LOTS of successful clients that are more than happy to hire you (instead of the bright young assistant who knows all this stuff already), then you can be the "storyteller" and continue to charge the "big bucks". My point is that modern editing systems need to do everything, and need to do the complexity that they currently do (and more). And "everything" is still not enough, which is why products (like Adobe CS5) continue to evolve. But if you have the luxury of being a "storyteller" and have the luxury of "not knowing how to import .r3d files or h.264 files into a Lightworks", well, then you are a lucky guy. A classical pianist may play the piano well, but won't get much work without knowing all the crap involved today with MIDI, and the "technology" part of playing an instrument. This applies to every career that is affected by technology. "I know how to do only one thing well" is not a good way to think in todays world, and observing people that have the luxury of being able to say that, because they are old, and have a loyal client base, is very deceiving. I know very well that there are older editors that can "cut the pants" off of a young guy with a Steenbeck or a KEM, but in 2010, NO ONE CARES.

Bob Zelin


Re: Lightworks
by John Knapich
I started out syncing dailies in 35mm. Learned Sony 900, learned on one of the first versions of Avid, scoffed when FCP first came out, then migrated to FCP after a couple of years. I have seen Lightworks in action years ago (not crazy about the toggle stick thing, some are). Do I have a favorite? not really. I felt Avid was the best NLE for a long time, now I am comfortable with FCP. In the end, they are just tools.
The system does not make the editor, experience and craft do.


FCP 6.06, OS 10.5.8 2x3GHZ Quad-Core Intel Xeon, Kona LHe, Dulce Duo-eSATA 8 Drive, 4TB Raid.

John Knapich
Creative Director/Partner
Assembypix.tv
Re: Lightworks
by Gary Hazen
An Engineer talking about what makes a good editor. Cute.
Re: Lightworks
by Mark Raudonis
Gary,

you threaten the dragon at your own peril!

Me, I kinda agree with Mr. Z. We work in a technical biz... you should know your way around a computer.

Mark



Re: Lightworks
by Job ter Burg
If you are an editor, and you are not familiar with TODAYS technology (getting XDCamEX, P2, h.264, .r3d files, etc, etc, etc.) into an editing system (and having an editing system that works with these files), then you are going to be unemployed.

Where in the article did it say that these editors don't know how to cope with these formats? Most editors I know (even the tech-savvy ones) learn about stuff as they go. You get a Red project, so you make sure you read up on Red and prepare for the gig, do some testing etc. Same goes for P2, EX, DSLR.

And you seem to forget an important issue: once you start a longform project, after a few weeks, it doesn't matter how the stuff got into the system at all anymore. You just care about getting the project completed. One step later, you'll worry about exporting again, sure. But the majority of a longform editor's time is not about getting stuff in our out, but is about moving tons of stuff around with great flexibility.

Red, P2, EX, film, whatever. My AE spends more time logging than transcoding or capturing, and I spend most of my time editing.

Do we need to familiarize myself with new workflows? Yes, and we do. Do we need flexible setups that let us handle any format that comes in and lets us output any way we desire? Yes, please. In the meantime, take a look what Avid has been doing the last three years. They have started to implement actual day-to-day editing improvements. Those would most certainly mean nothing if the system would not handle any of this month's favorite new formats, but since it does, this does matter a great deal. Finally, since long, it is about editing again, rather than about marketing speak and formats.

To me, that's what marks 2010.
@Job ter Burg
by David Battistella
"Finally, since long, it is about editing again, rather than about marketing speak and formats. "

yes. which is one of the key points I raised. Why haven't any of these tools become better pieces of editing software instead of toys attached to editing software.

I think this is where I like the opensource idea, the editing can be improved.

David



Peace
@Bob Zelin
by David Battistella

Bob,

None of the bells and whistles make us better editors. More emphasis needs to be placed on teaching people teechnology and storytelling. Since we are comparing painters, there would be no point in buying a Cuban reproduction of a classic painting, no matter how accurate it seems, when the original has soul and the copy does not.

You hear this in music all the time now as well. The soul seems to be missing because of the technology doing the thinking.

The article was not a review as much as it was an introduction to a piece of technology that has somehow lasted because of a group of believers.

Just to clarify Scott Brock's point about a single format 24P edit system. Scott is an assistant who has worked in film his whole career. Love it or hate it 24P is a global film framerate standard. 29.97, 59.94, etc are video (many times interlaced) formats that don't mesh well with progressive images.

To be fair to Scott I think he was stating that he'd like to see a streamlined system that functions at 24P, or at least converts everything to one format. Utopia? (maybe) but the tools exist now to just have a 24P standard.

David



Peace
+1


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