LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

Media 100 lowers price and expands 844X line-up

COW Library : Media 100 844/X : Philip Hodgetts : Media 100 lowers price and expands 844X line-up
Media 100 lowers price and expands 844X line-up


A Creative COW Industry Report: Tuesday, November 5, 2002




Philip Hodgetts
Philip Hodgetts philip@intelligentassistance
Intelligent Assistance, Los Angeles, California USA

©2002 by Philip Hodgetts and Intelligent Assistance. All rights are reserved.
This edition is copyright by CreativeCow.net



844/X is in the ''family way'' with siblings and new positioning...

Just ahead of the release, Philip Hodgetts spent an afternoon interviewing Media 100 CEO John Molinari and VP of Corporate Communications, Mike Savello. Here's the real inside story straight from Marlboro...


On November 5, 2002, Media 100 announced that their 844/X product had become a product line...

The original 844/X now becomes 844/Xe and a new, lower-priced model is identified as 844/Xi. Along with the new model, Media 100 have unbundled the 844/X from the host computer and storage, offered Media 100's dual stream customers a loyalty bonus (a.k.a. discount) and repositioned the 844/X family as editing software with exceptional compositing skills.

All I can says is "It's about time!" These are all excellent moves but the one that really stands out for me is the "repositioning" of 844/X as what it is -- an editing system with exceptional compositing. But first the news announcements…


844/X Family

844/X and the Genesis Engine™ were planned as the basis of a family of products and now there are two: 844/Xe and 844/Xi. 844/Xe is the product that has been on sale since February 2002 with one important difference -- Media 100 have unbundled the 844/X from the host PC and storage. 844/Xi is a new, low cost option with all the features of 844/X only limited to 4 real-time streams (2 video, 2 key) instead of the 8 of its big brother. 844/Xi also comes with the flexibility to select your own host computer and storage.

The new entry point that 844/Xi gives Media 100 will certainly let more people who could benefit from 844/X to afford one, but most importantly it removes the "price barrier" mindset. Of course, a useful 844/Xi is still going to be closer to $40,000 than the list of $25,000 but in the all-important mind of the customer it sounds a whole lot more affordable than "...priced from $65,000."

Most importantly, it might get people to come and look at 844/X. One of the real issues with this system is that it performs much better in practice than it does "on paper" but many people who would look at the specifications and price point would not take the time to see the demonstration. With a lower starting point, perhaps that barrier will be overcome.

Although 844/Xi has only two real time video tracks and two realtime key tracks, it performs far better than that limitation sounds. 844/Xi shares all the Intelligent rendering smarts and Visual Voicing™ of its' sibling with all the same effects, transfer modes etc, and will benefit from all the enhancements planned for the "Finishing Release" (a.k.a. version 2) targeted for NAB.

Media 100 make the distinction between the two models as "fast" and "very fast." Where 844/Xe would process a 12 second section of a program with 10 layers in 36 seconds, 844/Xi would take 108 seconds (under 2 minutes) -- not even time to get to the restroom and back.

However, make a change to any layer and you see the result in real time -- 12 seconds with either 844/Xe or 844/Xi thanks to Intelligent Rendering. This approach actively encourages experimenting where other editing systems penalize it. (While I haven't tested it, Media 100 claim that Final Cut Pro would take 5 minutes to render the same effect which sounds about right, and another 5 minutes to render a single layer change, and that's where the 844/X advantage lies.)


Unbundling

Media 100 always made it clear, at least to journalists, that eventually they would allow individual users and dealers to configure their own systems. The initial restriction to turn-key systems was important to make sure that the initial 844/X customers had an good user experience, something that could really only be guaranteed with a very restrictive qualification. In practice, there was little difference between qualifying only a very limited range of processors and storage and packaging it as a turn-key except that Media 100 could pre-test and insure every system was performing to specification before it left the factory.

As they've gained more field experience with 844/X and have the opportunity to test more hosts and drive systems, the time has come to allow some flexibility.

In practice there will only going to be a limited range of host PCs and the systems will still have to be configured by Media 100's specialist 844/X resellers, but it does open up storage to more options, particularly as the 1.5 Interoperability release provides many more storage options for 844/X.


Future Plans

Media 100 reiterated their HD Strategy and indicated that Phase One would be ready early in 2003. Phase One uses the existing 844/X Genesis Engine™ to downsample HD source (including 24 P) to standard definitions 10-bit video, edited with 844/Xe or 844/Xi and then output to Standard Definition for regular distribution or upsampled to HD for HD distribution. In other words, pretty much what's happening for most of the "HD" product on-air at the moment.

Phase Two implements the same 844/X algorithms in a DSP configuration for post-processing HD in HD. All edit and compositing decisions are made in the 844/X real-time environment and the final HD conform is made in a single pass from the HD source. These are exactly the same algorithms -- part of the Media 100 844/X Intellectual Property -- but implemented on DSP hardware. If PC hardware ever became fast enough, the algorithms could be implemented on the host platform -- although there are no plans to do so at the moment.

As well as the HD planning, Media 100 have also announced, some months back, version 1.5 with the OMF integration, that will ship with 844/Xe and 844/Xi and looking ahead to around NAB, version 2, the Finishing release. The 'big ticket' items in the Finishing release are color correction, 24P/3:2 pulldown and the "missing" audio features: track based gain and pan, audio submixers (a lá Media 100i Version 8) and clip based EQ. The Matte tool gains the planned animatable splines and there are other enhancements throughout the interface.

In all honesty, I think Version 2 of most products are what the developer really hoped to release but "reality" got in the way. And besides, no-one gets any benefit from a product until it ships. The 120 plus customers wouldn't be turning out quality work if version one didn't ship last February 2002. I have always said, and Media 100 has acknowledged, that while Version 1 was important, version 2 of 844/X was the one that the product would sink or swim on. I think the development team would be happy with what they've got planned and the product is what everyone hoped it would become. I think 844/X is fulfilling its potential.


Repositioning

One of the questions I asked when I first saw 844/X back in February, was why Media 100 were downplaying the editing features. 844/X not only has much better editing tools than their traditional dual stream product but you would almost think the dual stream customer base had designed the editing specifications.

At that time the Media 100 explained that 844/X wasn't being positioned as an editing system because it did not have any form of compressed media. I think Media 100 were wrong in thinking that uncompressed 10-bit media would be "scary" for the potential user base, when in practice indeed it is not a problem.

Media 100 got the message from the customer base and "gets" that uncompressed 10-bit is not that uncommon (of course, no other system does 10-bit uncompressed at 60P internally but that's a different story). 844/X's editing features are now allowed to be part of the 844/X story, instead of remaining a "secret." (I have read at least one online post that said they would "expect at least the editing features they enjoyed in Media 100i" believing that 844/X didn't have these editing features.)

This is probably the smartest change in the 844/X story: 844/X is an editing system with exceptional compositing capability. It is not the be-all and end-all in compositing -- but for people creating rich-visual media on edited programming, 844/X provides a unique alternative. For those who want to go beyond the capabilities of 844/X, there is very tight integration with Adobe After Effects -- open an 844/X timeline directly into After Effects with all layers intact, or render After Effects format plug-ins ahead of the real-time features. (Another part of the story that doesn't always get explained outside of a demonstration.)

I should point out that I believe that these rich visual looks are the direction of the high-mid to high end of the industry. Sure they can be done in Final Cut Pro and probably for the majority the rendering time can be tolerated. Where the same rich visual looks need to be created over short- to mid-form programming and need to be created within time constraints, then an editing system with exceptional layering capability. This is the marketing story that makes 844/X unique and interesting. And it was high time that Media 100 told their own story much more openly.


And finally…

In my last story on 844/X I finished with something I strongly believed…

"All they need to do now is offer a promotional incentive to bring more of their dual stream customers into the 844/X fold!"

844/X is incredibly suitable for a large section of the Media 100i or iFinish customer base -- those who used it in close association with After Effects.

Media 100 are in the process of sending out letters to existing Media 100 customers offering a discount on a buy-in to the 844/X family. A most welcome move.


In Summary...

With 844/X Media 100 seems to be making all the right moves. Product development is moving forward at an appropriate pace for a new product, particularly one this complex. Now that the marketing story has found a more solid positioning Media 100 are positioned to take advantage of a strengthening economy, and stronger industry with a solid product, customer support that is getting, I can only say, rave reviews in the online community and product options that should open new markets.

844/X reminds me of my early Media 100 dual stream days when the product was new, exciting and leading the market. I paid premium to be part of Media 100's original product early on and I never regretted it. It was the single smartest business move I ever made: getting in at the start of a product wave. 844/X makes me wish I was still involved in production on a daily basis.

--- Philip Hodgetts

Care to comment? Post your comments in the Media 100 844/X forum at CreativeCow.net
For more information about Media 100 844/X, visit www.media100.com


###



Related Articles / Tutorials:
Media 100 844/X
Media 100's Pegasus - 844/X

Media 100's Pegasus - 844/X

It's official. Media 100's new 'Pegasus' 844/X has been announced and Philip Hodgetts has given us the definitive analysis of the new product. You won't find a more in-depth report.

Editorial
Philip Hodgetts
Media 100 844/X
Media 100's Blood Secrets by John Molinari

Media 100's Blood Secrets by John Molinari

In 'Blood Secrets' the founder of Media 100 Inc., John Molinari, laid out the vision and the driving force that fuels Media 100. Even today in 2001, seven years after it was first published, it gives a clear and open window into the company that has changed the video industry so markedly.

Feature
John Molinari
Media 100 844/X
Media 100 & Pegasus

Media 100 & Pegasus

In 1994 Media 100 revolutionized the video post production industry by bringing broadcast quality finishing to the computer desktop for the first time as the initial step in democratizing video. Can they do it again? How does the new Mission and Vision fit with the original vision that drove Media 100? Or was the sale of Cleaner and other software products to focus on the "Pegasus" project a mistake?

Editorial
Philip Hodgetts
Recent Articles / Tutorials:
Business & Marketing
12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish I'd Known at 25

12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish I'd Known at 25

12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish Id Known at 25 appeared in Creative COW Magazine and was one of our most popular articles. It is a true timeless classic in which COW leader, contributing editor, and Senior Business Adviser to Creative COW, Nick Griffin shares wisdom he's learned the hard way in over 30 years in business. His experience will help you to avoid mistakes, manage clients, and prepare yourself to achieve your greatest success.

Editorial, Feature, Business
Nick Griffin
RED Camera
Don Burgess aligns with Light Iron and Panavision for ALLIED

Don Burgess aligns with Light Iron and Panavision for ALLIED

Don Burgess, ASC trusts Light Iron. His last seven films can attest, so Burgess chose Light Iron to support him again with digital dailies and post finishing services on Allied. Directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, the World War II-set film sees an intelligence officer's romance with a French Resistance fighter tested when high command thinks a double agent might be in play.


COW News
Autodesk Maya
ZERO FX: The Magic You Won't See In The Magnificent Seven

ZERO FX: The Magic You Won't See In The Magnificent Seven

ZERO FX takes Creative COW readers inside the invisible effects used to create the powerful vistas and settings used in The Magnificent Seven. But the real magic is in what you don't see.


Kayla Millhouse
Art of the Edit
More Than One Path to Success: Senior Editor Mae Manning

More Than One Path to Success: Senior Editor Mae Manning

We talk a lot about things like “accessible tools” and the “democratization of video production” -- what has this meant for the emerging talent whose creative development has taken place largely, or even entirely, within this democratized landscape? Mae Manning is one such editor, who taught herself to edit music videos, and caught the eye of a local production company. Several years later and now their Senior Editor, she cuts corporate and industrial training videos, promotional videos, sketch comedy, short films, and everything else that gets thrown her way. Mae’s story is an inspiration for anyone that thinks there is only one path to success in the industry.

Feature
Kylee Peña
Art of the Edit
How To Create Better Live Surgical Broadcasts

How To Create Better Live Surgical Broadcasts

Greg Ondera produces, directs, and edits medical video programs specializing in surgical procedures. From his wide ranging experience in the medical sciences and broadcast arts, Greg shows you how to create better surgical broadcasts.

Editorial, Tutorial, Feature, Business
Greg Ondera
NAB Show
NAB Show New York 2016: Growing, Yet Still Intimate

NAB Show New York 2016: Growing, Yet Still Intimate

Calling April's NAB Show "overwhelming" is an understatement. The expo that fills the rapidly expanding Las Vegas Convention Center every April topped 103,000 attendees and 1700+ exhibitors in 2 million square feet of exhibit space. The Big Apple's edition of the NAB Show is more bite sized: taking place this week at the Javitz Convention Center, 7000 visitors will be able to engage with 300 exhibitors, along with a variety of new opportunities for in-depth workshops on cutting-edge technologies. Here's a preview of the week's festivities.


COW News
Art of the Edit
Being an Advertising Editor: The Ins & Outs of Agency Work

Being an Advertising Editor: The Ins & Outs of Agency Work

Katie Toomey takes Creative COW members inside the world of the advertising editor, where being a generalist means you are often not only a video editor, but a designer and audio editor, problem solver, as well as tech support professional. Join Katie as she takes you inside her world.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Katie Toomey
MORE
© 2016 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]