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Creative Pros are driving change, but we don’t like it

Examine the changes to the video editing, graphic design and photography industry with the rise of mobile devices.  

Creative pros are driving changes in the technology behind the work they do, and many of them do not like that it is happening. As a creative pro, working in marketing I am one of those ‘do it all’ type creatives. I shoot and edit video, take photographs, design illustrations and page layouts, build websites. The nature of my work is very diverse. Behind it all I have a strategy, but I enjoy the hands on nature of the work that I do.

Projects are becoming more individualised rather than collaborative. 10, 15, 20 years ago, TV and film editors would work on a project of several networked computers all sharing content. Different people would be responsible for different stages: Ingest, Edit, Sound, Colour/broadcast safe, output (generally a print to tape). Now, there are so many geniuses in their own bedrooms creating for YouTube, audiences have moved away from traditional TV, to YouTube. The content on YouTube is fresh. People watch and create on their mobile devices. And, well you no longer have to be tech savvy to contribute to YouTube. You can film, edit, narrate and even colour correct and add special effects to your latest video on your iPhone and upload it to YouTube without going near a computer. How cool is that? This is a clip I made on my iPhone 7, and edited in Adobe Rush.

Don’t scoff – people love watching these types of bloggers.

Filmmaking can now be enjoyed by all. Cameras that cost less than $1,000 US can shoot amazing looking 4k that if you want to go to town with post sound, colour and more to create your masterpiece, you can. Filmmaking, from a technical standpoint, is as easy as writing a story on Word. MS Word changed the writing industry. No need to handwrite or pound away at a type writer. Word made writing easy, in the same way that newer filmmaking equipment is. No more capturing BETA, or MiniDV/HDV tapes from large cameras. The systems we have today produce better images, easier, allowing anyone to be creative without being technical.

We are seeing this with photography and illustration too. Adobe Photoshop is now a ported 100% to the iPad. The iPad was originally a media consumption device. A giant iPod Touch. I remember the 2010 iPad, I put a lot of my DVDs onto it and surfed the net. Now, my iPad pro (2015 model) is a full blown portable computer that I can manage this website from.

I think this video above sums things up totally. What is a computer? Will computers as we know it disappear for good? Well. I think they might.

Apple has changed the creative world. I remember when they killed Final Cut Studio and the collaborative tools behind it to make FCPX. The tool that opened up video editing to more people. Traditional tech head editors were unhappy. I was too. But now I get it. An editor isn’t someone who worries about bitrates or resolutions. An editor should be creative.

I think traditional editors, designers and others who have made a living from these industries are unhappy – the technical knowhow was at one point something that let them keep their jobs. I believe anyone can be creative. Technical knowledge needs to be learned, but creativity is something you drive within yourself. And I think that those who relied on highly technical tools to be creative in the past feel threatened because others can do the same work as them, but without needing the technical knowledge. This can only mean more creativity in the future as technical barriers are smashed. Reminds me of this:

Remember when Apple dropped the optical drive? Pros thought the sky would fall in. But then, when I prepare a catalogue for print I can upload the Press PDFs to WeTransfer and the pre-press staff at the printers can download them faster than it would have taken for me to burn them to a CD or DVD on today’s internet. No need to burn media to disc, I can stream it!

However, I think another change is coming. Apple is dropping support of older video codecs. For future versions of MacOS. Could this indeed herald that they are removing support for the IntelX86 platform, and moving toward an iOS environment 100%? Will indeed the new Mac Pro be the last traditional Mac computer?

Dave Lee sums this up brilliantly.

Have a read of this Apple Prepares for the Future By Eliminating Legacy Media Support

Apple is abandoning older 32 bit codecs. Now is the time to look at converting and archiving them. Apple has been developing their own chips, and like Dave’s video explains, they have way more potential, paving the way to newer technologies.

What will be the computers of the future? Just your smartphone that you can use with a bigger monitor and external keyboard when you want?

For me, the worry is how and where will my files be stored? I have over 12 Terabytes of media from all my projects over the years. They are on hard drives. Thunderbolt. Backed up on USB drives. And NAS drives. I like them in a traditional directory system. I have never warmed to iCloud file storage. Sure enough I have important stuff backed up there but I don’t like renting storage space. I want to keep my data, my way. On secure encrypted drives where I have copies in multiple safe places.

The times are changing, and many of us don’t like it. But the changes are, ultimately for the better as far as the creative element of the creative pro industry is concerned. And what is driving the change? The way we consume and creative media.

The key point here is that creativity is for everyone, not just big budget studios, not just tech heads, not rich people, not just schools, not just universities, not just agencies: But to anyone who has an idea. We truly are at a time where if you have an idea for a design, a photograph, a film, whatever, you can make it happen.

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