There are many interesting news coming from NAB 2014. the biggest hit for me is that Autodesk revealed their high-end compositing&finishing products. And there is also new Nuke from the Foundry, called Nuke Studio. Autodesk’s decisions regarding the future of their over-priced Flame line products are particularly interesting to me. It seems that Autodesk is so keen to continue with Flame on Linux with ultra high price tag. Though the exact price is not known since Autodesk resellers have the ability to price them differently. Couple of years ago I heard the price was 130.000 USD for a flame suit. But with Flame 2015, the price is said be a little bit cheaper. Nonetheless how amazing it is that Autodesk is still resisting to the idea of the democratization of high-end technologies. Though I had thought, like many
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other people in the industry, that with Smoke on Mac, Autodesk was finally moving forward and the Flame on mac was on the way. But apparently Autodesk went to the other way. What’s more interesting is that Autodesk
now broke the compatibility between Smoke on Mac and Flame 2015 – which means Flame freelancers couldn’t work on Flame based projects independently. Though There’s a brand new Flame assist running on Mac, but you have to have a Flame license to use it. So it’s very clear that Autodesk does not want freelancers to access Flame environment.
It’s really interesting that desktop video industry couldn’t kill the niche TVC post production market. Adobe’s products should have surpassed Flame/Inferno by now, according to the innovator’s dilemma theory. But they didn’t. Flame is still alive. There’re many reasons. But the main reasons are, I believe, Adobe’s products are the most user unfriendly, and Flame is the most user friendly, Adobe After Effects, for instance, is the slowest application, Flame is on the other hand almost real time. So Flame artists have not quitted using Flame yet. Though there are right things Adobe does. The mercury engine is one of them. I switched from FCP 10 to Premiere Pro CC and couldn’t be hapier. PP is not the same as the old sluggish buggy Premiere anymore. Speedgrade is also cool. Its tracking
capabilities are inferior compared to Lustre but I still like using it. The problem, really, is After Effects. But it’s the only desktop solution for the wild world of TVC. Though Premiere Pro – After Effects – Speedgrade combo is still not really a Flame equivalent. As for Nuke, it is not designed to be a tool for commercial works. Its workflow is shot based. Its node based architecture is brilliant but you don’t have enough time to dive into super complex node trees in commercial works anyway. The new Nuke Studio is obviously an answer to Autodesk’s Flame, but I still think that Flame is superior in terms of ease of use, speed, the quality of off the shelf tools.
Anyway, I will continue on sharing my thoughts about new Smoke 2015 soon.