Adobe Introduces Software Rentals “With Pay As You Go”.

Yesterday Adobe announced an upgrade to its acclaimed Creative Suite. While there were a bunch of things in the software that would get any creative pro excited, the biggest buzz generator for me was Adobe’s announcement to lease, or rent software licenses.

This is the first step that a software giant has taken to help offset my cost of working with their tools. Right now Adobe is offering Adobe Photoshop for $35/month, the Design Premium suite for $95/month, or the Master Collection for $129/month (for a year. It’s $195.00 on a month to month basis). While this pricing structure might sound a bit steep, think about the annual cost of renting the Master Collection versus Buying the upgrade. The cost of renting the Master Collection is $1548.00 a year. If you are a creative professional, that cost is offset as an operating expense, and can be either be deducted from your taxes, or passed on to your client.

While I am excited about the idea of renting software as opposed to buying it, I wish Adobe gave me the option to pay as I play. I own the Master Collection, but there are certain components I hardly ever use. Take InDesign, I fire it up about twice a month. Instead of renting the entire suite for $129.00 a month, it would be better if I could rent it at a lower price, and then pay extra for the software components I use occasionally like InDesign. Something like $80.00 a month for the Suite, and $5.00 extra when I fire up InDesign. (just a thought Adobe in case you are reading this)

As for the cost of renting, while that $1548.00 a year sounds steep, Adobe announced that they are moving to a 12 month release cycle on software. The upgrade cost for the Master Collection is between $549.00 and $1399.00 depending on what software you are upgrading from. The majority of the upgrade prices are $1399.00. Right now this is less expensive than renting for a year, but your purchase is a one time cost deduction, compared with a monthly operating expense. You might want to consult with your accountant on how much you can deduct, but I’m thinking in the long run renting is the better deal. And if you pass the cost of renting on to your clients, there is the possibility that your rental cost zeros out. if you work 8 jobs a month, the rental cost passed on to your clients is $16.12 per client a month, a charge most client will be willing to swallow. Think of it as materials and supplies, which is something you haven’t been able to do with software before.

As the new rental program moves forward, I’m sure the pricing structure will change. Hopefully the cost will come down as more people opt in for renting instead of buying. And hopefully Adobe will let you rent as you need to, rather than renting for a whole year. I really like the idea of being able to rent a software license when I need it, rather than locking into renting it for a predetermined block of time.

NAB Editors Lounge, and the Future of Final Cut Pro.

Starting last Saturday the NAB pre-show kicked off in Las Vegas Nevada. For those of you that don’t know, NAB is the largest conference/trade show in the world for video and film production. Each year the “Editor’s Lounge” hosts a pre-show panel discussion to talk about the future of the industry and the tools that editors, compositors, and post production teams use.

This year, the talk centered around the new version of Final Cut Pro for the most part and the direction that Apple is pushing the industry. I was a Final Cut user.I had used it since version 1, simply because I couldn’t afford an Avid system, and at the time Adobe Premier sucked. Final Cut wasn’t perfect, but it was in a price range that fir my budget, and it ran on most Mac hardware. About two years ago, I made the big switch. I dumped Final Cut and the DVD Studio suite and went exclusively with Adobe product using the CS4 MAster Collection. My choice was based on a few things:

1. All Adobe products integrated seamlessly which is critical to my workflow.
2. Adobe supports Blueray. Apple does not.
3. Adobe products preview and render about 10 times faster than Final Cut, and it’s associated products.
4. Adobe’s regular upgrades tend to push their product forward on a more consistent basis.

After making the switch I never looked back. Adobe Premier isn’t perfect, just like Avid or Final Cut, but the integration with After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Soundbooth, and Encore make it a solid choice for me.

So what does all of this have to do with the Editor’s Lounge talk? Well if you watch the video below, you will get to hear industry experts talk about the upcoming upgrade to Final Cut, it’s possible future, and where Apple is probably going to take the product line in the future. There are 4 videos. Each is about 15 to 20 minutes long, and if you are an editor that works with Final Cut, Avid, or Premier it’s worth a watch. There are loads of topics beyond the new Final Cut predictions, all of which relate to the business of creating moving content.

If you want to jump to specific topics, I have listed subjects with time markers below.

Video 1 subjects:

3:00 The New Final Cut Pro, as seen by Mark Raudonis
10:16 What is a cord cutter?
11:05 The Future of content delivery
14:17 New hardware vs. user interface of NLEs
14:50 Support, Apple vs. Avid
17:09 The new Avid company
18:30 Apple’s media future
18:55 Speculation on FCP X

Video 2 subjects:

0:08 New GUI (Graphical User Interface) for NLEs
3:17 Lucas talks about new media
5:31 Storytelling, the basics of our craft
6:30 Oblong Industries, the “Minority Report” GUI
8:17 Adobe, Vegas, Lightworks
8:43 Avid Media Composer 5.5
9:58 Crowd-sourcing video editing
11:57 The commoditization of media creation
13:05 Demand Media, is it our future?
14:58 The new business model for editors, producers, etc.
16:19 We have to think beyond 1 screen

Video 3 subjects:

0:00 Is tape dead? HDCAMSR production stopped.
6:23 Archive solutions, who, what & where?
9:28 Digital delivery over the internet
10:17 Thunderbolt (Light Peak) & the future impact
12:55 New cameras and post workflows

Video 4 subjects:

0:00 3D – Workflows, issues, solutions
6:53 Q&A – File Based Delivery, QC
8:03 Q&A – Shoule I learn current FCP
8:41 Q&A – Reality shows in 3D
10:37 Q&A – Where is Avid Symphony
12:13 Q&A – What impact will the CALM act have
13:11 Q&A – What is Avid DS
16:13 Q&A – Where to learn 3D post
20:26 Q&A – Best NLE for editing 3D
21:33 Q&A – How to QC 3D