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Adobe buy into Automatic Duck. Why? Is this good news or bad news for FCPX?

automatic_duck_adobe

The news yesterday that Wes Plate from Automatic Duck was moving to Adobe flashed around the internet pretty quickly. Is this good or bad news for Final Cut Pro X?

Automatic Duck was created back in 2001 by the father and son team of Harry and Wes Plate. They have been providing tools for Final Cut Pro users since the end of that year when they released a plugin that would allow FCP sequences to be translated into After Effects.

Over the years their product range has grown to provide media interchange solutions for FCP, Avid and After Effects. They seemed to be pretty successful at making a business out of it too.

Then yesterday this announcement was placed on the front page of their website. In fact it is the only page of their website as most external links resolve to this message:

 

"Greetings!

We have some exciting news regarding Automatic Duck.

Over these many years we've enjoyed improving the interchange between Avid, Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Pro Tools, Smoke, Quantel and other AAF and OMF-friendly apps, and now we're thrilled to announce that Automatic Duck has partnered with Adobe Systems to bring that same interchange functionality to Premiere Pro. To that end I have joined the Adobe Product Marketing team and am really excited about their products both today and new things yet to be released. Harry Plate (my Dad and the co-Founder of Automatic Duck) will be assisting with the technology integration while continuing to focus on supporting other Automatic Duck partners.

We view our partnership with an Adobe as a great opportunity for our customers, as we will finally be able to offer the same best-in-class quality translation interface for Premiere Pro as we have offered in the past for other video editing products, enabling customers to seamlessly move in and out of Premiere Pro in their editing/processing workflows.

Harry and I are currently working out the details of a new Automatic Duck web site where our customers will be able to find all of the Automatic Duck products and related information, so please stay tuned!

- Wes Plate, co-founder of Automatic Duck"

 

It would seem that Adobe have offered the guys an extremley attractive proposal to come and join them. You can't buy their products any more and there's no news of support for existing customers. The company might have emailed support notices to all customers yesterday, but we'd be slightly concerned if we had plonked down the cash in the last few days to buy one of their products.

automatic_duck_adobe_2

So what have Adobe actually done here?

There are two ways of looking at this. The first is as per the website post:

"we will finally be able to offer the same best-in-class quality translation interface for Premiere Pro as we have offered in the past for other video editing products"

Doesn't that happen already? Walter Biscardi has been repeatedly banging on about how good the XML import function is in Premiere and of course the movement of media from PPro to After Effects isn't a problem. Do they mean Avid?

The second way to look at this is to think that Adobe are trying to mop up all the peripheral vendors and software that could possibly assist FCPX users. Why remove all the products from the website? Surely if they wanted to be open about everything and allow media exchange between all formats they would have kept the sales going.

So are Adobe running scared of FCPX? Is the absorption of Automatic Duck into the Adobe flight a quick and relatively inexpensive way of trying to hold back the transition to FCPX by editors?

One thing is for sure, we don't know the numbers but you can bet that FCPX is the biggest selling NLE of all time. We don't need to tell you that it's only been out a few months as well. If companies don't want to come out and play with the new kid on the block, they miss tapping into possibly the biggest user base out there.

So back to the initial question, is it good news or bad news for FCPX?  We think good news as it shows that other companies are taking the threat of FCPX seriously. There will be other companies who will rush in to fill the void left by Automatic Duck's permanent migration.


Written by
Top Blogger Thought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

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2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. 

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Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.

 

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BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

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Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

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I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.

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Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!

 

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