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:
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.
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.