Archive for October, 2008

Don’t buy into whiz bang gizmo hype!

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Alright. I was working on a job at Universal Studios and asked for After Effects to be installed on my iMac work station so I could do some animation moves. But the IT guy (name withheld) tried to tell me that the After Effects won’t run on an iMac and he tried to get our show to upgrade to a Mac Intel 8-core!

WHAT THE… !!!?? So I told him that I sit on my couch at home 2 nights a week with my macbook G4 laptop  (the white one) and run After Effects all evening long while my wife watches reruns of Nip/Tuck from Netflix. Then I render my movies at bedtime and in the morning, dump the resulting files to a flash drive and bring my work in to impress the director and producer. The stuff looks amazing. Well, the files look perfect. But maybe the director isn’t always over-the-moon with my ideas. Never-the-less, After Effects works great on my little G4 laptop.

But the Universal IT guy says it’s impossible and it could never work. So I go deeper into exactly what I do with After Effects and he finally gets it… I’m only using it in “draft” mode for previewing and working with the content. Then I render it out in full HD.  The IT guy’s eyes finally light up: “Ohhhh, I get it.”


See, he was thinking I wanted to actually watch HD real-time rendering on my little macbook.  But if I didn’t speak up, our show would have had a kick-butt new 8-core mac… and the price tag to go with it. Then I would look like a bad line item in our budget and they would undoubtedly hire someone “cheaper” next time.


Cut to another day. We wanted to upgrade our offline Avids from (believe it or not) OS9!  So in the process of figuring out the requirements, the Avid vendor dude said we need Nitrus DX for $14,000. I said, “thanks, buddy, but we are only going to offline and the $3000 Mojo SDI (the pro-sumer version of the Nitrus) would be more than sufficient.  But no matter what I told him about our workflow and how we only want to OFFLINE, he would never get it! He kept saying that we would eventually, maybe down the road, want to online and we should make the right purchase the first time. Okay, so the guy is  a salesman. And some people might fall for that. But the fact is, if we are only offlining, then pro-sumer is more than fine, even for a big movie studio like Universal. 


I guess my point is… gadgets are really cool and fun to play with, but when money is an issue, there is absolutely no point in overkill.  Sure, there are times when I need a screaming, blazing, rocket ship piece of hardware…  and that’s the time when I should pay for it. At that point, it’s just the cost of doing business.