By Marc Loftus
Issue: December 1, 2004


This is the fourth year that Post's December issue has followed an outlook theme. Each year, we ask post professional what they see as the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats in their respective segments of the market and each year one theme seems to carry over - a sense of optimism.

There?s no doubt that the post industry has gone through some tough times over the past few years. We?ve witnessed layoffs, downsizing and closings on both the studio and manufacturer sides of the business. But in the past year, it seems as if the good news is finally outweighing the bad. Whether you?re on the animation, editing, film, audio or DVD side of the business, it seems as if there's a lot to look forward to.

Animation pros are inspired by the successes of so many feature-length projects and the use of animation in commercials. Software makers are offering low-cost (free in some cases!) tools that creatives can get their hands on. And the abundance of schools and training materials out there will help make sure those who truly want to make animation their craft will know how to use them.

The same goes for the editing market. There are countless software tools that run extremely well on systems as simple as a laptop. Intuitive interfaces allow those will little experience to tell their stories visully, while pros are using these same tools to set up their own shops, work remotely or even go on location.

Pros focusing on the DVD market have got to be optimistic too. There is no shortage of content that can see life on DVD. Anything that?s been on TV in the last 50 years is just one possibility. Independents also see the format as a way to distribute their own content cost effectively. Consumers understand the value and benefits of the DVD format, and the low cost of players makes the format accessible to nearly everyone.

You need only check out this month's news section to see more reason to be optimistic. Numerous facilities have set up shop, opened satellite offices, or made equipment purchases. Yes, there are still challenges the post market will face. Budgets don't seem to be going up, and low-cost tools, it can be argued, might be undermining the "professional" side of the business. But post pros are resourceful, and I have no doubt that these so-called hurdles will merely be bumps in the road.