By Randi Altman
Issue: July 1, 2004


To continue the dialogue about the democratization of post, I chatted with Discreet's product marketing manager, Maurice Patel.

Patel admits to keeping tabs on this type of discussion. He even regularly checks out Xpress, Final Cut and Motion product forums to see what people are talking about. He says Discreet has been living this situation for a while, going back to when they introduced Combustion. "There was a lot of debate when we put in Flame keying and color correction and started shipping it, first, at $5,000 and now at less than $1,000. People were wondering if we were offering Flame for the masses?

"Technology changes and evolves and you can't stop that," he says. "The main thing we found over the years is even though it?s a creative industry, it's a business, and business is based around competition and being able to deliver competitive products."

He does feel the industry has become democratized in the sense that everyone can have access to affordable technology and tools, but he feels you need more than tools to flourish. "Being successful and building a livelihood around it, whether you?re an independent or business, is really only possible for a minority. You are always going to have hobbyists and home users, and it's great that they can have new toys to play with, but you really do have a professional market that is talent driven."

In referring to the pyramid of users and technology, Patel says, "I think the in-between still exists. You see more polarization happening in terms of technology than in terms of skills. If you look at desktop solutions, they make it available for everyone, across the board. They will use After Effects, they will probably use Motion, but what's important to the [businesses] is getting an efficient workflow going through their facilities, which is not at all important to the guy at home.

"Because there is [democratization], the talent pool is broader to draw from, so competition becomes tougher, but ultimately the successful customers have the biggest businesses and they generate the biggest revenues. They're the ones who can afford choice."

Will Discreet be offering more Combustion-priced products! Because they are a public company, Patel couldn't get into specifics, but he did say, ?We have desktop solutions, we have high-end systems and our products will continue to evolve and adapt to these changing market dynamics. I think technology will continue to change, prices will continue to change and the tools that are required will change."