By Randi Altman
Issue: June 1, 2004


We have talked a lot in these pages recently about the democratization of post and how more affordable tools are invading the traditional post world. We have heard from post pros how they feel about this trend (see our May "Post Roundtable" feature), but how do some manufacturers of "traditional" gear feel about this? This month I spoke with Steve Owen, business manager for post production products at Quantel. Next month check this space for Discreet product manager Maurice Patel?s thoughts on the subject.

"The lower-cost technology is out there and it's never going to go away," says Owen, who is based in the UK. "Part of our philosophy is to embrace that. We think the more people making stuff, the more it?s going to feed through into finishing to broadcast standard, making a movie out of it, making different versions of it, and that's the kind of things our customers traditionally do."

Owen believes in the importance of making machines that talk to each other. "The idea of making sure that systems can teamwork, using something like AAF as an example, between all different products in our arena, whether it's a desktop system or a more traditional post system, is a useful idea. What our customers want is the flexibility to do the job the way that makes most sense at that particular time for the particular client. So, if they can mix and match they can get a very smooth workflow and make some money."

He believes that the more efficient our industry can become the better for everyone.

Will Quantel come out with products for the masses? "In some ways we already do - if you define 'the masses' as people that traditionally had to access media via [skilled] third parties set up on complex technology. Qview and QCut are genuinely democratizing the post process - of course, they can only succeed because their foundation is some pretty powerful server technology.

"We support our post house customers," continues Owen, "and right now that means helping them make money by finishing, versioning, grading or otherwise effecting all sorts of projects, many of which are touched in some way by the 'Apple or Adobe type stuff.'"

He concludes, "I think we'll be working with the mass market rather than competing with it."