by • March 12, 2014 • Adobe, After Effects Comments8321

The Silence is Deafening …

Its been six weeks since I sent my “cry for optimization” letter to Adobe.   In the ensuing six weeks I’ve joined a second cover band called “Abster Farm.”  I started an acoustic duo called “Dego Red.”   I’ve edited a promo reel for a new reality series featuring Ivan Neville.  I’ve done my taxes.  I refinanced my house.  I also started a new business venture.   I’ve been busy.  I’ve also patiently waited for a response from Adobe and as I patiently waited I gently prodded.  I know the suspense is killing you all.  Read on to find out the details …


Remember that word from our Mac Pro campaign?

After waiting for six weeks for a response from Adobe I reached out directly to Todd Kopriva for a little clarity.  Todd runs the After Effects blog over at  I’m not sure of his official title (his LinkedIn page says “curmudgeon at Adobe Systems”) but I think he is responsible for social networking and outreach.  I don’t think I’m doing justice to his role at Adobe.  I think he is a big deal over there.

I know for a fact that my “optimization” letter made it to his inbox.  I was told at one point (after the fact) that a response would coincide with an Ae performance optimization webinar that was happening during the week of February 24th.  The response never came.  At one point I asked my contact if Todd would do an interview for TheProMacBlog.  He declined.

It was at this point that I start to get the feeling that Todd and Adobe both want me to go away!  I realize that I sometimes have this effect on people and I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting the reaction :).  Basically Adobe was waiting for the news cycle to pass.  I’m going to assume that the Public Relations/Crisis Management team couldn’t come up with a good answer to the questions I posed in the optimization letter.  I’m guessing their strategy was to “wait it out” and hope that eventually the calls for optimization would die down as people moved on to the next source of computing outrage.  

Undaunted, I sent Todd a direct email.  Here is my email, his response and my followup:

Hello Todd,
You’ve probably heard my name a few times in last few weeks.  HA!
Sorry if I’ve become a nuisance.
I am very aware of all the social outreach your department coordinates on behalf of After Effects.  There are some great resources available to what has become an incredibly robust community.  Thank You.  However I can tell you that the community is starting to ask for answers about the future direction of After Effects.
After waiting for some time I figured I would follow up with you directly on the “optimization” letter I sent to a few weeks back.  I know I speak for many professional digital content creators when I say that any communication would be appreciated regarding the future direction of After Effects.
I can’t stress how important it is for tech companies to keep an open line of communication to their user base.  As I once stated in an open letter to Apple about the future of the Mac Pro I can honestly say I am only looking for a little clarity.
As Apple continued to neglect the Mac Pro and ignore its most loyal user base the outrage over the silence continued to grow.The future direction of After Effects is a big deal to a LOT of people.  Please let me help you promote it.  
Call me anytime.  I mostly work from home, usually sitting in front of Premiere and After Effects!!
Here is my number – xxx-xxx-xxxx
Please let me know that you have received this email.
Even a “no comment” is better than silence!!
Thanks for your time
Lou Borella


[The response from Todd]
You ask for communication regarding the future direction of After Effects. For that, I can do no better than to point you to the After Effects team blog, where this conversation is quite active in posts such as this from our product manager:
… and this from me:
Please, if you want to have a conversation about the future of After Effects, let’s do it on public forums and not in email threads, so that all of our users can see and take part in the conversation.
[my followup]

I absolutely want to do this in a public forum.
I have a pretty decent user base on both my Facebook page and
I think the Adobe forums are a great resource and a good source of information but there are not really any answers to pointed questions that many users are having at this point in time.  Steve Forde’s post is a perfect example.  It raises the question about “optimization”  but never gives an answer.   People want to know the answer at this point.
Sorry for asking the pointed questions but I (and many others) believe the “optimization” question (and many others) needs to be answered.  I think Adobe only stands to gain from talking directly to professional users with direct answers to direct questions.
You have a tremendously loyal user base.  Its obviously a very robust community.  But these questions are starting to linger.
I’m sure you have a plan.  Let me be a voice for that plan.
I’ll be reformatting my entire system tonight after band practice because Premiere CC keeps crashing during playback and I have no idea why.  Its been getting worse all week.  I’m out of troubleshooting options and this is my last resort if I want to be productive tomorrow.  So I will be around tonight and all day tomorrow.
(any insight into the constant crashing would be appreciated.  Google was no help but there are others having the same issue for a few versions now)
Call me anytime XXX-XXX-XXXX
Lou …

It was here that the conversation ended.

I never received a second response.  I didn’t even get any troubleshooting advice about the issues I was having with Premiere at the time. (Can’t help a fellow geek in need!!!)

Adobe is trying to control the message.  They know they are way behind the software technology curve at this point.  They can’t even develop talking points to spin their way out of the conversation so they are just avoiding the topic at all costs.  They want to keep the public conversations that take place in their forums and other places like Creative Cow, to very safe topics.  Direct conversations with bloggers in the Professional Creative Community about optimization are probably not a good idea for them at this point.  What they might not realize is that as the credit card gets charged every month the anger continues to grow.  I believe that, at this point, the user base recognizes that Adobe is going to continue milking the legacy code for all its worth.  Adobe’s silence allows those thoughts to fester and erodes the trust.

I would take bets that the February “Optimization Webinar” came about because of our efforts.  My Vimeo clip from late last year continues to cause a stir.

After Effects Comparison from Lou Borella VG3TV on Vimeo.

A few of the WWNMP Facebook members who attended the webinar said it was pretty standard fare.  I skimmed thru the archive to get a feel.  At the 3:38 mark I learned that one of the best ways to get work done faster is to plan your project correctly so you don’t have to redo the work.  At the 6:00 mark, participants learned how to set up the Ae auto-save feature to minimize the amount of work that is lost in the event of a crash.  At the 11:00 mark we are instructed to disconnect your workstation from the internet so you can disable any anti-virus software.  Seriously?  The seminar only ran for 45 minutes total and this is the kind of advise that was given for at least the first 12 minutes.  

To be fair I didn’t take the time to listen to the entire webinar session.  Skimming through the remaining 35 minutes I could see the conversation steered into codec data rates and various HDD connection types and speeds.  I’d bet they stayed away from all the juicy answers to the hard questions.

The “optimization” webinar can be found here If anyone wants to listen to the the entire presentation.  Post your thoughts in the comments.  I’m anxious to read them!!!

We need to keep the pressure on Adobe.   We need to continue to ask the “optimization” question until we get insight into their plans.  Our expensive hardware should not sit idle while using Adobe products.

Adobe is holding another webinar this Thursday, March 13th titled “10 Tips for a more efficient editing workflow”
Register here if you are interested.  It would help our cause if some of the posted questions in this webinar were geared towards future hardware and software optimization.  We need to control the conversation to get answers.

I guess we just have to hope that Adobe is working behind the scenes to get their software current.  Their track record doesn’t give me much hope that this will happen anytime soon.

Until then I’m going to start my next project in FCPX.  I’m hearing nothing but tremendous reviews at this point.  Once you get over the learning curve the experience is supposed to be very enjoyable.

So much for clarity.

I’ll keep you posted.

Lou Borella

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