It's a plane…
It's a rocket…
It was 2023!
Last year went by super fast, and so much has happened. Let's look at all that happened, sprinkled with a sneak peek of what's coming.
We kicked off 2023 with a pretty big milestone: our seventh b-day. Sure, seven is not a nicely rounded number like 5 or 10, but this year, our birthday felt like a massive milestone. For the first time since Covid, it was like we were returning to a normal life - for as much as that holds true when you're running a startup.
Back in March, I finally was able to sit down and do a write-up of the last decade of working on what is now a 30-person company. In that retrospective, I characterized 2022 as "a year of new foundations. An intermediate year".
2023 was everything but that; with a rebranding of our flagship app, introducing our new company branding, and a lot of foundational research that we had to do for some new projects, it felt like a sprint from start to finish. Looking back, we’ve brought you 87 (!) major and minor releases. It’s a testament to our commitment to bringing you continuous updates and support. As Hedge’s CEO, I’d like to thank the team for that effort, especially considering that’s only the output of half the team; the other half's work will see the limelight in early 2024. It's going to be such a fun year 🤩
Approaching Hedge's eighth birthday, I think the theme for 2023 can be summarized as "meaningful conversations." If you read some of my past blogs, you'll notice it's becoming a recurring thing; each year, it amazes us more to see how passionate and invested our existing and new users are. The focus on removing friction and unnecessary work from your professional lives is relentless. Our conversations with you, in-person at events or via email, reveal nuggets of specialist knowledge and valuable insights essential to developing the workflows that solve today's and tomorrow's problems. That might sound a bit grandiose, but it's what we do — together with you.
One takeaway from our yearly customer questionnaire has been that the amount of releases is indeed high. When heads-down in (post)production, it can be hard to keep up with what's new if there’s something new this often. That’s why we’re going to do less major releases and bundle more features together. But, we do want to get new features into your hands as soon as possible. That’s why in 2023 we launched the all-new Beta Track program, and it has already proven to be instrumental.
Everyone with a license eligible for updates and support is able to install the Beta Track releases, thereby gaining early access to features that are finished but that we’d like more feedback on. This way, we were able to start talking to you about new features and technologies much earlier than we used to. Through the Beta Track, you have helped us shape new staple features like OffShoot's S3 Transfers, Mimiq's Workspaces, and the upcoming PostLab release.
2023 saw us kick out the biggest announcement we've made since launching Hedge: the rebranding of Hedge to OffShoot.
Embodying much more than a wee name change, the OffShoot release dominated most of the OffShoot team's year as it involved building a whole new licensing system, replacing the Connect apps with a cloud-based dashboard, and a brand-new Pro tier with features like support for S3, ASC-MHL, Codex 7, with a whole lot more to come.
We also announced a collaboration with ProGrade, enabling creators to get more speed and reliability out of their precious media cards; through the new Sanitize and Health Check menu options, ProGrade users gain in-app insights on the status of their cards without interrupting their workflow.
On top of that, we brought OffShoot to the iPad: OffShoot Solo. The new iPads have finally unlocked true Thunderbolt speeds on the go, and this is the accompanying OffShoot to utilize that power. It has all the core functionality available on macOS, tailored for those who work on the road and want to pack light.
2024 is looking to be another great year for OffShoot, with the new features Redo On Fail, Stop Resume, Move, and Accelerated Transfers already making it to the Beta Track last year. You can expect all of those to come to an OffShoot near you in early 2024, and we've already started working on a whole batch of new features that we'll announce at NAB in April.
Joining the Hedge family in September 2022, our philosophy has quickly proven to be a great fit for Avid editors. You have upgraded in droves to the all-new Mimiq, as you could finally collaborate with Media Composer on Apple silicon and using LucidLink. As with most apps, once our users see what we make possible, they request things they previously considered unobtainium. Built with Quantum and iodyne, bin locking for NVME RAID and SAN systems enables Avid editors to work with much higher throughputs than they're used to.
Next year, we're bringing back legacy support; too many of you are stuck on Mojave and/or Media Composer 2018, and that is not likely to change quickly. Besides that, we have another unobtainium feature lined up specifically for those in "mixed" storage environments. From then on, we'll be working on some new magic that will allow you to collaborate beyond what bin locking offers.
EditReady, ScopeBox, and FoolCat
Our trio of apps that follow ingesting your media with OffShoot, to generate beautiful reports, transcode, and do a technical review of footage: EditReady, ScopeBox, and FoolCat. Having added all RAW codecs we could find to EditReady in 2022, we've used 2023 to bring all those new codecs to its siblings; both ScopeBox and FoolCat on the Mac received major updates to the app, and also to their app icons. Besides the newly built-in support for all the raw flavors by Sony, ARRI, RED, BRAW, Phantom, Canon, ProRes RAW, and support for HVEC 10-bit footage, all three apps also gained instrumental features:
- EditReady can now recreate source folder trees, and supports Log encoded Apple ProRes media shot on iPhone 15 Pro.
- ScopeBox adds RAW file playback, looping playback, HDR support and options for Full or Legal range in scopes.
- FoolCat is not only much, much faster but can now create multiple reports simultaneously.
Earlier in the year we released EditReady Server; a UI-less version of EditReady meant for headless automated transcoding workflows. Fully integrated with iconik, it has proven to be a workhorse for broadcasters and labs that are processing dailies.
In 2024, we'll focus on bringing FoolCat for Windows closer to parity with its Mac counterpart, starting with support for X-OCN. Ahead of that release we plan to bring Rec.709 and custom 3D LUTs to FoolCat on both macOS and Windows. This paves the way for some fantastically integrated workflows as we bring the workflows we showcased with AWS at IBC 23, allowing for tri-directional integration between EditReady, FoolCat, and OffShoot.
A New PostLab
As you may have heard, PostLab is evolving. Having been in the works for over two years, we showcased a sneak peek of our latest work at IBC back in September. During November 2023, at the FCP Creative Summit in Cupertino, we fully blew the doors off what we’ve been doing and simultaneously blew people's minds!
PostLab 2.0 is now currently in beta, taking a completely new direction compared to the current PostLab, that's cloud-based. Boldly going where no one has gone before (😉), PostLab 2.0 is no longer a subscription but a license key-based product, just like our other products.
With the new PostLab, you can collaborate locally, on shared storage, and via the cloud, and not just on Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro but on any app: ProTools, After Effects, Pages, Blender, Photoshop… you name it…..it’s pretty exciting for the creative community!
For Final Cut Pro users, we have a paradigm-changing workflow that's very much like how Avid editors can use bin locking to their benefit - on steroids. We expect to launch PostLab 2.0 early this year, and we'll be actively reaching out to all existing PostLab teams to see if and when you might want to migrate your workflow, and how we can help with that.
Those using PostLab will be familiar with its seminal feature DropOff. Allowing you to send and receive files directly from or onto your Drive, PostLab's cloud storage collaboration with LucidLink. This has proven to be an essential part of the workflow for many teams, and with the advent of the PostLab 2.0, we're spinning DropOff to a stand-alone service. This means that every LucidLink customer, even those who don’t need PostLab, can use our unique functionality.
DropOff allows you to send links to collaborators that do not have access to your LucidLink Filespaces and either have them upload files directly onto your Filespace, or download files you've selected. If you're already a LucidLink user, you can sign up for early access here - no credit card is required, and each account comes with 20GB of free transfer credits included. Not using LucidLink yet? Here's a link to their free trial.
LTO tape storage is very much alive and kicking, and we're seeing more and more people looking at LTO for their long-term archives as an addition and/or alternative to cloud storage.
2023 has been a turning point for Canister. Last October, we released the long-awaited Canister for Windows, and it's been an overnight smash hit; our continuing focus on offering non-subscription licenses especially makes a lot of sense when it comes to archiving media. After all, you're going to need software to retrieve your files when you need to. Having a perpetual license key at hand saves you a lot of headaches (and money).
We were also able to clear out most of the massive backlog of improvements we amassed on macOS over the years. Resulting in a drip feed of over 20 releases, we brought a slew of long-awaited small features to LTO drives near you:
- Renaming Tapes
- Transfer ETAs
- Retrieve with full path
- Netflix delivery
- LTFS Early Warning Radar
- AWOL Detection of Source Files
- Support for MagStor NanoPure
- Granular eject control
- Load tapes without having to mount
- Auto-select Destination Folders
- Auto-scrolling for the console and transfer view
…and about 50 more. With all of that out of the way, the macOS team has been working hard on support for tape libraries, a feature coming that will arrive in 2024.
To make tape libraries really useful, a range of additional features is required; last year's Collections was the first, with the new Pick & Mix feature coming soon. To complete an automated LTO workflow, next, we'll be building Queuing for both Mac and Windows, and, importantly, building an integration with OffShoot.
You might have noticed that we didn't join the Black Friday madness this year. While it's nice to be able to give you a good discount once a year, the frenzy surrounding Black Friday is less and less in line with what we think is ethically and sustainably the right thing to do.
One of the issues we have with BF is the forced timing; it would be much nicer to be able to give back to our customers whenever it works for you - not being tied to a holiday that's only observed in part of the world. Also, Black Friday is really focused on luring in new customers, not on rewarding existing customers. That means existing users are subsidizing new ones. That's not the company we want to be.
We've been thinking about an alternative for some years now: a way to give back to all our loyal users with no strings attached. This December, we managed to get it done: introducing Hedge Funds - a personal slush fund that can be used towards any future purchase of Hedge products.
We’ve gone back in history and allocated almost $750K in Hedge Funds for past purchases; each got a credit to use on any of our products, at a time that makes sense for you. The best thing: Hedge Funds keep on giving as they are automatically topped up with each purchase, so we’ll keep an ongoing discount available for every returning customer.
Happy New Year!
That was 2023. Thanks for having us, lets welcome 2024 in style. To infinity and beyond 🚀