One of the products that we were working on was Mogul, an entire VFX architecture comprising of hardware and software server/client system that would allow a post-production facility to take full control over asset management (including metadata), provide a playback/review system, a complete finishing system, and a comprehensive capture/encoding system. When bundled with beefed up versions of Imagineer’s desktop products, Mogul would have been a very comprehensive single solution to VFX finishing rather than having to deal with multiple vendors to provide same level of functionality. Mogul would have dramatically reduced the complexity of this.
Mogul was only ever intended to be a subscription service – post-houses would pay a month-to-month subscription (with an annual commitment) which would give you the full hardware with comprehensive maintenance contract, software, support – the works.
But Mogul never flourished. There are many reasons for this, but I believe the main contributing factor was that the studios were unwilling to commit to a subscription based service and especially hated having to be tied to using only our hardware. There were some grumbling about the price too. Despite definite interest in the product, it just didn’t take off when it was unveiled at NAB in 2008.
Let’s fast forward to today – 2012.
Adobe releases their Creative Cloud product. It compromises of the Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection which provides many of the tools that Mogul would have shipped with. Adobe Prelude for asset management, metadata, etc. etc. Adobe Speedgrade for finishing. After Effects for compositing. Premiere Pro for editing. And so on. While Creative Cloud does not provide any hardware, it does come with “cloud” management for uploading data that can be shared with other Creative Cloud users. That said, I dislike it Adobe’s implementation. And two months after launch, Adobe STILL have not released a desktop sync client. It took them a while just to get Lightroom added to the service.
Creative Cloud is, in effect, Mogul in 2012. Except no hardware and cloud connectivity, and with much lower pricing points as as a consequence. The irony of all this, of course, is that Adobe bundles Imagineer Systems Mocha AE with every copy of After Effects.
Nevertheless, I am immensely proud of my colleagues that worked to get Mogul as far as it did. The concept at the time was revolutionary – practically all software bought “off the shelf” in VFX land was a complete commitment – no subscriptions, no leases. Licenses were perpetual – you paid for that one version and anything other than beyond basic bug fixes and minor updates would require you to fork out even more money for the next version. Mogul would have changed all that.
Mogul was four years too early. Had “cloud” services been more prominent back in 2008, I reckon we could have worked with that to reduce the requirements for using our hardware which might have appeased some of the studios. I don’t know. Difficult to say. What’s done is done.
Interesting, having looked on Imagineer System’s web site, I notice that the version of Mocha on sale today is a perpetual license and not available on a subscription basis. (facepalm)