The editors' toolkit of the future

Today another editor on my course came into my room sounding rather excited about Microsoft's latest announcement for user interfacing - the Windows 7 multi-touch:

Video: Multi-Touch in Windows 7

This of course is a subject we've all discussed before - what if editing could have the user interface of Minority Report?

In the film, Tom Cruise reviews video footage of a crime (that has yet to happen, but that's irrelevant here) and utilises all manner of time-lapse, zoom and selection tools via a pair of gloves and a projector.

Minority Report cap

The potential has always been obvious - mapping functions on an editing system to certain gestures (in the same way they can be mapped to buttons on the shuttlepro) to start with, with more specialist applications being developed to relate those gestures to certain areas of the screen/room or depending on the toolset you'd like to access at the time.... but with the wii remote and now the promised multi-touch mapping to multiple features and becoming a part of regular useage, the future seems to look bright. We're getting there. Now just to combine them and not actually need a physical connection to input data.

Another 'future' development that came to my attention recently was in the 20th June issue of Broadcast - the UK TV trade paper. Within a more general section hypothesising the technology available in 2012 (with a fair number of mentions given to stereoscopic techniques, also known as 3D and previously discussed in this blog), there was a mention of the implications for post-production involved in tapeless filming. If rushes/ dailies are recorded straight to a disc, could that disc be part of a network which also includes an edit suite? How soon could editing theoretically begin after filming starts? And if an editor is on set/ receiving footage in real-time even in a remote location, how would that alter their role - as well as that of the director and cinematographer?

As a recent entrant to the post-production business, it's easy for me to think of the current processes as how they've always been. My technological progression has more or less been from Premiere to various versions of Final Cut and Avid. As part of the Editing MA at the NFTS we do two excercises on Steenbecks with 16mm film, and I have a vague recollection of witnessing linear editing at Oxford Road in Manchester during some BBC outreach programme I participated in during my school years. Unless an article or book is specifically referring to the physical techniques involved, the view seems to be that the editor's role and input has stayed largely the same over the conversion to digital even if the techniques have changed. But as I prepare to start my professional career (with any luck) with the tools that I think will see me through for the time being at least, I do wonder how different the job will look and be in 40 years' time.