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Old May 26th, 2008, 12:33 AM   #1
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Leaving Vegas...

I'm tired of seeing what my friends that use FCP can do, particularly with titles, while Vegas barely changes or advances. Vegas recently added the Pro Titler, what a joke that was.

Vegas was great to get started on a couple of years ago, but it lacks so much and I'm tired of the lack of third party support.

What kind of ride am would I be in for starting all over with Media Composer?

If there are any former or current Vegas users that have good knowledge of both of these NLE's that can share their experience with the transition I would appreciate it.

1. Does one start with the Media Composer alone or is it best to buy a bundle with hardware, etc. and if so what is the purpose of the additional hardware? As a Vegas user I've never been required to purchase additional hardware, so this is a new concept for me.

2. How well Media Composer will function on a laptop vs Vegas, as I'm considering purchasing a new laptop. I've read that Avid is less demanding of resources than Vegas, but I have no idea if that is true.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 03:09 AM   #2
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I've been learning Xpress Pro and Vegas 8.0 Pro. I have to say that once I've gotten used to it, Avid is much more intuitive than Vegas. IMHO, Vegas makes it seem like things are easy, but Avid actually makes things easier once you get the hang of it. Oddly, or not, Vegas' interface seems more slick and stable. Avid has its quirks by comparison (e.g. nothing can cover the Composer Window or it will just flash). Vegas has a much more advanced scripting language.

So hold on to Vegas, it will serve you well sometimes. Esp. if you have to capture a format that Avid doesn't yet (if ever) support, like Canon's 24F. I think having BOTH has been a really smart decision, IMHO. I also really like DVD Architect.

As for a laptop, be sure to get one that will work. Look at Avid's website for qualified laptops or laptop components. I would even post in the MC forum and ask if anyone is using the model you're thinking of getting. Avid is very video card picky b/c it uses the video card to take load off the CPU. So in some instances, you will find Avid working much faster than Vegas, in others no. Also, MC does not currently run on Vista.

Avid also doesn't like some anti-virus programs. So the current philosophy with Avid is you use your computer for Avid and really not much else. While Vegas can be on the same machine you surf the web with, check email, etc. Furthermore, Avid will only work with certain video drivers and Quicktime versions (I believe this is the same with FCP) so it is much more of a hassle than Vegas to setup.

I can work in HDV in Avid faster than I can in Vegas. But then again, Vegas has the CineForm codec, which is probably a bit better than DNxHD, but not nearly as widely accepted.

As for hardware, I'd say get just the software first. You can always get additional hardware later.

Vegas has better audio tools than Avid does. But editing is essentially editing. All the other NLE's copied Avid to some degree anyway, so if you probably know a lot more MC than you think you do.

I really like working in Avid and try to avoid Vegas when I can. But it does have some benefits, as mentioned above.

GOOD LUCK!
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Old May 26th, 2008, 08:11 AM   #3
 
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I'd agree, pretty much with what Peter says. I've moved away from vegas, since version 8. I've been cutting on AVID, lately, learning the program. To me, Vegas is intuitive to use. Avid, OTOH, is NOT intuitive. Having said that, however, once you get used to Avid's quirks, it is an NLE with a great deal of depth and convenience. It has always displayed video real time for me, no hiccups or hangs, on either my laptop or my workstation. I don't like that it has a hardware dongle, if you lose it, you're out of luck as they won't replace it.

Nevertheless, I'm enjoying Avid, very much and don't go to Vegas much anymore. The dissolves look much nicer in Avid than in vegas. Avid is infinitely more flexible, but , that flexibility can get you in trouble pretty fast if you don't know what you're doing. Bottom line: Vegas is a bit of a toy compared to Avid. But, Avid really demands you spend time learning its workflow, settings and shortcuts.

MC v3.0 is about to be released. I'm looking forward to the release. Hopefully, Avid will move towards modernizing a lot of their processes. The program was written many years ago and the core package still does things the old way of cutting real celluloid.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 08:34 AM   #4
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Thanks Peter for the detailed response, great stuff; very much appreciated.

And thank you for sharing your thoughts Bill. Actually I was looking around and saw another post you made and that was the catalyst for me. When someone who was a cheerleader for Vegas switches as you have done, it gave me the courage to consider making a change as well.

If I may ask, I recently replaced my nVidia with a Radeon graphics card and wonder what it means when a graphics card is not supported by MC. In my case I have a Radeon 3850.

What will that likely mean? Is a new card going to be mandatory for me?
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Old May 26th, 2008, 08:45 AM   #5
 
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My Dell laptop has an ATi x1400 card and Avid runs pretty well on the laptop. There is an occasional glitch, but, even at that, not as much as I was experiencing with Vegas. Avid does not REQUIRE hardware, they only recommend it, because, recommended systems have been tested by Avid. If you have a problem with a non approved hardware, and you call Avid's tech support, they'll blame your non approved system...;o)

Go to the avid site forum. There's a lot of people there running non-approved hardware.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 09:18 AM   #6
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Since the majority of feature films are still being shot on film, I don't think MC's workflow is 'out of date' - especially if you're working in features or with film negatives. I know that is a small percentage of people on this forum -(I haven't had to work with negs in... three years) but MC works perfectly for it.

"Non Approved" systems are just that. Non approved... which means they won't be 'supported' if you call for help. Doesn't mean they won't work. Does mean there will probably be some hiccups and workarounds. The AVID forum is full of people swapping information on MoBo's and Graphic card reccomedations and qualifications. Just know going in that if you're not on the 'approved' list... it's going to take some whickerng with the system.

It's funny how people view that phrase 'approved' or 'certified'. When you think about it, FCP works on a VERY small selection of computers - Macs. AVID ships with versions for MAC and PC - making it widely more 'certified' or 'approved' than some NLE's. Also, in terms of markeing, its easier to say "We run on anything!" - with the caveat that there will be problems (See the responses that say 'its not the program, it run fine on MY machine)- than it is to say "We guarantee stability on these specs" - So take it all with a grain of salt. EVERYTHING crashes sooner or later.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 10:16 AM   #7
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Great guys, I'm ordering MC today! Now the learning begins.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 10:34 AM   #8
 
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Richard...

my comment about Avid being out of date on some things applies to internal processes like applying a color correction. The process is rather arcane and time consuming, especially since the waveform monitor doesn't update until you let go of the mouse, small things that could be sped up. On the positive side, as a cutting tool, Avid takes second to no one. I love the edit tool and all the variations it performs. Shortens my workflow on a cut project by hours!

...and let's not overlook edius. This is a great little app that, with a little development of capability, could be a terrific NLE.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 10:43 AM   #9
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I need to ask, as I won't sleep until my order arrives, I'm curious about the abilities of MC with titling, transitions, and fx. Am I correct to assume it has presets and effects for titles that are far superior to what I am accustomed to in Vegas, or do they all have to be created via keyframable tools? I'm hoping for broacast quality effects that I can add out of the box and tweak as needed.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 11:05 AM   #10
 
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Avid has a rather complete set of FX and transitions, including an image stabilization effect. It has a rather limited set of presets, altho' it has an extensive capability to save your own custom presets. In this regard, it's a professional app that "makes" the user develop their own FX presets. There are sufficient default values on the FX and transitions to get you going with first time use. The title tool is basic, but, keyframeable, as well. I can't say that I have much experience with this side of Avid, so I may be missing something big.

There are a limited number of aftermarket FX vendors for Avid. The biggest one being Boris. I already own Boris Red, so it is a great addition to the Avid app.

I might suggest you buy yourself a copy of "Avid Editing" by Sam Kauffmann. It's a good reference that complements the extensive manual you get with MC, and it's a little more understandeable.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 12:44 PM   #11
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Bill,

I got to play around with Edius a few months back, looks like nice program!

They're all good really, FCP has some superior advantages to AVID in some areas, terrible in others. I'm not as avid and AVID supporter as some. It works great for my needs - but I'm mostly a doc and long form filmmaker. Not big into splashy Effects and compositing needs.

Jeff, the Marquis title tool is nice. Pretty good for most 'typical' title needs. All of MC's effects are keyframeable. IF you want lots of fancy presets - then the Boris apps have got a ton.

I'll be getting a nice Macbook Pro sometime this summer - looking forward to loading MC on it, as well as FCP.

Helps to have tools in the toolbox.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 10:32 PM   #12
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If you like Vegas except for the titling tools, I agree with you. My solution was to get the Heroglyph titling plugin from ProDad.

http://www.prodad.de/gb/heroglyph_std_details.html

The cheaper "rapid" version is all you need. The extra tools in the full version are mostly for photo animation and are redundant with things that Vegas already does better.

Heroglyph is very intuitive and gives you titling tools that are quite a bit better than you will find built into any NLE software, including Avid.

If you still want to move to Avid, you can use Heroglyph as a plugin there as well.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 09:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
I need to ask, as I won't sleep until my order arrives, I'm curious about the abilities of MC with titling, transitions, and fx. Am I correct to assume it has presets and effects for titles that are far superior to what I am accustomed to in Vegas, or do they all have to be created via keyframable tools? I'm hoping for broacast quality effects that I can add out of the box and tweak as needed.
MC comes standard with Boris Continuum plug-ins which includes light rays, flares, some keyers, blurs, particle effects and color type effects.

MC also has 2 levels of keyframing. Basic which is the overall global key-framing and advanced key-framing which on most continuum effects and others, allow control over specific timing over individual parameters within the global timing.

The effects can be drag and drop, but the level of controls are much deeper if you want. And to really master the program, you have to go beyond a "drag and drop' mind set. Once you do, the program extremely flexible.

Compositing is easy. However, most seasoned Avid editors use Adobe After Effects for complex 2D compositing. The advantage is that you can work with QT references, and render in the background while you go back to Avid for editing. However, you can do a great deal of layering in MC and the Spectra Matte is in my opinion, the best keyer going.

Awhile back, I played with Vegas on a clients set up. And it dawned on me that it is drag and drop city. In fact, it edits with a philosophy/approach somewhat opposite of the 3 "A"'s. In Vegas it is more of a subtractive process. You build your time line drag/drop. And then edit what you don't want using the "S" key/delete. The others can do this approach as well, using "Add edit" or "razor" tools. But I'm from 3 point land. Which is a process like writing. Also, trimming in Vegas was, well kinda toy like.

In Avid you build your visual story, a sentence at a time. Trim it as you go. You don't throw a bunch of random words on paper, then delete what you don't want and call it writing.

Just my Opinion.

Cheers.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 10:24 AM   #14
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Thanks, David. Vegas is certainly an elementary level program. I suspect before I worry about effects and transitions it will take a good while to understand the basic workflow of Avid likely months, since I am overloaded with editing right now.

Regarding your mention of After Effects, learning that is actually higher on my list of priorities than switching out NLEs. Vegas is doing the job quite satisfactorily for me now and is much deeper than it appears on the surface but the lack of third party plug-in support is frustrating.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 01:17 AM   #15
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Jeff,

I've found the book "Editing with Avid Xpress Pro and Avid Xpress DV" invaluable. It's written for Xpress version 4.2, but it explains the Avid interface really well and has sample footage and projects that you can open. My copy's worn like a fundamentalist's "Good Book." And b/c its written by Avid, you could say it is divinely (or demonically, LOL) inspired.
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