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Old December 7th, 2004, 04:21 PM   #1
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Avid Xpress Studio - should I get it?

OK, I purchased the Sony HDR-FX1. I'm going to be doing indie films with it. I am looking to get a nice product out of it (at least as good as 28 days later). I've got a decent budget at hand and I've decided upon Avid's Xpress Studio (not the complete one however). This will come with Xpress Pro, Pro Tools LE, Avid 3D, Avid XF, Sonic's DVD authoring software and some other really nice stuff.

I was about to purchase this stuff, but I wanted to search this board first to see if anyone has used Avid with the FX1. I know that I can't natively edit in Avid yet, but it's next release, like FCP, will support HDV.

Should I get the Avid suite? I'll be able to upgrade when they natively support HDV, so that's not my problem. I'll also probably start filming in Spring, so by that time Avid (and FCP) will natively support it as well, so that's not a problem either.

Is there anything that I'm missing? Will the Avid suite suit my purposes? I talked to an indie movie director and he said this, "Adobe Premeire is a cute little program that many people underestimate. It can do some pretty powerful things, but when compared to the big dogs, it can't hold up". This has swayed me from Adobe's suite as well as Apple's FCP suite as well. Any thoughts?
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Old December 7th, 2004, 05:06 PM   #2
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First, what is your current computer system? Will it handle the full AVID suite?

The Suite works best in conjunction with the Mojo and the digidesign 002 mixing board for audio apps.

Do you need advanced audio mixing and 3dfx? If not, then just buy the Avid Xpress Pro and use it with your system. Save the money on the other apps. (You still get the Boris effects, and DVD authoring with the regular Xpress Pro bundle)
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Old December 7th, 2004, 06:13 PM   #3
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My computer is:

P4 3.2GHz 800 FSB w/ Hyperthreading
512 MB RAM (I'm going to upgrade it to 2 gigs though)
ATI 9600 Radeon 128MB video card
60GB internal HDD
Firewire equiped
I also have an external 250GB 8MB cache hard drive

I've read the requirements and from what I've read, I'm about middle of the road because I don't have a dual xeon or computer like that.

I was going to get the Xpress Pro, but then I saw that the Studio comes with Pro Tools LE and the mojo. I could use my Yamaha keyboard to create music for my film then too. I probably wont be using the 3D or FX programs much however since I'm not trained in that stuff yet.

by the way, thanks very much for the reply, this is the exact soft of stuff I was hoping to find out :)
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Old December 7th, 2004, 08:14 PM   #4
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If your going MOJO, then you really should be going dual Xeons for maximum effectiveness. 2 gigs of ram is the way to go to.

Again, depending on your budget and planned workflow, you can buy XPRESS PRO, without MOJO and all the bells and whistles, and see how it works for you. If you want to upgrade, there are upgrade paths to get you all the way in to Studio. Just a thought.
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Old December 7th, 2004, 08:19 PM   #5
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hmmm.. well, here's the thing. I'm a student at the moment, and this film is considered a student film. I get a BIG discount from all of the products, Adobe's, Avid's, and Apple's. The most expensive is of course Avid's, but not by much. I can get the full studio for I think it's around 900 bucks.

If I want to go commercial, which eventually I hope I will, I will have to pay for the upgrade, but for now, I can get the entire studio for that much... The Adobe video suite costs 899 w/ the student discount.

What I wanted to do was to make sure that I can produce a film that will be such high quality that people will think it was a real indie film, like 28 days later.
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Old December 8th, 2004, 08:26 AM   #6
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Ahh, so you already have a high quality script? What did you pay for that?

Sorry for the jab, but that's more important than the program you are running.

With a student discount, then yeah, go ahead and get the studio package. You might have some difficulties without the mojo, but you can run Pro just fine on your basic system. You will be better off getting some large internal drives for media storage anyway.
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Old December 8th, 2004, 10:31 AM   #7
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Thanks again for the excellent info. My screenplay is (at least in my mind and a few of my friends) pretty dang good.

So, do you think that using Avid with the sony FX1, I might be able to get "28 Days Later" quality.. if I do it right?
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Old December 8th, 2004, 11:08 AM   #8
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Well, considering that 28 days later was shot on an XL1, and had tons of money and talent behind it, I don't know how to compare your efforts to theirs.

I think the important thing to keep in mind, is the story and the acting. Let the technical aspects sort themselves out. "Open Water" was shot on a Sony VX1000 or 2000 (I forget). It was picked up because of its compelling story line... not for its spectacular "look". Of course, they only spent a little over 100 thousand dollars for it too, which is great for a feature project.

You can shoot on 35mm, have a story that's too controversial or not "mainstream" enough, OR "not cutting edge looking" and still fall short of a distribution deal, or even festival acceptance.

Story is key, number one, first and foremost.
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Old December 8th, 2004, 12:04 PM   #9
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Oh yeah. I've got a great basis of the story. As far as acting, I'm getting a few people who have worked in bit parts of feature films, and I'm also getting some new talent.

What I was looking for though with the 28 days later quality, was more on the techical level. I just want to make sure that I can produce, with the equipment that I have/am getting can get me the same quality as that movie.

I'll get the actors, lighting, and script/storyboards when I get to that part of it.

I'm just trying to line all of my ducks up in a row. :)
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Old December 8th, 2004, 12:21 PM   #10
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Re: Avid Xpress Studio - should I get it?

Be wary of Avid supporting something in there "next" release. As far as I see Avid only promise HDV support in "future releases" - which might mean a paid for upgrade and a long ways off.

Vegas supports HDV right now.

Avid took YEARS to support DV (something like 3 years after Aple, and two years after adobe) but they may have learnt their lesson as thir distain for theDV market allowed Final Cut Pro to move up and become a seriously respected tool in their absence.
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Old December 8th, 2004, 12:58 PM   #11
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Check out http://www.avid.com/company/releases/2004/041208__xpressprohd_prod.html

For the latest on Avid HD. The full program released this month. Looks like upgrades available for $50 dollars in "Mid 2005". I read that to be after NAB. But thats just my guess.
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Old December 8th, 2004, 02:04 PM   #12
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Ok, now you got me thinking... I want Avid because it's supposed to be the best. But, from reading that article, I wont be able to edit until mid 2005 like you said.. I would still have to upgrade to the HD version however for 50 bucks. Thatís not my major concern though. You know what though.. I think Iím gonna get it, but on their promise that they will have native HDV support in mid-2005. This kinda stinks because I wonít be able to edit any of my HDV footage until that time, but I wonít be filming until spring of 2005 anyway, so I guess itís acceptable.

I just want the best that I can get for my buck.
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Old December 8th, 2004, 02:22 PM   #13
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I am not an Avid expert... But in my use of some of their products (mainly the Xpress DV stuff), I would stick away from them. While they are industry standard and powerful you might be better served with another type of system. I use Vegas on a PC and it's a good program and I'd imagine a hell of a lot cheaper as it's pretty full featured and so you might not need to get audio sweetening software (Or at least purchase less of it) . That said I'm not sure it could really handle a full feature and lacks some of the things like nested timelines that other apps do. If I were you and you could have the pick of platforms, I'd look toward FCP on the apple. At least do some research and compare the two.

As I said, I am not an Avid expert, but I hate their software. Buggy, unintuitive and cumbersome.

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Old December 8th, 2004, 02:29 PM   #14
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I was checking out FCP, but I don't own a MAC so I'm looking a huge increase in my budget. It sounds friggin nice though, but I just don't have the 3k to pay for a MAC, and FCP. :(
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Old December 8th, 2004, 02:37 PM   #15
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Hey, how about this solution?

I sell my sony FX1, buy the Canon XL1s and then use Avid to edit that stuff?

how's that sound?

After all, I'm creating film and the Sony doesn't do 24p
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