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Old May 1st, 2005, 12:36 AM   #1
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Avid?

What makes avid so popular? Was it before it's time? Is it that much better thatn everything else? I heard somewhere that it brings video in at a much better quality; something like a 2:1 ratio where as premiere is like a 5:1 ratio. Is that true? What else makes Avid better? I am just trying to justify the hype. Your thoughts?
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Old May 1st, 2005, 07:32 AM   #2
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The NLE has nothing to do with video quality (when it comes in) or compression
ratios. We (in the consumer/pro-sumer market) are using DV compression
which is 5:1. The pro's are using other codecs with lower or no compression.

However, keep in mind that much in the film work is done offline. This means
that they create a "low" resolution proxy of the film. This file is what is getting
edited. Then AVID outputs a cut list (EDL file for example) and the film is
cut to this list (automatically). Or if there is a high resolution DI file (Digital
Intermediate) that gets conformed to the cut list.

The reason AVID is so popular is that it is "THE" standard for digital NLE
editing in the film world (FCP is gaining ground). Why? Because it was the
only serious package when the industry moved over to digital editing and
it has certain features that are needed in the film work flow:

- reliability
- cross platform (Windows, Mac etc.)
- can work reliable with timecode and cut lists etc.
- has great media management

etc. etc. There are probably a ton of reasons. These days other products
are getting close or in some parts even surpassing AVID. However, since
there has been a huge investment in AVID already, it works and there are
tons of skilled AVID operators and people to support the infrastructure it is
not likely they will switch to anything else anytime soon.
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Old May 1st, 2005, 08:10 AM   #3
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It's early, I have a cup of coffee and some time, so I am going to answer this with a long post. Feel free to skip.

Without entering a pseudo-religious flame war that usually occurs around "My platform is better than yours" sorts of questions... I'll try to answer in simple terms why AVID is 'THE STANDARD'

Yes, it was the first really functional NLE solution. Back in '87 (I think, but I'd have to go to www.avid.com to make sure, there was another NLE too, but it lost out) - If a filmmaker wanted a functional NLE, AVID was the only choice. It was expensive, low resolution and clunky... but it worked. It was a combination HARDWARE and SOFTWARE solution, built around the MAC platform originally. But only a Feature Filmmaker or Broadcast station could afford it. So that's who bought them. Pretty much ALL Film and TV Shows, and NEWS was cut on Avids. The Avid interface and workflow became known industry wide. If you worked in the industry, you needed to learn AVID.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The primary USE for avid, was as a non-destructive way to edit FILM, and generate a cut list for negative conforming.(AVID newscutter not withstanding) All of the terminology, the workflow, and the
end product, were centered on a final FILM NEGATIVE that would be turned into a projected image.

Flash forward.

Home computers become popular and powerfull, 'prosumer' video camcorders become affordable and popular. People want to 'make movies' at home.

Someone else chime in here, but I think Adobe is leading the pack at this time for "Desktop Publishing" including all kinds of Graphic software.(Illustrator,Photoshop, etc.) PREMIERE is the first widely distributed consumer NLE (Again, feel free to correct my NLE history 101 here... I'm working from vague recollections, not a written timeline) The Premiere interface, MIMICS the Avid interface... To an extent that is possible without copyright and patent infringement. Premiere gets bundled with other software and hardwares solutions, gains a huge penetration in the 'home' market.

(Meanwhile, Avid and Apple are having business disagreements, centered around the fact that Avid wants to run on PC's as well as Macs.)

One of the principal designers of Premiere splits, goes to Apple and helps design FINAL CUT. (Which is why the Final Cut interface emulates Premiere and Avid... it's like the "Industry Standard")

This move pisses off Avid... and they spread their net into PC's with a low end, software only version of their high-end products.

DIGITAL VIDEO IS INTRODUCED.

And the race is on. Many other NLE's come out around the same time. MOST of them emmulate the look and workflow of AVID... because they hope to do two things... Get the trained and established AVID editors to use them, and sell to people who one day, hope to cut on an AVID. Special effects software are designed in the INDUSTRY, and the ideas and features trickle down into 'small business' and prosumer markets. (Think AFTER EFFECTS here...) At the same time, AUDIO EDITING is a growing market with home studios.

Side note, VEGAS prides itself on NOT having an Avid interface, as it was developed FROM an audio program, not a Film program. They claim it is more 'intuitive'. But SONY also competes with high-end finishing suites like those offered by AVID - and those systems emmulate the AVID interface.

Present day - AVID is still the most widely used software/hardware solution in the industry. (Broadcast/Film/News) BUT by overlooking the 'prosumer' market, and through it's struggles with Apple, it allowed two things to happen. PREMIERE is the most widely used 'home' application... and FCP became the leading 'small shop' application. Think, small add agencies, one man shops, indy producers.

Current state of affairs - With the purchase of Pinnacle, AVID now controls the bulk of the NLE market. BUT, ever improving desktop computing power, is making the VERY EXPENSIVE software/hardware sollutions that Avid sells the big boys more and more obsolete. With every advance of Final Cut Pro, AVID is FORCED to unlock it's high end features that are hidden within it's low end software. (A 'cracked' version of Avid XpressPro... will look just like a Media Composer). While AVID is the undisputed LEADER in the industry, it is often percieved as 'following' Final Cut Pro... because it only improves Avid Xpress when forced to by developments in Final Cut Pro.

So that's the 'marketing warfare and strategy' reasons behind the AVID legend. Is it 'better' than any other NLE? I don't do religious arguements. There are other "high end" suites that do some things better... especially Special Effects (Smoke, Flame, Discreet). But AVID is still the industry standard for cutting film.

Most people here, don't cut film... they 'cut' video. For the most part, ANY of the NLE's you can buy, will do cuts, dissolves and fades... the principal things transitions of ALL films. What you are buying when you choose an NLE are the 'extra's the workflow and STABILITY STABILITY STABILITY.

Avid has it's own 'codec', but so do others. The Avid codec is one of the best... but the notion that it's compression ratio is different than any others is wrong.

OH! I just see that Rob has posted a shorter and more succinct answer... off for another cup of coffee.
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Old May 1st, 2005, 08:28 AM   #4
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Yours is a very good addendum on how everything evolved Richard! Thanks!!
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Old May 1st, 2005, 08:36 AM   #5
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I heard Macromedia was developing Final Cut (presumable on PC and Mac) before Apple bought it out.
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Old May 1st, 2005, 08:56 AM   #6
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Glenn,

Could be.. I do know that the lead designer came out of the Premiere team. It's a pretty 'incestuous' business... stealing designers back and forth.
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Old May 1st, 2005, 09:03 PM   #7
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while no one version of Avid is supreme, as a product mix, it reaches all levels of post, from news to film. The interface stays similar, so learn the low end and move to the high, with talent. No other nle can offer the same spectrum.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 02:25 AM   #8
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Ok so there is no diffrence in the video quality importing or exporting? After looking at both their interfaces and reading about features, that can be the only major diffrence.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 06:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
I heard Macromedia was developing Final Cut (presumable on PC and Mac) before Apple bought it out.
The funny thing is that Macromedia is in the process of being brought out by Adobe:

http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/invr...acromedia.html

I feel that the main reason why Avid seems be the standard is purely because of its aggresive marketing stratgey. You'll find that if you walk into any TV studio you can bet your bottom dollar that the Avid Bus has rolled up, and worked its magic on the editors. After all itís the editor who chooses what he or she would like to edit with :)

Cheers,
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:29 PM   #10
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Its true, it was a macromedia product first, and actually i heard that when apple bought it some of macromedia's staff was still on the project for the first few revisions.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:43 PM   #11
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Clint,

Yes, all NLE's work with the same compression ratio in DV. They might have different codecs, and there is some (subjective) variations is quality... but it's pretty much the same across the board.

Somehere on the internet, I saw a comparison chart for codecs that matched Avid, Canopus, Microsoft and somebody else.
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Old May 27th, 2005, 11:52 AM   #12
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So what would be the reason behind getting avid over premiere pro? What does avid offer that premiere does not?
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Old May 27th, 2005, 02:08 PM   #13
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Portability to high end avid suites (For online finishing)
Film cutting (If you actually shoot film, avid filmtools conforms the neg)
Much better media management (Not a big deal if all you do is short form, but for long form and networking, nobody beats avid)
Industry standard interface. (Learn it, and take it with you.)
I could say 'reliability' but whenever anyone says "MY system never crashes, someone else says "It crashes all the time on me". So believe it or not.

You can really just go to the websites, and download the spec sheets and compare on paper, if that's what you want. Or test drive each one. It's a personal choice. Plenty of people are happy with Premiere. Its a huge seller.
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