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Final Cut Suite
Discussing the editing of all formats with FCS, FCP, FCE

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Old July 29th, 2008, 05:12 PM   #16
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As I alluded to before, this type of thread really can't give you the information you need because you're only getting other's opinions based on their usage and needs, not yours.

The best thing to do is get with any of the forum sponsors or other AV dealers who sell both Avid and FCS and get facetime with the app head-to-head with some footage. That's the only way you're ever going to really get your answers. Anything outside of that and you'll be best-guessing yourself and the information you're getting.
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Old July 29th, 2008, 05:26 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Cliff Etzel View Post
What I'm looking for are specific features - and these specific features need to be as solid as possible:

Straight cut edits
Solid Titling (nothing fancy)
Color correction
Ability to handle HDV content without deal breaking issues
Stability in the app itself

Not asking much am I?
Indeed, you are not. In fact I would be hard pressed to describe any of those as "features". I mean, hell, iMovie can do all that.

Originally Posted by Cliff Etzel View Post
My work is still evolving - I currently work in x64 XP Pro and SONY's Production Apps, but I'm not opposed to making a change if needed.
If you don't know if you need it, than you most likely don't. If your setup is working for you and you are happy with what you can produce with it, then there is no compelling reason to change. I understand the grass sometimes looking greener on the other side, but they all have their bugs, they all have their strengths, and they all have their trade-offs.
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Old July 29th, 2008, 05:34 PM   #18
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well to be a little bit more specific -

a big advantage on the mac side is single vendor hardware for the platform. PC's have hundreds of different mobo's out there, different graphic cards, intel vs amd, , ect. given that PC hardware is a moving target, its much harder to write software that performs as expected. yes PC software vendors will spec machines, but users often deviate from those specs and sometimes it works fine, sometimes it doesn't.

therefore since only apple makes macs, and has limited hardware variations, it much easier to make software for that performs as expected. thats not to say that some 3rd party hardware might be a problem, but the base machine is always reliable to start with.

there are some OS differences.

in OS X, an app can use 4GB of ram, but the OS is happy with as much ram as you can put in the machine, and will let apps use it in 4G chunks

in XP home/ pro 32bit and app can grab 2gb of ram, sometimes 3gb with some OS tweaks. The OS is limited to 4G total ram. installing more won't be seen or used

that may or may not change what you want to do. if you are pushing large HD projects, it can be a factor, if not, far less so if at all.

XP64 bit should work better as its more like OS X in its memory usage - you can see and use more than 4GB.

Vista, well lets just not go there, I don't know anyone who has kind words for it.

as far as editing apps, some are cross platform like avid and prem pro, some are platfrom specific. it really doesn't matter that much.

while avid has some nice media managment, its a 20 year old user interface that hasn't changed much. good if you having been using it forever, bad because its interface is really showing its age and isn't being updated. FCP has implemented many features avid either doesn't have, or just got in the last release. Avid doesn't like mixed format TL playback, it wants everything to be the same. OTH FCP likes mix and match far better. mixing legacy SD material with current HD material, this is a critical advantage.

Avid is much more of an island unto itself, FCP plays better with other 3rd party apps via is native QT use. Avid wants to convert everything to MXF or OMF.

avid lets you put your audio out of sync very very easily. audio is not explicity locked to its matching video in the TL... believe it or not, its true. its a major design flaw that has never been corrected. yes they have a few clunky workarounds to fix it like the track sync locks, but they still allow some operations to blow up your TL sync.

I spent quite a while at a national TV network teaching avid editors FCP. at some point every single one of them said"FCP is just so much easier then Avid"

don't get me wrong, FCP has some really bad bugs too that never get fixed, or silently fixed in .0x updates like the AE filter API now works again, but had not for the last 2 1/2 years. FCP has premult with black errors that never get fixed. FCP when it encounters an error during capture puts up a dialog asking what to do, instead of trying 2 or 3 times, then going on if it can't capture a particular clip. this makes FCP totally unreliable for unattended captures because everytime you walk out of the room it will stop with some stupid error it should ignore and go on.

viruses and malware - like it or not, there has been no so far on OS X, windows, well we all know. I'm sure we'll see something on OS X someday, but so far its clear sailing.

bottom line is for the basic editing you want to do, FCP will be fine.
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Old July 31st, 2008, 11:53 AM   #19
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Steve - thanks for breaking that down. The little I had tested Avid Media Composer - I experienced the out of sync audio and I could not for the life of me figure out why - I thought I did something wrong - now it appears that it's a known issue - Thanks for the heads up!

That now reduces my choices on the Windows side of things to either sticking with Vegas Pro, moving to PPro. These choices are making FCE/FCP more appealing. I've researched and found that one app I can't seem to find an equivalent to is Quicken Home & Small Business. I use it to manage the financial's of my business. My reading indicates MAC's aren't very well supported by Quicken - any ideas on a basic financial app similar in scope to Quicken H&SB?

One thing I'm noticing about FCE/FCP - it has its own native intermediate codec - unlike PPro or Vegas Pro - yes they can edit native m2t files, but to get better performance - one needs to purchase Cineform - it appears on the MAC, Apple's ProRes is the equivalent.

Am I correct on this?
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Old July 31st, 2008, 12:05 PM   #20
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ProRes is apple's version of DNxHD from avid, but a little bit better in terms of picture quality, but no alpha channel ( DUUUH ! ). its nearly lossless. I've run clips 2-3 generations thru prores with no problems, YMMV. its SD / HD capable at 2 data rates, sometimes 8 bit, other times 10bit. there is no setting for it. apple implies ProRes HQ is always 10bit, and that the lower data rate ProRes ( standard ) is sometimes 8, but sometimes it appears its 10. the Kona capture presets feed 10bit to the codec, so it may be as simple as what you feed it is what it saves as. I wish they were clear about this, and that the codec could be explicitly set. it otherwise basically works very well within FCP

on mac its Quickbooks or MYOB as the two leading apps of choice. there are others, but these are the two that count.
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Old July 31st, 2008, 12:43 PM   #21
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Those are the gotchas that I'm experiencing in my purchase of Final Cut Pro / Mac Pro - finding equivalent software & maintaining compatibility between the PC & Mac.

Thankfully I'm just purchasing Avid so I'm getting the Mac version, I believe it comes with both versions? Photoshop does too, but it looks like I have to re-purchase it for the Mac. Or just stay on the PC for the meantime (unless someone knows differently?). Rapid Weaver looks like a good equivalent for FrontPage 2003, but it's only useful if I also purchase Photoshop for the Mac$$$. Breezebrowser is the only program I haven't found a good equivalent for. Everything I've been recommended has been much more sophisticated than I really need.

ProRes422 is the other gotcha, since it only works in Final Cut Pro. I've been using Cineform QuickTime files. Though I do get a lot of resistance from Mac users as many of them seem to be shy of formats that aren't officially "sanctioned" by Apple. In those cases, where they really are resistant, I'll re-capture and transcode to DVCProHD. For those times where I don't need to maintain compatibility, ProRes422 works great. Of course, it's always a better workflow to stay on one platform. And there's Avid, don't really need to say, much, but you just gotta make sure it likes whatever you give it!

I still have Sony Vegas running on two PCs and I will be using them for a long time to come. And now FCS and Avid MC on the Mac. Can't really say I favor one NLE over the other, as it's the final edited product that counts and any of the editing programs will get you there. I'm running all 3 (and taking classes to get the feel of them wired into my fingers) so if a client requires a particular platform, I can say, yes without any hassles. And as the Samurai said to the street walker, as long as they're paying, I'll edit with anything ...
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Old July 31st, 2008, 02:44 PM   #22
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You could boot Windows and theoretically use Quicken on your Mac. I don't do the dual-boot thing (I have no need for Windows or any Windows-only app) so I can't relate any practical experience, but it is possible with an Intel Mac.
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Old July 31st, 2008, 04:43 PM   #23
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I actually think the ONLY thing that any of us can tell you is this.

At NAB, Apple announced that they passed a MILLION REGISTERED FCP seats. (That's REGISTERED, no way to tell how many hacked copies are out there)

Acknowledging that NOBODY can tell you how you'll personally react to the software or hardware - the rest of the "opinions" will never be more than that.

All you can really hope to get from a newsgroup like this is the same thing that Lawrence Oliver tried to get from Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man. The answer to the fundamental question "is it safe?"

The answer is yes, FCP is very safe. Macs are also VERY safe as computers go. Safer than a lot, in fact, primarily because malicious coders largely leave the platform alone. (God bless that fact!)

The system features modern software and modern hardware - constantly improved and updated.

And all the usual computing tasks that people do on PCs are also done by people on Macs. That includes financial stuff like tracking money, accessing on-line financial accounts and all the rest. The dual-boot deal means you'll never be locked away from ANY software - but if you're like most people I know, you'll kinda migrate away from PC software because the Mac Stuff tends to be optimized for visual computing in ways that you'll get pretty used to and that most of us who use the systems really enjoy.

If Mac computers (or any OTHER kind of computers) aren't FULL SERVICE, they simply can't compete today. And Macs do compete quite handily - and in an outstanding fashion in some areas. Nearly anyone familiar with the industry will acknowledge that video editing happens to be one of the primary areas where Macs have not just competed robustly, but have excelled.

Yes, there will be new learning involved in switching. In exchange you get access to a specific system that the market has proved is VERY successful for general computing. It has flaws and gotchas like ALL other computers, but generally speaking it's been a huge success when confronted with odds that have caused countless competing software and hardware vendors to fold in the face of the Microsoft Juggernaut - and the simple truth is that the Mac has not folded and is going very, VERY strong right now.

I happen to believe that Apple has survived because it's been particularly innovative.

Some of these same things can be said of other OS and software approaches - but none have the particular history of Mac.

But only YOU can decide if YOU need to make the switch.

The only answer I can see for someone asking the fundamental question of whether to switch or not is to answer as I have and tell you - yep, it's SAFE to switch.

Knowing that this does NOT answer the question of whether it's BEST for you to switch.

But if you do, your life with computers will branch - NOT hit any kind of dead end.

Good Luck.
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Old July 31st, 2008, 08:30 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Mike Barber View Post
You could boot Windows and theoretically use Quicken on your Mac. I don't do the dual-boot thing (I have no need for Windows or any Windows-only app) so I can't relate any practical experience, but it is possible with an Intel Mac.
Get Parallels, vmware fusion and XP. Or if your cheap virtualbox no integration. I use MS Money and Quickbooks for windows. Parallels is worth the $70. Also get an OEM copy of XP home. $85 online. OEM can be bought outright it just dies or goes with your mac. With parallels you can put XP or Vista(ugh) on its own partition with boot camp so you dual boot or run under OS X. Parallels offer a trial. Vmware does too.

I am too cheap and set in my way to go to quicken and OS X quickbooks.
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Old July 31st, 2008, 08:36 PM   #25
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Oh forgot to answer the thread

I use FCE 4. It is much more user friendly than any of the Windows or Linux solutions I have used. It just works. It handles many things automatically. It also allows me to do manual things. My favorite is it tells me very simply and w/o guessing if I accidentally or intentionally move video on the timeline esp. if it breaks the audio sync. A lot of little things. At least w/ the notebooks Apple is a better deal for the money on hardware than the counterparting Dell.

I can do more with FCE. Encoding is reasonable in time. Heck I was using a trial of Vega misrange edition in XP under parallels so I could get native 24p. But I still like FCE better and OS X in general. We started w/ a mac mini and haven't looked back. Got our 2nd macbook and we are going to sell the mini on Ebay.

I have used Adobe 4, 6 and 7 on Windows and Mainactor on Linux.

Best of luck
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