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Old September 26th, 2009, 07:58 AM   #1
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Why is FCP so wimpy?

OK so maybe that is inflammatory. But this is driving me nuts.

I have been using FCP since v1. But I never really tried to do a long form. Because I also use M100.

M100 ever since the late 90's has been able to play titles real time with drop shadows, no rendering for recording to tape. And do CC full res no rendering.

I currently have 3 suites with M100 (latest Suite) and latest FCP (09 Suite). With AJA HDe and Matrox MX02.

The M100 will play realtime full res up to 4 layers of video tracks 1080 (I mean multi graphics tracks with drop shadows varying opacities and video tracks with varying opacities) with no rendering. Also lots of transitions play full res no rendering. This is on the same systems with 600MB/s RAIDS.

FCP needs to render even a cross dissolve to play full res. Also M100 CC is full res playback with no rendering.

Why is FCP so bad at this?

For the first time I am doing a 1 hr program in FCP, just to see how it would do. And I now really regret it. I am forever rendering. In M100 I would just work, and see everything play full res all the time.

Also the audio in FCP is really awkward, having to jump into STP all the time. M100 does it right in the timeline (compression, eq, reverb etc with presets you can make and just click on.

I really do like Color, but I can do XML round trip from M100 to Color just like in FCP.

Basically I believe M100 is about 3-5 times as fast to work in, at least the way I work.

I would appreciate any comments.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 10:52 AM   #2
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I came from Premiere Pro and went to FCS.

I love FCS a lot more, because of the little interface differences, the broad codec support, the other programs of the studio-set, stability, ...

I was, at the time, 2 years ago, coming from an old PC, marveled by the fact that this Macbook Pro which was so thin could edit HD without a glitch and it didn't make a sound. While my older - but only 2 years older - PC was big, made lots of noise and couldn't do it so smoothly.

That being said, once I began putting effects on the timeline, putting MP3's in it, I was surprised that FCP had a lot more trouble with this than premiere. I know, you should use AIFF for editing and no MP3's, but Premiere could all ingest it and put it on the timeline and play it without rendering.

I hope a complete rewrite of FCP (like they did with the old Logic? I only used the new Logic 8 so not the version prior to the Apple-rewrite, but I heard the rewrite did a lot of great things) could help this.

I have no experience with Avid so I can't make comparisons.
All in all, I love OSX much more than Windows, and I love FCS more then Premiere. But the Adobe collection has a great integration between the programs, and it seems like it needs less rendering. And how Premiere handles RED-files - from what I've gathered by reading the forums - dances hoops around FCP at the moment.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 11:44 AM   #3
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M100 has always had very low software overhead by way of how efficiently the application was written, which is one reason that so many operations don't require pre-rendering to preview. That's also been one of the biggest complaints about FCP even in it's current iteration, that seemingly small changes require renders or re-rendering to view in real-time.

There's really nothing that can be done about this, "it is what it is".

PP requires far less rendering than FCP for similar operations however there's no full-edit suite has less overhead than M100; thanks to some scary-smart German engineering it's a very lean, very efficient NLE but unfortunately not nearly as well supported by third-parties which is why it's not become a larger player in the industry.

If M100 had been as well developed the past 5 years as PP or FCP it could have potentially killed-off either one.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 11:47 AM   #4
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Olof: I too have been with FCP since 1.0.2

I suggest that if you are having to render cross dissolves, you have your real time performance settings set WAY too conservatively OR you are using an ancient machine. I edit HD material in ProRes on an Intel iMac 2.16GHz with 2GB of memory, hardly a speedy machine by modern standards and I only need to render occasionally (and typically with a bunch of effects).

I haven't used Media 100 in several years, but other than the Titler, M100 is a FAR cry from where FCP is at. The timeline interface was archaic and required FAR too much media management. As well, the M100 systems I used were hardware accelerated whereas MOST FCP systems are not. The buy in for M100 was SEVERAL times more expensive than FCP/FCS and required virtually all filters and effects to be sent to After Effects. Two VERY different animals, unless Media 100 has made a LOT of changes in the 5 or so years since I've touched it.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 07:48 PM   #5
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Media 100's best asset was the hardware it came with. I do long form with FCP all the time and while I haven't used the Media100 in 5 years as well I have to say that FCP is a lot easier to edit with.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 08:13 AM   #6
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Well FCP is not perfect but I wouldn't call it wimpy.
I do own a Media 100 system, but it's up in the attic along with a couple Avid Media Composers and a Silicon Graphics workstation.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 08:43 AM   #7
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I am talking about the current M100 Suite, it uses the same HW as FCP AJA or Matrox, or can be used w/o hardware, still just as fast.

It is a totally different NLE from a few years ago. I suggest if you have not used it lately you check out the new version. You can download a fully functioning demo, at their site.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 10:14 AM   #8
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Olof is correct; when we demoed versions 11 and later 12 it was absolutely scary how fast it handled just about everything we threw at it - without the need to render.

However M100's weaknesses have been that until 3 years ago it was left largely undeveloped by Boris and was quickly eclipsed by FCP, PP and even Avid Media Composer. When Boris decided to re-engergize it's development - just in time to show off at NAB '07 - it lacked many frame-rate/camera codecs that the others could handle natively and, it also didn't have the plethora of plug-in's from third-party developers relying all too heavily on Boris RED and other intra-company offerings which made it very pricey.

M100 can't be considered a replacement for PP or FCP strictly from a cost perspective; you'd have to purchase a few of the other Boris FX packs to gain similar functionality which puts you almost 3x the cost of either PP or FCP suite and makes it more like an Avid-architecture investment.

However, there's just no denying how blistering fast M100 does it's job and how easy it is to work with. If FCP, PP or even Vegas were this fast and easy it would be game-over for the competition.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 10:29 AM   #9
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Checked out the Media100 site and from what I can tell, the interface seems to carry forward the A/B roll with FX track and Super track modality. If this IS true, this continues in M100's tradition of being more of a solution for linear editors than what we consider modern NLE editing to be. The worst part of M100 editing for me was allocating clips to a specific track in the A/B lineup ONLY to have a client want to add something and have to flip stuff all around. Could someone please comment on whether this is still the workflow, which is one of the factors that caused me to refer to M100 as "archaic" earlier.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 10:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
Could someone please comment on whether this is still the workflow...
If you're that familiar with the interface you should have all your questions answered within seconds by using the 14-day free trial:

Media 100 Downloads
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Old September 27th, 2009, 11:00 AM   #11
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Thanks Robert. I'm just trying to avoid installing ANOTHER NLE on my in-service edit machine. But I am SERIOUSLY considering a move away from FCP as I've been having issues with stability and "FCP Amnesia/Alzheimers" whereby FCP completely at random forgets in use renders and in a recent EXTREME case, just deleted a sequence I had just finished building. POOF - Gone! In trying to be all things to all (levels of) editors, FCP is losing itself.

Perhaps once I get my new edit box, I'll take a chance BEFORE I install my "permanent" edit solution.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 11:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
...I am SERIOUSLY considering a move away from FCP...
Brother, I'm with you, for all the reasons you mentioned and more than I care to remind myself of.

That's one of the reasons that this entire year I've been working directly with certain companies to help develop more viable "FCP replacement" options to those who seek them and share the information as it becomes available.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 11:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
Checked out the Media100 site and from what I can tell, the interface seems to carry forward the A/B roll with FX track and Super track modality. If this IS true, this continues in M100's tradition of being more of a solution for linear editors than what we consider modern NLE editing to be. The worst part of M100 editing for me was allocating clips to a specific track in the A/B lineup ONLY to have a client want to add something and have to flip stuff all around. Could someone please comment on whether this is still the workflow, which is one of the factors that caused me to refer to M100 as "archaic" earlier.
If I need to add a new clip and I don't want to use A/B transition, I just drop it on a super track, you can either do a straight cut or adjust opacity to make a dissolve in either or both ends.

Or if you want to use A/B tracks, just "command /" one of the clips and move second or first half to other track then you can apply any transition again.

I still really like the A/B tracks it is so easy to customize transitions, but you don't have to use it, just leave them closed.

I have absolutely no problem running M100 along with adobe or apple products. It is a tiny app compared to most. Very efficient code.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 06:22 PM   #14
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I'm going to download the trial on a system that's not being used right now. I always used the Media100 on in-house projects that never needed to interface with other programs. The price is still ridiculous. Do they still have that rip-off yearly fee to get upgrades?
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Old September 29th, 2009, 02:06 AM   #15
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I started off in 1997 with a basic Media 100 system and gradually built up with upgrades to the top-of-the-line system until 2004. It did a lot and was fast for its time because of the great engineering in that Vincent card. I still have it but it's now gathering dust.

It cost thousands of dollars over several years. But just after the turn of the century its development seemed to have gotten stalled, along with what looked like an impending extinction right when HDTV began to get serious attention.

Then Apple released FCP HD in 2004. The price of the entire package was less than a typical M-100 update. FCP was a lot more flexible and offered a lot more bang for the buck. Shortly after that it became FCP Studio. And then it incorporated Color. Dang!

If the technological tides are shifting, it's not unusual nor unexpected. There's always something better coming along. But I'm not about to spend thousands of dollars more unless my setup is truly hobbling my ability to get something done. In my case, thinking about the edit takes a lot more time than executing it.

I did upgrade to an 8-core Intel Mac to dramatically speed up rendering in Color and After Effects. The dual 2.5 GHz G5 wasn't going to cut it at all.

For my own purposes, producing a one-hour show in collaboration with a couple of other editors, FCP is an ideal solution. It's easier to find another independent FCP editor than if I were using some other solution. If I had a large post facility with several workstations I might consider getting a faster system. The producers of Ellen DeGeneres' show had to do just that and the improvements were dramatic.

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But I'm just a one-man shop working with a few other independents on a small regional show. And FCP is still a pretty good, cost-effective solution.
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