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Old April 27th, 2007, 07:55 PM   #1
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Avid Media Composer vs. FCP 5 (soon to be 6)

When I first started using an NLE about eight years ago I bought a system that was using Insync's Speed Razor software (anyone? anyone?), which was buggy and had its share of problems; nevertheless I was hooked. After taking a couple years off from video production I got back into things with Adobe Premiere, which, at the time, I looked at as some kind of godsend considering I had only worked with Speed Razor prior to that (it wasn't really that Adobe had come out with some super fantastic piece of software, of course, it was just that the technology had improved).

And so it went until a couple years ago when I bought a Mac, I had been using PC's, and FCP to run on it (if I remember correctly my first impression was that FCP wasn't that different from Premiere).

So lately I've been wondering if I should start learning Avid. I'm going to start working on some more complicated projects in the next year or so, including some short films shot on 35mm (I've only worked with video up until now)

I can afford the Media composer software, but 5 g's seems like a lot to spend (and there's no way I can afford one of their finishing systems).

So, after that long intro, my question is which is better FCP or Media composer? And if Avid is better, is it worth it, does it handle projects shot on film better (like I've had people tell me that it does)?
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Old April 27th, 2007, 09:17 PM   #2
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simple steps to firework safety ...

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... you haven't been drinking have you?

here's an article written last year: http://www.fini.tv/articles/avidfcp2006.html
a number of links can also be found here: http://www.scottsimmons.tv/blog/the-...-fcp-articles/

in my own experience there is no real difference. some prefer Avid, some FCP. i've edited professionally using Lightworks & Heavyworks, Avid Media Composer & Avid Xpress, Final Cut Pro, Media 100 and Edius Broadcast (used Premiere many years ago but never professionally). i have not used Avid or FCP to work with film.

my own personal favourite, at the moment, is FCP
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Old April 28th, 2007, 05:01 AM   #3
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Avid Sucks.

Avid sucks.

I've edited 35mm film and 16mm film on Steenbecks and moviolas. On tape I've cut U-matic, VHS and Beta using a variety of controllers. On non-linear I've edited on Ediflex, Lightworks (my all time favorite cutting machine), Avid and for the last 5 years FCP.

For me, FCP wins hands down. Throw in all the additional software that comes with Studio 2 and you've got a mega system. Oh, did I mention Avid sucks.

Just my opinion. But Avid really sucks.
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Old April 28th, 2007, 12:26 PM   #4
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No, platform and software wars suck.

It's about get the job done not personal devotion to multi-billion dollar corporations. Who knows, maybe Premiere Pro could be best for your project.

I don't think there is a clear cut hierarchy for NLE's anymore. It's just a combination of -"can it do what I need it to do" and your style of doing things.

I've seen a lot of 16mm short films cut in FCP and they're fine. Based on what I've read into your post and assuming you're spending your own money... I would look at sticking with FCP with maybe a hardware and/or software upgrade.
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Old April 28th, 2007, 12:30 PM   #5
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Avid rocks, especially for cutting film. See how many labs want an avid cutlist to cut a negative.

Avid rocks especially when newscutting. Things as simple as 'tops and tails' trims, match frame editing, little things that make editing on the fly for newscutting fast and efficient.

Avid rocks for media management. Absolutely the best for really REALLY long form, like when you've got a hundred hours of documentary footage, and need alls sorts of ways to organize and cross reference your bins.

AVID SUCKS for effects and audio. It's an editing system, not a composition and Audio mixing system. That's why they want to sell you protools. That's why you need the third party apps for effects. Both of which work quite well.

AVID SUCKS for supporting new formats and workflows. Because they are in a business model that must protect the high end hardware/software investments already made by big production houses and networks, they are LOATH to implement changes in the software only products, or migrate features down to XpressPro from Compsoer or Symphony. They still don't support Canon's 24f HDV and some JVC specs... though they keep promising too.

An editor is an editor. I'm about to buy a new laptop. I'll probably buy a Macbook PRO because I can load Avid on it (Did I mention it ships with versions for both Mac AND PC included? Avid Rocks). BUT I'll also be able to cut on FCP. Which rocks for it's own particular reasons.
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Old April 28th, 2007, 03:57 PM   #6
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Here's a radical suggestion.

Start with the proposition that every NLE does mostly the same things.

Next realize that if one package has something really valuable the another doesn't - the software companies are smart enough to figure that out and write new code to incorporate what people want. (you could make a HUGE list of features that first appeared on one product, (Avid, FCP, Premier, Vegas, whatever) that they ALL do now.

What matters to me are 3 questions.

1) does it do what I need to do NOW.
2) is it likely that it will do what I need tomorrow.
3) MOST IMPORTANT - will my learning on system X today, leverage itself tomorrow so that I don't have to switch and re-learn no matter where my career takes me.

Personally, I'm really, really comfortable with FCP because not only does it do everything I want now - it's in constant development for the future.

If I was cutting on Premier Pro, I bet I'd likely feel pretty much the same way.

Vegas, as well.

Avid, i don't know. It's still the big dog at the top, but it seems to me that ALL the pressure is at the bottom of the pipe - with FCP making a huge push into newsrooms with it's FCP Server announcement at NAB.

Premier just went through a huge rev as well, but did you notice that right after they pre-announced their cool "visual editing of sound information" as last year's NAB - this year Apple was showing essentially the SAME capability in Sountrack?

They're all good. Heck no, they're all AMAZING tools. The biggest mistake I think anyone can make is to let all the choices stop you from MAKING A CHOICE and getting on with your learning.

Switching NLEs is a HUGE time waster when they're all so capable.

Unless there's a compelling reason in the form of something your current NLE will NOT do that is CRITICAL to your workflow - stick where you are and develop your SKILLS.

They'll always be more important than the name on the software box.
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Old April 28th, 2007, 07:17 PM   #7
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If you need any of the following, DO NOT GET AVID:

(1) Secondary Color Correction
(2) Any kind of Advanced Sound Editing including 5.1 Support
(3) Support for 24 Frame HDV from the JVC ProHD cameras or the Canon or new Sony models.
(4) Open Timeline WITH Open Frame Rates as well as formats.
(5) The extra $3300 that you will get by not buying Media Composer.
(6) More than 9 angles of Multi-Cam

Avid has one advantage over FCP...ScriptSync. That's about it now. Otherwise it is lagging behind in every aspect. That is not to say that Media Composer itsn't incredible, but it is and I enjoy cutting on Avid. But there blatent disreguard for the Prosumer 24P HDV crowd of which I am one of, and the constant LYING about when support is coming is not only Dishonest, but unprofessional.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 07:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez View Post
Avid rocks, especially for cutting film. See how many labs want an avid cutlist to cut a negative.

Avid rocks especially when newscutting. Things as simple as 'tops and tails' trims, match frame editing, little things that make editing on the fly for newscutting fast and efficient.

Avid rocks for media management. Absolutely the best for really REALLY long form, like when you've got a hundred hours of documentary footage, and need alls sorts of ways to organize and cross reference your bins.
Richard's right. I was probably being a little harsh.

Avid does indeed produce a nice neg cut list, but there's more than one way to get round that and I've never chosen a NLE based on whether it can do simple maths.

And yes, Avid's great for newscutting. But then, the BBC, who are quite good at news have just replaced all their Avids with FCP.

Avid rocks for media management, well, er, yes it does. You'd think FCP would have worked that one out by now.

So, in the interests of fairness, I think it's only right to say, Avid sucks, but not quite as much as I said earlier and FCP rocks, but then so do, (apparently), Vegas, Premiere...

Liam.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 07:42 AM   #9
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I'd just like to point out how often the phrase;

" but there's more than one way to get round that "

Will come up in an 'comparative' (combative?) description of NLE's. One editors single keystroke action, is another editors complicated sub-menu's. One editors fast and efficient workflow in a particular format, is another editors 'workaround transcription'. One editors mouse movement, is another editors pre-programmed macros/scripts - This is true for ALL NLE's - without exception.

The fact of the matter is. Avid is still on top. Most work is still being done on Avid. FCP is sweeping the industry, with no place to go but up. On Avids website, there is an interesting section entitled "AVID for FCP" users, which is a set of tutorials for FCP editors on how to use AVID. The accompanying blog is not a 'we're better, switch to us' sort of diatribe (like you find on some other sights) it's actually a very balanced professional overview that points out that editors moving 'up' to major productions houses need BOTH sets of skills, and it's a smart move to acquire them.

The more you CAN do, the more you WILL do. If you have to BUY a system, make the choice based on your immediate and future needs as best you can. If you are looking for a career in editing, you can't afford to NOT know both toolsets.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 08:48 AM   #10
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I trained on Avid first. Then I went on to train on FCP. So I used both. Both do similar things, both do most of things and both have limitations.

However, to me, Avid is associated with Windows and FCP - with Macs. So first choice would be the choice of platform. You count costs and make decision. If it's Windows, then you work on Avid. Period.

If it's Mac, it still could be either Avid or FCP. What you use will not make a difference to the fine cut. Software does not make the film, you do.

Personally, I went with FCP because it's native to Mac and I did like it. What's more, I enjoyed working with it. No such thing with Avid unfortunately.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 09:48 AM   #11
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Well AVID was originally 'native to Mac' and has always run on it... like I said, you get a copy for BOTH programs when you buy it.

All discussions of 'what's best' are a bit silly, since 'what's best for YOU' is probably different from whats best for ME. Most of the posters don't bother to list their working parameters IE: "Hi, I only cut four minute extreme sports videos," or "I am a long form documentarian working with FILM and VIDEO and often need to manage them both with hundreds of hours of footage" or "I am a music editor, looking to do a bit of video work on the side". Such preliminary info would help in giving advice.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 02:55 PM   #12
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Screw this debate. I switching to SMOKE :)
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Old April 29th, 2007, 02:59 PM   #13
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There's nothing like an Avid versus FCP debate. And yes Richard is right and always has been right on this issue.

I remember arguing over flatbed or upright, Steenbeck, Kem or Moviola (Steenbeck, of course) and when you look at how far we've come in just a few years it really is truly amazing. It must be difficult for the younger members on the board to imagine a world without computers, but for most of us over forty-year-olds that's how it was.

Without wanting to sound pompous - in many ways this is not an argument at all, but a celebration of where we've got to; choose your system, lie back, and enjoy - Just don't make sure it's not an Avid, 'cause they really suck;)

Liam.

God damn, Avid suck.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 03:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Travis View Post
Screw this debate. I switching to SMOKE :)
Oh, wait, turns out I don't have a hundred thousand dollars. Oh well.


When it comes down to it, I think Avid has just put a bad taste in my mouth. Seeing FCP slowly take over small corners of the market they've tried to compete instead of sticking to the high-end industry professional market (like Autodesk does with Smoke, Flame, Burn, Explosion, Blast, pretty much any name having to do with fire).

So what's the problem with this? Well, instead of making Media Composer truly affordable and competitive with FCP they've made it kind of affordable and came out with Avid Express (and all its iterations), which I've been told is just a crappier more limited version of Media Composer.

They just seem really wishy washy to me with who exactly they're marketing to. FCP on the other hand has kept their price steady and there's no doubt as to what their goal is: A truly affordable professional editing system.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 09:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
Here's a radical suggestion.

Start with the proposition that every NLE does mostly the same things.

Next realize that if one package has something really valuable the another doesn't - the software companies are smart enough to figure that out and write new code to incorporate what people want. (you could make a HUGE list of features that first appeared on one product, (Avid, FCP, Premier, Vegas, whatever) that they ALL do now.

What matters to me are 3 questions.

1) does it do what I need to do NOW.
2) is it likely that it will do what I need tomorrow.
3) MOST IMPORTANT - will my learning on system X today, leverage itself tomorrow so that I don't have to switch and re-learn no matter where my career takes me.

Personally, I'm really, really comfortable with FCP because not only does it do everything I want now - it's in constant development for the future.

If I was cutting on Premier Pro, I bet I'd likely feel pretty much the same way.

Vegas, as well.

Avid, i don't know. It's still the big dog at the top, but it seems to me that ALL the pressure is at the bottom of the pipe - with FCP making a huge push into newsrooms with it's FCP Server announcement at NAB.

Premier just went through a huge rev as well, but did you notice that right after they pre-announced their cool "visual editing of sound information" as last year's NAB - this year Apple was showing essentially the SAME capability in Sountrack?

They're all good. Heck no, they're all AMAZING tools. The biggest mistake I think anyone can make is to let all the choices stop you from MAKING A CHOICE and getting on with your learning.

Switching NLEs is a HUGE time waster when they're all so capable.

Unless there's a compelling reason in the form of something your current NLE will NOT do that is CRITICAL to your workflow - stick where you are and develop your SKILLS.

They'll always be more important than the name on the software box.
Excellent post. This man speaks so much truth. A big AMEN to you.
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