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Old August 18th, 2004, 05:15 PM   #1
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Which is the best PC program on a budget?

Hi,

I currently use Premiere for my entry-level professional needs, because that's what I learned in school. But I know there are some serious flaws with it, like an inability to batch capture onto tape, inability to import footage from DVD or many file formats, really long processing time for encoding DVDs, and overall extreme user-unfriendliness. So, knowing that the most popular program seems to be for the Mac, what have you all found to be the best for the PC? My market is either low-budget (under $100) or easy to find pirated, because I haven't even made back the cost of my camera yet.

Thanks for any help.
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Old August 18th, 2004, 05:23 PM   #2
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Welcome Wendy,
I'm sure you'll get some responses. I can't help you myself, as I am on the Mac platform.

But just a cautionary note to prospective responders: We absolutely do not tolerate references to "pirated" software sources and will promptly banish any such discussion threads.

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Old August 18th, 2004, 05:28 PM   #3
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FYI, I'm currently using Premiere Pro with an AMD Athalon 2.0 GHz processor and 512 Kb memory, with a Canon GL2.

(Fine, you don't have to mention that word, just "widely available" will do.)
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Old August 18th, 2004, 05:41 PM   #4
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If you don't like Premiere, and want to stay on the PC side, I think that the better other professionnal solution is Vegas. You say you have lerned Premiere in school. If you still a student, you should be able to have a pretty decent price on the educationnal program. Here in Canada, I have purshased Vegas 5+DVD for the university where I work for 330$ CDN each educationnal licences. So expect to pay about 250$ USD ... not too far away from your budget, and you get a LEGAL copy of an extremelly good NLE with great audio capabilities and an awesome DVD authoring program.

Hope this help,
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Old August 19th, 2004, 02:03 AM   #5
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$250 is pretty damn steep for me (I don't think I've ever paid more than $20 for any program), and I've long since graduated. And how is Vegas better? Is it easier to use; can it do some of the things that Premiere should be able to do but doesn't?
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Old August 19th, 2004, 02:21 AM   #6
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Jean-Philippe's recommendation is a good one, as Vegas has become something of a standard in the PC editing world during the past couple of years. So much so that we have an entire forum devoted to it. You'll find plenty of information on Vegas as it compares with Premiere.

Perhaps I'm reading you wrong so forgive me if that's the case. But you seem to want "... best for the PC" but seem to be unwilling to invest money to legitimately acquire a good tool. Good, functionally-rich non-linear editors such as Vegas are not cheap ($20) on any platform. They also feature some steep initial learning curves in order to become facile with them. So if you genuinely want to upgrade your editing platform be prepared to invest much more than $100 and some serious learning time.
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Old August 19th, 2004, 02:44 AM   #7
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OK, what I mean is, are there any consumer-market programs which are comparable to the pro-market ones?
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Old August 19th, 2004, 02:54 AM   #8
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Vegas would be it. The next step up the ladder would be Avid Express DV, which would set you back around $700. I think Avid had a "free" version but I don't know how reliable it was or even if it's still around. See Avid's site.
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Old August 19th, 2004, 02:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
are there any consumer-market programs which are comparable to the pro-market ones?
No! That's why they are two seperate markets. In fact
I would say there are at least 4 or 5 markets from ultra-simple,
consumer, pro-sumer to professional.

I wanted to walk down your "problem" list:

1) no batch capture in Premiere: are you sure of this?

2) no import from DVD: *NO* NLE can do this since DVD's are protected. You sometimes can convert DVD MPEG2 to regular MPEG2 (ie, demux) and it should load that fine

3) long processing time for DVD: actually it is long processing time for MPEG2. But *any* software encoder will have that. DVD/MPEG2 encoding takes a long time, simple as that. And consumer hardware encoders don't offer high enough quality in my opinion

4) User friendly-ness is a personal thing, ofcourse

I wouldn't go as far as the most popular program is for the Mac.
It is very popular, that's true. The most used program must be
Avid I think. The most used programs on PC probably are Premiere
and Vegas.

All of these cost money and much more than $20. You can't buy
any "serious" NLE for that. But if you want truly low budget
Windows XP comes with a thing called Windows Movie Maker...

Avid indeed has a free version. But it is pretty limited if I remember
correctly. Like only a couple of tracks etc. Check out the Avids site.
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Old August 19th, 2004, 01:03 PM   #10
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If you have Premiere, nothing under $100 is going to touch it. Lots of money made with premiere and lots of good work.

I'd recommend you stick with it until you can afford a legitimate copy of something new.
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Old August 19th, 2004, 02:22 PM   #11
 
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Old August 19th, 2004, 04:06 PM   #12
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I don't think there is any editing program anywhere for under $100 that comes close to the abilities of Premiere or Vegas.

Most PC, pro-sumer video editors are using either Premiere of Vegas. Personally, I'm a bit of a black sheep around here since I use Media Studio Pro. (...with my own GL2 BTW)

Addressing your functional concerns, MSP does do batch capture from tape (both auto batch and manual) and does capture video directly from DVD's (so long as the DVD is not encrypted). As with Premiere and Vegas, MSP will edit DV, MPEG and many other video formats natively. MSP also has several extra video effects and animation features not found in Premiere or Vegas. (Premiere and Vegas, of course, have many of their own features not found in MSP).

For pricing, could could might be able to buy an old copy of MSP on ebay, then upgrade to the current version 7 for $150. (That includes the extra animation tools and a basic DVD authoriing program)

For encoding, much of that performance is dictated by your processor speed. Most any program will convert at the same speed. In fact, the better quality encoders will often require MORE time in order to do a better job. Your best bet is to get a workflow habit of scripting big renders to run overnight while you sleep. :)

Ease of use (as it has been said) is a personal thing. "With great power comes great responsibility". If you want to work with a powerful software program, it's your resompsibility to learn it. There are loads of tutorials and books around for all these programs, but in the end, you're the one that has to learn it.

As for a final recommendation.....
You've got Premiere, a very capable application with loads of users and resources throughout the net. Stick with it, learn it, use it. Use it a lot. This will help you learn it, figure out how to work around any limitations, and most importantly, focus on editing video rather than feature functions.

Good luck.
Have fun.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 03:58 AM   #13
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If you already have Premiere I would stick with that indeed.

Do keep in mind that Premiere Pro 1.5 is $699 according to the Adobe site.
Vegas 5: $559.96 (according to the Sony site)
Vegas 5 + DVDA 2: $799.96 (Sony site again)

Etc. as others have said, you won't get any serious NLE any
cheaper. However, if you don't have Premiere already you might
have it on CD with some other hardware you got. Otherwise
I would take a look at Avid Free if you really are on a budget.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 10:21 AM   #14
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I would have to agree with all the above comments. I haven't used Vegas, but I have used Premiere, Avid and I currently work with Liquid Edition from Pinnacle. If you currently don't have an NLE, would reccomend looking on Ebay for a used copy of Premiere.

Here's a link for a freeware editor http://www.debugmode.com/wax/

I have never tried it.

Here's another link for an editing software from a company that makes DVDLab, which is a great DVD authoring program. I have never used the editing software, but it is available for $109. Anyway, there are some choices.

http://www.mediachance.com/video/index.html
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 05:29 AM   #15
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What about Pinnacle products?

For inexpensive, easy-to-use, what about Edition 8/9?
If you check around at big discount stores like Fry's, you can buy Edition 8 almost free after rebate. Then upgrade to Edition 9 for about $70.

Studio 8 was the first NLE I used. It's a pretty quick learn, and surprisingly powerful for a "low-end" NLE. I produced a decent wedding DVD with Studio 8, and I had never used it before. A quick scan of the manual, and I was off and running. With some trial and error, I was able to do a surprisingly nice job.

Has anyone used Pinnacle Liquid Edition?
It sounds powerful. As a student, you can buy it for about $150 (academic version).
I have heard some people say that it is better than Premiere, and a lot easier to use. I don't know -- haven't used it. But I'm interested.

If you qualify for academic versions, checkout JourneyED.com for some great prices:

Avid Xpress Pro StudentPack for Mac/Win $ 295.00
Sony Pictures Vegas 5+DVD Bundle $ 269.98
Sony Vegas 5 Bundle Win $ 179.95
Pinnacle Liquid Edition Adv Video Toolkit $ 149.98
Pinnacle Systems Studio V9 AV/DV Win $ 99.98

You can also check www.eBay.com for some good prices. Just be careful you're getting legitimate software.

If there are any Liquid Edition users in this forum, I've love to hear from you. How does it stack up to Premiere, Vegas?

TIA.
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