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Old October 19th, 2004, 09:27 AM   #1
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For paying jobs, which NLE should I learn?

I edit in Ulead MediaStudio Pro but want to learn a second NLE to make myself more valuable on the job market. All the positions I'm interested in want someone proficient in Final Cut Pro, Avid Xpress, or Adobe Premiere. (I don't have the budget to buy a Mac just for learning, so I'm ruling out FCP.) So, between Avid Xpress DV and Premiere Pro, which is the better investment in terms of finding a job?

This is the custom PC Club system I'd be installing it on:

Pentium 4 2.8c Hyper-Threading
Foxconn Intel 865G motherboard, 800 MHz FSB, Hyper-Threading
Integrated 6-pin FireWire port
USB 2.0 x 6
512MB DDR 400 in dual-channel config (256MB x 2)
120GB SATA system drive
120GB SATA video/capture drive
eVGA Nvidia FX5200 dual-head video, 128MB
dual 17" CRTs
Lite-On LDW-451s 4x DVD+/-RW
Windows XP Home, SP1a (no Internet connection)

If I choose Avid Xpress DV, I will first install an Avid-certified ADS Pyro card.

If I go with Premiere, will likely buy the $500 ADS Pyro Pro bundle that included Premiere Pro 1.5, Adobe Audition, and Encore DVD. That just seems a a great value on the *full* versions plus the ADS card.

I live in the Midwest (near Indianapolis), if that's a factor.

I look forward to your opinion. I am a wedding videographer and I plan to use the winter off-season to expand my post-production skills.

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Old October 19th, 2004, 09:51 AM   #2
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at this point in time i would say avid on a pc fcp on mac...but of course that could all change
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Old October 19th, 2004, 10:08 AM   #3
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Personal recommendation would be to try the demos.
Whichever one of the to is LEAST like MSP may be your better choice.

You can always say (from using the demo) that you've USED the other program on "a few projects" and found it to be quite similar to MSP which you have "extensive" experience with, plus you will have additional experience with the second editing program.

If you're a good editor with a good reel, having two NLEs that you're confident with will also show that you can edit well with what ever tool is available.

If it were me, I'd be saving up for Mac (even an older one) and FCP. (In fact, it IS me in a way since I'm in about the same boat, in that I've been using MSP for years and have been very happy with it, but I want to expand my experiences to other tools that are more generall accepted as professional grade. An old G4 Mac should be arriving sometime this week :) )

One other thing to just through out there as a general "impression" of many threads I've read around the net....
I've seen many threads where the merits and drawbacks of Premiere as a "truely professional" tool are debated, but can't recall anyone steadfastly stating that Avid or FCP are NOT professional grade tools. Perhaps there is a bias in the boards that I follow, but it seems to me that, while Premiere is certainly more recognized in larger studios than MSP, I think Avid and FCP are generally more respected as professional tools. Just an impression, though. Not based on imperical facts. Maybe others here with more experience could better speak to this point.

Have fun.
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Old October 19th, 2004, 10:12 AM   #4
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Not really clear what you mean by "paying job". Since you say the "positions you are interested in"... indicates to me that you want to work for someone else on THEIR system. If that is the case, and you hope to move up on a professional level, then Avid is the choice. Learn Avid Xpress Pro, and you will be able to cut on an Avid Composer. The interface is virtually identical, though the feature set on the composer is a bit richer, naturally. But if you master the interface and workflow on the Xpress Pro system, you'll have a head start on an "Industry" job.

Having said that, FCP seems to have the lead in small shops, especially graphics and commercial houses. But since you rule out MAC, then it's a moot point. (Avid runs on MAC and PC by the way, and you get copies for both when you buy it. So if you decide to shift to Mac later, you're good to go.)
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Old October 30th, 2004, 11:10 PM   #5
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Avid. Definitely. I think that there are just more jobs available for Avid rather than Premiere Pro.

To give you an idea, I live in Atlanta. Turner Networks pays very well for Avid editors (which is why that is what I am going to learn). I never see job ads for Permiere Pro at Turner.

Some smaller places want just what you said, FCP, Avid, A.P. Larger shops stick with Avid. The reason is that Avid makes large, broadcast editing systems (VERY expensive) that Premiere, etc. can't even get close to.

Now, most of your NLEs at their base are going to be essentially the same. They might have slightly different names for things, or slightly different layouts, etc. But at their base, they are all basically the same. What this means is that in general editing skills learned on one platform (Say Avid) can be translated to Permiere with relative ease. If you are good at editing with one you know what you want to do when using another NLE, might you might not know the exact keystrokes or menu options to do it.

My point here is that you should not stretch yourself thin and try to learn two at a time. Learn one, learn it well, and then once you really know how to work one, transferring your skills to another is less painful.

Also, it is not enough to know how to use the editor. You have to be a good editor (you can make great transitions all day, but if you make in the wrong spot....), and yuou have to be FAST! A lot of times time is money andf they want you to not only do a good job, but do it very quickly. This means learning all of the keyboard shortcuts, knowing the quirks & problems with the editor and avoiding them, preparing for them, or finding a way around them, etc., etc.

To sum up:

1) Don't stretch yourself - lean one NLE and learn it well
2) Skill can transfer from one NLE to another with minimal pain. Just learn the new keystrokes. MOving from a home DV editor to a broadcast system requires not only learning a new tyope of program, but new keystrokes, commands, etc. At least with Avid the keyboard shortcuts will be almost the same, the layout will be similar, and yuou will feel more at home with it. IOW, if you learn Avid Xpress and then move up, you already have done half the battle.
3) Get good, and get fast on it

Your best bet is to learn Avid. This has nothing to do with the quality of the product or anyones opinion of if it is the best or not. Simply put, it is the least common denominator. Small places want Avid experince (plus otherws). Big production houses and networks want Avid experience. Avid Xpress skills will transfer to Avid Broadcast systems, at least as far as layout, shortcuts, feeling at home. Premiere skills won't transfer quite so readily.

My $0.02

Alex F
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Old October 31st, 2004, 01:29 AM   #6
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My best advice is to learn them all. I use Adobe at home and Final Cut Pro HD at work. In my free time I try downloading a free trial of one of the many NLE's available on the net.
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