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Old April 10th, 2005, 02:48 PM   #1
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Getting work: FCP vs. Vegas

Hi all,

I've been using Vegas for years and love it. However, soon I will be looking for paid video editing work. I'm not really sure where to start, but I've been browsing Craig's list for jobs and there are only calls for Final Cut Pro or Avid editors.

So, while this is a FCP vs. Vegas thread, I'd like it to remain focused on possibilities of getting professional work using either. I have eliminated Avid because I simply can't afford a video setup with their gear.

I'm prepared to go mac and have no problem with either platform so please let's not get into that.

So, if you are a working/paid editor using Vegas, I'd love to get an idea of what kind of work you've been doing and for who.

Here is a my latest short film edited in Vegas 3.0 if you care to see where I'm at. www.wiremonkey.com/videos/demons.wmv

Thank you,

Tyler Cartner
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Old April 10th, 2005, 05:23 PM   #2
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What's your budget for a whole new system, monitor and supporting software?
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Old April 10th, 2005, 09:56 PM   #3
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Budget

Hi,

My budget is about $4,000.

If I go Mac, I can get the dual proc. 1.8 with 1GB ram, the 20" display and the beefed up vid card for $3,300 with my student discount. I would spend the rest on a huge seagate SATA 10K drive for the second internal slot and the FCP package for $499.

If I go PC, I can get much more bang for the buck (I build my own and would be able to carry over a lot of parts), but that really isn't the issue here. I'm most concerned with being able to get work.

How many Vegas editors are getting professional jobs?

Thanks,

Tyler
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Old April 10th, 2005, 10:06 PM   #4
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Doesn't it kind of depend on what exactly you want to be doing? E.g.:

You have your own setup, you can be a freelance editor, and do it at home/in your office Only an idiot would care what you edit it on in your own home/office, as long as it gets the job done.

You're seeking jobs posted by others on job sites like mandy, craigslist. They want skills in a certain NLE---here's where knowledge of FCP/Avid would be good

You're seeking a full-time gig at a production house, and they want you to have skills in a certain NLE. Same as above.

Keep this in mind. What constitutes a "professional job", to you? If you show off talent, and people start hiring you to edit )(weddings, corporate, whatever), are you then getting "professional jobs?" Or do you want high end national work?
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Old April 11th, 2005, 02:15 AM   #5
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Let me clarify

I think it's fairly clear that I can do any editing job at home. I posted in hopes that some of you who work as professional editors might share your experiences.

If, for example, FCP is far more common, then it might stand to reason that a production house might let you edit at home only to turn over your FCP file at the end of the job. Does this happen in the real world? Is it common? This couldn't be done with Vegas I assume or are the EDLs shareable? I don't know the realities here.

I suppose I'm more intested in eventually getting high end "national work" as Josh put it.
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Old April 11th, 2005, 09:05 AM   #6
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Any monkey can learn how to operate a piece of software with enough practice. The art of editing though is a little (a lot) more difficult to teach. If you already have an editing program you like, then use it to hone your skills as an editor and if someone likes your work they will probably let you learn the software as you go (if you get hired for in-house work). Having said that though, I personally have never seen an ad for someone looking specifically for a Vegas editor.
I've never used Vegas, I have a demo copy sitting on my Windows desktop waiting to be installed but I just can't find the time and there's no motivation for me to want to do it. FCP just works so well, I don't have a need for anything else. I don't know how Vegas works but FCP doesn't care what you're editing. It could be Analog, DV, HD, Film, whatever, and the program is exactly the same. I also hate my Windows machines, I would use Linux if there were some better offerings (within a reasonable budget) but the stability of my Macs have me firmly entrenched in OSX with no looking back. (Avid Xpress runs on Mas OSX also but I don't use it either)
I don't think you would lose anything and could gain a lot by switching to FCP but you have to look at what is fiscally realistic to you. Ask yourself, "Do I want to freelance or take a permanent job", then look at what the offers are actually asking for. Yes, everybody I've done work for, that I DID NOT shoot the footage for, wanted the FCP project file back. If I shot it AND edited it, I'll give master tapes and a master of the final output back and keep the project file on archive (if they ask for it I'll give it as well but it hasn't happened yet). As far as being able to work on it from home, only if it's DV based (or offline RT). Unless you work in a couple of decks and controllers and monitors and capture cards with that budget, chances are you'll be stuck at their office.
As far as your proposed setup, you would gain a lot more from a SATA RAID for your scratch disk than you would from a big 10K single (and save money). Yes it is possible to cram 4 hard disks into a G5.
I left out Avid from the discussion because the Avid the want-ads are asking about isn't Avid Xpress and I don't think a Symphony or Composer suite is within your budget. ALL of these programs are basically the same, they require an IN point and an OUT point for the clips, then the clips are arranged in a timeline. Now how freakin' hard is that? The desirable/marketable skill is someone who knows "where" those In & Out points need to be. Any more than that and it just learning a new programs buttons.
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Old April 11th, 2005, 09:05 AM   #7
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Tyler,

Avid has pretty much got the lock on High-end finishing and broadcast jobs. Something like over 90% of features are finished on Avid, and more than 85% of television shows. (It's still a big enough deal to warrant major publicity when a feature is cut on FCP.

FCP is aimed at the "independent" video producers and advertising agencies , and has a strong presence there. Maybe as much as 45%-50% -with Avid the other 45% and other high end apps taking up the slack. (Liquid, Media 100, etc.)

Special effects houses are more into discreet, flame, maya etc.

You can do a search on Mandy.com every couple of days, and get a feel for the ratio of FCP and AVID requests for indy shops and broadcasting.

On the one-man band level, wedding and event producers... pure speculation on my part - is that Premiere has the edge by virtue of an early market lead, but Vegas, though a late comer, is coming on very strong.

Having said all that, IF you really want to move into "national work",(working for a broadcaster or film production/finishing house) then you need to master the AVID interface. Even SONY, who markets Vegas, knows this. It's why their high end finishing suite Xpri, mimics the AVID interface. And their adds tout that you can do everything in the 'industry standard interface you know'. My guess, is that VEGAS will offer such an interface, very very soon. (Perhaps in 6?) I don't really know Vegas - I edit on Avid XpressPro.

I chose Avid Xpress, because I needed to conform FILM. It's still the best NLE for doing this,(I don't think Vegas can even do matchback), but I'm thinking you don't want to learn film conforming. In any case, a project cut on my AvidExpressPro (like the doc I am currently cutting) will port directly into an online avid for finishing. Translating EDL's is a big part of portability. Automatic Duck is what you'll need to go between FCP and Avid.

It's a lot of money to invest, I know. My honest opinion at this point, is to save your money, and hone your chops. Get better and better at understanding your craft with the tool you have. Vegas is a good and powerfull tool.

Download a copy of Avid FreeDV... the interface is basically the same all the way up through the product line. It just keeps increasing in bells and whistles as you go. Teach yourself the basic Avid interface, look into local classes for both Avid, and FCP. Learn them both if you can. The more you know, the more you'll work.

Best of luck.
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Old April 11th, 2005, 09:21 AM   #8
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A few more comments

Excellent,

Thank you Richard and Rhett. These are the kinds of questions I need answered.

Film is definitely where I want to go as it is my favorite visual medium, but certainly I will continue polishing my chops and try out the Avid free software to see how difficult it will be to work with. That said, there are more and more successful movies being shot on DV, "Pieces of April," "28 Days Later," for example. My real goals lie in making my own films at some point, but I want to get the hands on experience of working on others' first.

Rhett, gaining the experience on the given NLE so that I can "know" it, is difficult to do unless I start cutting work on the given system. That's why I'm asking these questions. I can cut. I'm not a professional, but want to work in the field some day.

If anyone else out there is willing to take the time and chime in with their experiences as a working video editor, it would help me to get a better feel for who is using what NLE and under what circumstances. It would also help to know how ya'll came up the ladder. Maybe I'll start a new post with that topic?

Tyler
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Old April 11th, 2005, 11:22 AM   #9
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If you want to become an integral part of a pro editing environment, for now Avid and to a lesser degree FCP are the two best bets. This is changing, but there's no sense in puting yourself in the position of having to wait for the industry to "catch up" to your NLE of choice.

I "cold called" a few production houses in NYC a year ago just to see what the chances were that I could get some freelance work with them and they don't even let you get your foot in the door unless you've got Avid on your resume. Of the 40 or so editing suites I saw, maybe 5 were FCP, 2 or 3 were PPro, the rest some flavor of Avid.

Needless to say, I've been doing a lot of Flash work lately :D

- jim
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Old April 11th, 2005, 03:57 PM   #10
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Re: A few more comments

<<<-- Originally posted by Tyler Cartner : ...gaining the experience on the given NLE so that I can "know" it, is difficult to do unless you start cutting work on the given system... Tyler -->>>

True, very true. There are a lot of shops that want Avid experience, or maybe FCP, and if you don't have it, you just don't have it but... if you send in a smokin' editing reel there are great lengths to which some companies will go to get you trained on their software. The hardest thing to teach is the actual craft, or art, of editing.
Use Vegas if you have it already, put together a killer demo reel and use the money you saved to get training on a system your employer wants. If you want to break into the film industry they want some killer talent, they already have technicians. I remember reading about the movie "Cold Mountain" being edited on FCP. I don't think the editor had ever really used much FCP but he had skills. He even mentions that it only took him a couple of days to become comfortable with it.
I don't want to dismiss the serious advantage you might have with a working knowledge of Avid or FCP but don't let the software drive your qualifications, let your talent do it.
Who knows, Ulead might come out with the next greatest thing and then we're all screwed for software training. (a little extreme case, but you get the drift)
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Old July 26th, 2006, 05:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Bass
You have your own setup, you can be a freelance editor, and do it at home/in your office Only an idiot would care what you edit it on in your own home/office, as long as it gets the job done.
Actually, a lot of the freelancing I do at home comes in the form of a harddrive shipped to me with the tapes already captured, which is why they want a certain NLE. With another client, they provide their DVD files in DVD SP format, so a Mac, and FCP is a necessity.
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