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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
Discussing the editing of all formats with Matrox, Pinnacle and more.


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Old June 6th, 2006, 12:00 AM   #1
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Warning: Loooong Post.

Hello all,
I have resisted for quite a while posting this message out of respect for all the board veterans who constantly (and nobley) serve as ring leader for heated "X NLE vs. Y NLE" debates. However, I can't hold back any longer, so my apologies in advance.

This board was very helpful when I needed to make some personal desicions regarding the acqusition of a 3 chip camcorder and NLE software for home use. Now I'd like to solicit thoughts and personal opinions regarding work.

Briefly, after years working in broadcast television, I have been working for a government television station (cable only) for the last 4 years. We have several editors on staff and fortunately each has their own workstation. I am currently using an antiquated Sony ES-3 system to produce various programs for our channel, psa's and training videos. We have 3 of the ES-3 systems and one ES-7 system which are due for replacement this year. Actually, we are getting dangerously close to a mandatory aquisition deadline before our fiscal year ends which is September 30, or else we lose the funding.

Here is our situation. We have nearly $100,000 to outfit 4 editing suites. We won't need to replace display or video monitors, nor audio mixing/monitoring. We will need computers, storage and of course an NLE. This is a very hard decision for us. We already have 3 Premeire Pro 1.5 systems with the Matrox RTX100. Unfortunately our folks using these systems are a bit computer illiterate and have crashing and operational issues with them. Our engineer is a BIG PC/Windows guy and he is desperately pushing us towards the Premiere Pro 2.0 suite with the Matrox Axio LE. At this point it appears that Avid is out of the picture do to cost. Our only other serious option at this point is Final Cut Pro.

We have had numerous meetings and have been dealing with a local vendor who is also insisting that the Premiere/Matrox option is the way we should go. Those of us tha will be operating the systems everday are nervous about Premiere Pro's reliability and stability. Our engineer does not want to see us get Macs as he has not worked with them. He can diagnose and service PC's very fluently. The local vendor is certified and says the systems he builds will be very stable as they are built to Matox and Adobe's specifications. I love the real time rendering promised by the Premiere/Matrox system, but from what this dealer is telling us Final Cut needs to render upon completion of a project prior to exporting. I have Vegas 5.0 at home and this is something I have to do with it. However I have a weekly deadline of a 30 minute news program of which I only have two editing days to build 30-40 graphics and edit the entire show. I have concerns about the render time at the end of my show which is due on Friday afternoons at 3:00pm. Equally, I have concerns about a constantly crashing and unstable system with the before mentioned deadline.

This is our one bullet in the chamber...our one chance for quite a while to upgrade our editing. We have been trying to learn as much about these systems as possible, but we feel the folks we are dealing with may be biased towards the Premiere/Matrox set-up. To complicate things, we are discussing the possibility of going to shared video storage. Also, we often find ourselves making DVD copies of many of our programs.

Can those of you with opinions for or against Final Cut Pro and Premeire Pro 2 with the Matrox Axio LE post your thoughts here? My co-workers and I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks and sorry for the length of this post.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 01:04 AM   #2
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May be worth having a look at Edius Broadcast as well. It seems it has now made it into some 20+ TV stations in the USA - according to a post on the Canopus forum.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 06:16 AM   #3
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Dan,
As a dedicated Vegas user I say....:-)

Seriously though, have you considered the Newtek Toaster V4? PC compatible and from what I've seen/heard quite solid-no worse than any other PC based program as far as crashing and from what I've heard more stable than most. Quick and fairly easy to use and certainly broadcast worthy.
Does it have it's share of glitches-sure-show me a piece that doesn't but again it's only what I've seen and heard, good stuff to use.

Just a thought to really mess with your mind ;-O

BTW, if you can't decide let me know I can help you spend that cash, lets see, new golf clubs, a nice little Ferrarri, nice Diamond ring for the wife.....EEEEERRRRRR I mean a few new cams, new edit suites, ah, ah, ah, yeah thats it!

Don
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Old June 6th, 2006, 08:22 AM   #4
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Dan,

I guess you already know from your research on a home system that "What NLE should I buy" is a common question here and it typically generates opinions that run the gamut, usually centering around what software others have already invested in. There are good tidbits mixed in those opinions that you can weigh, but no opinion will matter more than your own. So try before you buy. Most of the major PC NLEs have free downloadable trial versions (Vegas and PPro definitely do) and if you decide to consider Mac/FCP it shouldn't be difficult to find someone to let you take a test run on their system.

It'll also matter what native formats you wish to be capable of capturing and editing, especially any flavors of HD. MiniDV support is pretty mature now, but support for HD is still a bit less than universal and rock-solid -- we're still at the point where choice of HD camera can sway your option of NLE and hardware. Is HD, er, in the picture?
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Old June 6th, 2006, 01:14 PM   #5
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dan, it sounds like you need to get some demo hardware in there asap... let people work with the solution being recommended for a few weeks, see how well it holds up, and how well the vendor responds to issues.

one thing that i would do first is to scour the various support forums for the Matrox Axio LE, and see how well it's been working.

the advantage to going with premiere is that your people already have experience with the software, which is no minor detail when they are computer illiterate.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 02:34 PM   #6
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As another suggestion, you could just get the latest version of the Adobe video suite without any special hardware, so you won't have to worry about that. And second the suggestion to consider Edius Broadcast, which currently has the best support available for the Panasonic HVX200 camera. (Just in case somone happens to end up using one of those.)

If you get something like Matrox Axio or any hardware-based editing setup, you'll be tied to that until the next time you have money for such an upgrade. If you get a software-based solution, you'll have a lot less to worry about in the future in terms of maintenance and upgradability, plus you'll have the option to edit on laptops. Heck, for the money you save by not buying hardware cards, you could buy everyone nice laptops!
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Old June 6th, 2006, 04:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
If you get something like Matrox Axio or any hardware-based editing setup, you'll be tied to that until the next time you have money for such an upgrade.
Not necessarily. With the Matrox Axio they will still have the Adobe suite of software, which they could use without the hardware if they choose. I've even used the native Adobe Premiere Pro presets a few times for special purposes with my Matrox RT.X100 system.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 05:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Bauer
Dan,

I guess you already know from your research on a home system that "What NLE should I buy" is a common question here and it typically generates opinions that run the gamut
Yeah, you're right Pete. That's why I hesitated making the post. Not because I don't want to hear what folks have to say, but because I know that question is asked a lot and I didn't want to frustrate anyone.

All good points, and thank you. I should have mentioned that we are acquiring with Sony DVCAM and it will be that way for a while. We have 5 DSR300's and one DSR370. We are using DSR2000s with the edit stations. We looked at a Final Cut Pro set up today. LiveType and motion were cool. We don't always have time to create original effects and with some customization of elements, those pre-built effects looked pretty good. We haven't considered Edius or Toaster 4, we'll take a peek. You can never really get your fill of falling cows...

I'd rather buy cars and golf clubs as well, Don ;-)

Pete...as far as HD, our station manager says he wants a system that is capable of handling HD. I personally don't see it as a practical part of our future, but I guess I should never say never. I'd hate to see us make a decision based on the possibility of HD if there is something we could get that is more reliable, but limited to SD. That's just my opinion. To answer your question though, it is something we are factoring in.

Thanks all.
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Old June 8th, 2006, 02:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
but from what this dealer is telling us Final Cut needs to render upon completion of a project prior to exporting.
From what I remember of FCP, you don't necessarily need to do that. If you use the fast effects (there's only a few of em), FCP can handle them real-time and print to tape without having to render.

With editing systems, they all advertise real-time performance... whether or not that actually happens depends on what you're doing. All the editing systems are generally fast at particular effects, but not all of them. Not all the effects are optimized well. When you go over the limit, you'll have to wait on rendering anyways.

FCP: Resizing, 3-way color corrector, gaussian blur are all fast. But use the smoothness setting on the 3-way color corrector, and it's not real-time any more.

Avid Media Composer: The hardware only accelerates certain effects well (the color corrector, cross dissolve, and some others). After the hardware can't do any more, it has to render things with the CPU... so an Avid MC can be slower than FCP.
Not sure what Avid MC costs now... they did lower the pricing. I'd still favour FCP over Avid though.

Premiere: I have little experience here. Matrox as a company seems sketchy to me... they abandoned their RTMac product, so FCP users who had that card were left high and dry (no OS X drivers). Hopefully they have enough R&D dollars behind their Axio line that it's stable.

Vegas: It's not particular fast at any effects (i.e. can't do 5 layers of gaussian blur like FCP can), but you can throw CPU at the problem. Move up to a dual core dual Opteron, and setup a render farm. Because you can throw CPU at the problem, it could be faster than the other systems out there.
More CPUs don't scale performance linearly though (i.e. 4 cores aren't always twice as fast as two). Network render has some caveats to it (i.e. stitching overhead).

2- Macs aren't hard to maintain... especially when they have a limited number of hardware configurations (unlike trying to get PCs working a Matrox card or whatever). They are pretty easy to use, and the interfaces generally are more intuitive. It's not like Windows where you have to drill down several layers of dialog boxes to change a setting.
PC / Mac interchange may be a bit annoying though... mostly because the file systems are different. If you have everything on a network, that's not a big deal because Samba is a common interchange between the file systems.
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Old June 8th, 2006, 05:52 PM   #10
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That's great feedback, Glenn. I think we are narrowing things down. FCP is in the lead. We have been trying to convince our engineer that it will work out. We'll all need to learn the Mac OS, not just him. Also, since none of us has any FCP experience as editors, we'll have that to learn that software as well. We are all fluent with the NLE's we've been using (Sony ES-3s and ES-7) but they are fairly basic, they do however have pretty decent real-time processing. I suppose I have the most to fear out of all of us when it comes to long renders. I have a 3:00pm deadline every Friday for a 30 minute program with roughly 16 hours to put it together. This includes creating lower thirds, over the shoulder and full screen graphics. The project is exported to tape and then ingested on our server. Everything has to be finished by 5:00pm so I have little wiggle room for huccups and crashing. I feel that FCP will be more stable.

Rendering is my biggest concern. Thanks for your input, Glenn.
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