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Old August 14th, 2012, 10:34 AM   #1
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Avid for "graphical" editing?

Hi---let me state up-front that this is NOT intended to be a "this versus that" competitive post. Having said that, here's my situation:

I've been around video for decades (so I'm familiar with old-school editing techniques)...but in the past several years I've fully jumped on-board the more graphical, mouse/visual-based editing techniques. In our facility, we use both Premiere Pro 6 and Avid 6. I'd rather we all settle on one platform, but we have editors who have used both for a long time, so I figured better not to rock the boat and just let people remain efficient with what they're comfortable with.

Having said this...I've noticed that most of our Avid users seem to use old-school techniques on the latest NLE. By "old school," I mean doing everything via keyboard entry and not with the mouse. To shorten a clip, for example, I'll just zoom in, mouse over the right edge of the clip, and drag it left. Done. The old-school people will select the clip, use a keyboard shortcut, type a number of frames into the box, and hit Enter.

Both of these techniques are fine...but there are many situations where I'm starting to think that either our Avid guys just don't know how to use the software efficiently...or that Avid just can't do certain operations as efficiently as Premiere Pro.

Another specific example: selecting audio events using a visible waveform display in the timeline. None of my Avid guys do this---instead, they place the cursor in the ballpark (with no waveform visible), then scrub back and forth looking for the audio event. In Premiere, I just display waveforms, zoom in...and the event is clearly visible and easy to select. In this case, using the waveform is more efficient.

Or another example: adding a Gaussian blur to a text overlay. This is a piece of cake in Premiere...but one of my Avid guys said "I dunno, that's pretty complicated and would take me a while." When I responded "Really?" his answer was "Well remember: Avid is a video editor---it's not intended to do that sort of stuff." I was dubious---surely Avid 6 has some quick/easy way to add Gaussian blue to text?

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I could cite more examples...but again, my real question with this post is relatively simple: does Avid offer all (or 98%) of the same mouse/graphically-based editing techniques that Premiere does? And does Avid offer the full range of graphic editing options that Premiere does? (Like Gaussian blur.)

I'm asking because a) I don't know Avid at all...and b) I'm trying to confirm whether or not my Avid editors just aren't...ahem...very efficient with the software?

Finally, understand that we're not so big that we have dedicated editors, dedicated color grading people, etc. We generally require one person to do a lot---therefore need the versatility that Premiere offers (and easy compatibility with other Adobe products). So I'm just wondering if I should say to my Avid guys "You need to learn this software better, because it does a LOT more than you're doing with it!" :-)

Thanks,
Scott
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Old August 14th, 2012, 01:43 PM   #2
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Re: Avid for "graphical" editing?

My understanding from editors who use a number of different NLEs is that each has advantages and disadvantages. It really depends on the personal preference of the editor and the job they have in hand. There are NLEs other than AVID and Première and those can have their own editing methods, which editors find better for certain jobs.

Generally editors tend to prefer keyboard compared to the mouse because it's faster, perhaps it's not the best for everything and a combination works best, depending on what you're trying to do.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 02:06 PM   #3
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Re: Avid for "graphical" editing?

Avid editors are very efficient editors. Avid is one of the fastest EDITING packages on the planet if you learn the AVID way of editing. When you start asking about adding special effects and such that isn't editing. Not in the traditional sense at least.

You may not be asking a truly fair question of the "old school" crowd. No different than asking a film cutter how to run a bleach bath in a developing room. I suspect you are asking the wrong person the wrong question.

Now if you are asking me about how to do full production in Avid Media Composer I can tell you how I do it. I edit with the keyboard the Avid way and perform operations such as loading and configuring effects with the mouse.

Avid Media Composer can be run via the mouse for most operations. That is not the fastest and most accurate way to run it though. To succeed as an Avid editor you have to learn the Avid way. Otherwise it will just frustrate you and leave you wondering why it is so hard. It isn't hard but it is different. It is efficient and fast once you learn it. Way faster than using a mouse.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 02:52 PM   #4
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Re: Avid for "graphical" editing?

Of course, editors also use the keyboard for Première. Just because you use the mouse doesn't mean they will.

Shortcut Keys | Switching to Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 | Adobe TV
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Old August 14th, 2012, 03:23 PM   #5
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Re: Avid for "graphical" editing?

Okay...you might be right Chris---I may have asked the wrong question.

Perhaps a simpler, more direct question might be one of feature sets:

Regardless of what one's definition of video editing encompasses...which NLE has the bigger feature set—Avid? Or Premiere Pro? (And by "feature set" I refer to ALL features---whether they pertain to straight video editing, audio editing, effects editing, etc.)

On reflection, I suspect what I mentioned in the original post is probably the case: that our Avid editors simply are not very fluent (and/or don't know "the Avid way" to edit).

Comparing keyboard shortcuts to mouse operations is apples to oranges (at least for me). But seeing someone do something in a painstakingly slow way---that you KNOW can be done another way much more quickly and efficiently...isn't a "this versus that" comparison. It's a "you're not very efficient" kind of situation.

I'd really like to take our editors up to a higher level in terms of fluency with the software (whether it's Avid or Premiere). So I need to find out where they can do that...but that's another thread. :-)

Scott
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Old August 14th, 2012, 05:02 PM   #6
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Re: Avid for "graphical" editing?

Media Composer is not going to be the low cost solution vs pretty much any other editing system feature for feature. A full Media Composer setup is expensive so if cost is a primary factor then it may not be the best choice.

MC has solid composting available with AvidFX (rebranded Boris Red, http://www.borisfx.com/red/). Its out of the box titling packages are at best OK but not great. I have come to rely on the AMA feature to get media into the system quickly and determine what is going to be used in an edit. You can get Boris Continuum Complete which has a good selection of effects (http://www.borisfx.com/avid/bccavx/). Squeeze integrates into the workflow with MC exceptionally well and takes advantage of GUI acceleration which can cut your export times by a factor of 10.

Avid has put a lot of work into making the interface more mouse friendly. It is far from perfect. You can do just about anything with the mouse alone but it isn't the most efficient method. Many of the Boris effects have added on screen controls to make them more mouse friendly.

Where Media Composer shines is in large installations. Its media management (in my opinion) is the best in the industry. There are solutions that make moving projects around a large organization seamless and painless. Not painless for your wallet though.

It is a very solid package. I own 3 seats of Media Composer. Over the last 3 years of regular use I have learned to really like how it works. It is at its best in a large scale production house. It is not the best choice if you don't understand how to edit the Avid way. It is not the best choice if you are looking for low cost option.
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Last edited by Chris Medico; August 14th, 2012 at 05:11 PM. Reason: Clarity.. and added some links
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Old August 15th, 2012, 09:34 AM   #7
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Re: Avid for "graphical" editing?

Thanks Chris.

We all inhabit different production worlds. In ours, we all tend to wear many hats (mainly out of necessity), and though some might consider this beyond the job description of "video editor," I want my editors to be reasonably fluent with graphic design techniques too.

I don't ask them to be After Effects gurus or do 3-D modeling/animation (that's a WHOLE different world!)...but I do expect them to quickly and easily be able to manipulate Photoshop files, edit text, and work with basic effects (like Gaussian blur, sharpening, alpha channels, blending modes, etc.).

I also expect them to be fluent at basic audio engineering techniques like compression, limiting, noise reduction, and doing sometimes complex audio edits using an audio editor and a waveform display.

I know Premiere (and it's integration with Audition, Photoshop, After Effects, etc.) can handle all those tasks in one package (Creative Suite)...and I'm just trying to find out whether Avid can too (either as a part of Media Composer...or through add-ons like Boris).

Scott
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Old August 15th, 2012, 11:45 AM   #8
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Re: Avid for "graphical" editing?

Media Composer can handle all those tasks with the addition of BCC effects and AvidFX. It comes out of the box with good audio controls and with v6 can do surround sound mapping.

I understand completely about wearing many hats. I am in that world myself being the owner of a very small company with only 1 regular employee. I was offering some info stating that in the past Avids demographic has been large scale installations where job segregation is more prevalent. If you talk to people from that environment you may get a very different answer than asking someone like myself that has to do many jobs along a projects execution.

Now that Avid is moving into a price point where smaller companies can afford the product they are having to change and become more like FCP and Adobe. You will find it to be a very capable system when you purchase it bundled with BCC and AvidFX.
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