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What Happens in Vegas...
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Old September 1st, 2007, 07:04 PM   #1
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Vegas vs FCP

I recently started a job at a local production company. The owner was completely blown away by my demo reel, that is until he learned that I use Vegas. He claims that Vegas just isn't up to par when it comes to broadcast television. He can never give a precise answer to exactly what Vegas is lacking. He just continues to profess that "FCP is a definite step up." So now he has me editing show with FCP; learning as I go.
What I want to know is what are the essential differences between Vegas and FCP. SAVE YOUR PERSONAL OPINIONS AND PREFERENCES. I don't really care what the industry standard is... I'm an independent at heart. I know FCP is a 10 bit program and Vegas is 8 bit. However I own the Sony hvr v1 and the company owns xl-2s, and if I'm not mistaken HDV/DV records 8bit images. So the 8 bit vs 10bit shouldn't matter.. or does it? With FCP our company renders an uncompressed quicktime .mov then uses sorensen to encode for broadcasting. I can just as easily render an uncompressed .mov in Vegas, or is there a difference in the quality of the render?
Basically what I want to know is what makes Vegas unideal for television broadcast?

Thanks!
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Old September 1st, 2007, 10:29 PM   #2
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1- On some level, it may be difficult to convince your boss otherwise unless you go about it the right way.

Quote:
and if I'm not mistaken HDV/DV records 8bit images. So the 8 bit vs 10bit shouldn't matter.. or does it?
HDV/DV records 8-bit Y'CbCr. When you convert that to R'G'B', you get rounding error if converting to 8-bit R'G'B'. So there is a small difference there. But I don't believe you'll see it since any noise in the image (and HDV and DV compression add noise) will dither away banding artifacts.

FCP's 10-bit pipeline has some bugs in it.

In practice, it's not something I'd worry about (other than the bugs, which you will notice). There are other areas where technical compromises and such are made (e.g. compression; chroma filtering behaviour). In the grand scheme of things, no one will notice.

For high-end broadcast work, your masters will have to go through a QC process. Material edited in a 8-bit pipeline should pass through fine. The things they ding you on are timings being off by a frame/field, titles going out of title safe (anything touching 10% will get a comment), any rendering errors, illegal levels, errors in general.

Quote:
With FCP our company renders an uncompressed quicktime .mov then uses sorensen to encode for broadcasting.
That's a weird workflow? For most broadcast work I've seen, the broadcaster will want betaSP or digital betacam as the delivery format.

Quote:
Basically what I want to know is what makes Vegas unideal for television broadcast?
Perception???

Unless you are setting up an uncompressed system, there isn't a big difference between the two. If you are, FCP enjoys better third-party support.

2- For certain types of high-end work, both FCP and Vegas aren't up to par compared to systems like Discreet Flame, iQ, Mistika, etc.
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Old September 1st, 2007, 10:31 PM   #3
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Even if you capture 8-bit video, once you start processing, you add more bits. For instance, an 8-bit number times another 8-bit number yields a 16-bit number. An 8-bit number plus an 8-bit number yields a nine bit number. The bit depth especially matters in color correction.

The other reason is, of course, the defacto thing. The next place you go they'll probably tell you that Avid is the only NLE good enough for broadcast.

Oh well, you're getting paid to learn another tool. Not bad. :)
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Old September 2nd, 2007, 12:02 AM   #4
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1) Funny - I'm your career doppleganger, I'm in the opposite situation you are. I'm a freelance FCP editor who took a job requires me to use Vegas.

Your boss is probably just uninformed. I work in Broadcast TV and despite initial worries, Vegas served me fine.

My advice is to just smile, nod and politely change the subject when he says something like that. You'll never win this argument. Especially if it turns out he's just prefers Macs to PCs like I do. Mac versus PC anything is a quasi-religious thing with us.

Let Vegas and your work speak for itself. Plus, FCP is a great program and mastering it could only help your career.

2) Glenn - The workflow isn't weird for some of us. Many government run stations are using relatively inexpensive automated scheduling programs like Tightrope or CastNet to run their channel. Most the time we just want you to deliver a mpeg-2 , wmv, mov, etc...

At my station, one guy comes in on Saturdays with a 40 gb portable hard drive and justs dumps five or six shows onto the server.
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Last edited by Theodore McNeil; September 2nd, 2007 at 12:48 AM. Reason: workflow: mpeg
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Old September 2nd, 2007, 12:32 AM   #5
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Great answer Theodore. It doesn't hurt to know more tools.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 01:59 PM   #6
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Back in the late '80s, I had a boss that swore "these desktop PC-things" would never catch on to do any serious work, 'cause only expensive MAINFRAME computers could do anything serious.

;-)
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