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Old January 13th, 2010, 05:00 PM   #1
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Orphaned Liquid Owner Needs Advice

As some of you may know -Liquid Edition is now an end of life program which has left many of its loyal users out in the cold. As a result, I have found myself forced to invest a lot of time and money learning something new.

I am aware trial versions are available for the major NLE programs from Avid, Grass Valley, Adobe, etc. Unfortunately a trial version does not usually allow the time necessary to learn how to use the program or fully understand what it is capable of.
None of these editing programs are particularly intuitive to a first time user.

Advice from a former Liquid owner if possible would be helpful since they already have an understanding of what I have been using.
But any advice would be appreciated at this point since this will be a major investment in software, Training DVDís, and the time required to learn something new.

I am a hobbyist as opposed to a professional.
I do not use a camera but instead a Canopus ADVC-300 capture box to import media ( primarily from TV) so camera compatibility is not an issue.

The thing I liked about Liquid was the wealth of Editors ( 2D and 3D) and the many effects available inside the program ( i.e. Hollywood FX, Old Film Effects, etc.). The ability to key frame just about any effect or editor was also something I used quite a bit.

I have looked at Edius but it does not seem to have those capabilities.

I am looking at Media Composer but it is a very complex program and understanding Liquid has not proven very helpful in figuring it out.

It appears the only way to learn these programs is to buy an expensive book and training DVDís and by then you already have a major investment in one of these products before you have even bought any software.

Since many of you are familiar with these programs and know what they can do I thought you might save me some time and money by pointing me in the right direction right off the bat.

I am aware Premiere and After Effects together have more power than Liquid did alone but the idea of switching between two programs seemed to be a lot of hassle and a little intimidating to a novice.

The choices seem to be between Avid Media Composer and the Adobe Suite.
If Media Composer can do everything Liquid could do as far as effects and key framing it may be the better choice since I could do all the work in one program.
If not then I am not opposed to Adobe products assuming they are not so complex you have to use them everyday in order to remember how they operate.

It may be best to explain what I do beyond capturing and burning old movies to DVD.

The reason I am so partial to the effects and key framing in Liquid is I make a lot of Music Videos ( using stock footage) for my wife and I. This is not a commercial endeavor but something I do for our own enjoyment.

If you know Liquid you probably understand why it works so well for that activity. The ability to put markers on a Waveform on the timeline and key frame effects to synch with the music has allowed me to create some very impressive results.

That was one of the reasons the Premiere and After Effects combo made me a little nervous. I wasnít sure if you could keep everything in synch while moving in and out of two programs. With Liquid the timeline stayed in one place and it was relatively easy to create transitions and effects and keep everything synched up while I was doing it.

I am going to spend a lot of money both on software and training DVDís and I would rather buy the right thing at the outset rather than buy one thing and then realize it will not suit my needs and be out buying something else later.

I guess it all boils down to this- can Media Composer do the sophisticated effects and key framing Liquid can do and if not- can a hobbyist gain enough understanding of the Adobe suite to use it occasionally without having to spend hours relearning all the basics?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


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Old January 13th, 2010, 10:18 PM   #2
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Good question. Having done a similar search I am not content on making any choice with confidence. The advertisements for all of them are full of optimism and promises, but from the forums it seems like every editing program is filled with issues of one kind or another that make them less than ideal, especially for the user that isn't using them daily. Maybe hang onto your program another year to see what develops., the Avid forum keeps talking about another whole new 100% replacement for AVID LIQUID, with a new name, that would be good, maybe wouldn't have to reprogram your brain 100%.
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Old January 13th, 2010, 10:24 PM   #3
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Old January 13th, 2010, 10:30 PM   #4
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Hi, Alec. Welcome to the forum.

First, all the editors you mentioned will do FX like Liquid does. The difference will be what FX come standard with the software and what FX you'll have to buy separately.

More than likely, the pro software will not have the types of FX you use in your projects bundled with it. The higher end stuff is bundled with filters and transitions, sure, but not many FX. But there are hundreds of plugins you can purchase for the big boys that will have all the bells and whistles FX that you want.

Second, they are all going to do the FX a little differently. The good news is they are all keyframe-based. Your job is to figure out how the software requires you to implement those keyframes. Adobe uses a "rubberband" style keyframe interface right on the timeline. Apple's Final Cut Pro has a separate window for it's "rubberbands". Avid is more like Adobe but just a little different.

I'd suggest looking at Premiere and Vegas. Both are very good editors with good timeline keyframe interfaces and a lot of third party plugins. You don't have to have After Effects to do what you're talking about doing. You can do it all in the editor as long as you have the right plugins. Load the trials and see what FX they come with, then Google for a plugin with the FX you want.

Now I have to ask. Why do you feel you need to get something different? Just because the product is end-of-life doesn't mean you can't still use it as long as you have a computer that will run it. If you like what Liquid does for you and you have a system that can run it, keep running it! Why not?
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Old January 13th, 2010, 11:17 PM   #5
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Thank You for your reply.

The reason I am considering moving on is Liquid seems to have been made for a "point in time" that no longer exists. As software and hardware have advanced it has not been updated accordingly.

A few effects no longer function properly with my new video card.

The program can no longer export Divx files. Every attempt crashes the program. According to the Liquid forums it can not deal with the newer Divx codecs. As I said I capture a lot of movies and finally bought a DVD player that can play Divx files. Where it used take at least one DVD per movie, with Divx I can fit four on the same disk. I tried uninstalling the Divx and Liquid software and reinstalling it to no avail.

Finally ( and this is more want than need) I built a Core I7 computer and Liquid is still so slow it can take all night to render effects and size changes to some of the media I use.

It does not have the ability to utilize multi-core processors.

Yes it still functions in a fashion and I know I can work around the Divx issue but it has been made clear no further development will be made to Liquid according to the forums. As a result it is inevitable I am going to have to move on to something else. I decided I might as well do it now and learn a newer product that will be updated instead of abandoned.

Liquid was the first NLE I ever used and it took many hours watching training discs to finally get relatively competent with it. If they were going to continue updating it we would not be having this conversation. I would just buy the upgrades for a product I already understand.

But since that is not the case I decided to "get on with it' and go ahead and spend the time and money necessary to learn a newer program.
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Old January 13th, 2010, 11:32 PM   #6
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First, if you could learn Liquid, the alternatives shouldn't pose a problem (it was the first NLE I tried and drove me nuts. I am a FCP professional and dabble in Premiere Pro, both with LOTS less hair-pulling than Liquid!) However, point well made that these NLE programs aren't big on effects, handing those off to secondary programs (e.g., After Effects, Motion)

Now, Adobe After Effects is extremely powerful. It has a steep learning curve, but if you want FX, AAE can do the job, paired with Premiere Pro. But....

Maybe the current version of Pinnacle Movie Studio Ultra , which always comes with gobs of effects, might work for you? (Tried it also, in the bad-old-days when crash was it's middle name. Full disclosure, have no recent experience with it.)

With the new CPU you have, it might have enough moxie to run Studio. It has limitations, of course, but last time I looked, it was fat with FX and the price is pretty reasonable....might be worth checking out.../ Battle Vaughan
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Old January 14th, 2010, 02:13 AM   #7
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If you are willing to spend the money on Media Composer, it will certainly come bundled with all you need. Though you could say the same for the Adobe product and it's $500 cheaper.

No one can make this decision for you, but certainly both Premiere and Avid MC are the choice of a great many professionals in the industry.

In your position, I'd go with the one that "feels" better.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 06:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Alec Redfearn View Post
It does not have the ability to utilize multi-core processors.
I know what you mean about Liquid not having kept pace with technological developments, but the software as it exists can in fact make use of two core/processor systems. One for the editing interface and one for background rendering, if I'm not mistaken. More would be nice, certainly, but two is better than one.

Nonetheless, considering the total blackout on NexGen information, I can sympathize with wanting to switch and thought I should remind everyone who wants to go the Media Composer route of the excellent Liquid-to-MC migration tutorials courtesy of Douglas R. Bruce.

There were only a few videos available when he first mentioned them on this forum, but it seems he's been rather busy producing more; find the first hundred at The First 100 Basic MC Tutorials - Completed May 11th, 2009 - Avid Community and the second set at The Next 100 Basic MC Tutorials - (76 uploaded January 10th) - Avid Community. Should come in quite handy, as Mr. Bruce is himself a Liquid convert, and the first few videos in the series are aimed at others pursuing the same avenue.

Just don't forget that, as I've heard through at least one grapevine, MC is very (very) particular about hardware configuration, despite having been re-released as a software only product. You may want to ask around to see if your choice of components is going to give you any headaches.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 01:44 PM   #9
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I'm in the same boat but I don't use that many effects.
I've stuck with Liquid because it's the best-designed piece of software that I have ever used (I realise that's a very personal observation).
Am hanging on, hoping that 'Nextgen', the rumoured replacement for Liquid, will deliver.
It is however quite insulting the way that Avid seem to be completely ignoring the remaining Liquid users.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 09:22 PM   #10
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Why don't you fuse your files as an AVI and purchase something to convert it to DIVX. That is a much cheaper alternative and buys some time for a possible NextGen emergence. It doesn't appear as though Avid cares about losing it's great Liquid user base though.
The real problem is if you want to do AVCHD. I'm going to be in the same boat as you when the new Sony cameras come out. Liquid was a very much underestimated piece of software.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 01:37 AM   #11
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I wanted to thank all of you for the time you took to reply to my question. It was very informative and helpful.

I think I am going to go the Premiere- After Effects route as opposed to Media Composer. The comment regarding Media Composer being finicky regarding hardware helped make the decision.

I started out years ago with a Pinnacle DC1000 and was only able to use it two years before I was forced to move to XP which made it useless.

As far as the argument Liquid "may" be updated, I must admit I no longer care. This is not a way for any company to treat a loyal user base who has given them thousands of dollars through the years. I am in business and if I was that high handed with the people who come to my office I would have been out of business years ago.

Plus- to be honest Avid is the very company who put me in this situation after they bought Pinnacle. All things being equal- I can not see a reason to give them more money when they are the ones that abandoned Liquid and me in the first place.

At least if I use Adobe products I have a reasonable assurrance there will be updates in the future.

Thanks again- I really appreciate the time all of you took to help me with this.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 02:05 AM   #12
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While I have every confidence that Premiere + After Effects will do all you want, I do want to make a quick comment about Avid.

I am quite sure that Avid would love to have a viable product in the marketplace below it's Media Composer product. However, like many companies who lost sight of the plot, they were issued a severe wake-up call by Final Cut Studio. That product undercut anything Avid could offer. It has most of the features of MC, some of the features of Avid DS, and is offered at a cost that was $1500 less than Media Composer.

I am sure there was a lot of handwringing about how to handle the scenario. But being in business I am sure you understand the need to take care of your primary customer base when you must retract your business and refocus. As much as it stings to be orphaned, Avid as a company had to get their house in order in terms of product, attitude, and service.

Media Composer is not going anywhere, and it will continue to be updated. It is Avid's core business product both on PC and Mac. In regard to Avid being finicky there is a very good reason for it. The specifications for their machines tend to produce excellent editing platforms. Regardless which NLE is running on it. Honestly, Premiere CS5 is going to be a SHOCK to many. If you think Avid is finicky, go read the requirements for the Mercury playback engine from Adobe. Avid will look like an open system by comparison.

Again, this is not to dissuade you from your choice. Go in with your eyes open and do your complete research before you lay your money on the table.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 12:46 PM   #13
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I just took a look (really, I should have done this before), but for the record here are the system requirements for Media Composer 4.0: http://www.avid.com/products/Media-C...quirements.asp

It's not that they're exactly unreasonable, just that if you don't already have the specific components demanded you'd need to spend the money to upgrade or replace your system, in addition to buying MC. The only requirements you don't appear meet are the call for XP Pro and an NVIDIA graphics card, minimum a Quadro FX 560. Street price on the 500 series doesn't seem to be the end of the world, less than most mid-level gaming cards, but if you're not interested in a hardware replacement it seems you're out of luck. I didn't mean to come off as too discouraging in my earlier comments; I can't speak from personal experience, but by the look of things you may actually be able to run the program with an OS upgrade and graphics card swap.

Someone in the market for a new workstation could also check this knowledge base entry for a list of Avid-qualified systems.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 12:56 PM   #14
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Robert: For the purposes of illustration, I am going to paste the content from the Avid Page here:

* Computer: Avid-qualified Windows-based computer or laptop (see details)
* OS: Windows XP Professional SP2/SP3 (32-bit), Windows Vista Business SP2 (32-bit* and 64-bit), Windows Vista Ultimate SP2 (64-bit)
* Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz processor or faster
* Memory: 2 GB of RAM (4 GB of RAM recommended; Windows Vista requires 4 GB of RAM)
* Graphics Card: NVIDIA Quadro FX family** (FX 560 or higher)
* Internal Hard Drive: Minimum 80 GB 7200 rpm hard disk
* Optical Drive: DVD drive for disc-based software installation

I don't think that anyone doing serious HD editing is going to be put off by having to run XP Pro, or Vista. And if they don't have at least a core2duo (which have been out since ~2007) they they are probably not much in the game anyway. 3-4GB of Ram has been normal since 32bit XP days. A 7200RPM hard drive is recommend by every NLE manufacturer. Optical drive is standard on every PC or laptop these days. So really, it just comes down to a Quadro card.

I don't think asking someone to spend a couple hundred bucks on a solid graphics card is that large an impediment. The FX560 is no longer available, but it's replacement the FX570 is $159 dollars at Amazon. Buying something a bit faster would probably be smart though if you are going to be doing a lot of effects work.

For the record, I am running a Dell machine with Windows 7 and a high end quadro card. It's been fine. My Dell laptop also seems to be a popular choice with Avid editors. In general, Avid asks for a specific graphics card, a decent hard drive, a processor that is newer than 3 years old, $100 in RAM, and a DVD drive to install the software. I can't see how that's really being all that finicky.

Now what does that buy you? Well consider the movie Avatar. Editing started in 2007. On Media Composer 2.8.4. At that time, the hot setup was a core2quad. They did not upgrade the machines or the software during the editing process (even though Avid with with 3d capability in v3.5). So by using an Avid certified level editing system from 2007, they were able to put a $350M movie on the screen in 2009. If you give the software a fighting chance, it's really quite fast.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 01:14 PM   #15
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I stand corrected.

I would hardly be put off by a few hundred extra dollars if already spending the money on Media Composer, but not everyone's comfortable with that. I just didn't want to be the one who recommended it, I guess; I'm not usually comfortable making any kind of recommendations.

I was really only here to make note of Douglas' tutorial series, I shouldn't have even bothered with the "finicky" statement. Until now I was under the impression the software wouldn't even run unless you had one of the specific models of specific brand hardware listed in the "certified systems" PDF I linked. That was all based on hearsay, however, and I was negligent in my lack of research.

Alec, I must admit my embarrassment at this situation, and I apologize for steering you in the wrong direction, but I'll reverse my earlier hesitant attitude; after hearing all of this, if it were my money I'd grab a Quadro and jump to Media Composer.
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