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#1 Carlton Rahmani

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 01:25 AM

I am an editor who uses Adobe Premiere CS5 at work and Sony Vegas for my own projects. I like Sony Vegas; don't have a problem with it at all, or that I can really complain about. But I'm not dogmatic about it either. . .I just haven't gotten any real opportunity to do much more than observe Avid and Final Cut in action.
My question is a very REAL one: What makes Avid and Final Cut so 'superior' to Vegas, or even Premiere?
I'm looking for an answer other than "Whatever you can make work for you is what you should use. . ." I need to know WHY editors and production houses have such high regard for Avid and Final Cut. What makes these NLEs preferred by so many, or what makes them so powerful, etc?

For instance, I can tell you what I like about Vegas:
--It's rugged and more 'computer agnostic'. I don't have to buy a lot of expensive peripheries--or a needlessly expensive computer--to make it work. I started editing using a 2meg-ram laptop, and like the idea of keeping things light.
--Ease of use
--Continuous playing even while adjustments are being made, so you can check your work in real-time. Premiere, for instance, will simply STOP playing if you so much as adjust the volume levels.
--Great audio functions. . .I don't have to leave the program to do even (semi-)sophisticated sound work.
--I can decide where and how I want to lay out my audio and video tracks.

What I DON'T like:
--Doesn't really make good use of the GPU.
--Codec issues, particularly with Panasonic media.
--Limited number of plug-ins available for it, and doesn't really integrate into a larger 'creative suite' the way Adobe lets you take stuff in and out of its various programs.

So with that in mind, those of you who have the experience, please offer me some of your insight. . .concrete stuff.

Personally, I'm beginning to suspect more and more that Sony (and even Premiere) is getting a bad rap, and that the reason why Avid and Final Cut have their positions is largely do to early consensus on the matter: AVID was the first NLE, the Walter Murch did "Cold Mountain" on Final Cut. I would like more substantive reasons. I don't have anything 'against' FCP or Avid--in fact, I'm pretty sure I HAVE to learn them--but some real answers are necessary.

Thank.
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 02:25 AM

Personally, I'm beginning to suspect more and more that Sony (and even Premiere) is getting a bad rap, and that the reason why Avid and Final Cut have their positions is largely do to early consensus on the matter




Yes and no. Remember Premiere predated Final Cut by many years, although for all that time Adobe never really went after the same market as Avid (and, at the time, outfits like Media 100 and Lightworks).


There is no longer much real difference between what's possible in various NLEs, They all have tools that allow you to create a decent edit and much more besides. What differentiates them these days is things like codec support and interopability, as well as simple market penetration: I know at least one person who had little interest in FCP or Macs but had to get one because all of his jobs were arriving as FCP files.


This is opinion, but I think that there are compelling reasons to avoid Final Cut and Avid if you have no external reasons to go with them. Premiere is now technologically advanced beyond what Final Cut can do, especially as regards GPU acceleration and format support (with the critical exception of ProRes encoding). Final Cut is now getting rather old and clunky as a codebase and as such I think its reliability is beginning to suffer; whereas Premiere has had a recent ground-up rewrite. FCP is long overdue for this.


I always found Avid's user interface a bit of a throwback; I was a Premiere person first and that does really bring into sharp relief all of the things that Avid doesn't allow you to do. Much like Protools it has been in development for a very long time and that shows in the slightly chaotic layout and odd locations of certain things. The reason people keep using these things is that they get used to that layout and begin to perceive it as "correct", even if it doesn't really make that much sense. This is sometimes legitimate - retraining people is expensive and causes a periodic slowdown in production - but all too often it's just luddism.


Finally there's the issue that companies love this sort of vendor lock-in and do everything they can to encourage it. Both ProRes and DNxHD (which are technologically very similar) are unspectacular from an engineering standpoint, offering little more than MJPEG in terms of the absolute efficiency of the codec. They exist only to lock people into an FCP or Avid (respectively) postproduction path.


In the long term it doesn't really matter which you use, though. They're all basically competent.


P
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#3 Carlton Rahmani

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 11:27 AM

[quote name='Phil Rhodes' timestamp='1303889114' post='349560']
The reason people keep using these things is that they get used to that layout and begin to perceive it as "correct", even if it doesn't really make that much sense. This is sometimes legitimate - retraining people is expensive and causes a periodic slowdown in production - but all too often it's just luddism.[/size]
[size="2"]

Thanks for your reply . . .and that you brought up (re-training) and luddism in basically the same breath has a lot to do with where I'm coming from, now:

I work at a news station that just switched from DVCPro-based linear editing to Adobe. (Yes, I'm very new to the biz, but I now have linear editing under my belt, which was something I learned happily, though with some initial frustration, just so I know I can do it.) Some of our guys have been shooting/editing news when they were still using FILM (and of course they got struggles, but I always give them props for their experience). Because of this, and the others who've never used NLEs, we've had to hire on a couple of occasions trainers to come in and give everyone lessons, essentially 'by the numbers'. Nonetheless, people are able to learn enough to produce their daily packages and so on.

(A little FYI: The most recent trainer is also certified to teach FCP, though she says that the program is coming up with such a major overhaul that all of her current certification will be null and void with the new version.)

From my own experience, I started with consumer NLEs, and there were limitations that even my noob-self could detect with these. Isn't so much the case, now, except for what the grips I listed about Vegas and Premiere. Personally, I believe that a truly talented editor/filmmaker (or artist of any variety) can make something worth experiencing regardless of what they use to produce it, and that people with their various dogmas--the 'fanboys'--are more-or-less product whores.

I may or may not be personally at the level to make that claim with any authority; it's one of the reasons I'm looking for real answers apart from semi-educated opinions.
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#4 Jerry Murrel

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 10:31 PM

Phil Rhodes wrote:

"There is no longer much real difference between what's possible in various NLEs, They all have tools that allow you to create a decent edit and much more besides. What differentiates them these days is things like codec support and interopability, as well as simple market penetration ....." (post edited)


Great answer to a good question.

I've used FCP since Version 2.0 (back in the days when one had to buy FilmLogic as a $1000 stand-alone program).

Not sure I can keep justifying buying a new Mac every couple of years (now needing a third one). Nor do I feel excited about the pending release of FCP X, especially if it's going to require separate purchases to have DVD Studio, Color, and Soundtrack Pro functionality.

Hope to read more posts regarding this topic. Very informative, Phil.


-Jerry Murrel
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Little Rock
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