Bye Bye FCP, Hello Avid.

Well I’ve been deliberating, experimenting and talking to other editors over which NLE to adopt following the launch of FCP-X. I’ve played with Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 which is really easy to transition to from FCP as it has a similar interface and editing style. I’ve experimented with FCP-X, which is very fast but has so many missing features and forces you to work in ways I don’t always like and I’ve even considered ditching my Mac’s and getting PC’s to run Edius or Vegas. Vegas is very powerful but has a quirky interface, while I hear nothing but good things about Edius, I guess I’m just not ready to ditch my Mac’s just yet. So that leaves Avid Media Composer.

For a long time my biggest issue with Avid has been the inability to use 3rd party IO devices like low cost Blackmagic or AJA HDSDi cards. But that’s all started to change. The current version of Media Composer (5.5) will allow you to use a Matrox MXO or AJA IO Express. So now you can easily connect to the external world from your Avid edit suite. A few days ago Avid announced that they will soon be releasing Media Composer 6 which is to be a very significant update.

MC 6 will make it much easier for 3rd party IO manufactures to produce cards that will work with Avid. It will also work natively with Apple ProRes, so all my old ProRes files from my FCP projects will go straight in to Avid. In addition Avid are introducing a 444 version of their DNxHD codec, so this will be a good match for my F3 and S-Log.  Avid also supports 3D editing and now comes with a comprehensive set of production tools including Boris Continuum, Boris Effects, SonicFire Smartsound, Sorenson Squeeze and Sonic Avid DVD (PC Only). Media Composer 6 is also a 64bit application show should run nice and quick.

It’s been a while since I used Avid on a day to day basis so I will have a bit of learning to do, but it’s reassuring to know that Avid are specialists in NLE software, so it will work and will do what an editor wants.  So with the software chosen now all I need to do is work out which external IO to get. As my Mac’s have Thunderbolt, the Matrox MXO boxes make an interesting and low cost option.

9 thoughts on “Bye Bye FCP, Hello Avid.”

  1. Don’t forget Media 100. I’ve been using it continuously since 1993 and it’s now better than ever. Fastest, most intuitive timeline of any NLE, with all the power of Boris Red built in. AJA hardware support and XML transfer to AFX. Got to be worth a look?

  2. Allister,

    Would you believe it… just as I switched my three Avid editing stations over to FCP7 they switched to FCP X. And, at the same time, I plan to add either F3 or Scarlet X to my prime camera ingest source.

    I basically switched to FCP7 because of two reasons: 1) the older Avid before 5 and 6 seemed to be falling behind the times and were spagetti coded messes and the majority of editor talent seems to have switched to FCP. Always a factor.

    Then BAMB. The world changes. Avid wakes up. Apple screws up.
    Plus new cameras for better cine like visuals for broadcast.

    What do you think? Would you switch back to Avid 6 while the workstations are still sitting here and forget about FCPX until the dust settles?

    Given each editor Avid 6 vs FCP whatever, does it make any difference which camera F3 orScarlet X would you base your life and future on as a production house I prefer not to maintain all platforms going forward please.


    1. FCP-X is not ready for professional prime time.
      FCP 7 is no longer supported, so is basically end of life.
      Premiere Pro is very good, I will probably use this for some projects, but Premiere is not currently considered a “pro” NLE in quite the same way as FCP or Avid. There are some things that PP just does not do well, some of the FX look very nasty.
      Avid looks set to take a major step forward with version 6. 64 bit, open support for 3rd party I/O etc.

      Avid is an edit software company, that’s what they do, it’s what they specialise in. They appear to be becoming more focussed on the core software rather than trying to bundle in their own hardware. I don’t need to worry about them suddenly pulling the plug or radically changing the software. There are still plenty of Avid editors out there.

      Maybe, in a year or so’s time FCP-X will mature into a proper pro tool. Then I may take another look, but I’m not convinced. Apple make money by selling hardware, software is a sideline so I’m not convinced it will get the attention it really needs.

      Avid 6 will support Red I believe so no problems there.

  3. Interesting Alister, you move over to the purple side, the one thing that would stop me moving is the inability to make DVDs on a mac, I do prefer a one stop shop editing experience. Your 3D work does influence your decision and we both know FCPX does not cut the professional mustard. Good luck, keep us informed on your progress.

    1. Well while FCP and Premier my have round trip tools for creating DVD’s it’s not exactly one stop. Creating a DVD from Avid does require additional software, but as I already have FCS I can use DVD studio so it’s no great hardship. To be honest though, I can’t remember the last time I did a video DVD. I seem to be doing everything as Broadcast Files on hard drives, streaming media or files on USB flash drives these days.

  4. I read a rumor about a year ago that the BBC were moving to Premiere Pro? Any truth to that? I cut long form projects on Premiere Pro CS5.5 and on a PC and couldn’t be happier. Any special effects go through After Effects. Very stable and real time colour correction is a breeze.

    1. I do believe that a large number of CS5 system were put in place as part of their digital desktop scheme. The idea being that journalists can cut their own segments rather than having to use an editor. I don’t believe that CS5.5 is replacing Avid in the edit suites, just for local workstation use, although I could be wrong.

      I find that Premier starts to bog down on big or complex projects and I’m not happy with the quality of some of the built in effects, the motion control in particular is not great. I know I could round trip out to After Effects and back, but I don’t want to have to do that, I want to stay in the same programme for my editing and basic effects.

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