Hey folks… Bit a bit of a while since I’ve last typed here, things have been happily busy, and I’ve been working on a few new, and very cool, projects.
A few weeks ago I got hired to edit the second season of a talk-format web series. The hosts/producers are both friends and professional colleagues for whom I have a great deal of respect, so it’s the best of all worlds. More on the specifics in a couple of weeks, when the first episode hits the InterWebz.
Among the other opportunities the new gig has provided was in being able to decide the editing platform, as my producers were very open to options. After a bit of thinking the most logical decision, and the best for the show, was to edit in Adobe Premiere CC.
Again, a news/talk format, the show lends itself towards a visual style with a decent amount of motion graphics, so After Effects and Photoshop integration was highly desirable, also, since this will be an “all-online” workflow, and I will be finishing the show, good color and audio tool integration was also a consideration.
The main contenders were Avid Media Composer 7, Final Pro Cut 7, Final Cut X (10.1), and Adobe Premiere CC. A few words on each:
I didn’t want to fight the rigidity of an Avid workflow… Avid is an industrial-strength tool and, I feel, works best for large shows involving heavy media management, a collaborative environment, and tasks that require passing the project off to a number of departments. Sure, it will work well on small, one-editor, shows, but while Avid has come a long way, it is still the most rigid of NLE’s for creative editing.
FCP 7 wasn’t a consideration, especially after I started working with Premiere. I realize there are still a lot of editors working with FCP 7, but it is a lost cause… The time it will take to transition over to Adobe Premiere will be made up in an almost instant return on productivity. Not only does Premiere do everything FCP 7 does, it does more, it does it better, and it does it in a 64-bit application that is free from the random crashes, the continual need to render and re-render the timeline, and the ridiculously long render times to export and transcode timelines for upload to YouTube and other venues. Using FCP 7 is, at this point, a waste of an editor’s time and producers money. Harsh words, but true… In fact I’m so passionate about this point that when another editor friend of mine asked what I would do if offered a gig where I had to use FCP 7, my response was “Tell the client that it would be double my rate or I’d decline the job.”
FCP X (10.1) has taken another major step forward, and is a very, very good editing package. It is not, however, as easy a transition from FCP 7 as going to Avid or Premiere would be. I will use FCP X on other projects… Particularly a new podcast/YouTube-cast show that I’m developing. For now, my biggest gripe is that FCP X wants you to work the way Apple wants you to work, and not how editors have worked since the beginning of time. Is that saying that FCP X’s workflow is bad? No, but it’s a radically different paradigm, and the tool itself has a lot of very unintuitive options in the workflow that can hang you out to dry unless you are sure of how to navigate them … And there are a lot of tools that still do not work as advertised, which is especially frustrating give Apple’s “You will work the way we want you to work” philosophy. Real-life example:
For my current show I had a bunch of existing assets that I needed to look at—Motion graphics that had been created using the the Animation codec. Well, Apple has decided, with the implementation of OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) that a number of “legacy” codecs needed to be deprecated, Animation being one of them. Try to open up a file that was created using one of these codecs in the latest iteration of Quicktime, and Quicktime will convert the file to ProRes, while you sit there waiting, before allowing playback.
One problem: The conversion will not maintain any alpha channels during the conversion, so if you’re dealing with a motion graphic that supports transparency, you will lose it and get black.
The supported work-around for this is to render all of your motion graphic files with alpha channels in ProRes 4444, which will preserve the alpha channel, and create a very high quality, not to mention huge, movie file.
Okay, fine… I decided to use Compressor 4.1, the latest iteration, to batch convert the graphics, as the new-and-improved user interface and workflow would make fast work of what is a more laborious set-up process in After Effects.
Another problem: Compressor 4.1′s preset for Motion Graphics with Alpha Channel doesn’t work as advertised: It doesn’t preserve the alpha channel, so you’re back to square one.
I finally wound up converting everything to ProRes 4444 in After Effects, but the more important take away is: Apple wants you to work the way they want you to work, even if the tools they give you to do it are broken, and godz help you if you want to try and get a bug report into Apple, since they’ve been hearing about this same problem for over a year, and two different Compressor versions, and still haven’t fixed it.
So Adobe Premiere CC, and the whole Creative Cloud Suite, wound up being my choice for productivity, stability, and tools that work as advertised for the type of show my clients are doing.
Again, Premiere is, to my way of thinking, everything that Final Cut Pro 8 could have been if Apple had kept the Professional Editor in mind, and thought a little “less differently.” It’s an easy-to-transition to tool, with a familiar editing paradigm that is powerful, feature-rich, and extremely stable. Yeah, I’ve found a couple of bugs, but nothing earth shattering, and Adobe is great about taking feedback. Also the whole Creative Cloud approach means that there is no need to wait on a an annual or semi-annual software release cycle, as updates to the tools in the suite are made available when ready.
I’ve finished a rough cut of the first episode of our show, am now integrating graphics, and looking forward to finishing sound and color all from within the Creative Cloud environment.
O brave new world, That has such
people software in’t!