Theater of Thought

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Hi, I'm Tanaya and I'm in the entertainment industry. Here to entertain me and hopefully you with this blog with a discussion of media, movie reviews, cool internet videos, events, and more.

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Which Do I Prefer?

It’s been a long running debate on which editing software is better. As of this year, the three big contenders are of course Final Cut Pro 7, Avid Media Composer, and Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 or CC (the Creative Cloud version). As a person who has done multiple projects on both, I can tell you all three definitely have their pros and cons.

Final Cut Pro 7


This is called the “Accidental Twilight Look.jpg”

Apple technically owns this software so it’s only available on for Mac computers and that makes it the least desirable of the three as PC’s are more cost effective to everyone. Yet, perhaps the most alarming thing about FCP7 is the fact that it’s outdated. It was released in 2009 along  with other FCP Studio programs Compressor, Motion, Color, and Soundtrack Pro. It’s superior color correction software made it easier to do advanced color correction and then send back to your editing timeline with little effort. You’d basically have to use Color though because the effect, ‘3-Way Color Correction’ in FCP is really that bad. In it’s heyday it was probably considered the prosumer’s safe haven, and definitely a must for any independent or student filmmaker. In 2014, however, it lacks the ability to support the ever-changing camera codecs such as Red’s new 6K compability. Everything must be in it’s native format Apple Pro Res to really work properly.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS6/CC


The first music video I edited in Premiere and it was shot on the Red Epic. I know use Premiere Pro exclusively for music videos and videos where I know I will have to use a lot of After Effects.

Codecs are where Premiere Pro shines. Adobe is great at complimenting their editing software with their other renown programs like After Effects and Photoshop. Most music video editors and motion graphics editors prefer this software because it allows the smoothness between compositing graphics and effects in AE and then sending it back to Premiere Pro with the Dynamic Link feature. What I love the most about Premiere Pro and in particular the more recent versions, is the fact that you can edit pretty much any codec without running in to too many problems with rendering.

The only issue is in earlier versions like CS5, when dealing with two different types of codecs in the same timeline and having lag when adding effects. This is the to go if you’re using RED footage because you don’t have to wait for it to compress in the very faulty an unstable, Compressor for FCP, or transcode it to Avid DNxHD for the Avid. It saves a lot of time in the long run. Just make sure you have a good system with good ram to back this powerhouse of a system. When used properly you can be running the Premiere Pro project in Premiere and AE simultaneously. Additionally, with Premiere Pro CC you can just pay a monthly installment instead of flesh out a bajillion dollars for it like you’d have to do with Avid or FCPX (just kidding FCPX sucks).

Avid Media Composer


The first project I did in Avid. Please excuse the amateur timeline sequence, but please applaud my choice of coloring; the setting is called Gurple.

Last, but not least, the Avid. I’ve edited on Nitris and Symphony before as well, but I ultimately see no worthwhile differences. I will just look at the software I own which is the Media Composer. Like Premiere Pro, you can edit on PC or Mac which is great. I consider this the industry standard because it is professionally used by most major networks including MTV, CBS, NBC, HGTV, TLC, Fuse, and HBO to name a few. It is also used marginally by Oscar winning film editors. There are editors who swear by Avid, but as someone who’s first editing software was Final Cut Express, I can tell you that it still has it’s weak points.

Dealing with it as an Assistant Editor more so than an Editor, I’ve realized how to troubleshoot many of its problems which are mostly due to the fact that its not that intelligent of a system. There isn’t a simplified way of saying this so I will give an example: the Avid runs in to many problems and one of the most startling ones is the fact that is (most of the time) controlled by a Dongle or tangible keygen usb drive that licenses and enables you to use the software on your computer.

Avid similarly uses this with DigiDesign’s Pro Tools software and it’s really annoying. Firstly, you are only given one of these and if you lose it or it some how gets corrupt you are in a world of trouble. There’s no easy fix for this when it happens, and it most likely will but I’ve had to constantly unplug and plug it back in again, restart…restart…restart. Troubleshooting issues has been a large part of dealing with Avid. It’s learning curve is perhaps also harder than the other two, but once you get it’s uniqueness down, you’ll more than likely fall in love.

As far as editing film goes, I always prefer to use Avid, but for music videos it would have been okay to use for the three music videos I edited it with it, if I didn’t have to use After Effects. The long hours it takes to render and export out then to AE, rinse and repeat is not ideal. Lastly, the color correction effects in Avid are actually pretty good so you don’t need to really deal with doing Magic Bullet plugs in or what not if you don’t need to. You can get pretty decent grading without them.

Side note: I have yet to touch Vegas, but if and when I do, I’ll let you know how it goes.

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