Xpress Pro First Impressions

End of my first week using Xpress Pro (with Mojo) in a professional setting. First reaction: this product has no fundamental reason to exist. It’s exactly the same as the Media Composer in most major ways, but has a list of minor and frustrating differences that make no sense at all.

  • You can’t have two rows of buttons or two rows of info.
  • You can’t have a “center duration” display. (Select I/O above your monitors instead.)
  • There’s no ability to select black in the source monitor.
  • There’s no “center pan” comand. You can’t center pan a group of clips in one step.
  • Timewarp is limited to a few presets.
  • There’s no effects mode icon under the timeline. You have to assign it to a key.
  • There’s no settings panel for confirguring the Fast Forward and Rewind commands. So, for example, you can’t get them to stop at locators.
  • You can’t add a film matte to an empty track, for example, to put a 1.85 matte over your entire sequence. (The workaround is to add an edit somewhere in the track first. Then add the matte to the two resulting black clips.)
  • The counter above the record monitor resets to timecode every time you start the Media Composer. If you want it in feet and frames you have to set it that way every time you start up.
  • You can’t slip or slide a clip by double clicking on it. You have to manually place the rollers at the ends of the clip.
  • When you drag a clip in segment mode, you don’t see a footage counter, so you can’t drag numerically.

Yes, I can find workarounds for some of these and I can probably get the job done with it, but it seems downright frustrating to create these tiny differences and yet make Xpress the same as Adrenaline in so many major areas such as HD capabilities, real-time multicam, color correction, script integration.

Of course, the goal is to encourage somebody like me to shell out the dough to move into a real Media Composer, software-only, while still keeping the product competitive with Final Cut in terms of major functionality. But the side effect of this stategy is that it sucks energy out of real R&D and puts it into the effort of differentiation and extra customer support and testing.

Meanwhile, Final Cut bundles groundbreaking auxilliary applications and sells the whole thing for less than Xpress. You don’t get a striped down version, you get the real thing.

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2 Comments on “Xpress Pro First Impressions”

  1. Norman Says:

    I find the film matte issue in Xpress Pro puzzling. Sometimes I CAN simply drag it to an open track. At other times I need to go through a few contortions to get it to stick.

    Xpress Pro is clearly simply a cripple MC that was created to compete in the software only market and actually works fairly well for that. Now, however, MCSoft has made it a dinosaur. It’s impossible to know why anyone would buy it other than its cheaper price.

    (By the way, the inability to have two rows of buttons and the center duration, is completely puzzling to me. At least as puzzling as to why I can’t make any Avid product default to starting with tracks locked — at least the tracks that I last selected to be locked together. Everything else seems to remember its last state. But not that. I’d like to be able to create a timeline view with user define locked or unlocked tracks == but NOOOO.)

  2. Steve Says:

    Do you mean sync locks? They’re tied to the sequence itself, not the timeline view. If you set the locks on a particular sequence and then reload it the locks come back. But I agree with you, it should be part of the timeline view itself, definitely.

    Another quirk of sync locks, on both MC and Xpro, is that you can easily go out of sync in segment mode. That just shouldn’t be possible with sync locks on. It can be very annoying and it makes segment mode less useful.


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