4K for Avid, Apple and Adobe

Following up on the last post, if we’re really looking at a future where resolution goes away as an issue for picture editing, as it has for sound, what does that mean for the designers of the software we use?

This is why so many people are now talking about “workflow.” What do we do with all this digital stuff? How does it move through the post production process?

But, frankly, I’m getting pretty tired of that word. Because it all too often means more work for the editing room. We end up shouldering more of the dailies burden and more responsibility for finishing, we work harder and longer and somehow, somebody else pockets the difference.

And I dislike the word for another reason. Because it’s become an excuse for editing equipment manufacturers to ignore the needs of editors. They start thinking that they’ll win the game if only they can cut Red material directly, or P2 or XDCam. And yes, of course, that’s important. But focusing on it tends to help you forget that there’s a creative person doing the work and that his or her imagination has to be nurtured.

So my wish for the manufacturers is that they forget about workflow and think about work. Start focusing on how human beings do all this and let that notion balance your interest in materials and process.

There is one workflow issue that does matter to me, however, and that’s how the equipment can better support collaboration among the small teams that end up making a film. We have a tower of Babel right now — incompatible file formats, resolutions, sample rates; applications that live in their own little worlds, unable to share much of anything with each other; and especially, no good way for a work-in-progress to evolve while all participants keep working on it. How much extra work do we all go through to keep sound, visual effects, music and color correction up to date with picture?

Yes, Apple has a lead over Avid in putting a complete post production studio in a box. They’ve empowered individuals to work as one-man-bands. But nobody has really figured out how to do workgroup collaboration yet. The winner of the NLE wars has to do both. And has to inspire editors to do their best work at the same time.

It’s a tall order. But it seems to me that because digital file formats have changed everything, the playing field is now much more level than many of us acknowledge.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Explore posts in the same categories: Avid vs. Final Cut, Avid Wish List & Bugs, Quality of Life, Workflow

7 Comments on “4K for Avid, Apple and Adobe”

  1. Hi,

    You may want to take a look a this:


    It’s an article about collaboration. It seems sharing projects in FCP is somehow possible.


  2. Steve Says:

    You “collaborate” in FCP by passing projects back and forth. This is how things worked for Media Composer prior to Unity — you passed bins back and forth. It just isn’t as good as being able to open the other guy’s work whenever you want — because you don’t have to send anything to him, it’s just there. Nobody I know would want to go back to the Avid world pre-Unity.

    But I was talking about something else, too — how we share our work with sound, music, visual effects and online. Every one of these steps is fraught with voodoo and potential problems and is mostly one-way. When you get the work back it becomes a new clip and is usually uneditable. That’s the big headache that nobody has solved.

  3. Mark Raudonis Says:


    I actually wrote the article referenced above. You’re too quick to dismiss this workflow. On FCP and X-SAN, with proper bin and folder organization, yes, you can just open up the “other guy’s” work whenever you want. Sure, you have to have some housekeeping rules in place (like saving your project to the right place), but it really isn’t all that different from an Unity workflow. Yes, I have years of experience working with Unity.

    On your second point, the “path of no return”, FCP does seem to have an edge here. Soundtrack PRO does go back and forth, as does Motion, and to some extend Color. Roundtripping is possible. It’s not perfect, but if you know the pitfalls and how to avoid them, it is possible. I’ll take this kind of “collaboration” over an automatically updated bin any day.

    On a more philosophical level, there’s something to be said for the “finality” of having to “LOCK PICTURE” and send it on. I’ve observed that the ability to process changes up to and beyond the deadline contributes to the dreaded “soft lock” that seems to becoming standard procedure.

    Mark Raudonis

  4. Steve Says:


    How does X-San/FCP handle contention? When one person has a project open, what does the other person see when they open it? What happens if they try to change it?


  5. Mark Raudonis Says:

    RE: Contention

    Last person to save wins! We use specific names and versions to allow everyone to know which is the most recent version. Should a mistake occur, earlier versions of the project are kept available to “revert” to.


  6. Allan W. Says:

    We’ve had a pretty good using CatDV and their server product. We have multiple producers who can review preview-res footage, make selections, add metadata (centrally organized), even make rough edits on a timeline. There’s a powerful query tool, and it works on Mac & Windows. We use their Live Capture tool to ingest whole tapes, which then get MP4’d as previews (so we have it all accessible, but highly compressed). Send to FCP (via xml) for batch capture (at HD or SD res) and the editor is good to go – with all sorts of rich metadata that the assistants have added.

    There’s a lot of overlap with Final Cut Server, but some more powerful features in spots. We’re figuring out the new tapeless workflow, but this kind of app really helps in groups. It all works with live footage, too if you have a decent SAN. It essentially pushes a lot of the “group” work before it gets to FCP, but that just makes my job easier (and I participate in the group work, too). All that work is saved in the DB for later use, too, so there’s no wasting effort by keeping metadata in FCP.

  7. Steve Says:

    This is the beauty of XML, an open standard for sharing everything.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: