Avid at the FCP User Group

I spoke at a very interesting meeting of the LA Final Cut Pro User Group last night, along with Walter Murch and Shane Ross. Walter talked about moving back to MC after years with FCP and described in fascinating detail the relative merits of each application. Shane went over Avid Media Access, which makes it possible to work with file-based media without conversion, and offered an impressive demo of Avid’s Mix and Match capability, putting all kinds of material into a single timeline and playing it without a hiccup. I gave a brief introduction to Transition Preservation, Advanced Keyframes and Trim Mode, and I tried to convey my sense that Avid is a renewed company that is innovating aggressively. In other words, there was plenty of substance to chew on.

For me, the main takeaway was that the world is becoming a lot more balanced. A couple of years ago the Final Cut community was unanimous in its disdain for all things Avid. Last night was far more open. There was a powerful sense that both applications are worthy of consideration, that they have different strengths and weaknesses, and that newbies would be well advised to know both.

This can only be good for us as editors. Our internecine rivalries can be fun, but we should always remember that regardless of the tools we use, our shared goal is to create beautiful and compelling cinema, to shape space and time, to move audiences. We may prefer one tool or another, but the big win is that we have a choice. These applications aren’t finished — there’s plenty more to do. And as the manufacturers leapfrog each other, we editors can only benefit. I hope to see more events like last night, where content is king and bias is minimized. I learned a great deal, and I hope those of you who were present did, too. Please share your comments. I’m eager to know what you thought.

My special thanks go to Mike Horton, the heart and soul of LAFCPUG, for hosting this meeting. The group is a terrific resource and a critical part of the Los Angeles editing community. Video will be uploaded soon at this page on the Open Television Network and I’ll link to it when it’s available.

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7 Comments on “Avid at the FCP User Group”

  1. Grant Says:

    Avid definitely seem to have grasped the nettle, particularly when it comes to communications with end users. That this is probably a direct result of the rise of FCP is proof positive of your comments. An industry with only one strong player is a weak industry, no matter how well intentioned that main player happens to be.

  2. Tim Says:

    I’ve used EVERY NLE there is professionally in Broadcast television commercial production, I started with Adobe Premiere in the mid 90’s then on to FCP (approx 2 years) & Canopus Edius for 1 year, then on to Avid Liquid, whilst currently using liquid for the past 4 years, (all these NLE changes were not by my choice by the way) in my spare time I decided to give Avid Xpress Pro a shot I have dabbled with Xpress Pro for about 2 years now, I have fallen in love with xpress pro/media composer & I found that coming from liquid was the perfect move – BUT in all my years of dealing with all the company’s of all the above mentioned NLE’s I found Avid to be the most RIGID the most un-flexible company to deal with & the most un-helpfull as well (in Australia anyway), price of avid media composer is a rip off too at $2,800AUD compared to all the above NLE’s that hover around $1,000AUD to $2,000AUD my final analysis of Avid is ‘I Love the software but I HATE the company’ I dont think I will ever buy a NEW Avid Media Composer software package I’ll just buy USED ones of ebay for a couple of hundred bucks!

    • Andrew Says:

      As a professional editor I have depended on the editing systems I own (Avid’s FCS2 and PP CS4 currently) to earn my living for the last 25 years. Over that time I have a developed a completely different view of Avid to Tim’s.

      For me the team at Avid, Avid NZ and Avid Australia has been head and shoulders above their counterparts from both Adobe and Apple for service, backup, and their commitment to keeping me productive. Occasional problems with a system over the years have been dealt with quickly and efficiently and there has usually been a follow up call to make sure everything was ok.

      Is the slightly higher priced Avid value for money to me? Based on the total cost of ownership over its 5 to 10 year lifespan and its earning potential….Yes Then add to this the value of my Avid’s having had less than 2 days down time in 16 years of daily and the answer is very obvious.

      • Tim Says:

        Hi Andrew, That is great I love Avid software, I think I was talking to the wrong people in regards to Avid (resellers etc.) last week was the first time I contact Avid Australia directly, & they were quite helpful I do feel better about the company, the problem I had with Avid was quite detailed in regards to purchasing my Avid Xpress Pro from ebay witch I had purchased about 2 years ago, I am now waiting to see if they can help me out, when talking to resellers about my ebay purchase they were less than helpful witch I can understand, but in return I’ve spent thousands in the past, & I only wanted to buy a USED version as I had never tried xpress pro before and didnt want to spend $3,000 plus at that time…so my first impression of Avid was at a reseller level & it was not good, but as I said after speaking to them last week they were very helpful!

  3. Piri Miller Says:

    Thanks for your presentation at LAFCPUG the other night. It was also nice to finally meet you.

    I agree 100% – and have stated so before – that having both apps is a benefit to the editing community. Especially those of us who use both.

    I’ve also worked on a lot of NLE apps including early Premiere, Speed Razor (anyone ever heard of that one?) and Avid DS. I’ve always enjoyed the technical aspects of editing and learning new ways to accomplish editing tasks and ‘magic’ with new tools as much as I enjoy telling an excellent story. It’s given me the opportunity to find what I like and dislike.
    As much as presentations about software, tips and tricks and workflow are helpful to what we do, I’d like to attend more events where such people as yourself Shane and Walter are able to share your storytelling experiences. What were you thinking when you made such and such a cut or made a specific editorial decision? Use of sound instead of picture? etc, etc.
    I realize that an editing tool should be an extension of our hands and brains but it seems most of the time too much emphasis is put on the tool rather than the craft.


  4. I remember when the fight was between Lightworks and Avid. When LW basically went away, Avid stalled out. So, your point is very important.

    I found all three presentations fascinating. The bottom line is that all of our NLEs have gotten so complex and detailed, that it is easy for working editors (that is, those with more desire to learn than time) to get stuck in the way we used to do things. Damn, Walter is on MC 2.8.3 at Universal. As a result, we miss out on a lot of the new things that the companies release to solve old problems and to introduce new functionality.

    Avid needs to do a better job at educating all users (old and new, MC and FCP) about what their new versions are doing. The LAFCPUG meeting was very helpful on that score.

  5. Ron Diamond Says:

    Hi, Steve —

    Great to see you there as well the other night, and thank you again for coming down to help put the Avid thru its paces. In particular, I think your observations about the benefit of competition in the NLE space also resonated with the crowd.

    This was a very special evening, and a wonderful way to cap off the year. It’s always a privilege and inspiring to learn from the wisdom and perspective of a virtuoso like Mr. Murch.

    I also second the praise for Michael Horton as well. He and the other great folks that make up (LA)FCPUG are one of the main reasons FCP made it onto the map in the first place — and continue to be one of the best things about it.

    If it’s not too early: Season’s Greetings!

    Best,
    Ron D.


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