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Re: FCPX Trumps Avid

COW Forums : Apple FCPX or Not: The Debate

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Walter SoykaRe: FCPX Trumps Avid
by on Dec 17, 2011 at 2:53:48 am

Before I get into my response, I'd like to add that none of this is meant to knock FCPX. There are some things I really do like about it, and I think that it can be the right tool for plenty of professional work. That said, there is still quite a bit of work that it's just not ready for, and as professionals, I think we need to understand when using FCPX is and is not appropriate.


[Bill Davis] "See you and raise you... (if you'll allow a string bet)"

Any time!


[Bill Davis] "Through a friend of a friend you secure an amazingly talented singer/songwriter to appear at your companies year end party. Unfortunately we haven't the budget to rent a wonderful piano that night, all that's available is the cheap piano in the lounge. So do you tell the entertainer the deal's off? 10 out of 10 times the answer is no."

I was talking about a real-world production scenario, not a contrived talent-versus-tool argument.

Can an amazing musician perform on a cheap lounge piano? Yes. Would they choose the cheap lounge piano as their instrument of choice? No.


[Bill Davis] "You know the talent isn't in the tool, and you expect that while someone who's good at what they do might have a "preference" for a particular tool - the tool and the talent are separate things. As long as the editor knows how to push the buttons, they can edit on anything. Just as a person who knows how to press the keys on a Steinway can also rock on a Casio."

I agree, to a point -- but I think that selecting the appropriate tool for the job is often an important part of what we do.

Perhaps you'd be willing to put your money where your mouth is, tell all your clients that they're hiring you for your talent and that your tools don't matter, then rock all your 2012 client projects on Windows Movie Maker?


[Bill Davis] "Yes, pros often use the finest tools. But not always. And nobody argues that ELTON JOHN with a lousy bar piano can't entertain rings around you or me or anyone else we know sitting at a Steinway."

Sir Elton specifically prefers Yamaha grand pianos, which are fitted with MIDI rail pickups underneath the keyboard. He dropped Steinway because he didn't feel the Steinway's tone cut through the band well enough. He seems to believe the tool does matter to his performance.

I don't believe he's ever toured with a Casio.


[Bill Davis] "The point is that clients who hire something like "general editing" based on tools rather than talent are all too often just playing games. People who really understand the truth know that unless there's a specific capability that's not present in a specific tool (which is the most solid argument against X at this point, IMO) - then the software you cut on is a, very, very minor piece of the puzzle."

Again, as in my response to Nick, I think this depends on what the client is hiring you for. For clients like agencies and production companies -- clients who must concern themselves with the workflow as well as the final product -- the software you cut on matters a great deal.

Some of my clients don't care what tools I use. Others require me to use specific tools, and they have legitimate reasons.


[Bill Davis] ""What do you cut on?" is one of the classic trigger phrases that I'm dealing with a newbie and need to consider doubling my rate if I take a gig, because their brain isn't on THEIR job - which is assessing the editor's talent and capabilities - but rather than impressing themselves with their "insider" knowledge."

Again, it depends on who's asking, and you're right that an end client not involved in media production can't use the answer to that question to make an informed decision about hiring you.

From a producer or post supervisor, though, that question can be a matter of assessing an editor's capabilities. For example, if you told me you were cutting with FCPX, I'd be leery of handing you a job with interlaced footage from a broad variety of sources. I'd want to know what your plan was to avoid the reversed field issues that I see on broadcast TV on a near-daily basis.


[Bill Davis] "And I freely admit that sometimes tools are an indicator of an artists abilities - but, IMO, that is neither universal, dependable, nor even a very smart standard in a world where yesterday's expensive rare tool is regularly supplanted by tools that cost much less, but are every bit as professional - Final Cut Pro Legacy being a prime example, after all."

I thought we were in agreement that FCP v1, at its release, was decidedly not "every bit as professional" as Avid at the time, but rather that it matured over time. The stigma of cutting on FCP did fade away as the software improved.

I'm certainly not saying that the NLE an editor uses is a reasonable proxy for gauging their skill. We are in absolute agreement there.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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