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Article: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher

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walter biscardiArticle: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 1:53:05 am


Apple FCPX or Not: The Debate
A Cautionary Tale for the FCP SwitcherA Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher

Herein lies the cautionary tale of a long-time user of Final Cut Pro, penned for those who would consider switching NLEs. Are there tools that will positively replace FCP 7? Are there NLEs that are even more powerful than our now evanescent favorite?

Editorial   05/28/2012
Author: walter biscardi



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Andy FieldRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 2:23:24 am

Walter -- a nightmare for you and your editors - however - refreshing to see AVID and Adobe working hard to earn and keep FCP 7 refugee's business. We need to output FCP7 timelines as AVID projects for various clients (we produce pieces of shows - they put it all together) It took forever for us to figure out the right formula to Autoduck those projects so AVID would read them. Avid would read the TL files but when it came to AMA linking it wouldn't work about 99 percent of the time. We finally tried trans-coding everything out of FCP7 so Avid would see files in the folders it expects "the AVID way" and it finally worked.

Yes FCP 7 is extraordinarily flexible. I'm working with ABOBE folks who are incredibly responsive and helpful They listen to and - from every indication - respond to feature and bug requests and reports. There's a far better level of confidence that Premiere Pro will get everything "right" than Apple has instilled after 4 versions of FCPX.

Thanks for the play by play of your experience.

Andy Field
FieldVision Productions
N. Bethesda, Maryland 20852


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walter biscardi@Andy Field
by on May 30, 2012 at 1:32:06 am

My pleasure, thanks for all the kind words!

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Ernest SavageFood Network Color safe setting
by on Jun 10, 2012 at 10:45:07 pm

not sure if this is going to the right place. I have a quick question. most networks want to stay with RGB Gamut Low = 16 and RGB Gamut High of 235. Whenever possible I like to push a little bit more to RGB Gamut Low = 0 and High = 255. So far no network has kicked back my footage, but I've never colored anything for food network. What's your gamut color safe settings for your food network show?

thanks for you time.


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Mike GarrickRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 2:53:24 am

I SO feel your pain. Clusterf.... from hell!!

As a long time user of FCP 7 I'm now on CS6, no problems. Just wish Speed grade was more developed and more of a 2 way street than a one street. But hey I'm sure things will change.

Your horror story just confirms my opinion of why I didn't go Avid on the change over. I'm not a software engineer but it seems to me Avid has built there new software on top of the old system or old beliefs. Journey into the sub menus & you'll find huge sub menus seemingly a legacy from the "Old" Avid. To Avid's credit they handle single format projects well. But start throwing in modern camera files & standards than I think Adobe has it covered.

Multi format without transcoding, that's the future right there ....can Avid gets its head around that & build something new from the ground up ...who knows..I dont think Avid knows either.


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walter biscardi@Mike Garrick
by on May 30, 2012 at 1:32:44 am

I don't know if anyone can get to multiformat without transcoding. It will be great if it happens!

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Michael GissingRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 3:48:25 am

Fascinating and very timely - thanks Walter for sharing the pain and your insights.


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walter biscardi@Michael Gissing
by on May 30, 2012 at 1:32:57 am

My pleasure, hope it's helpful!

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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David Powell@A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 4:12:01 am

So if I'm understanding correctly, if you use AMA for selects and transcode to DNX before editing, you won't have these problems with the AAF to Resolve workflow? And you were cutting with AMA'd/fast imported rewraps and then transcoding later which caused the hiccups?

Also, I'd be interested in purchasing a symphony copy from you. Could you shoot me an email? Thanks


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walter biscardi@David Powell
by on May 29, 2012 at 11:49:35 am

So if I'm understanding correctly, if you use AMA for selects and transcode to DNX before editing, you won't have these problems with the AAF to Resolve workflow? And you were cutting with AMA'd/fast imported rewraps and then transcoding later which caused the hiccups?

Who knows. That's the theory that if you transcode everything and assign tape numbers BEFORE you start the edit, that's your best shot. But in talking to other Avid post houses, most tell me they avoid the Resolve process because there are too many issues involved. We have not tried the conform everything before editing process because we don't have the time with the turnaround of this current series.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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David PowellRe: @David Powell
by on May 29, 2012 at 3:53:14 pm

I've been grading several shows in resolve all using flat movies and scene detect.I think its great personally going that route. Sure you lose flexibility, but if it truly its a quick turnaround show, why not? Have you considered baselight? I'm guessing the symphony color tools were too limiting.


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walter biscardi@David Powell
by on May 29, 2012 at 11:58:07 pm

Actually the Symphony tools are very powerful, just a horrendous clunky interface if you don't have a control surface.

Yes, I would love to introduce Baselight to the party, but at this point, we need to stick to what we know and look to add another software platform after the series is done.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Jim WisemanRe: Article: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 4:57:18 am

Thanks very much for the insight. All of my projects are very similar in that they have almost every type of source. Documentaries, with legacy material fom Betacam, DV, DVCPro, even S-VHS on tape and all of the new digital formats, especially Sony EX, Nikon and Canon DSLR, etc. That is certainly why I was attracted to Adobe in the first place. Media management is a big weakness there. But it is critical that I am able to get stuff out of CS6 as ProRes HQ to other programs. My last project I did all of my selects, color correction and titles in CS 5.5, and exported to ProRes for a finish in Media 100 Suite 2.1 because I was familiar with the software, and because Nikon was broken in 5.5 (now fixed in 6). Sounds like that would have been a real problem with Avid and AMA. Ready now to tackle some smaller projects with CS6 more exclusively as it seems to behave much better than before. But interoperability using ProRes is still the key for me.

Jim Wiseman
Sony PMW-EX1,Pana AJ-D810 DVCPro, DVX-100, Nikon D7000, Final Cut Studio 2 and 3, Media 100 Suite 2.1, Premiere Pro 5.5 and 6.0, AJA ioHD, AJA Kona LHi, Avid MC, Hexacore MacPro 3.33 Ghz 24Gb RAM GTX-285 120GB SSD, Macbook Pro 17" 2011 2.2 Ghz Quadcore i7 8Gb SSD, G5 Quadcore PCIe


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walter biscardi@Jim Wiseman
by on May 29, 2012 at 11:56:43 am

Wow, you finished in Media 100?!? A man after my own heart. I still love that software more than anything else I've ever used.

If you want the "everything under the sun" into the system approach, yes nothing beats CS6 right now. Of course at the end of the process, you have to figure out how you might get the project out of the software and right now tape capture is horrible. We'll actually use FCP 7 or Avid for tape capture / layback until Adobe and AJA get that all figured out.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Nate StephensRe: Article: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 5:50:15 am

" Who knew FCP 7 was as flexible it was? You just don't realize what you had until you move on to something else."

Thanks Walter for the write up. (It sounds a lot more painful than the original Wally 'Drop Test")

You just re-confirmed my decision last fall to buy 3 copies of FCP7 for a big 4 year project we got last October.

Yes you can still buy FCP7. Not from the App store or an Apple store, tho, only thru Apple Business Sales.
(need a phone number let me know) I am sure they do not have a cross grade replacement program :-(

And I will be buying another FCP7 copy for our new workstation. Maybe in 4 years, when this project is done FCx will be a lot better or Avid or Premier.

FCP, Mac Pro, Mac Book Pro, HPX500, HVX200, Betacam, Dvcam
Write for the Edit, Shoot for the Edit, Edit.....KISS Principle


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walter biscardi@Nate Stephen
by on May 29, 2012 at 11:54:18 am

Wow, good luck with that. Sounds painful to run FCP 7 for another four years. :)

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Bret WilliamsRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 6:27:24 am

Wow. What an ordeal. But from your own description, FCP 7 WASN'T as flexible. Both CS6 and Avid were more up to the task. FCP 7 couldn't have handled the 24p in a 29.97i sequence as it can't add simple pulldown. It wouldn't have interlaced the 60p you dropped into the 1080i sequence. It would have had to have transcoded everything as well. Isn't that the only reason FCP 7 is working so well with Resolve?

Sounds like much of your answer is to give up on the AMA and just transcode on ingest to Avid.


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walter biscardi@Bret William
by on May 29, 2012 at 11:53:36 am

Sounds like much of your answer is to give up on the AMA and just transcode on ingest to Avid.

That will be the next tests when we have the time after we get caught up with the production schedule. Also Resolve 9 may change some of these issues, but again as I have no knowledge of what it will and won't support we won't know until it gets here.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Bret WilliamsRe: @Bret William
by on May 30, 2012 at 4:41:52 am

Thanks for the article. As a former Media 100, then Avid, then FCP user and After Effects user I'm trying to figure it all out myself. I always have Premiere along with Ai, PS, and Ae anyway. It'd be nice if it worked. Avid was always a backup plan, but sounds like it's not there either.


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Tero AhlforsRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 6:51:14 am

Have you tried sending XMLs from Premiere to Resolve? I haven't had any problems with that.


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walter biscardi@Tero Ahlfor
by on May 29, 2012 at 11:52:17 am

We will try that, but are you sending over mixed format timelines? Mixed codecs, frame rates, frame sizes?

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Tero AhlforsRe: @Tero Ahlfor
by on May 29, 2012 at 12:09:32 pm

I did a quick test with a 1080p 25fps sequence that had 1080p 60 fps H264 footage, 1080p 25fps C300 footage, 1080p 25fps prores footage and 5K R3D 24fps. Everything worked and sized correctly except the C300 clip but maybe Resolve doesn't support that yet.

Your mileage will most definitely vary, but you might want to test it out if it works for you.


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walter biscardi@walter biscardi
by on May 30, 2012 at 1:34:59 am

We did try that today. Resolve doesn't like XDCAM as we discovered today. So two of the four stories in the current episode didn't work. In fact Resolve made a mess of the timeline where XDCAM exists.

But as far as getting XML to Resolve, that was easy. Now we just need the footage conformed before we create the XML.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Josh Weiss@walter biscardi
by on May 30, 2012 at 3:28:31 am

Perhaps you could do a search for all of your xdcam, separate it out to another track. Then run a project manager to make trimmed versions and reencode to prores or another format that resolve takes. A work around of course, but it could work.



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walter biscardi@Josh Wei
by on May 30, 2012 at 3:37:32 am

Premiere Pro can't re-encode groups of clips. I'd have to pull all 100+ clips out and run them through Media Encoder and then put them back into the timeline. Waste of time.

Faster to just flatten until Adobe figures out how to give us a true Transcode / Conform process at the end of the edit.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Josh Weiss@walter biscardi
by on May 30, 2012 at 3:42:17 am

Yep, totally agree it's a waste of time, just a work around if for some reason you couldn't use the flat version for one of the episodes.

You could also, and again, a waste of time and a work around, use a program like episode and a watch folder. As your project manager is kicking out trimmed xdcam, episode is seeing this clips and starting to encode your transcode. I say episode and not AME, because AME is too stupid to pass through frame rate or size, you have to know the frame rate and assign a preset per frame rate and size. An annoyance and a hindrance to a workflow like this.



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Tero AhlforsRe: @Josh Wei
by on May 30, 2012 at 4:45:48 am

Have you checked out Prelude yet? It would help transcoding/sending stuff to Premiere that Resolve doesn't support before you edit.


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walter biscardiRe: @Josh Wei
by on May 30, 2012 at 11:57:32 am

[Tero Ahlfors] "Have you checked out Prelude yet? It would help transcoding/sending stuff to Premiere that Resolve doesn't support before you edit."

Then we're right back to the scenario we're looking to avoid and might as well stay in Avid. Conforming all our media before we start the edit.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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walter biscardi@Josh Wei
by on May 30, 2012 at 3:39:22 am

Forgot to mention, someone gave me an interesting idea to XML to FCP X first because according to them it CAN do a conform process of the timeline. From there XML to Resolve.

So essentially just using X as a conform tool. If I have time tomorrow I'm going to try it.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Josh Weiss@walter biscardi
by on May 30, 2012 at 3:45:40 am

You COULD to this, but first off, you need the xml converter tool.

Second I wouldn't trust it. When FCPX first came out, I was really excited about this feature and about FCP finally being color managed.

I took some slr clips, took them into a timeline and did a background transcode of all my clips. Then I compared the transcode version and the original, and low and behold, the same compressor gamma shift I had always seen in this scenario.

Color managed my.....

Took the same clips into AME or AE or PP even, and the before and after h.264 to prores 422 look exactly the same. I've always had bad gamma shift issues with h.264 to prores and the x did nothing new in this area.

Perhaps xdcam to prores would behave better, but again, it's something to look out for.



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Erik LindahlRe: Article: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 7:29:55 am

Brilliant article. Nails it down why moving away from any system (in our case FCP7 / Color) isn't as simple as installing application X.


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adam taylorRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 10:14:13 am

Thanks for your honest recount Walter...you may be a small shop, but its your honesty, integrity and willingness to share with the post community that makes you a big player in the eyes of the major corporations and the one-man bands like mine.

I, for one, have made many product decisions based largely upon write-ups and comments you have posted.

I had decided to get the boss to stump up for Symphony recently, but on the day i decided, you posted a "Wow - things are gonna change!" regarding the Smoke release that was imminent. That wow saved me the pain of returning to Avid prematurely.

So once again, thanks.

adam

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

http://www.sculptedbliss.co.uk
My YouTube Animations Page


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walter biscardi@adam taylor
by on May 30, 2012 at 1:41:42 am

Thanks for the kind words! Smoke 2013 could definitely be a game changer next month!

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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John MooreRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 10:16:51 am

Hi Walter,
What an experience - thank you for sharing it with us.
I have spent the last few weeks learning Avid's Media Composer 6 - concluding that the editing functionality is excellent and so finally after years I know what Avid editors were talking about.
However the main reason I got Avid was to fit into the workflow of a particular client. I was told (at the IBC at the Avid booth) that it dove-tailed nicely with DaVinci Resolve. Having made the purchase and spent valuable time sitting down and learning Media Composer I soon discovered that getting material out of Avid ain't so obvious.
Yes I had just concluded that a flat file for scene detection in DaVinci Resolve was to be the workflow. Not at all what I imagined. More than disappointing.

A great deal of honesty and an availability of clearly laid out and tested workflows should be given by all the NLE software makers. That would receive my respect and loyalty. We have had many years of products being placed on the market not functioning as they should where the client and operator has to discover that pain - it's just not helpful.
Speaking generally regarding all software my thought is that if the manufacturer is upfront and lets us knows the flaws and bugs of the product we as users will find a way around it. Not knowing and falling upon upon its fault is bad for all parties. Like in your case here Walter where your editors have received a shock and a bad taste in their mouths - resulting in them needing to work on another NLE and disassociate themselves from the pain they just endured.

Presuming that all softwares will have quirks and bugs I think it is the greatest honesty which is displayed by the NLE makers which will decide who really gets the market-place.
My 2 cents.

I appreciate greatly your blogs Walter.
Thank you
John Moore


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walter biscardi@John Moore
by on May 30, 2012 at 1:31:33 am

Thanks for all the kind words.

At the moment it's up to us editors to find out where "marketing meets reality" and then share with the rest of us. :)

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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John Moore@walter biscardi
by on May 30, 2012 at 7:27:30 am

OK I get it, I'm up for that. Manufacturers "marketing" is about to get another watchdog. I imagine the more the merrier. It certainly is a different world from a decade ago.

Best Wishes as always and Thank you Walter for your candor.
I hope your work gets quickly back on schedule.
John

John R Moore


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Daniel FromeRe: Article: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 11:05:46 am

Yikes. What a nightmare. I have never seen that AAF error you're running into, and I hope I never do. Avid has always had a love/hate relationship with ProRes, let's hope that improves.

Just to be clear: does resolve need a tape name, or can you fill in the "disk label" column all the same? I'm going to try import a ProRes file, transcoding to DNxHD, and then making an AAF (without any disk names).


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walter biscardi@Daniel Frome
by on May 29, 2012 at 11:51:18 am

Just to be clear: does resolve need a tape name, or can you fill in the "disk label" column all the same? I'm going to try import a ProRes file, transcoding to DNxHD, and then making an AAF (without any disk names).

Resolve is looking for a tape name. The folks at BlackMagic told us a workaround but the longtime Resolve artists I've talked to all told me it absolutely has to have Tape Names in order to work 100%.

You might get a file or two to work, but lay out 450 shots in a timeline and then send that over to Resolve and see what you get. We never got more than 50% of the shots to actually take.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Daniel Frome@walter biscardi
by on May 29, 2012 at 1:40:37 pm

Understood. Just so I understand:
You fast-imported those prores files, correct? Because I can't seem to AMA link prores and then consolidate. Just trying to recreate what you've done to the best of my ability.


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Daniel Frome@walter biscardi
by on May 29, 2012 at 1:41:50 pm

Oh, and also: did you check to see if any of your Avid Media had asian characters in it? I've heard of issues arising from that, and am dealing with that issue on my current show.


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walter biscardi@Daniel Frome
by on May 30, 2012 at 1:40:33 am

No Asian Characters.

We fast imported the ProRes files for the offline edit.

Did a ful Conform / Consolidate from the final edit.

Even did the "Convert" command which is supposed to break all previous links to the offline media.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Rafael AmadorRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 12:32:14 pm

Carps!!
I really got exhausted living all your tribulations Walter.
This is why i'm still on FC.7. At the moment I prefer to bear slow renderings better than this kind of nightmares.
For my self (one man bad who shot and edit what shot) AMA is just a complication.
My natural path is PP.
I hope that when I migrate everything is ready to don't miss FCP.
And thanks for the article Walter.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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walter biscardi@Rafael Amador
by on May 29, 2012 at 5:44:56 pm

My pleasure, hoping others can learn from our mistakes.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Tom MeeganRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 12:42:11 pm

Thank you, Walter.

Beyond the specifics of this situation, you've illuminated the often messy process of making all the pieces play nicely together.

Best of luck,

Tom Meegan


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walter biscardi@Tom Meegan
by on May 29, 2012 at 5:44:57 pm

Thanks so much, best to you too Tom!

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Philip OhlerRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 12:42:19 pm

Walter,

Thanks for doing the difficult legwork for all of us in the same boat. Seems to confirm my notion we are not longer facilities based on just one NLE but now of many NLEs.

Curios if moving anything to FCP7 then Resolve was tried? Of course a simplified flattened timeline would be necessary.

Good luck and I'm sure you'll keep all of us informed.

Philip
Manager Production/Post-Production
McCann NY



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walter biscardi@Philip Ohler
by on May 29, 2012 at 5:43:58 pm

Avid to FCP 7 to Resolve was never tried because even that would have been a nightmare by that point. When you get that far behind, you take the simplest path of least resistance and move on.

Right now that's a flattened QT file and go. We are now down to just 3 days behind schedule and I expect to be fully caught up by the end of the week.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Daniel FromeRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 1:36:25 pm

What's interesting here is that you have a "somewhat strict system" (Avid) trying to talk to an even more strict system "Resolve," only their respective interpretations of "strict compliant" are different.

I'll make sure to stay away from ProRes based editing inside Avid for the time being. As far as I know you still can't link prores via AMA and then consolidate -- you can ONLY fast-import prores... so that should give a hint as to where Avid's prores support lies...


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Mark SuszkoRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 2:19:45 pm

It takes guts to openly confess mistakes and problems, and I appreciate that you've done ti for the benefit of all.

Possibly stupid question here... what about a hardware-based front-end solution like a Terranex or some other similar hardware-based, "brute-force" converter? Seems to me, you love everything else about the NLEs but their ingest/conform, and if one of these bad boys can just crunch anything that you feed it, wouldn't that solve one of the big problems of too many formats coming in?


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walter biscardi@Mark Suszko
by on May 29, 2012 at 5:37:55 pm

Possibly stupid question here... what about a hardware-based front-end solution like a Terranex or some other similar hardware-based, "brute-force" converter? Seems to me, you love everything else about the NLEs but their ingest/conform, and if one of these bad boys can just crunch anything that you feed it, wouldn't that solve one of the big problems of too many formats coming in?

Maybe, but not something I'm going to test right now. But the basic point of the matter is, if you're going to make the front end of your workflow more flexible, then you need to do the same for the back-end. That's what I'm hoping to work with Avid on moving forward.

By the same token, we really want Adobe to be able to conform a timeline at the end of the process instead of just making a flattened QT file.

Thanks for your positive comments!

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Christian GlaweRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 3:19:43 pm

Walter-

I really appreciate your honesty and openness in writing this very important article!

One question (which I'm sure you've tossed around in your head already!): Have you considered any alternatives to Resolve? I know you love it, I know it's great... but have you considered color/finishing inside After Effects with a coloring plug?

Best of luck moving forward,

Christian Glawe


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Erik Lindahl@Christian Glawe
by on May 29, 2012 at 3:21:54 pm

Even grading short-form work in After Effects is extremely inefficient. I don't even want to think about working with TV-shows (I guess 30-60 mins long with probably 200-500 edits).


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walter biscardi@Christian Glawe
by on May 29, 2012 at 5:42:47 pm

Have you considered any alternatives to Resolve? I know you love it, I know it's great... but have you considered color/finishing inside After Effects with a coloring plug?

I thought about the Baselight Plug-in inside of Avid, but definitely did not want to throw yet another software element into the mix being so far behind. But that is something I might consider in the future.

Do not like anything in AE for Color grading.

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Dustyn GoblerRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 3:33:59 pm

Eleven days behind schedule, editing over the Memorial Day weekend, because...

Why wouldn't you just Color Correct in Symphony?


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walter biscardi@Dustyn Gobler
by on May 29, 2012 at 5:41:12 pm

Why wouldn't you just Color Correct in Symphony?

Because without a control surface it's the clunkiest grading tool I've ever used. All the components are there and it's actually quite good, but slow as molasses without a control surface.

They don't support the Tangent Wave to my knowledge and I'm so much faster in Resolve.

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Ramil PasibeRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 3:52:22 pm

Thank you so much Walter for this insight.

I just ordered our very first Windows workstation - HPZ820 with Quadro 4000 and 32 GIGs of RAM.

Setting this up to handle both Adobe CS6 and Media Composer 6, - yes we took the upgrade path to Symphony.

I'm thinking of tackling small projects on this machine first until I get the hang of it then push it along the way - your insight and experience is very much appreciated - thank you for sharing.


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walter biscardi@Ramil Pasibe
by on May 29, 2012 at 5:39:54 pm

Sweet machine! I think you're going to love it. Our Dell has 48GB RAM and the Quadro 4000 and positively screams.

Best of luck to you!

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Alex UdellRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 4:40:02 pm

This is one of the things that's great about the COW and the Web in general.

Thanks for taking the time to post this Walter.

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walter biscardi@Alex Udell
by on May 30, 2012 at 1:37:47 am

My pleasure, hope it's helpful!

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Jim WisemanRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 4:49:26 pm

Walter, you might want to revisit Media 100 Suite 2.1 when things calm down. It has really grown up. Works on Lion, support for 4K, 2K, HD, and SD, Recode RAW,multiple formats and frame sizes on timeline, native codec QuickTime support including DVCProHD, ProRes, REDCODE, and others. Mixes supported codecs in one timeline without conversion or rendering. Plays well with tape ingest/layoff as usual. $995 w Boris Red, free demo available, http://www.borisfx.com/media100/index.php Included w everything Boris makes for Mac in the Box Set $1995 http://www.borisfx.com/Box-Set/ which includes all filters and effects and transfer sfw for AE and FCP7. Only caveat is AJA 9.0.6 driver officially supported. 10.x, out this summer, but firmware downgrades/upgrades on AJA are quick and easy. AJA still working on that anyway. Still my favorite easy to use interface. PP and M100 are a good combo using ProRes. Learned the interoperability tricks, mostly involving a couple of ProRes HQ export settings in Premiere,on my last project.

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walter biscardi@Jim Wiseman
by on May 29, 2012 at 11:54:04 pm

Walter, you might want to revisit Media 100 Suite 2.1 when things calm down. It has really grown up

I've heard that from multiple folks and even looked at the website recently, but the only problem with that software is that it puts me on an island. Atlanta is an FCP / Premiere Pro / Avid town and as an independent Post Production house, I need to support what this community uses. The minute I say "Media 100" that will turn off more work than I will get.

At one time I was happy to fight the good fight for Media 100, but in today's market, I need to stay on the mainland. Glad to hear it's working well though!

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Chris BorjisRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 5:25:14 pm

Thanks for the heads up Walter.

Your past commentaries have saved me hours of headaches for sure.

We went from FCP 7 to CS 5.5 then CS 6 and its been very smooth so far.

But I still use FCP 7 for all capture/layback operations.



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Robert WentzRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 5:34:18 pm

Walter,
Thanks for posting your findings. We're holding out still here w/ FCP 7 until Autodesk Smoke 2013 pre-release is available for testing, at which time we'll be pitting FC10 against Premier Pro CS6 and Smoke.

I'm curious what sorts of issues you experienced with the Kona LHe and Premier Pro CS6? If you recall would you mind mentioning which AJA driver version were you using when you had these issues? If you were having audio/video dropouts was your monitoring equipment connected to the AJA's HDMI port or SDI? How were you taking audio out of the kona? embedded? XLR?

Much appreciated!


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walter biscardi@Robert Wentz
by on May 29, 2012 at 5:38:53 pm

We don't have an LHe here. Only LHi, Kona 3 and 3G.

We're working through some issues with AJA that are prevalent on the LHi that are not showing up on the 3.

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Robert Wentz@walter biscardi
by on May 29, 2012 at 6:00:57 pm

The AJA support folks are top notch, so you should be in good hands there.

Thanks for your quick follow up.

cheer


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Alan Okey@Robert Wentz
by on May 29, 2012 at 6:37:22 pm

I'm waiting for Smoke as well. FYI, Smoke 2013 doesn't support the Kona LHe, only the Io XT and the Kona 3G.


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Shane RossRe: @Robert Wentz
by on May 29, 2012 at 6:43:37 pm

I think you made a big argument here about sticking with FCP. And sticking with workflows that work. FCP 7 does everything you currently need, despite it's age. Yes, you have to convert to a single format and frame rate, but we are used to that, no?

But I see the need/want to move forward and deal with the multiple frame rates and formats. But this just goes to show that when pushing forward with new tools and workflows, one must ALWAYS TEST your planned workflow, before you paint yourself into a corner. I know that many pressures out there exist that will say "we don't have time to test...we need to push forward!" Well, not testing before leads to...what Walter just described. I've always been one to test...after one disaster that cost the company I was at a couple hundred grand. Another company didn't test...despite my insisting that we do, and guess what? Issues cropped up in the end that bit us in the behind.

ALWAYS test.

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walter biscardiRe: @Robert Wentz
by on May 29, 2012 at 7:24:45 pm

[Shane Ross] "But I see the need/want to move forward and deal with the multiple frame rates and formats. But this just goes to show that when pushing forward with new tools and workflows, one must ALWAYS TEST your planned workflow, "

Yep, we tested all right, a lot actually, just never thought to test it all the way through to Resolve. Figured that was a done deal.

As for staying with FCP, well the turnaround times for these series keep shrinking so the ability to jump in natively is a huge selling point for CS6. Seems to be more stable and has definitely allowed us to suddenly be just 3 days behind and closing as I write this....

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Terence CurrenRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 8:01:18 pm

The really frustrating part is that I have been begging Avid to work on the color corrector since the late 90s. Had they even added one feature every three years, you would be a happy camper right now. :-(

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walter biscardiRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 8:33:54 pm

[Terence Curren] "The really frustrating part is that I have been begging Avid to work on the color corrector since the late 90s. Had they even added one feature every three years, you would be a happy camper right now. :-("

If they would look at how Apple Color is laid out, I think their color grading tool would work very well in a similar type of layout, or maybe a hybrid between Resolve and Color. It's a very good tool, just not user friendly without the control surface.

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Scott AuerbachRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 9:00:06 pm

Thanks for the excellent article, Walter (and for the recent ATL Cutters event). I, too, tried going back to Avid 5.5 a year ago... at the time, it was a welcome relief from a few years dominated by FCP, whose UI I never enjoyed. Unfortunately, I immediately ran into massive gamma problems (possibly related to other codecs on the machine, but I'll never know, since I got such lackluster (dis)interest from Avid Support. Their attitude boiled down to, "We've never seen this before, so we're not going to worry about you."

I finally gave up and essentially threw away the cost of a 5.5 license, a 6 upgrade and an AvidPhrase license, never having gotten it to work, and bought CS6 instead. It's a shame, since I go back 20 years with Avid, and they have numerous features/functions that Adobe still lacks. But Avid really needs to scrap their now-ancient legacy code and write a modern piece of software instead of applying patch after patch (and poorly-integrated third-party apps) to 20-year-old code. Whether they'll ever have the money to support that effort is a big question mark. It's clear that Adobe does, and is willing to spend what it will take (IMO).


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Jeremy Garchow@A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 29, 2012 at 10:06:00 pm

Walter, thanks for that article. No question that is frustrating.

The other day, I was in a Twitter conversation with you, Marco Solario and perhaps a few others, about the notion of what offline and conform means today.

I think what is needed here is a redefinition of what exactly an offline/online and conform really means in today's tapeless world. With tape, the method is proven. You capture from tape at one resolution, you edit, trim, and recapture just what's needed at a higher resolution using the same video connections and hardware. It's a relatively straight forward process where the format is handled in combination with the capture card, deck, and NLE. The difference here with tapeless (and this was something Marco Solario brought up) was that he (and others) really don't work in a traditional "offline" mode today. I know we don't unless we are working with Red material. There is simply no reason for the particular work that we do to make lower resolution transcodes, and then retranscode those an "offline" or reconnect back to their native resolution later.

But what IS needed is a way to make things portable in a concise package. Along with that we also need flexibility.

What I would like to see from a modern NLE is a comprehensive rethink on what native editing means, and what we need to do with it. CS6 definitely has an aspect of this correct, as does Avid, but Avid is still relying on an older method, and CS6 is ignoring a basic need of portability. When I say portability, i am not tailing about taking the project home with you, I am talking about taking only the USED footage from the timeline, conformed in to a common format/frame rate that will be easier for color correction applications to understand and deal with, and it will not involve sending absolutely every last piece of shot media.

Also, it seems every camera shoots a variant of some tapeless standard. Some are proprietary, some are less proprietary, at any rate, the NLE has a lot of work to do to understand all of these differing formats, and then be able to reach in to these differing codes and standards, and make sense of them to combine or consolidate them in to a concise package.

What format/container would that be? What codec? Can every single content creation software read that format and codec for the utmost flexibility?

It's a daunting task to be sure, but I can do it manually with Compressor and some time, so it seems that something could be automated in this sense, or at least partially automated.

There's so much media being thrown at us these days, from everything to 5k to small web movies, and clients just want it to work.

A modern NLE should take this approach head on, but also give you an out. It should allow you to switch between conformed material and original or "camera native" footage easily. I am talking about (if you need it) a clip by clip decision on what you're looking at. This way, if something did go wrong with the auto conformed clip, you can switch back to native and manually fix it with whatever tool makes you the most happy.

I know, this will be a programming challenge. It's asking to have parts of an asset manger and an NLE in one. Unfortunately, I think this what an "online" means today, and eventually what a modern NLE will need as there will only be new formats, new codecs, and more fragmentation. It means transcoding all kinds of material in to one or two related formats in order to send off to ether applications/facilities. We need access to multiple variations of an one clip, but it shouldn't halt the entire workflow during work or output.

I think the goal here is flexibility, but with that comes a lot of data management and tracking. All of that is really hard to get right with today's crazy multitude of "standard" media types and all the other types that don't fit in to a standard.

I think then, at least, we could have a glance of what our media is and if there's anything that we need to do with it, like change the frame rate, or change the frame size, or whatever needs to be done in order to conform for an eventual high quality output. I also think that the media should be able to be tracked back to camera native or DI at any point. It's a lot to ask, and I'm not sure if it will ever happen, but it would solve problems like this much more easily.

Thanks for writing, Wally. This is truly a modern dilemma of editing and finishing today.

Jeremy


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walter biscardi@Jeremy Garchow
by on May 29, 2012 at 11:51:25 pm

When I say portability, i am not tailing about taking the project home with you, I am talking about taking only the USED footage from the timeline, conformed in to a common format/frame rate that will be easier for color correction applications to understand and deal with, and it will not involve sending absolutely every last piece of shot media.

Believe me, that is my NUMBER ONE request to Adobe moving forward. They have given us a tremendous tool with native editing to get going faster.

Now at the end of the process, I want to conform just my timeline, ala Transcode / Conform in Avid, and have that finished timeline all in the codec of my choice with the handles of my choice. Now I at the end of the project I have a clean timeline all conformed and I can hand that off for further processing, to another shop / editor or at the very least I have it in archive so if we need to make any tweaks, I have one fully conformed timeline.

THAT is the finishing step we need. Avid is pretty close, but it sounds like it will take some serious re-writing of the database or at least making it easier to break all the links to the original media at the end of the process.

Thanks for the kind words Jeremy.

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Alex UdellRe: @A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 30, 2012 at 3:20:30 pm

Thus....

the battle between working native and transcoding.

One of the lesser discussed issues of working native is that lots of those "optimized for acquisition codecs" is that they don't play well when it comes to the media consolidation phase. The GOP based media formats don't play well with media truncation.

So rather than being an offline online world, what I'd like to work on is a parallel workflow.

Start cutting natively while at the same time generating consolidation and SAN/workgroup/full fidelity media sets. Then simply reconnect when the alternates are ready.

Prelude and AME should help with this....but with camera acquisition media names being arcane and based many times on atomized folder structures, rather than muxed files, relinking will still probably quite challenging.

With Avid always touting their database architecture as a workflow asset, I too am more surprised by the difficulty that Walter ran into. My assumption would likely have been the same as his.

If anyone does start working the parallel route or wants to discuss it more...drop me a line. This would be very valuable to explore.

Alex Udell
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Erik LindahlRe: @A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 30, 2012 at 3:27:00 pm

Isn't it exactly this Apple has tried to accomplish with FCPX? This is one feature Apple has done right - however - I could see larger facilities wanting to for example offload the transcoding process to secondary / systems over the main editing suite. I could however see a "parallel" situation in an NLE where you have:

- RAW media (i.e. AVCIntra, H264, DVCPROHD, ProRes, R3D etc)
- Optimized media (i.e. ProRes)
- VFX media (i.e. ProRes or Uncompressed)
- Graded media (i.e. ProRes or Uncompressed)

All the media lives together and is constantly "live" and linked together. In some cases, you might want to access your RAW media in the VFX or grading stage. However, one will often want to work with a more post-friendly codec here.

I see a lot of issues working "native all the time". To many issues to be frank. I much rather have the conversion it up front than being riddled with issues further down the pipe (or suffering from lesser performance due to a hefty codec).


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Jeremy GarchowRe: @A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 30, 2012 at 4:29:28 pm

[Erik Lindahl] "Isn't it exactly this Apple has tried to accomplish with FCPX? "

Oops, sorry. It seems that Erik already mentioned FCPX. :)


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Jeremy GarchowRe: @A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 30, 2012 at 4:27:44 pm

[Alex Udell] "Thus....

the battle between working native and transcoding.

One of the lesser discussed issues of working native is that lots of those "optimized for acquisition codecs" is that they don't play well when it comes to the media consolidation phase. The GOP based media formats don't play well with media truncation.

So rather than being an offline online world, what I'd like to work on is a parallel workflow.

Start cutting natively while at the same time generating consolidation and SAN/workgroup/full fidelity media sets. Then simply reconnect when the alternates are ready."


Yes.

I am not going to try and start a war here. I think we need to remain objective in all of this so we as users can ask for what we need and want, but I am going to mention FCPX here. Please don't shoot me everyone.

FCPX, in my opinion, got this portion extremely right. It is the best of all worlds for this style of media management. You can start editing natively, tagging clips, even rendering window burns of you need them, start editing, organizing, basically, start getting to work. In the background, FCPX can make either proxy media (which is good for multicam situations) or higher quality media, or sometimes it will just rewrap to h264 if that's what you desire. With a click of a preference, you can choose to work with the Proxy media, or the Original/High Quality media. It's not perfect, there could be some more functionality, but as a start, it is really very useful, and also a very modern way to approach this situation.

So you start native, and can choose to remain that way, or at any point in the game, you can choose to transcode, and there's no relinking, no footage hunting, it just simply works in the background, and you can work while it's transcoding. Any work that you do on the footage will translate to the proxy/DI footage as well.

[Alex Udell] "Prelude and AME should help with this....but with camera acquisition media names being arcane and based many times on atomized folder structures, rather than muxed files, relinking will still probably quite challenging.
"


It is certainly a blessing and a curse. The good thing is that MOST professional camera formats (like P2, XDCam, any MXF variant, really) have gobs and scores of metadata already in the clips. This means that almost ever clip ALREADY has a unique ID built in to it. This means that tracking this footage should be "easy" or at least, the information is already in the clips, NLEs just need to take advantage of it.

The also have methods of creating less arcane name that are stored with the clips. Sure, these names aren't exactly viewable on the Finder/Explorer level, but a spotlight search does bring up the native MXF name. So, professional tapeless formats have all the information that we need to access built in (especially P2), we just need greater access to it and we need our NLEs to do a better job of accessing and storing this information with the footage. The methods are already in place and have been for years. It's time to start using it.

I speak from experience as I have a relatively expensive QT Component for FCP7 that allows native use of MXF media in FCP without rewrap/transcode. The relinking aspect and media tacking aspect of this is so easy as the component really helps to define what that media is. For instance, in P2 material, this is what the reel number looks like:



themodernreel.png

So that number makes it very easy to discern what file is what. Sure it's long, and hard for a human to read, but a computer can track it really easily, and copy/paste is a computer interface mainstay for us humans :). Even with P2, there are sometimes dupe file names, but the Unique ID is always different, even if the file name is the same. It is ideas like this, that I think will help more the more advanced needs of broadcast workflows and certainly will help everyone in media tracking.

I agree, the amount of file formats is sort of a mess, and it will certainly take a lot of hard work to get a system that is bullet proof. It also seems that nothing is slowing down. There are new formats, new codecs, new wrappers. At least for a while, I don't think this will change.

This also means that less professional formats that don't have tc/Unique IDs (I'm looking at very inexpensive cameras that many people use, like DSLRs/GoPros) would need to get ASSIGNED this missing data. And that's where it gets interesting. In my view, I think it would be best to simply rewrap this information in an already proven container like P2 XMF, or XDcam, or whatever is best. These formats are understood by almost every NLE not the planet. So why not give the NLE what it understands?

I know this brings a level of complexity, but in my opinion, these are complex ideas. I hope all this makes some sense.

[Alex Udell] "If anyone does start working the parallel route or wants to discuss it more...drop me a line. This would be very valuable to explore."

Surely.

Jeremy


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walter biscardiRe: @A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 30, 2012 at 4:32:27 pm

Nice points Jeremy! There are certainly things to like about X and I'm looking forward to meeting up with Evan Schechtman soon at Radical Media to see how their doing the workflow between X and Smoke. He's certainly making it work and while it's not perfect he does like their new way of media management.

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Jeremy GarchowRe: @A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 30, 2012 at 6:36:16 pm

[walter biscardi] "I'm looking forward to meeting up with Evan Schechtman soon at Radical Media to see how their doing the workflow between X and Smoke. He's certainly making it work and while it's not perfect he does like their new way of media management"

Also he's an Xsan shop I think, so project sharing is rather easy. Not super powerful, but it does allow putting any Project/Event on any computer at anytime, and locks out other people from accessing it. Another step in the right direction from an NLE.

Again, I'm not trying to convince anyone of FCPX, I know it's not the right NLE for everyone, but I just want to bring up what is being done so it can be applied in discussions about other NLEs.

Jeremy


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Alex UdellRe: @A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 4, 2012 at 8:37:55 pm

Yah Jeremy....well written indeed. Lot's to chew on there.

I too think that containers like MXF hold a key to creating a more homogenous environment...but a large part of previous development for the laymen has been how to work around it as opposed to how to work with it.


Alex


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Marco SolorioRe: @A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 2, 2012 at 5:50:56 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "The other day, I was in a Twitter conversation with you, Marco Solario and perhaps a few others, about the notion of what offline and conform means today."

Hey wait a minute, how did my name get thrown in here? LOL! Great article, Wally. And nice replies, Jeremy. I'm still amazed at how well FCP7 worked (works) with inter-app workflows. It's this reason, and begrudgingly so, that I'm amazed that we're still using FCP7 at least 75% of the time at this point. Last year this time I would have expected we'd be at least 90% Avid workflow at this point. Just not happening. We have one current project that we're required to work in Premiere CS6 for the editorial portion of it. But all our other current running projects right now are on FCP7 timelines. Until we can get inter-app workflows functioning as well or better than FCP7 does, we're playing the sit-watch-and-wait game until I know for certain these pesky issues are solved. This is personally a huge crush to me because I really do prefer the Avid Symphony 6 interface and tools after having fell in love with MC5.5 last year.

Starting at the middle of July, it looks like we're slated to start editing 21 videos for a client, and for that, I'm 75% convinced we'll have to continue to use FCP7.

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch


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Jeremy GarchowRe: @A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 4, 2012 at 5:33:19 pm

[Marco Solorio] "Hey wait a minute, how did my name get thrown in here? LOL! "

*hand up*

My fault, my fault. Apologies! ;)

FWIW, we are using FCP7 for now too. It will take some more time before we jump ship. There are some very close contenders, but nothing that has hit us over the head quite yet.


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Marco SolorioRe: @A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 4, 2012 at 6:35:20 pm

No apologies needed, Jeremy! ;-)

There are definitely things I love in Premiere (simple things like copy clip from Premiere timeline and paste it right into AE... so cool). And I absolutely love the editing workflow, interface and features of Symphony (my favorite right now). But both Premiere and Symphony are feeling a bit like desert islands in some regards (a'la the basis of this article) when working with other apps that aren't there own. Obviously FCP7 wasn't the perfect master of it either, but it was for us out of all of them, even if they required 3rd party export/import tools. Going between FCP to AE, ProTools, Color, you name it, never seemed to be an issue.

Everything. Just. Worked.

So with that in mind, yeah, we're staying in FCP7 until it all gets resolved (no pun intended). If it worked for us last year, it works for us now. I can wait, even though I really do enjoy using Symphony.

And to further digress... I can't wait to see how Smoke will work in this regard. If they can get it to talk seamlessly with other apps, then they'll be way ahead of the game. Autodesk really has a golden opportunity here.

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Jeremy GarchowRe: @A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 4, 2012 at 6:49:01 pm

[Marco Solorio] "And to further digress... I can't wait to see how Smoke will work in this regard. If they can get it to talk seamlessly with other apps, then they'll be way ahead of the game. Autodesk really has a golden opportunity here."

Yeah, I'm waiting for that one too. It seems the demo is delayed a few days by Autodesk for last minute "under the hood" optimizations.

The thing with Smoke though, I'm sure it's going to be powerful, but interchange out of the app is kind of lacking, at least that's the word on the street. EDL/OMF out only, although it accepts a lot of interchange in.

Can't wait to see what they've done with it, though. It's going to be very intriguing, Im sure!

Jeremy


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Shawn LarkinRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 30, 2012 at 2:34:33 am

What is the disadvantage of using a flattened file + EDL (or edit detection) instead of a consolidated group of clips?

You are creating the same amount of media either way to work from -- just one version is a large file that the software cuts up and the other version is a bunch of small files that the software assembles in order.

As long as all your cuts and transitions are there, what is the difference?


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walter biscardi@Shawn Larkin
by on May 30, 2012 at 3:35:47 am

It's more failsafe to have all the clips.

Scene Detect is not perfect nor is an EDL off a single clip. We always have to make fixes and adjustments after the first render.

When we send in a fully conformed timeline, there are no cuts or dissolve issues and it's a lot easier to grade in one pass. It's a lot faster too since I don't have to scrub through the timeline before I start the grade to check all the edits.

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Brendan DillonRe: @Shawn Larkin
by on May 30, 2012 at 11:52:56 am

I'd go for the flattened file (video mixdown in Avid) method too, with an EDL to split it up. As long as everything is on V1, the EDL will always slice the file frame accurately. I make a vision only CMX 3600 EDL and I've never had a problem with cuts in the wrong spot.

Anything from V2 or above can just be placed at the end and re-comped after the grade. Render out a flat, graded file then any shots or scenes that need grade revisions can just be re-rendered separately and cut back into the sequence in Avid. If there are lots of grade revisions, Avid's auto-sequence function will put them all in the correct spots for you.

If the edit changes, you can send the revised scene to Resolve and put it all back together in Avid. Most long-form DaVinci work in my area has been graded 'tape to tape' in the past and this workflow is still good today, as long as the cut is pretty well locked off before the grade.

It does take a little prep and planning and it's not all automatic, but at least it's guaranteed to work.

I like to roundtrip between the two as well, but if there's any trouble, this plan B workflow is a good option and doesn't seem to be too big a compromise.


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walter biscardiRe: @Shawn Larkin
by on May 30, 2012 at 12:00:15 pm

[Brendan Dillon] "I'd go for the flattened file (video mixdown in Avid) method too, with an EDL to split it up. As long as everything is on V1, the EDL will always slice the file frame accurately. I make a vision only CMX 3600 EDL and I've never had a problem with cuts in the wrong spot."

Again, at that point, we'll might as well go with Premiere Pro because it's much faster and supports many more native formats than anything else on the market. If the target is a flattened at the end, might as well use the tool that has the most flexibility on the front end, especially one that can read files with missing data.

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Josh WeissRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 30, 2012 at 3:22:13 am

Also, note, to be fair AJA drivers and CS6 are not released to the public yet, so hopefully any issues would be fixed before release. Tape capture, who knows...We'll see when they get released.



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Vincent ManierreRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 30, 2012 at 5:27:30 am

Did you attempt an edl conform? I've conformed with edls showing source clips using file 32 setting. Also had success with aaf's. There was a checkbox in resolve I had to check but after that it reconformed a 90 minute feature to the frame.


This was arri alexa workflow though and the prores files have reel info baked into the naming convention. I don't think it would work for random quicktime. It is def possible to conform without having a tape name on the avid side of things.


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Vincent Manierre@Vincent Manierre
by on May 30, 2012 at 5:41:14 am

I used this method except I wasn't doing a one light in the davinci before hand. AMA-DNX 36. File 32 EDL or AAF into resolve after adding all clips to my media pool . Make sure the Reel extraction pattern was correct and the media was online.

Works great for Alexa stuff not sure about mix and match

I create dailies with Resolve for ProRes LogC all the time for my projects. All I do is use the following syntax in the "Specify Reel Extraction Pattern":
*/%R.%
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/277/15246#15282


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Thomas FrankRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 30, 2012 at 2:49:18 pm

See should have went with Final Cut Pro X! :D



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Neil SadwelkarRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 30, 2012 at 5:54:41 pm

Walter, that was a very painstakingly assembled narrative. You left little or no holes for any skeptics. And you approached the problem fairly and correctly.

I've been using FCP 7 XML 5 into Resolve with projects originating from XDCamEx, Red, Alexa, Canon. And I have to say they've been conforming without any issue. Except for stills, freeze frames, and clips of a different frame rate. But for those I have an assistant make exports and re-imports. And insert those in the timeline before making an XML.

From Avid, I usually take EDLs and they seem to work better than AAFs. I'm even planning to try 'Automatic Ducking' an Avid seq to FCP just to make an XML.

Resolve's conforming capabilities are amazing and it can conform even if clip names have changed. As long as it gets a good reel name and TC, it latches on to media like a leech. And Resolve's ability to render the timeline as clips and then an XML back to FCP, preserves all of FCP's basic motion, filters, and other attributes even after a round-trip from Resolve. Making Resolve almost a plug-in for FCP. Just finished 7 episodes of a TV show this way.

Smoke 2013 may add even more to the mix. We editors live in interesting times.

-----------------------------------
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Andrzej TomczakRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 30, 2012 at 6:38:05 pm

Walter, great article. Thank you for saving my money on AVID.
I work with xdcam, I love Resolve and I like PP CS6. This is my workflow.
I still use XDCAM TRANSFER to make QT XDCAM HD. Then I use PP CS6 to edit ( nice part), Then I create XML , open it with Resolve. Resolve work nice with xdcam HD QT files. Then I render apple prores422 to other folder. Open the same XML file in FCP7, relink media with the files created in Resolve. Then export using export> sony xdcam tool to create broadcast XDCAM HD disc.
Works for me,

The thing is that Adobe has problem with export. It would be perfect if Adobe instead of buing speedgrade make resolve roundtrip more easy.
All the best
Andrzej Tomczak


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Job ter BurgRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 3, 2012 at 9:25:54 am

If that's your workflow you may seriously consider Avid, as it handles XDCAM import and export much more elegantly.

Link to the original files, and consolidate them into Avid media (just an MXF rewrap, no transcoding required - but possible if you want it).

Exporting to an XDCAM disk or in XDCAM to an OP1A MXF file can be done straight from MC6 as well.

As for roundtripping between MC and Resolve, you may check out this link:





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craig slattery@Job ter Burg
by on Jun 15, 2012 at 8:00:04 pm

Can I just say, after viewing the video round trip MC to resolve im not won over that looks like a complete nightmare!


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walter biscardiRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 3, 2012 at 11:12:57 am

[Andrzej Tomczak] "I still use XDCAM TRANSFER to make QT XDCAM HD. Then I use PP CS6 to edit ( nice part), Then I create XML , open it with Resolve. Resolve work nice with xdcam HD QT files. "

We avoid transcoding to Quicktime wherever possible because it just slows down Premiere Pro since those are 32bit files. Working with the native files is much faster, even Adobe will tell you that.

As you say for the moment Resolve doesn't accept XDCAM native files, hoping this changes with Resolve 9, so we simply send a flattened QT file over to Resolve with an EDL. Really works just as well as sending over all the raw files. I honestly didn't realize just how good Resolve handles the dissolves in a flattened file, truly incredible.

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Juan Salvo@walter biscardi
by on Jun 3, 2012 at 11:58:08 am

Actually when adobe finds a codec it recognizes in the QT wrapper it bypasses the QT API and just codes it using it's own engine. As it does with h264 files in an MOV container. I believe it will do this with XDCAM material as well.

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walter biscardi@Juan Salvo
by on Jun 3, 2012 at 1:26:50 pm

The Adobe folks we are working with have advised us to stay native and avoid QT as much as possible. They are 32 bit files and will slow down PPro. Ithey know the software a lot better than me.

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Jeremy Garchow@Juan Salvo
by on Jun 3, 2012 at 3:30:17 pm

That only happens with a select few codecs, like mp4/h264.

For something like ProRes, it's all QT.


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Chris TomberlinRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 30, 2012 at 11:48:05 pm

"She received an error to the effect of "Creating an AAF using anything other than 'Link To' is not permitted with ProRes files." The original project included ProRes files from story that was originally delivered in Final Cut Pro, but the error didn't make sense because everything had been transcoded over to DNxHD and she was creating the AAF from the newly consolidated timeline."

If the Avid guys need independent verification of this issue, I can provide it. We've been gradually wading into the Avid waters as well and have come across this exact problem. I thought perhaps I was missing something; good to know I wasn't losing my mind. Basically what I've learned it that AMA is almost useless if you need to get anything out of Avid later. It would seem transcoding is the only way to work with Avid and is required for the "legendary" media management.

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walter biscardi@Chris Tomberlin
by on May 31, 2012 at 10:59:32 am

Basically what I've learned it that AMA is almost useless if you need to get anything out of Avid later. It would seem transcoding is the only way to work with Avid and is required for the "legendary" media management.

As of right now, especially if you plan to get anything out of Avid later, it appears that the "traditional Avid workflow" is the one you want to follow.

Avid seems to be very serious about working to get this better and more flexible for the end user. At the very least, when one tells the software to Transcode AND Convert, that's supposed to break all links to the original media. If that at least worked the way one would expect, that would solve a lot of issues right there. But it doesn't because apparently anything that was rendered gets included in the memory, even at that point.

In my mind, that's where Avid needs to concentrate on first. Create that "solid break" from all the original media for the end user that wants to have this happen. As I told the folks at Avid, if I want to be able to drill back 50 layers and find my original media, I can do that by simply going back to the final timeline before I made the "break." I'm hopeful that this will be something they'll be able to do fairly easily rather than going back and trying to re-design the entire database management which would be a tremendous effort.

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Chris TomberlinRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 31, 2012 at 12:26:54 pm

"She received an error to the effect of "Creating an AAF using anything other than 'Link To' is not permitted with ProRes files." The original project included ProRes files from story that was originally delivered in Final Cut Pro, but the error didn't make sense because everything had been transcoded over to DNxHD and she was creating the AAF from the newly consolidated timeline."

If the Avid guys need independent verification of this issue, I can provide it. We've been gradually wading into the Avid waters as well and have come across this exact problem. I thought perhaps I was missing something; good to know I wasn't losing my mind. Basically what I've learned it that AMA is almost useless if you need to get anything out of Avid later. It would seem transcoding is the only way to work with Avid and is required for the "legendary" media management.

Chris Tomberlin
Editor/Compositor/Owner
OutPost Pictures


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Robert MooreRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on May 31, 2012 at 10:01:40 pm

We've had similar issues here, for a client.... just my opinion, but I much prefer FCP7 to Avid MediaComposer. We are actually using MC versions 4, 5 and 6 on the same show! MC4 for VTR capture (because XDCAM to ISIS issues, though we found a fix, the PRoducers didn't want to use it, because they are just so used to old world tape capture!), MC 5, because that's what the 7MC systems here started with and MC6 on two systems, because the Symphony is version 6 and the FX need to be viewed on the VSAT on the Pro Tools system that the execs on the show want to watch the final playback on!

BUT... have you tried the Grass Valley - EDIUS 6? I've seen a demo of it and it looks really quite amazing!? It looks very much like FCP7 and Adobe Premere CS5.5... but it does something no else NLE does.... it can play back, in real-time, all MPEG formats... MPG2, MPG4, H264, MXF (P2) and etc. No transcode, no render needed... YOu can have virtually ALL video codecs in a single timeline all at the same time, including Apple ProRes! It runs great on Windows7 and requires absolutely minimum hardware! And, it has all the same features of FCP7/Avid MC, (MultiCam, VTR I/O and etc.) and it can use any Video card, like AJA, Blackmagic and etc.

So...have you tried EDIUS 6?

I haven't, but I'm interested in hearing your eval.

Thanks!

Robert Moore
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Email: JohnAvatar@JohnAvatar.com

Very experienced Prod/Editor, Tech/Consult, specializing in HD Tapeless Prod Post using FCP and Avid...

ALSO, Apple iOS App Developer (search John Avatar and Tavis Smiley to see my APPs, if interested?).


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walter biscardiRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 2, 2012 at 4:35:01 pm

[Robert Moore] " but it does something no else NLE does.... it can play back, in real-time, all MPEG formats... MPG2, MPG4, H264, MXF (P2) and etc. No transcode, no render needed..."

Adobe Premiere Pro does that, even on our ATI based machines. It plays everything back everything we've thrown at it except for Avid's MXF codec for the moment. In fact, as I stated in the article, PPro plays back files that nothing else wi..

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Robert MooreRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 3, 2012 at 12:18:36 am

Thanks for the reply.

I'll have to take a closer look at Adobe Premiere. Last August I upgraded 27 MacPro FCP7 systems with Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium. I'll Adobe Premiere through some tests. I thought it had the same limitations on a Mac, as FCP7 does and used QT7?

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walter biscardiRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 3, 2012 at 2:01:49 am

[Robert Moore] " I thought it had the same limitations on a Mac, as FCP7 does and used QT7?"

You can use QT files if you want, but going native is much faster.

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Robert MooreRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 3, 2012 at 12:21:24 am

Thanks for the reply.

I'll have to take a closer look at Adobe Premiere. Last August I upgraded 27 MacPro FCP7 systems with Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium. I'll Adobe Premiere through some tests. I thought it had the same limitations on a Mac, as FCP7 does and used QT7?

How do I log out of THE COW?????? I don't see a LOG OUT BUTTON?

I hate totally unfriendly websites!

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Lou BorellaRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 1, 2012 at 3:56:25 pm

Walter,
Welcome to the world of the Avid workaround. There is never a true fix to a problem or a bug just a "workaround". Get used to hearing that word. It has haunted me for years. I know they rewrote the code for MC6 but it seems like included some of the bugs that have plagued the software for years. Apple really overturned the cart by forcing FCPX on us. I've always dreaded the thought of going back to AVID on a full-time basis. IFor all the strengths of ts database system it is also its biggest flaw. (That and the fact that "filler" is still treated as a clip in the timeline) .
There are even issues with ProTools and that is owned by AVID.

Good Luck.



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Job ter BurgRe: Article: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 1, 2012 at 6:12:39 pm

So, for my proper understanding, you encountered serious transcoding and exporting issues in Avid.

Then, rather than doing a video mixdown to DNxHD or ProRes in Avid, then exporting that as a same-as-source QT and then autodetect cuts in Resolve, you completely switched over to CS6 to do precisely that (flatten, export, autodetect in Resolve)?

I just don't follow, but maybe I'm missing something.


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Job ter BurgRe: Article: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 1, 2012 at 6:14:45 pm

Just to be clear: I do agree that Avid MC/SY should have more flexible output/export options, more like the flexibility of its input/import options. I'm just not sure I follow the logic behind your switch.


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walter biscardiRe: Article: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 2, 2012 at 4:21:46 am

[Job ter Burg] "Then, rather than doing a video mixdown to DNxHD or ProRes in Avid, then exporting that as a same-as-source QT and then autodetect cuts in Resolve, you completely switched over to CS6 to do precisely that (flatten, export, autodetect in Resolve)?"

As I stated in the article, if I have to do a flattened quicktime / EDL / Scene Detect at the end of the process anyway, then I might as well use the tool that has the most flexibility on the front end. That would be Premiere Pro as that software has literally works with everything completely natively. No AMA linking, no transcoding, no re-wrapping, etc....

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Bob ZelinRe: Article: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 2, 2012 at 3:37:32 pm

rarely have I seen any article so widely read and discussed. Since it's release, I have been flooded with private emails, asking me "have you seen this article by Walter Biscardi".

All I can say is "Walter, you have written an article that will be widely influential in the entire editing community". (and yea, its a great article).

Bob Zelin



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David JahnsRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 2, 2012 at 5:17:02 pm

Seems like an Avid Color Control Surface and Symphony Grading might be the ticket at this point. Probably the best $1500 you'd ever spend!

I'm currently working Smoke 2012/Apple Color/Kona 3/Avid Color Surface.

We're running FCP 7 & Avid, and for FCP finish projects, it's pretty solid - but Avid to Smoke projects with mixed formats have been problematic.

We just ordered a Symphony software for finishing Avid projects. Maybe Smoke 2013 will be better, but I doubt that's where they're putting their programming resources at this time.

David Jahns
---
Joint Editorial
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walter biscardi@David Jahn
by on Jun 2, 2012 at 5:39:59 pm

Seems like an Avid Color Control Surface and Symphony Grading might be the ticket at this point. Probably the best $1500 you'd ever spend!

I'm currently working Smoke 2012/Apple Color/Kona 3/Avid Color Surface.


Except that I've already tested the Color Surface when it was still Euphonix and just as I did then, I still prefer the Tangent Wave, which I own along now with the Tangent Element. http://library.creativecow.net/articles/biscardi_walter/EuphonixMCColor.php

For color grading, Resolve is a better than Smoke 2013, though Smoke 2013's Color Warper will be good for about 75% of your work.

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Aydin OdyakmazRe: A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher
by on Jun 2, 2012 at 6:26:16 pm

An FCP7 user that does mainly small promos, real estate shoots and wedding films I've been looking at FCPX and CS6 both which I have.

So far FCP X is breeze for very easy edits, but I don't like the format , timeline look, Can't get my head around it.

CS6 took me an hour and a promo edit to figure out, but still need to review the bits of file management . Love the warp stabilizer in effects, since I don't know After Effects this makes it easy. I do need to figure out the best practices with media management in CS6. Not sure about colour correcting, used to do this with the 3 wheel in FCP7 , but never had a need to do high end Colour correct yet.

So my question is will Adobe make adjustments to the requests to keep on top of this game Apple has fallen off? I'm hoping so, cause all this stuff is learning, brain power that I would rather put into sales and creativity instead.

Thanks for your great article.
Aydin


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walter biscardi@Aydin Odyakmaz
by on Jun 3, 2012 at 2:01:06 am

I do need to figure out the best practices with media management in CS6.

Get the book, "An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro" from Richard Harrington, Jeff Greenfield and Robbie Carmen. We follow their media management practices and they really work.


So my question is will Adobe make adjustments to the requests to keep on top of this game Apple has fallen off? I'm hoping so, cause all this stuff is learning, brain power that I would rather put into sales and creativity instead.


They already are. Adobe and Avid are both reaching out to smaller shops like mine to refine and improve their native workflows and workflows in general based on our feedback. FCP 7 was incredibly flexible and we're looking to both companies to step up their games and get us much more flexible back end workflows.

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Mark SuszkoRe: @Aydin Odyakmaz
by on Jun 28, 2012 at 9:12:40 pm

Walter: my new current-model iMac is on the way, fully maxed-out the RAm and the graphics card, as well as the 2T internal disks plus SSD. Now, can you tell me, will FCP7/FCS3 RUN on this bad boy under Mountain Lion, or did Mountain Lion "break" it? I'd really like to buy a used copy of FCS 3 for home use and run it on this machineM


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walter biscardiRe: @Aydin Odyakmaz
by on Jun 28, 2012 at 9:14:51 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Now, can you tell me, will FCP7/FCS3 RUN on this bad boy under Mountain Lion, or "

I don't have Mountain Lion, no clue. Did anyone ask Apple last night at the LAFCPUG event?

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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