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Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?

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antelope
Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Sep 28, 2005 at 8:19:03 am

Hi

I'm looking at training in editing techniques as part of a fairly drastic career restructuring. Most people I talk to suggest training up in Avid but most training schools seem to offer Final Cut. Which is the most appropriate for someone starting out and which is more likely to lead to work opportunities?

A quick second question....what is so different about DVD editing? Isn't it the same as ordinary editing? And is it wise perhaps to consider training in it if it is so very different?

Thanks.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Sep 28, 2005 at 5:42:47 pm

Either NLE is valid, each has strengths and weaknesses. What matters is what kind of work you want to do, where you want to do it, and what the people there already use and have access to.

You will find work most anywhere if you master either platform. Each of them can have their keyboard shortcuts modified to match the other, so in a sense, you learn one, you can fake your way thru the other about as well. That's a simplification, but I think it's generally valid.

DVD editing... I think you mean *authoring". That indeed is a specialization. It's not just editing, it's integrating all the elements of the DVD and their inteconnectivity/interactivity, the extra audio tracks and captio tracks, etc. plus the black art of managing the encoding and compression to fit the data on a disc and make it play smoothly with great quality.

DVD Authoring certainly could become a career in itself, especially if you're designing and producing all the elements and etc. and not just throwing together stuff supplied by someone else.



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antelope
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Sep 29, 2005 at 7:58:03 am

OK Thanks. So I suppose DVD authoring is a little like multimedia authoring, in which I have some experience. I'd prefere to aim for documentary editing though.

No idea if I'm being arrogant in believing that I can take a training course and stand a hope of getting into the industry though. As, if I opt for FCP I'd have to buy myself a Mac [I'm a PC man right now], the costs are significant. It all does seem to be a bit of a gamble.


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Walter Biscardi
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Sep 29, 2005 at 10:16:02 am

[antelope] "I'm looking at training in editing techniques as part of a fairly drastic career restructuring. Most people I talk to suggest training up in Avid but most training schools seem to offer Final Cut. Which is the most appropriate for someone starting out and which is more likely to lead to work opportunities?"


The art of editing is far more important than what NLE you work with. AVID and FCP are just tools, it's the person cutting on them that makes the difference. Put a lousy editor into a $3 million edit suite and they're still a lousy editor.

Definitely learn either tool to know how the software works, though it really doesn't matter which you learn, all NLE's are essentially the same. Of more importance, do everything you can to learn the craft of editing. This rarely comes from a classroom, but rather from getting out and observing editors in session, going to events, etc... I thought I was a decent editor until I got to CNN and was surrounded by about 50 of the best editors around. I learned a TON from two editors in particular who really showed me the art of telling a story.

That's the real key, you need to always remember you're telling a story. No matter what it is you're cutting, there's a story and a pacing to everything, you just need to cut the proper story. There's at least one, if not two books out there by Walter Murch that are very good for both new and seasoned editors.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Creative Genius, Biscardi Creative Media
http://www.biscardicreative.com

Now in Production, "The Rough Cut," http://www.theroughcutmovie.com

Now editing "Good Eats" in HD for the Food Network

"I reject your reality and substitute my own!" - Adam Savage, Mythbusters

G5 Dual 2.0, AJA Kona 2, Medea FCR2X


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antelope
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Sep 29, 2005 at 10:43:47 am

Thanks for this Walter. I understand what your saying very well. I've worked as a photographer, very briefly, [although I remain a hobbyist] and the same applies to camera technology. Glad you recommend those Walter Murch books...I was considering them on Amazon only yesterday. I'll go ahead and get them I think.

I'm slowly tracking down training courses. Of course the only way to get skilled is to actually work. That's going to be very hard to find I suspect, especially in a form that pays me something to live on!

David


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Enzo Tedeschi
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Oct 1, 2005 at 10:45:29 am

antelope,

The only thing I'd like to add to the above is that on top of all that, study what you watch. Pay careful attention to the craft being played on the screen before you. Walter is so right it's not funny - knowing which shots best tell the story when put together is just as important (possibly more so!)than knowing which sequence of keys to press to put them there.

When I was a student, I learnt bucketloads about technique (nothing technical, just the art of joining images) by paying attention to what I was watching. If something strikes you, go back and watch it again and again, step thru stuff frame by frame, find out who cut it and seek out more of their work.

As for Murch's books, they are obviously well-loved (read: worn!) when you see them on my bookshelf - they'll possibly need replacing soon! Those books and a couple of films in particular are where I go for inspiration if I get bummed from time to time. Conversations makes some very good parallels with another for of storytelling - writing.

The first NLE I ever learnt was Premiere - the transition to FCP and Avid (cause I wanted more serious work) was pretty smooth.


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antelope
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Oct 1, 2005 at 1:31:12 pm

Thanks Enzo.

I see that this is good advice. I've been a static image photographer since my teens [i'm now in my forties] and so have a good eye for an image and it's composition, mood and purpose. But I suspect that developing the same perception for moving images is another task entirely...the effect depends not just on the image but also on the join between images. Is this right? I once heard someone say that the reason they liked classical music was not for the notes or the melody but for the transitions between the notes. This is where the atmosphere lies.

I don't want to pre empt myself. Learning processes should be organic, unpredicted and at a natural pace and I may yet find something essential lacking in myself that prevents me from pursueing this complex occupation. I think I know what I'm up against - I've been involved with digital imaging since the early nineties and I know these devices are mere tools. But I have a hunch that I could 'do editing' reasonably well. Sufficient hunch to warrant moving forward with it anyway. The biggest problem is knowing how to move forward. I've found a subsidised Avid advanced course that I can afford but before I book it, I need to find an intro course that I can afford. I've just bought a very cheap copy of Premiere Pro [from some bankrupt stock] and have joined a local community film group. But finding that 'in' to a working environment where I can play a role straight away and be allowed to learn and grow....I have no idea how I'm going to do this. And without such an opportunity, all the training courses in the world would be pointless.

By the way, Conversations arrived in post this morning...

David


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Enzo Tedeschi
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Oct 1, 2005 at 3:57:00 pm

David, with that attitude, you're definitely on the right track.

[antelope] "I once heard someone say that the reason they liked classical music was not for the notes or the melody but for the transitions between the notes"

You've hit it on the head, David. The notes that aren't being played are just as important as the notes that are. I'm pretty sure that Murch somewhere actually refers to the importance of not only what images are side by side at any given edit point, but what is happening "between" the cuts.

And I don't know if you are aware of Avid Free DV... http://www.avid.com/freedv/
Best way to get your head around the interface if you can't get into a basic course.

Good luck with it all, David. I know you'll enjoy Conversations - you will likely be making several trips to the video store in coming weeks... :o)

e.


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antelope
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Oct 1, 2005 at 8:48:32 pm

Thanks for the link Enzo. I wasn't aware of this, nor the tutorials that are available.

Here's a little anecdote for you...I have a friend who makes short wildlife films here in the UK. It is he who suggested to me that I consider film editing as an option in my search for a new career. Yesterday, I wrote an email to him saying how I'd been thinking about this idea all week and had found that my search for advice through various fora had repeatedly thrown up the fact that I needed to know what it is that I wanted to eventually do, precisely, that should influence my choice of NLM and training, if anything. I decided that I wanted to focus on documentaries and I'd been thinking that perhaps I could combine this with my Masters degree training in natural resource management and Climate Change to be an editor 'in the know' which might provide me with a good selling point when it came to finding work. I clicked the send button and Outlook Express sent and also, of course, delivered. And there in my email box was an email from a Canadian outfit announcing a short film competition where one has to make a film about Climate Change! I've never received such an email beore. Syncronicity or what?!

Anyway, this got me on to thinking how I could enter this competition, which naturally involved storyboarding a film, a concept of how to communicate such a vast idea in just 30 seconds to five minutes. Which in turn led me to wonder where the border lies between direction [or is it production?] and editing. It must be a very grey overlap. I think I know how I'd edit such a film if the right material was there. But of course, if the material, and concept, is invented and created by someone else, than I imagine that I'd have to swallow my opinions and work with someone else's ideas. Is this the case? Or does the editor have rather more input than people realise?

David

PS found an 'education' copy of Xpress pro on ebay at an affordable price. Is it useful?


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Enzo Tedeschi
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Oct 2, 2005 at 12:15:40 am

[antelope] "Which in turn led me to wonder where the border lies between direction [or is it production?] and editing. It must be a very grey overlap."

Absolutely.

Have a read of this article: http://dga.org/news/v29_1/craft_dir-eds_504.php3

The editing is like re-writing the story for a third time. There's a script, then this gets interpreted through production, and then the film has another re-birth in the editing suite. Often it is not a drastic change, but there are times when it's night to day - one such example is Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Not only was the film being re-written on the set while shooting, but the cut was really an intense process, and then revisited all those years later, and recut again into Apolcalypse Now Redux, an entirely different film.

The Director / Editor relationship is crucial. Ultimately, you are both there to serve the story. I have directed / edited a lot of my own stuff, and there are pros and cons. The main advantage is that you can shoot for what you imagine your cut will be like. One very big problem is that it can be difficult to take on change, and step back from your involvement to produce a truly objective cut.

"I know that shot does'nt work perfectly, but it took 15 people standing in the rain for 5 hours to get it..." As an editor, you need to be able to make those hard calls for the benefit of the story you are telling. You'll get more of this in Conversations and "In The Blink of An Eye" if you ahppened to order that one too. I should be asking Murch for commissions... ;o)

I'll trade you an anecdote - I'm cutting a short film at the moment. The Director was also the Writer. The first cut of the film (as per the script) was long-winded and boring. Even slightly confusing. No having an emotional attachment to the script etc, I was able to delete entire scenes, drop a whole subplot (I even had to remove a scene that I really liked the cut of... bugger...), and all off a sudden, the film has a very clear focus, it is paced better, and doesn't feel like it runs for 12 mins (even though it does!).

That short film competition certainly sounds like a sign to me. :)

Xpress Pro will definitely come in handy later on if you get into some serious work. If you can afford it (and run it) snap it up. I found that FreeDV and XpressDV have just enough subtle changes in the interface etc to be really annoying. Xpress Pro's interface is pretty much identical to that of a Media Composer. But I am nitpicking!




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Terry Kelley
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Oct 2, 2005 at 1:53:46 am

I'd recommend AVID although I'm partial to FCP. There are only a few television shows and feature films being done on FCP (Scrubs, Nip Tuck, a bunch of MTV shows like Real World) but everything else is still AVID. I've worked extensively on both and prefer FCP but generally only can work on it when I'm working out of my house. Here's my link on IMDB, so you can see that I've had a lot of experience if you want to ask me more questions. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0446002/

Terry Kelley


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Walter Biscardi
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Oct 2, 2005 at 8:28:30 am

[Terry Kelley] "I'd recommend AVID although I'm partial to FCP. There are only a few television shows and feature films being done on FCP (Scrubs, Nip Tuck, a bunch of MTV shows like Real World) but everything else is still AVID."


So just a few shows are cut on FCP and everything else is AVID? That's quite misleading to say the least. Hmmmm, you're leaving off Fox's NASCAR, the Super Bowl, Simple Life, ESPN Programming, a ton of Discovery Channel programming, some History Channels shows, quite a few movies (in fact there's a great article about Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride" on the Apple site), etc...... We're cutting one HD series here now and are most likely going to be cutting one or two more series next year.

Are there still some shows cut on AVID, sure, but to say that "everything else is cut on AVID" is definitely not entirely accurate anymore.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Creative Genius, Biscardi Creative Media
http://www.biscardicreative.com

Now in Production, "The Rough Cut," http://www.theroughcutmovie.com

Now editing "Good Eats" in HD for the Food Network

"I reject your reality and substitute my own!" - Adam Savage, Mythbusters

G5 Dual 2.0, AJA Kona 2, Medea FCR2X


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Mike Most
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Oct 5, 2005 at 8:51:05 pm

If he was referring to network/cable dramas and sitcoms, and the vast majority of feature films, the statement is indeed accurate.


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antelope
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Oct 2, 2005 at 6:17:00 pm

Thank you Terry, you may just regret that offer!


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antelope
help with website
on Oct 2, 2005 at 6:40:52 pm

I know this is just not the place to say this but I seem to have no choice. The CC website is not displaying properly for me, most of the page content is missing and the link to 'contact us' finds no page. I'm also unable to start new topics. Is anyone else having problems? Its been this way for several days now so presumably its my end that has the prob but I have no idea what it could be. No probs with any other sites. Could someone draw the 'management's ' attention to my situation as I can't contact them? Tks.


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antelope
Re: help with website
on Oct 6, 2005 at 12:28:35 am

Bingo...it all works again!


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Malcolm Thorpe
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Oct 21, 2005 at 3:02:03 am

Ok, add this to the mix. There are times in my editing career when "the art of the edit" is carried in the door with me. However, that "art" must be tempered by the desires of the producer. I have walked into sessions when the producer wanted all the whistles and bells I could provide. I have also walked into sessions editing single layer video with nothing but perfectly placed disolves, each and every transition visited numerous times by both myself and the producer.

We have a wonderful enigma with which we work. We are Jackson Pollock, when asked to be.....or Normal Rockwell. But regardless of the desires of the producer, we always get to hid our little bit of ourselves in each and every piece on which we work (or should I say play)


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Enzo Tedeschi
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Oct 22, 2005 at 11:50:59 am

...and viola, Malcolm, you have hit it. The Art of the Edit is, at the end of the day, "making it work". There are arguably more finely honed skills at work when you are restricted to cuts and dissolves - making these work is often more challenging than being able to step in with a push, wipe, page peel (ugh!), or razzle-dazzle swirly thingy that is far more style than substance... :o)

Ultimately, the drive will come from the person signing the cheque - if they can respect the subtlety of a cut as opposed to the extra bell on top of the whistle, then that rocks for us editors. But those bells and whistles can often sound like the glorious noise of the local pokey paying out a jackpot!


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Pixel Monkey
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Oct 12, 2005 at 9:03:12 pm


[antelope] "Which is the most appropriate for someone starting out and which is more likely to lead to work opportunities?"

Both. Equal. Independent films, broadcast, corporate, you name it. It's pretty even for beginners and ameteurs. A lot of places are even starting to put both onto the same machine. So seriously, test 'em both and decide on one to start.

Ford or Chevy. Who cares. (Subaru is better anyway.)

______
/-o-o-
`(=)`/...Pixel Monkey
`(___)



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kieran
Re: Avid or Final Cut. Does it matter?
on Oct 15, 2005 at 10:56:43 am

I wonder if Avid is going to lose out in the long run.

First of all, Avid has fragmented its market far more than Apple. This isn't so much of a problem when there is a required difference in hardware. But recent history suggests two things - that almost anything absolutely requiring hardware will eventually be done in software (see mpeg encoding, or outside editing, VOIP etc) and that consumer hardware will catch up with pro hardware. This is a pretty big problem for Avid, because if it wants to keep its neat partitions it has to provide some value added between them. Apple doesn't have that problem, as Final Cut Pro is its top end, and so it can put top end features into Final Cut. When this happens Avid will respond by adding things to XPress Pro, but they're eroding the value of their high end suites in doing so. The avid-monopoly over features has been questioned now that Walter Murch has demonstrated that you can edit a big-budget feature film on Final Cut. And if Apple keeps adding features, and with hardware improving, Avid's current business model is going to be unsustainable.

Moreover, it has been rumoured that the new intel macs are essentially apple PCs. And recently Apple's rewritten OS was successfully (it was claimed) run on a PC. If this is true then Final Cut might start to compete more directly with Avid whether officially or not.


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