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Premiere Pro alternatives

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Maarten Mylemans
Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 16, 2009 at 5:02:45 pm

Hello!

So I've been using Premiere for about 9 years now, and I've sort of hit a wall when it comes to technical troubleshooting. It seems I'm spending more time bug hunting and *fixing* things that shouldn't be broken in the first place than actually editing and creating content.

For instance: I was quite happy with Premiere CS3, except for the copy/paste bug between Premiere and AE (in which AE had the wrong in/end points), and of course the dreaded quicktime error (which was never fixed), which almost brought an entire project of mine to its knees (saved it by recoding all the quicktimes to uncompressed avis).

So to see if CS4 had done a better job I did a small 6 minute try out project in it... boy, I've spent 80% of my time just trying to make the program work... mp3's that just stop playing, so I have to quit and restart the program every time I add a music file, messed up quicktime exports, media encoder that just likes to freeze and stop working.

So my question is; are all editing softwares this ridden with bugs (Premiere is the only one I've ever used extensively)? I mean, yes, with a complex software you're bound to have some bugs in there. But in the 10 years of using 3DS Max (a professional level 3D editing software), it has always worked as expected, and only crashed a handful of times in all that time.

Are there alternatives that are more stable in use? Thanks for your recommendations!!


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Phil Lowe
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 16, 2009 at 5:40:45 pm

Are there alternatives that are more stable in use? Thanks for your recommendations!!


I take by this you're on a workstation and not a networked system, correct?

I can address the only other piece of software I use for the PC when it comes to editing: Avid Media Composer. It's stable. It's also nothing like Premiere Pro. Whole different workflow. I use both, occasionally using PPro when the need for simple DVD authoring arises, and I mapped my keyboard in PPro to work like my Avid keyboard. Much easier that way. If you go that route (mapping PPro keys to Avid's) you may find the transition somewhat smoother to make.

Having noted all of that, I'm not a big Avid fan right now, as I am forced to use their really god-awful networked Newscutters at work, and - like you - am sick and tired of dealing with bugs and crashes much of the day. But that's another story. Suffice to say if you stay away from Avid's networked "solutions", you may find Media Composer stable and - once you get used to it - even easy and fast to use, if you can swallow the initial cost.

I can't address FCP: I don't use Macs. Maybe someone else can tout its virtues. :)



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Nick Griffin
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 16, 2009 at 7:46:44 pm

Maarten-

First and foremost I think you should post some specific issues / behavior you are experiencing on the Premier COW and see if any of the experienced bovines there can help identify something which may be causing your problem. Your issues could be caused by any number of conflicts with other software or hardware.

Second, you didn't say whether your problems were with the Mac or PC versions of PP. Specifying that will be important to help in finding a solution.

Third, in answer to your question, NO, all editing programs are not riddled with bugs. Personally I'm a Mac user of Media 100 (1st choice) and Final Cut Pro (3rd choice because I like Media 100 that much more), but my partner uses a lower cost version of Avid on the PC and is also quite satisfied.

I like Media 100 because it is highly streamlined, allowing me to work faster. Final Cut Pro does most of the same things, and in some cases, a few more, but requires more steps and more clicks to get the same results. Media 100 comes with Boris Red, yet Final Cut Pro comes with Motion, Color, Soundtrack Pro, Compressor and probably a couple of additional pieces I'm forgetting. All things considered, it's worth it for us to have both and use each for its strengths.

I've written two two articles on Media 100. First on Producer, which chronicled my move back to Media 100 after moving to Final Cut:

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/griffin_nick/media100_producer.php

Then late last year I stepped up to Media 100's hardware-based version 13:

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/griffin_nick/m100v13_transition.php

This summer Media 100 Suite was released, replacing both Producer and the full Media 100. I love it, it seldom crashes or has any other problems, and -- of greatest importance to me -- I use it to earn a living.


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Maarten Mylemans
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 16, 2009 at 8:13:04 pm

Thanks for the responses!

Nick: thank you for the recommendation. The reason I didn't post this in the Premiere forum section is because I'm tired of looking for solutions on how to fix Premiere... and I've already done extensive research on the problems I'm running up against. All of my research returns the same answers time and again: "it's a bug in the program, use a workaround." Which I would be able to live with if I didn't have to find a workaround every two mouse clicks.

Phil: Yep, I'm on a standalone workstation, it's kinda sad to hear that most editing software are riddled with bugs. Maybe I'll finally give Avid a try, I've been putting that off because it's always so uncomfortable to learn a new software, but the irritation of having to troubleshoot even the most basic of actions is now outweighing that uncomfortableness.

Since I'm on a PC, FCP isn't an option at the moment (I am looking into changing systems too though). If Avid Media composer is more stable, I'm gonna give it a try, see how it works out.

The only thing I'd be miffed about is having to work out an entirely new workflow between Avid and After Effects and all the other programs I use... oh, well.

If someone else has anything to share on editing programs that work or don't work, please do! I don't want to lose anymore sleep over failed editing software :-)


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Nick Griffin
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 16, 2009 at 10:05:30 pm

[Maarten Mylemans] "I would be able to live with if I didn't have to find a workaround every two mouse clicks."

Then you are correct to look to move on. That's unacceptable.

[Maarten Mylemans] "it's kinda sad to hear that most editing software are riddled with bugs."

Is this what you've read elsewhere, because it wasn't part of this thread and has not been part of my experience. If you're convinced that changing platforms isn't an option then you should also look at Sony Vegas to see if that's more to your liking. The good thing about entry level Avid is that it will make moving to the higher levels of Avid in future jobs simpler. Then again, the higher levels of Avid are usually on Macs -- at least as far as I've seen.


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Tim Kolb
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 16, 2009 at 11:38:09 pm

I'm not really sure what the "dreaded QuickTime bug" is...you say it as if the whole world knows about it. I edit lots of QT on PPro PC...even ProRes. No issues as far as I can tell.

I haven't had any issues with MP3s for some time...and the Media Encoder is usually not frozen, but it is often spending inordinate amounts of time gather metadata for every clip it will touch before it starts encoding. (the default setting for the software is to "use all XML metadata" which is shut off with one click, one time.

I do know that an underpowered system will have problems with Adobe products...insufficient RAM, drives that are not fast enough or are too full to operate properly, smaller processors...etc.

I know you've decided to move on, but keep in mind that IF your system is the issue (and if it's more than two years old, the chances are good it is at least a contributing factor), then chances are good that your next editing solution will have some stumbles as well.

Switching from a 3 year old PC with CS4 to a brand new Octo-Mac with FCP will be an improvement...but the software will be a minor part of it.






TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Scott Cumbo
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 17, 2009 at 1:02:36 am

Just remember if you consider going the Avid route. It's not like adobe stuff, it's not designed to run on any and all PC's. Avid is picky about motherboards, chipsets and GFX cards (nvidia cards only)
they have a list of all the qualified systems on their website (mostly high end HP workstations).

Yes it will run on home built systems, but it's at your own risk.
at home i'm running Media composer on a home built system and it solid as a rock, but i did a ton of research before i built it.
and my home system is not to make money, just hobby stuff.

Scott Cumbo
Editor
Broadway Video, NYC


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Maarten Mylemans
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 17, 2009 at 6:37:09 am

Thanks for the recommendations, again :-)

Nick: Oh, dear, I just completely misread your sentence! I thought you said "all editing software is riddled with bugs", while you said the opposite of course. So, yay, that's good to hear!

Tim: I'm sorry if I gave the impression that the quicktime bug is well known... it's actually a quite exotic bug that sort of seems to almost at random pop up on CS3 installations. But when it does, quicktime inside of Premiere gets broken (it has a very specific error code, but can't remember what it was). When I went looking for solutions, only a handful of people had it, but there was no fix, so I had to rerender all my sfx shots from my feature film to uncompressed AVI in order to export my film.

Have you done an entire featurelength film in Premiere? Because for me that's where Premiere started bugging out, before that I did maybe movies of maximum 15 minutes, and Premiere worked fine. But when I got about halfway into my feature project, Premiere just started flipping and it was one hell of a road to the finish from there on. Eventually had to use Debugmode Frameserver to even just get my movie out of Premiere.

That xml data switch, where can I find that? The thing is, I tried two versions of Media Encoder: 4.0 and 4.2, the 4.0 would start encoding almost immediately. But with 4.2, even exporting a single frame grab, I'd have it sit there for an hour and it would still say "loading project".

I don't feel like my system is underpowered, because I never have problems with other software, mainly After Effects and Photoshop, they stay quite responsive (even when working with an 8K frame in photoshop at 300dpi for publising). And I've only really had to troubleshoot one bug in either of them (in the course of working with those for about 7 years now).

Scott: okay, so Avid is still kinda risky :-)
Maybe it is safer to go the MAC route just because I can't really mess up the hardware configuration because I don't design it myself? :-D (I've always designed my own workstations)

Here are my system specs:
Windows 7 64-bit (only recently, all the bugs I'm talking about were also present on Windows XP)
Intel Core DUO 2.66 GHz
3GB RAM
Nvidia 8800 GTX with 712MB RAM
I have about 2.2 Terrabyte of storage in my PC, spread over 4 disks all at 7200 RPM


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Tim Kolb
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 17, 2009 at 9:23:06 pm

[Maarten Mylemans] "Here are my system specs:
Windows 7 64-bit (only recently, all the bugs I'm talking about were also present on Windows XP)
Intel Core DUO 2.66 GHz
3GB RAM
Nvidia 8800 GTX with 712MB RAM
I have about 2.2 Terrabyte of storage in my PC, spread over 4 disks all at 7200 RPM"



Is that a two-core processor? 3 GB of RAM?

OK...your system is the bottleneck. You should update your platform.

-get the RAM up to 8 GB minimum, 16 GB preferably

-get a couple 4 core processors

-get rid of the gamer card and get a Quadro

-make sure you have some speedy drives in a RAID configuration.

...then whatever editing software you choose will run.

While you might have some problems that are Adobe-related (Vegas might run on this system as it's very resource starvation-tolerant), you're simply underpowered for CS4, and that has to be a contributing factor. It needs serious RAM and processor power as is helped immensely by a strong display card.








TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Micah McDowell
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 17, 2009 at 9:49:14 pm

Your system "may" be a bottleneck, but it's not terrible. Are your drives a RAID array or just four random separate disks? If they're striped together, that will help your performance immensely. More RAM would be very beneficial as well.

Somewhat like you, I've always had issues with longer form projects in Premiere. I used to edit a 30 minute hunting show and had horrible issues daily; in my current position I rarely edit anything over 5 minutes and Premiere has been acceptably stable for some time. For whatever reason, it just doesn't do well with feature length edits.

I've worked on low-end Avids, Premiere, FCP, and occasionally Vegas. My work system is Premiere on a PC and I use it daily, but my home system is now FCP and it seems to be the most stable of any I've used.

You could try Avid, but if you've always been a Premiere user the Avid interface and limitations of lower end Avids may drive you nuts, plus Avid needs very specific hardware or it won't be fun. I'd just get a Mac and go the FCP route, but I'm becoming a bit biased.


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Tim Kolb
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 17, 2009 at 11:28:53 pm

[Micah McDowell] "Somewhat like you, I've always had issues with longer form projects in Premiere."

I have heard this before and seen some of it myself. Earlier versions of PPro had issues once the project file got above a certain size (I never was able to determine what the tipping point was, but the longer the edit, the more data, the bigger project file...)

Adobe has been promising to work on this as many of us have been pointing out this issue...I'm working on some longer form stuff now...so far so good on CS4.




TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Phil Lowe
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 18, 2009 at 9:27:02 am

Yes it will run on home built systems, but it's at your own risk.
at home i'm running Media composer on a home built system and it solid as a rock, but i did a ton of research before i built it.


Agree 100%. I do, however, use my systems to make money. I recently had to upgrade my homemade desktop system that was 4 years old to a new system. I decided to buy "off the shelf" for the first time since my first computer purchase in 1986. I studied the latest Avid specs and got a system as close as I could to an Avid supported system. The machine works great (better than the ones we have at work), but attention to detail is important when shopping around.



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Gary Hazen
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 17, 2009 at 1:33:54 pm

"Then again, the higher levels of Avid are usually on Macs -- at least as far as I've seen." Nick G.

Many Post Houses use PC based Media Composers and Symphonies. And Avid's top of the line system, the DS, only runs on the PC platform. Besides that it's not a big deal switching between a PC Media Composer and a Mac Media Composer. It's just a different OS, the UI and the commands are the same.


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Maarten Mylemans
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 18, 2009 at 7:55:33 am

-get the RAM up to 8 GB minimum, 16 GB preferably

-get a couple 4 core processors

-get rid of the gamer card and get a Quadro

-make sure you have some speedy drives in a RAID configuration.


Thanks for the info, I can see how 8 GB could help, but since PPro is still a 32 bit application, it won't see anything above 4 GB, so I don't see how 16 GB will give me more workpower (because Windows 7 only uses about 1.5 GB of working RAM). The rest of course yes, that would be a big improvement :-D

Maybe it's better to just go for an HP workstation that's been optimized? So to reduce system incompatibility? Whenever I'm looking at how my resources are used when I'm working in PPro, it's doesn't look like it's taxing my system very much. And CS3 runs fine , except for the bugs of course.

So the bugging out (like the wrong in/end points when copy/pasting between PPro and AE) might be because of not enough power? I'd rather know that that's the problem for sure before spending a couple of thousand dollars on hardware!

My hard drives are seperate, I only actually use just one drive out of the four for video editing. Once a project is done, it gets backed up. Since my projects are generally fairly short I never need more than 750 GB for a project.

Thank you all for the feedback. For the time being I'll give Sony Vegas a try and keep using PPro CS3, as that seems to not bring my system to its knees. I'm gonna try copy/pasting between PPro CS3 and AE CS4 to see if that'll fix the in/end points :D (between PPro CS4 and AE CS4 I haven't had that bug, so that's one thing good!).

We're starting production on a feature film in the near future and I'm gonna use that chance to have a thorough look at our post workflow and completely redesign it to be more stress friendly. Nice thing will be that the budget will allow us to buy new software and hardware, so that's why I'm looking around to see what the experiences are with other packages. Because I don't see myself editing a feature film on PPro again, until someone else does it on a new version and tells me they didn't have problems :D

So either an HP workstation with AVID media composer, or a MAC Pro with FCP. Is there anyway to test these things? Or reviews?


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Tim Kolb
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 18, 2009 at 2:41:20 pm

[Maarten Mylemans] "Thanks for the info, I can see how 8 GB could help, but since PPro is still a 32 bit application, it won't see anything above 4 GB, so I don't see how 16 GB will give me more workpower (because Windows 7 only uses about 1.5 GB of working RAM). The rest of course yes, that would be a big improvement :-D"

It's true that PPro can't use more than 4 GB...but you have 3 GB in your system and your OS uses half...leaving 1.5 GB available for everything else including PPro. However, remember that if you open your processes tab after launching PPro, you'll see there are other Adobe app engines running, waiting for the command to dynamic link...

Even with nothing else on your machine, PPro itself is likely getting access to less than 1 GB of RAM at any given time, at times much less I'd guess. Now try an "edit in Photoshop" command and suddenly you're splitting that RAM into smaller pieces yet. 4 GB of RAM actually available to PPro (8 in the box minimum) would likely more than Quadruple what it's getting now on your 3 GB system.

If you had 16 GB of RAM, you could give PPro a full 4 GB (and Photoshop gets its own 4 GB, and AE gets its 4...when they're all open, they all need resources) and it makes a runnability difference without a doubt. No, it doesn't fix any bugs, but it sounds as if you have general instability problems with big projects, and this is one way to reduce that considerably.




TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Maarten Mylemans
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 19, 2009 at 10:27:19 am

Tim: that's absolutely true. Guess I'll be upgrading soon.

Now I've discovered that you can run Windows on the new Mac Pro's? So actually I can have the best of both worlds now... Have a shiny Mac Pro with FCP, stable hardware and if I need Windows, I just boot it up on the same computer.
Hmm... does seem like a nice setup. And since FCP has been proven to be feature length friendly, I might just make the switch.


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Tim Kolb
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:20:39 pm

[Maarten Mylemans] "Now I've discovered that you can run Windows on the new Mac Pro's? So actually I can have the best of both worlds now..."

I know many who have done just that and are quite happy.



TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Maarten Mylemans
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 19, 2009 at 2:55:16 pm

Hmm, so I've been reading up on user's experiences with FCP, and seems there are quite some gripes with that program as well. Like Apple changing the way something works and it's apparently very picky about the version of OS and Quicktime you're using.

Oh, booh, can't software just work? :D
Anyhow, before I'll be making the jump and start spending on hardware, I'm trying out Sony Vegas (which has a weird workflow if you're used to PPro) and AVID. Although I will miss the Dynamic Link option. Maybe with PPro CS5 the program will grow up...

I will probably stick with PC, if so, is it best to go for a preconfigured workstation like one from HP or 1beyond, or can I design my own?


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Tim Kolb
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 19, 2009 at 5:36:15 pm

[Maarten Mylemans] "Hmm, so I've been reading up on user's experiences with FCP, and seems there are quite some gripes with that program as well. Like Apple changing the way something works and it's apparently very picky about the version of OS and Quicktime you're using."

Yes...isn't it interesting how even when one company makes the computer, the OS, AND the NLE software...there are still issues.

As far as CS4 growing up...(by all means try Vegas, but...) once you get an updated 64 bit, 8 core, 16 GB machine, I'd guess you'll find that CS4's puberty will largely be in the past...

(I run CS4 on my T7400 Centrino with 2 GB of RAM and XP Pro and I only have real issues bogging down when I dynamic link.)

Vegas is an amazing software program in a lot of ways (I have Vegas as well as Adobe), but it has limitations like everything else.

It's all a matter of what works the way you think.





TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Maarten Mylemans
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:38:36 pm

[Tim Kolb] "As far as CS4 growing up...(by all means try Vegas, but...) once you get an updated 64 bit, 8 core, 16 GB machine, I'd guess you'll find that CS4's puberty will largely be in the past... "

Well, Tim, your positivity about Premiere encouraged me to take another look at my software issues and see if they aren't indeed just my view filtered through a good bit of "rage view".

I've come to the conclusion that my last feature project only ran into two bugs (crippling bugs nonetheless), and it only began after having edited about 2/3 of the movie (every scene was a seperate project, to reduce loading, and only after the complete movie was done did I combine all the projects into one).

It was a quicktime bug, that broke my VFX files, so I had rerender them, and the in/end points going from PPro to AE (not all the time, but I had to be careful). And the biggest problem in the end was getting it out of Premiere (because of the quicktime bug) in a format that was playable and watchable (we were using a laptop to stream the movie to the projector at the cinema, as I didn't trust Blu-Ray enough at the time because it was still a brand new technology).

I've also read on the Reduser forum that a representative from Adobe spoke less than kind words about Apple and Quicktime, which leads me to think maybe I should start using other codecs (than a Quicktime wrapper).

Also, I edit HDV natively, which I read is actually very taxing on your system, maybe I can try an intermediate codec.

Tony: that's wonderful that you do that for your community! Well, if you find that it runs well on your system with such long footage, I think the road seems clear.

Vegas is way too weird for me to get into, I tried it, but, after 9 years of Premiere, I just can't get into it :-)

In the end it probably won't matter what software I use, as long as it's one that I'm comfortable with and on a system that can actually handle it!

Thank you Tim, for many good insights and feedback. Now on to search for the perfect editing machine...


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Tim Kolb
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:00:05 pm

[Maarten Mylemans] "Well, Tim, your positivity about Premiere encouraged me to take another look at my software issues and see if they aren't indeed just my view filtered through a good bit of "rage view"."

Well...I'm making no apologies for any manufacturer or product here...they all have areas where they shine and stumble. I just hate to see people throw money at the wrong problem...

Hopefully you find a way to reduce the headaches and get on with it...I know that it is very frustrating when you're spending all your time troubleshooting.




TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Tony Salso
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 19, 2009 at 4:42:03 pm

Marteen, I read with interest the dialog here about PPro CS4. My experiences are very narrow and are amateurish compared to yourself as well as the others responding. However, I do record and edit our church's weekly services for uploading to our web site: http://www.redhillssbc.org/Sermon%20Video%20Folder/Sermon%20Video.html .

I am using a Sony HVR-V1U, recording and importing in HDV about 80 minutes recorded on two HD tapes. The final movie is anywhere from 45 to 70 minutes, and my platform is a PC.

My sys was built new by a computer store using Intel MB DP43TF and Intel Quad Core 2.66GHz Processor using W 7 Ultimate 64 bit Op Sys/8GB RAM/NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS.

PPro CS4 runs flawlessly on my sys. My only problem is inexperience and having to learn the functionality of CS4. I have not had a seconds worth of trouble running the program.

When I use the monitor gadget (within Win 7) it shows RAM use and activity of each of the quad core processors. When exporting to Windows Media Player all four processors are running close to 100%, and RAM is about 3388 of 8123 Mb.

My prior system was XP Pro SP3 with many upgrades over about 5-7 years. That system was replete with difficulties running PrPro CS 3 and 4. I wanted to build the fastest badest computer myself, but when I talked to the computer store they told me to get rid of my problems I needed a “new” install of either XP Pro or Windows 7. I had no intention of going backwards, to XP so I decided to have them build my computer as long as it included a fully functioning version of Windows 7 as a new install not an upgrade over XP. That was in August and at that time Windows 7 was not available top the consumer as a full operating sytem. Best move I ever made as PrPro CS4 has been running flawlessly on the new system. While I am not earning a living using CS4, I am volunteering and do value my time as much as anyone who earns a living.

Hope this is useful.
Tony


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Mike Cohen
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 19, 2009 at 7:48:13 pm

We used Media 100 from 1999 to 2005. When we had maxed out the capabilities of version 9.5, or whatever the last version that was on OS 9 was, we had a choice to make - buy new Macs x3 or switch to Premiere Pro 1.5 on PCs that we already had in-house.

I found Premiere CS3 to be the most stable, aside from a few deadly projects here and there. Now we run CS4 on all machines and the performance is different from the Core 2 Duo to the Core 2 Quad to the i7, as one would expect.

As others have said, editing native HDV is processor intensive - add some color correction and stay away from the older machines. We know what we have and how best to use each system.

In other words, know the limitations of what you have to work with. Before cutting a feature film on any editing system, make sure you know that you can do it, rather than finding out the hard way.

There is always a better mouse trap. However eventually you either get the cheese or get your tail caught.

Mike Cohen


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Maarten Mylemans
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 19, 2009 at 8:52:14 pm

Thanks for the info, Mike. Well, considering your feedback, it's best I stay with CS3, because I've managed to complete a feature project with it before and so have a workflow in place that I know works.
Also because I know what can go wrong I can anticipate this.

Or if I had the budget, I'd just hire out all my post-production to another company! And pay them to stress over bugs :D


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:26:48 pm

Maarten
Some thoughts on Mac Pro running Final Cut.

I came to NLE's from the CMX online world, with casual experience in Avid and Media 100. When I decided to buy my own system, I wasn't biased one way or another, but needed to get the most bang for my buck. When I decided to put down the cash, I went Apple/FCP and never looked back, even though I have been a long time (remember IBM XT) PC Windows guy. Here are a few of my reasons, in no particular order.

1. The build quality of the Mac Pro is first rate. Open one up and look at the quality of the solder joints, no loose bundles of wires etc. The case isn't cheap plastic, or stamped sheet metal. It's easy to see where the money is going when you buy a Mac Pro. Very easy to add drives and memory, and the standard I/O ports are plentiful and conveniently located.

2.Software Price. With FCS, you get a suite of programs including DVD authoring, color correction, motion graphics and more, for a lot less than Avid MC.

3. Avid didn't support the codec of my camera, even though it had been out for over 2 years. The Avid and JVC forums were loaded with complaints about lack of support for the 100/110 series cameras, as well as others. Avid seems unresponsive to changes in the market.

4. Dissatisfaction expressed by my Avid using friends, some of whom have their own MC systems. Main complaints seems to be lack of support for the smaller owners, in favor of the larger network type customers, a heavy reliance on expensive external hardware and third party software, and high cost to upgrade systems as the world changes.

5. No silly dongle.

6. The OS, Apps and hardware all from the same company. No worry about third party compatibility/driver issues. One stop shopping to keep the system up to date.

7. Hardware Price. By the time you spec out a PC to meet the Avid specs, you are in the same price range as a Mac Pro-see #1 above.

8. The Windows Vista debacle.

9. The perception by some in the biz, that Avid is moving more towards the server market, and away from the core NLE market.

10. I didn't want to tinker with the system. I bought it to edit with and the Mac Pro/Final Cut solution seemed much more 'turn-key' than the Avid, with all the talk about how picky it was about qualified hardware.

As far as FCP issues, yes there are things that could work better. But, that is true in Avid, Vegas, AE or any other program. I've been in broadcast TV since 1981, and there isn't a piece of gear that I have ever used that was perfect, and didn't require some type of work-around, or have some limitation.
And honestly, 90% of the posts on the Cows FCP forum are 'pilot error' and could be easily solved if the person posting the problem would just read the manual, and follow the directions. A couple of good examples of this are all the people whingeing about the lack of QT 7 in Snow Leopard. Well in fact, it is on there, as is QT 10 if they would just bother to look. Or people posting all the problems they are having editing with H264, which is a delivery, not editing codec.
Another 5% are unrealistic expectations, and hardware/software bottlenecks from people on really old systems trying to work in an HD world.
The remaining 5% are real problems, and people pushing the envelope. In that 5%, the issues are usually workflow specific, and only affect a small group of users with a unique workflow.
My system arrived by UPS around 9am. By 1pm that same day, I was up and running and cutting some test footage together.
After 2 years, I can say I'm still very glad I chose FCP, and have had very few issues. And those I did have were minor, and solved by reading the manual. I looked at my system logs, which now only go back to Aug 30th, which is when I installed Snow Leopard, and could only find 2 crashes, neither of which involved the FCS Apps.
At least two of my friends with older Avid MC's have switched to FCP after using my system, rather than upgrade their MC's to go HD. While the only folks I know that are sticking with Avid, don't actually own the system, or pay the bills to upgrade or maintain it.
Don't get me wrong, Avid is a fine App, but look at all your options, I'm glad I did.

And for all the Avid fanboys out there, these are just my opinions, and experiences, and in no way meant to disparage the Avid, or Avid users.


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Phil Lowe
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 21, 2009 at 9:49:22 pm

No offense taken, as I'm not a fanboy of Avid's networked "solutions". Here are just 2 very recent rasons:

1. Spent 2 days working on 6:28 project that airs Monday night on Unity/Isis system. Last night (around 10:30 pm) after laying in last piece of music just before last shot was to go in, Newscutter XP on said Unity/Isis system informs me that the "Filesystem is busy" when it tries to save the bin to the network project folder. When I "raise the error", I get a very cryptic message box that reads, essentially, bin not found. So I try to create a bin with a different name and save to that. Same error.

This goes on for 15 minutes (I'm on overtime) and so I make a QT backup of sequence to local storage then close Newscutter and reboot my system. When I get system back up and proceed to jump through all of Avid's login hoops, I find that the renamed backup bin is there, but the original bin has completely disappeared from the server. Gone. Thank god the backup was there and I didn't lose my project, but this is the kind of bullsh*t I've come to expect from Newscutter XP on a Unity/Isis system running Interplay.

Meanwhile, I'll be asking my boss on Monday if I can cut next project on Media Composer with local storage (no networking) and send out as QT file to newscutter for air, turning Newscutter into nothing more than a very expensive import/transfer station for air. Otherwise, everything with this Newscutter system is one huge freaking disaster waiting to happen!

Which brings me to point...

2. Newscutter is worthless when it comes to importing QT animations with alphas! It does stills just fine, but whenever I import an animation with an alpha (premultiplied or straight, no difference), I get a black line along the top edge of the "fill" about 8 lines thick. Every time I get this, I have to step into the track with the matte key on it and add a resize effect to the fill, scaling it up by 5% or moving it by 8 lines up (moving it just send the black line to the bottom). It's yet another workaround I have to deal with regarding Avid's vaunted professional networked solution, Newscutter!

OK, while I'm on a roll, here's point...

3. Major latency (lag) when hitting the space bar to start/stop playback of clips and/or sequences in Newscutter on Interplay (this was a new "feature" introduced with Interplay that we never had with Media Manager).

Hit the space bar to start playback and wait for as much as half a second for playback to start. But hit same spacebar to stop, and the timeline or clip may continue playing for up to 2 or 3 seconds past the point you actually wanted it to stop!

The most maddening thing about this one is that when you anticipate the lag on next attempt to get a tight outcue, it stops immediately, leaving you a couple of seconds ahead of where you should be! Yet repeat the start/stop process, and you get the same lag you had before!

I'm told this has to do with the "spring buffers filling and dumping" but - again - this was never a problem on MM, and is certainly not an issue with Media Composer on my laptop! Avid's response to these issues is "use the J-K-L keys", (instead of actually fixing things they've clearly broken) but when your keyboard is set up for a workflow you've been using for 15 years, changing habits is not an easy thing to do. Chalk this up to another Avid workaround.

4. Avid Pan & Zoom plug in: Stills or scanned image brought in through this ALWAYS import extremely blurry, even in RT mode, until you render them. My workaround for doing documents using this P.O.S. plug in is to keep Windows' Picture and Fax viewer open in second monitor as a roadmap to see where I need to move virtual camera. Just another example of how some of Avid's "solutions" create more problems than they solve!

I could go on: a capture tool that causes exception errors and crashes almost every time you open it (even though Avid's soluion is to keep it closed.) Memory leaks, media ingested into server that shows up one second only to appear completely offline another, constant other workstation crashes and system hangs, a media tool that can't read P2 media until you add a half dozen steps to the process (like refreshing media databases, mounting, unmounting, then remounting cards, etc.)

And if none of this works, dance naked in the light of a full moon with copies of the manual soaked in Jack D. burning in a circle at your feet! (Better yet, just drink the Jack then burn the manuals anyway for all the good they do!)

Avid's response to the things they've broken in a new release? "Upgrading to the next release fixes that". You get to the next release only to find half a dozen new things broken that were working fine before! On top of that, the new release may force you to upgrade to all new servers and workstations to handle the new workarounds you're going to have to implement!

And no offense to the FCP fanboys, but I've heard horror stories from some of my colleagues who work on those systems, too.

There is no perfect piece of software out there. If one is in development, it hasn't been released yet and when it is it will cost more than the national debt.

But come on: for the amount of money stations and networks pay Avid for this stuff, you'd think they could do better!

Hate Newscutter. Like Media Composer. Your mileage may vary.



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Scott Sheriff
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 22, 2009 at 2:47:55 am

Phil,
That KB latency would drive me crazy! My FCP is instantaneous. I also have a USB Contour Jogger (I'm old school) and that doesn't lag either.

I hadn't stop to consider Start/Restart times until you mentioned that.
Here is what my system does as an example.

Mac Pro 8 core, 2.8 GHz, 16GB 800MHz RAM, System Drive is a 1TB WD Black, 7200 RPM. Running OS 10.6.2 Snow Leopard, and I'm running FCP version 6.0.6. Stand alone system-no network.

Cold Start Up- :46
Running Restart- 1:07
Wake from sleep- :05
Open Final Cut w/6 minute 'last project'- :26

Worst case scenario I'm looking at under 2 minutes to restart and get back to work. Does it really take the Avid that much longer than this?


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Phil Lowe
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 22, 2009 at 4:05:50 am

Worst case scenario I'm looking at under 2 minutes to restart and get back to work. Does it really take the Avid that much longer than this?


5 minutes from cold start until ready to edit is about how long it takes, but we're still running on HP xw-8200s Avid said were still qualified for use with the software we're on. (Don't have the version number we're on in front of me now, but it not the latest).

I run MC 3.1.2 on a Core 2 Duo laptop with 3GB ram (2.0 GHz cpu) and on a Quad Core 2.8 GHz desktop with 8GB ram (64-bit system) and get great results from both. Fast and stable.

I'm just disgusted and frustrated as hell that Newscutter doesn't work as well, since I have to spend most of my day working on it.



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Maarten Mylemans
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 22, 2009 at 9:45:12 am

Yep, that seems to be the case, all software seems to have its quirks and downright crippling bugs.

But Phil you seem quite content with Avid Media Composer?

I too have read some horror stories about FCP. Sure, part of those can be because of piloting errors (the people using the software), but not all of those. The biggest gripe seems to be the inconsistency of Apple about what it supports from version to version.

With Adobe you know what they will support, you just know it'll be in a buggy way (that's just a joke, although there's truth in that!).

I just want to minimize post-production stress (out of the normal stress that comes with deadlines). Technical troubleshooting is such a buzzkill! You're happily working on a scene, everything's rosy, the actors were great, there's wonderful continuity, you have all the shots you want and then... your system crashes, and it won't export, and you get fatal errors... and aaargh.

Maybe I should do what Spielberg does? Stil manually cut with film, at least there won't be system crashes, and people have developed wonderful workarounds, since they've been working with it for about a hundred years now :D (just a joke, I don't think it's feasible to want to do that anymore)


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Phil Lowe
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Nov 22, 2009 at 5:30:08 pm

But Phil you seem quite content with Avid Media Composer?


Yes. It's stable and - once you get to know it - fast. I migrated to it when Avid killed Xpress Pro. I had been using that since it was known as Xpress DV starting with version 2, and was a beta tester for Xpress Pro 4.6, still one of the finest versions of the software ever written. That's because Avid opened it up for public beta, and quite a number of us kicked it around until we broke it, then gave Avid feedback on how to fix it and make it better.

Not sure they do that anymore but, if they aren't, they should.

Here's a screen cap of my laptop interface (desktop uses 2 monitors).

Media Composer 3.1.2 screen cap.

But keep in mind, I also use PPro because Avid needs 3rd party software for DVD authoring. I like PPro a lot, too and agree with Tim: if you're on a less than optimal system any piece of software is going to give you problems.

PPro_2.0 Screen Cap



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Ty Wood
Re: Premiere Pro alternatives
on Jan 23, 2010 at 7:06:32 am

1 word that hasn't been mentioned here yet and should have:

Grass Velley's Edius.

It's the opposite of riddled with bugs. I find it's more stable than any other professional editor, including avid and fcp, and it's also significantly easier to use.

If you're Premiere-d out and want to stay on PC, I highly recommend checking it out (30 day full featured trial!).


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