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Mancel Lindsey
CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 15, 2010 at 7:19:23 pm

I am looking into a solution to catalog many hours of footage for multiple editors, projects, and project files. The solution needs to manage project files and iterations so no overwrite mistakes happen. Once the system is in place, we want to focus on the creative side.

The main problem I'm finding is that there is limited information about CatDV compared to Final Cut Server, as well as not having someone come and teach it to us.

Let me know any pros and cons of both solutions. Thank you in advance.


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Mark Raudonis
Re: CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 15, 2010 at 8:22:31 pm

If "logging" is important to you, then CATdv wins hands down. To my knowledge, there is NO specific logging component of FCSrvr. For everything else, you must do your homework and compare feature by feature.

You don't need EITHER of these programs to manage project files. That can easily be done on the finder level IF you have some standard naming conventions and "rules" for your editors. No program will automatically manage this kind of stuff if you don't already have a logical naming convention and workflow in place. You may want to "focus on the creative side", but you'll NEVER get to do that if your projects are a mess. Organization is the key to creativity. If you can't find it, you can't edit with it. So, start with a sensible organization structure and you'll have plenty of time to work on the creative.

There is plenty of information available on their website. If you email or call, I've found them to be very helpful with tons of info and suggestions. One thing to note about BOTH programs: You should plan on paying an expert "HTML" consultant for a level of customization to make the programs ideal for your own unique workflow. The cost of this service is going to be MORE than the cost of the base program... but it will be worth it.

I just got back from NAB and "CATdv" was getting quite alot of "buzz".

mark



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Matthew Stamos
Re: CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 16, 2010 at 2:00:03 pm

CatDV really takes a very different approach than Final Cut Server and Mark brings up some really critical points. You have to keep your workflow organized and CatDV can help but as Kevin says there is no "magic bullet". Here is a brief comparison to Final Cut Server.


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Mancel Lindsey
Re: CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 16, 2010 at 2:27:40 pm

We're not looking for a "magic bullet" and understand the organization of files and projects. We're looking into both options for workflow management to keep those "rules" and organization locked down and in order, cataloged, searchable, etc.

It seems the comparison list was written from the CatDV side of the equation. FCS does more than what is shown here. I'd like to see an unbiased chart or comparison.

I do like the layout and organization of CatDV. But most of the editing and marking of clips will just be done in FCP anyways so I'm not sure if that is a big enough feature to make a difference.

How are FCP project files handled? I've read a lot about exporting and importing XML files. can anyone elaborate on the ease of use in this process and if it is an advantage or not over FCS?

And thank you for the answers given thus far. Really appreciate it.


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Allan White
Re: CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 16, 2010 at 6:12:19 pm

Agreed - I think CatDV has many superior advantages over FCS, but this list is clearly biased and ill-worded. Post pros are smarter than that, and can smell this for what it is. FCS does have some nice FCP integration and clip-searching capabilities, if that's what you need. CatDV does more.

Distilling these two systems into a checklist totally oversimplifies these complex questions.

"GUI Ease of use, intuitive" - LOL! 1: Not a sentence. 2: Saying CatDV has a great interface is, well, false. It's "functional". We can all thank Java Swing's UI widgets for that. But hey, it's like an ugly baby, you still love it, right? =)

- Allan White, Video Producer, Luis Palau Assoc.

Quad 3Ghz Mac Pro, 10GB RAM, X1900 GPU, XSAN, CatDV Server


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Mancel Lindsey
Re: CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 16, 2010 at 6:19:57 pm

Haha I'm glad I wasn't alone on that one! Can you explain CatDV's FCP project integration? It's a pretty big part of our workflow.

A appreciate your response Allan.


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Matthew Stamos
Re: CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 16, 2010 at 7:57:50 pm

The list is biased for sure and what would you expect on a CatDV forum.....? :)

Yeah GUI ease of use is kind of silly but seriously and exceptions aside there are some pretty clear differences in the list that may a apply in your workflow. My experience is one of these feature differences is usually significant enough to make the choice clear.

As for handling FCP projects the connection between CatDV and FCP requires both apps be open and then clips in FCP can be managed in CatDV and vice versa.


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Allan White
Re: CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 16, 2010 at 9:24:25 pm

Greetings Mark,

I wanted to clarify something you wrote - I'm not sure you mean an "HTML" consultant, unless you're talking about a web app developer to make some kind of custom web interface for these systems. That's more of an engineering challenge.

Did you mean, "integrator" (someone like Bryson@hidefcowboy.com)? I definitely see the need for that.
Organization is the key to creativity. If you can't find it, you can't edit with it. So, start with a sensible organization structure and you'll have plenty of time to work on the creative.

Could not agree more! That's a mantra I've used many times to persuade the "creatives" (of which I am one) to add organizational systems... so they can be creative!

- Allan White, Video Producer, Luis Palau Assoc.

Quad 3Ghz Mac Pro, 10GB RAM, X1900 GPU, XSAN, CatDV Server


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Mark Raudonis
Re: CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 17, 2010 at 12:44:14 am

Yes, I meant an "HTML Expert". Yes. Web based interface.

Think about it.

Mark



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bryson jones
Re: CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 16, 2010 at 3:57:40 pm

Mancel,

It really depends on your business, of course, but the biggest things to me are that CatDV will allow you to bulk tag as many items as you can select, meaning that FCS wants you to apply metadata to a single asset at a time. In most productions, we know certain general things about an asset and would like to quickly tag them at once.

In CatDV I can tag 1,000 assets with a common project name, for instance. In FCS, I am limited to one at a time. Also, the search results have an upper limit (I believe 20 per page and no more than 10 pages of results or 200 items) That doesn't work well for a lot of archives.

CatDV also can work on a laptop in the field, not connected to the server for managing field shoots and pre logging footage and you can then publish those catalogs into the server when you return home.

Also, you can take our proxy files on a firewire drive and send a producer home or somewhere else to work. Our proxies can be duplicated and can also live in multiple locations, unlike FCS.

What part of the world are you in? There are tons of dealers and installers now who can give you an online demo.



bryson

bryson "at" hidefcowboy.com

hidefcowboy.com


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Mancel Lindsey
Re: CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 16, 2010 at 4:06:16 pm

Thank you Bryson. Huge help and great info. I'm in Orlando, FL in the U.S. I'd love to have someone demo it for us...


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Allan White
Re: CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 16, 2010 at 9:07:06 pm

Re: bulk tagging: You know, it's not until you mention, "FCS can't do that as well", that I realize how much I take that for granted. It's super fast and extremely useful, doing manipulations on metadata that just aren't conceivable in FCP. It helps me manage file-naming conventions and generally keep things organized.

Where it gets crazy powerful is when you're doing it with the Server product and running queries. Then you can find and sort clips across ALL your projects, make a metadata or filename batch change, and save it back to the database. Boom!

- Allan White, Video Producer, Luis Palau Assoc.

Quad 3Ghz Mac Pro, 10GB RAM, X1900 GPU, XSAN, CatDV Server


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Dennis Kutchera
Re: CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 17, 2010 at 3:28:21 pm

Well, I am involved with both CatDV and Final Cut Server. But I am only using the standalone version of CAT DV. In my opinion they are two different products. CATDV is very well defined for media asset management with excellent database capabilities. But one weakness in (standalone) CATVDV is that it is too easy to delete something. I hate that. I have done that. If you don't catch it and hit undo, it is gone - not the media, just the clip info and metadata.

I don't think Apple is clear on what Final Cut Server is. First, Final Cut Server is a weak asset manager compared to CATDV, but a powerful workflow manager. It is a pig to set up and customize. I was stricken with the task, but the more I dig into it, the more I like, Mind you, I do not have CATDV server to compare to, so this is maybe a little lob-sided. Nothing I can do about that unless I get my hands on CATDV Server.

But with Final Cut Server, you can manage projects that will contain assets. It will work like a library system - I check out a project and work on it. Then I might add new assets. When I check it back it, FCS will upload the new assets. Someone else can check the project out and continue to work on it with media remaining on the server or copied to a local drive. There is none of this Final Cut Pro can't find media bull. And media is never duplicated. If you use the same asset if 10 projects, it is smart enough to not copy it.

Inside Final Cut Server, the stored FInal Cut Pro project contains the media or alias to the media. It is very slick at maintaining organization. You can also script it to send emails when certain objectives are achieved and automate it to run files through Compressor and send them on to another destination.

You do not need any special software to view assets and annotate them A small java app runs Mac or PC; even over VPN. Proxies are automatically created. In fact, FCS works really well over VPN. I am managing a server in Finland from Canada.

Final Cut Server also manages levels of permission really well so things don't get deleted accidentally. I think that is pretty dang important. Maybe the server version of CATV will do this; I don't know.

There is a lot in Final Cut Server, but as I said, it is a tool for workflow management more than comprehensive asset management. In an ideal world, I would log in CatDV and store in FInal Cut Server. My pet project right now is to find that bridge. I think it is doable with FCS 1.5.

Dennis


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Matthew Stamos
Re: CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 19, 2010 at 5:05:17 pm

Great write up Dennis and certainly helps clears up how the products really take a different approach.

But one weakness in (standalone) CATVDV is that it is too easy to delete something. I hate that. I have done that. If you don't catch it and hit undo, it is gone - not the media, just the clip info and metadata.

This can be achieved in CatDV server but is really a bit of a work around by creating read only catalogs and or using the user permissions.

But with Final Cut Server, you can manage projects that will contain assets. It will work like a library system - I check out a project and work on it. Then I might add new assets. When I check it back it, FCS will upload the new assets. Someone else can check the project out and continue to work on it with media remaining on the server or copied to a local drive. There is none of this Final Cut Pro can't find media bull. And media is never duplicated. If you use the same asset if 10 projects, it is smart enough to not copy it.

CatDV Enterprise client works as a standalone application and though there is no formal check in check out process you can take your proxies with you to work remotely and publish changes when you connect back to the server. This also provides for logging of new material and publishing new catalogs when connected.

Inside Final Cut Server, the stored FInal Cut Pro project contains the media or alias to the media. It is very slick at maintaining organization. You can also script it to send emails when certain objectives are achieved and automate it to run files through Compressor and send them on to another destination.

The CatDV automation client WOrker Node has built in email notification for the completion of processes and notification of errors. When both FCP and CatDV are open an XML connection provides live exchanges between both applications for media and metadata.

You do not need any special software to view assets and annotate them A small java app runs Mac or PC; even over VPN. Proxies are automatically created. In fact, FCS works really well over VPN. I am managing a server in Finland from Canada.

CatDV can operate offline with any cataloged assets as it maintains thumbnails and metadata in the database. As for VPN access that is a separate that maybe the developer can shed more light on. I know there are ways to work around this by sharing catalogs and meta data.

Final Cut Server also manages levels of permission really well so things don't get deleted accidentally. I think that is pretty dang important. Maybe the server version of CATV will do this; I don't know.

CatDV server has permissions as well but does not operate with open directory as FCServer does. The CatDV Server has the concept of production group permissions in addition to user permissions and together offer a excellent degree of granularity to managing permissions through out the workflow.



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Dennis Kutchera
Re: CatDV vs Final Cut Server
on Apr 17, 2010 at 3:27:06 pm

Well, I am involved with both CatDV and Final Cut Server. But I am only using the standalone version of CAT DV. In my opinion they are two different products. CATDV is very well defined for media asset management with excellent database capabilities. But one weakness in (standalone) CATVDV is that it is too easy to delete something. I hate that. I have done that. If you don't catch it and hit undo, it is gone - not the media, just the clip info and metadata.

I don't think Apple is clear on what Final Cut Server is. First, Final Cut Server is a weak asset manager compared to CATDV, but a powerful workflow manager. It is a pig to set up and customize. I was stricken with the task, but the more I dig into it, the more I like, Mind you, I do not have CATDV server to compare to, so this is maybe a little lob-sided. Nothing I can do about that unless I get my hands on CATDV Server.

But with Final Cut Server, you can manage projects that will contain assets. It will work like a library system - I check out a project and work on it. Then I might add new assets. When I check it back it, FCS will upload the new assets. Someone else can check the project out and continue to work on it with media remaining on the server or copied to a local drive. There is none of this Final Cut Pro can't find media bull. And media is never duplicated. If you use the same asset if 10 projects, it is smart enough to not copy it.

Inside Final Cut Server, the stored FInal Cut Pro project contains the media or alias to the media. It is very slick at maintaining organization. You can also script it to send emails when certain objectives are achieved and automate it to run files through Compressor and send them on to another destination.

You do not need any special software to view assets and annotate them A small java app runs Mac or PC; even over VPN. Proxies are automatically created. In fact, FCS works really well over VPN. I am managing a server in Finland from Canada.

Final Cut Server also manages levels of permission really well so things don't get deleted accidentally. I think that is pretty dang important. Maybe the server version of CATV will do this; I don't know.

There is a lot in Final Cut Server, but as I said, it is a tool for workflow management more than comprehensive asset management. In an ideal world, I would log in CatDV and store in FInal Cut Server. My pet project right now is to find that bridge. I think it is doable with FCS 1.5.

Dennis


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