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FCPX = Ampex Ace

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Chris Jacek
FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 11:17:04 am

For those who remember editing in the pre-NLE days, I wondered if you agree with this simple analogy. The Ampex Ace was a powerful editing system, that was a bit quirky when compared with CMX, Sony, or Grass Valley systems. Some would even call it bassackwards. Though I was just getting into the industry as these systems were in their final days (pre-read systems were all the rage), I remember thinking to myself how Ampex seemed to be on another planet with their system. Many argued that it was a better planet, but at the end of the day, it was just too "out of this world" for most.

So I ask for the opinions of those who edited in the years B.A. (Before Avid), if they think this is a fit analogy.

Professor, Producer, Editor
and former Apple Employee


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Geoff Dills
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 12:10:21 pm

Only if they sold it for 300 bucks. :)

Best,
Geoff


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TImothy Auld
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 1:00:08 pm

I worked with the Ace only a few times but the biggest adjustment from my perspective was
just being so used to working with a cmx style qwerty keyboard. Other than that I remember
being able to make it do what I wanted it to. Certainly I worked slower (though I think I covered
it well) but generally I didn't feel it was that much of a departure conceptually, so I'm not sure
it's equivalent to X in that way. I remember the display taking a while to get used to. I guess if
you're saying Ace didn't quite catch on because it was too far outside what people were used to working with then you're probably right.

bigpine


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Lee Berger
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 1:11:58 pm

Didn't it have a touch screen interface?

Lee Berger
http://www.leebergermedia.com


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Brendan Gibbons
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 1:18:47 pm

I started out on ace as well, just as it was disappearing. You really could bash the keys on that and fly along.

You know it A(ctually) C(ould) E(dit) ;)

Cheers,

Brendan


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Brian Mulligan
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 1:31:02 pm

Ahhh. My first edit system... aside from tape to tape. But to be honest, I didn't even know that it was different, which is probably true for new FCPX users. The fundamentals of editing are all there.

But since the world is different now and no one is an island of post production, having a different tool that doesn't share nicely isn't a good way to learn.

<a href="http://i1.creativecow.net/u/29706/ace25.jpg"><img src="//i1.creativecow.net/u/29706/ace25.jpg" border="0" /></a>

Brian Mulligan
Senior Editor - Autodesk Smoke
WTHR-TV Indianapolis,IN, USA
Twitter: @bkmeditor


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Gary Hazen
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 2:41:24 pm

I went from a Sony BVE-900 to an ACE 25. I didn't have any major problems switching editors.


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C. Park Seward
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 11:59:06 pm

You should give credit for the photos you steal

http://videopark.com/oldbroadcast.htm

I used 141 and 151 GVG editors, Ampex ACE 25 and Accom Axial as linear editors. I have restored a 25.

The dedicated ACE keyboard was great, you could really fly. It does have a Qwerty keyboard that is used for text input. It controlled the Ampex decks great.

Here is a shot of a small linear bay

http://videopark.com/images/VPI1990/Daveedits.jpg

Best,
Park


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Don Walker
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 1:36:44 pm

Having edited on CMX for years, and having significant experience on GVG and Accom systems, i found the few times I edited on an ACE, as being a challenging but not impossible experience. The big difference is that ACE offered 2 varieties of UI's: a touch screen, or a non-qwerty keyboard, thereby not forcing people into their way of doing things. Crawford Communications in Atlanta, (the market I worked in from 1986 to 2005) was the only major facility I was aware of that used the touchscreen interface, and nobody else that i worked for either full time or freelance, paid much attention to the ACE. Ampex made other much more significant products, ADO, the Century Series switchers (so much better than the GVG 300 btw), and of course legendary tape machines. (if you ever saw a VPR-3 in action you were amazed)

The real game changer in linear post came about with Accom Axial editor; a truly revolutionalry editor that through it's use of Digital Disk recorders and it's abilty to cache shots, bridged the gap, between linear and non-linear systems. But alas, by the early '90s the hand writing was on the wall, linear systems were on their way out, the cost factor being just to big.

Ampex offered the ACE, as a side product to compliment their other big buck devices, maintaining the status quo of the million dollar edit suite.. Apple is saying, we have a better way of doing things (Our Way!) which will bring "professional editing" to the masses, and sell billions of dollars of our products in the process.

My first non linear edit experience, was on a Immix Video Cube, which to this day, had the best control panel of any non-linear editor.

don walker
texarkana, texas

John 3:16


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Patrice Freymond
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 2:34:13 pm

No I don't think the analogy works for FCPx is much too young (beta) for that. Now, in those days a manufacturer would probably not survive if launching a product so unfinished as this one.

I would agree that the ACE was a different proposition form the others but not that different. I worked on CMX 340 and 3400, then ACE (both touchscreen and keyboard), Sony 9100 and Axial, and the level of integration offered by the ACE when hooked to an Ampex switcher (AVC Century), ADO and VPR3's was second only to what Sony did later with their combination of 9100, DVS switcher and DME7000 dve.

Maybe a better comparison, if I may, would be between what Quantel did with the Encore DVE when most others were more or less following the path started by the ADO. But then the world of DVE's was always one without much rule...


BTW Brian, that picture is of the ACE 25 which I hated for all its limitations...

patrice


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Lee Berger
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 3:27:58 pm

As a producer I posted a project at Crawford in the late 80's. The editor was using ACE and wasn't thrilled with the touch screen. Prior to the online we did an offline using a PC program called Edit Lister (remember the 8-inch RT-11 floppy disk) so it was a lot of auto assembly and clean up.

Lee Berger
http://www.leebergermedia.com


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Herb Sevush
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 7:47:26 pm

I loved "Edit Lister." My favorite piece of editing software, all-time. A CMX emulator that cost peanuts, ran on any PC, worked frame accurately with 3/4, VHS, or Beta decks with incredibly good list cleaning software including list tracing so you could use edit masters as new sources. Lon McQuillin wrote it and you could call him directly for update requests. I've once walked into a PBS station with one of those lists, had 5 machines loaded with 1" masters, and soon the whole edit staff came by to see a 1 hour show create itself on the fly. When it finished they applauded.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Lee Berger
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 8:47:10 pm

Unfortunately for us it was a bit farther off line. We edited cuts only 3/4 window dubs and then entered the in and out points for each edit into Edit Lister. We used two BVU-800's with Timecode record so we could verify the accuracy of our lists via the record in times. Put that to RT 11 disc and off to post we went. It was an improvement over the pen and paper edl's that were used when I got there. In 1996 I purchased a PC based CMX emulator from Editing Technologies Corp. For about the same price as a BVE-910 you got QWERTY keyboard, 10,000 events (ten bins), five machine and switcher control, GPIs, and auto list clean if desired. Direct connection to each machine, no VLAN or other interface required. Controlled 3/4inch then moved up to DVCPro. Don't miss linear editing.

Lee Berger
http://www.leebergermedia.com


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Herb Sevush
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 8:57:10 pm

Your jogging my memory. Edit Lister was as you described, Edit Master was the version that actually controlled the machines. I came from film and hated linear video editing, though I do miss using software where I knew the developer by name and could request improvements with a phone call.

RT11 discs,now there's a memory jolt.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Bob Woodhead
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 3:16:28 pm

Started way back on the CMX340x (think that was it) & quads, moved along the VTR timeline & eventually had a suite with the ACE. But the keyboard sure wasn't the one pictured above.... was QUERTY, I think, with the 8 soft keys along the top.

CMX editors usually dissed it because it wasn't the same (!), but never took the time to see what it could really do (!).

I had an all-Ampex VTR suite, with GPIs on all the outboard gear, and with the nested edits you could do, it was amazing what 1 editor could control at a time. Had one series where, with the touch of one ACE softkey, an edit would be performed with: 4 VTRs, Chyron (with anim), digi audio cart, ADO trigger, DESAM audio board triggers, D2 speed ramps - and being triggered at discreet times. CMX couldn't do that (at the time). Even had the video output system on the D2s controlled via hexadecimal in nested softkeys, so I could control levels, etc, on the joystick, without an outboard interface.

Point is, when you dug deep, it was pretty kick-ass.

Which sounds like a nod to FCPX. But, ACE didn't attempt to change the underlying way we thought about editing. It was more of a different feature-set on top.

Gimmie 64-bit FCP, thank you.

"Constituo, ergo sum"

Bob Woodhead / Atlanta
Quantel-Avid-FCP-3D-AFX-Crayola
Panasonic HPX500/AF100


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Patrice Freymond
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 3:38:41 pm

Remembering all this makes clear once more what I've always missed since we went all NLE: the ability to make several changes to a picture at the same time, i.e. adjusting effects in real time whilst rolling the edit; turning two knobs would not only be possible but it also wasn't stopping the machine. And sometimes the accidents that were produced this way became part of the creative process of that pre-plugin era.

Computers have taken most of this away with their "one command at a time" restriction, and it is only now, with more powerful machinces and software, that there is a hope that we may regain the capability to make adjustments on the fly within the editing tool.

patrice


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Chris Jacek
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 4:33:49 pm

[Bob Woodhead] "Had one series where, with the touch of one ACE softkey, an edit would be performed with: 4 VTRs, Chyron (with anim), digi audio cart, ADO trigger, DESAM audio board triggers, D2 speed ramps - and being triggered at discreet times."

I also suspect that most FCPX editors will probably think this sentence is in a foreign language.

Professor, Producer, Editor
and former Apple Employee


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Rob McGreevy
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 4:46:28 pm

Ahhh... ye olde Ampex ACE! That brings back some fond and not so fond memories of long days switching and setting up tapes on the 1" and Beta decks. Heck, we even had the Ampex ADO and the Ampex Vista switcher that went with it!

I would agree somewhat with the analogy in that it was different than a lot of editors. (I came to it after editing on Sony's BVE-900 for a number of years) but after a while I got used to it and adjusted to its way of thinking.


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Tom Matthies
Re: FCPX = Ampex Ace
on Jul 22, 2011 at 6:47:31 pm

Ah, I remember edit 4 at Optimus in Chicago.
Ampex ACE, Century 330 switcher, Beta BVW75's and VPR3's for decks, Chyron Scribe and a couple of channels of ADO. A day of renting that room for editing would cost more than a new MacPro computer and FCS3 software, hard drives and plugs-ins would cost today. The glory days of on-line editing! What a difference.

E=MC2+/-2db


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