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Paul Kim
NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 7, 2012 at 4:51:07 pm

My apologies if this post could be better off in another forum.

I've worked at a production and post-production studio in California that just went over to FCP X. It was a tough choice but because of their needs with their XSAN among other things, they went that direction. We were on FCP 7 and Server for at least a few years now.

Now I'm working with an educational institution, and currently I'm having to set up a post-production class as well as the facilities for it.

My budget is pretty limited, so I'm struggling because I don't have the budget (this year) to purchase both PP6 and FCP X for all the computers. I've discounted Avid at this point in time.

I'm feeling pretty sure it's going to be FCP X but since I have a lot of photography majors who are wanting to do some video work and are already familiar with Adobe CS, it's crossed my mind to use PP. I've thought about just going with FCP X on our systems, and then letting them purchase PP for their own laptops so they get a taste of both and only have to buy one piece for now.

Anyhow, I would appreciate any comments with regard to our situation. I've been professionally using FCP for a decade now and have only just started using FCP X a month ago on my laptop and so am having to rethink this whole thing from a student standpoint--if that even makes a difference. I suppose it's not really that important of a decision if we'll eventually have both, but I do want the seniors graduating to be working with where things are headed.

Hardware is a consideration right now as well. We're going to have an advanced editing lab and also two finishing suites (in time), and I'm thinking about how best to ask for resources to outfit them.

I've done some setups in the past for my previous business, but I haven't in the last 2-3 years since I still have a FCP 7 Mac Pro tower that works great and has made good income. It seems the recent advent of both Thunderbolt and HDMI on the Macs have changed a lot in terms of hardware needs, and I'm wondering what you guys would recommend with that in mind. I'm looking at the Matrox products, MXO2, the mini, and the new thunderbolt dock. It almost seems like I could get away with Mac Minis, basic iMacs, or even have students bring their laptops in and dock them into some hardware, of course with proper audio monitoring.

Anyhow, I know this is vague in terms of questions, but this is where I'm at in the thought process. Any advice on big picture considerations, and then ultimately some hardware recommendations would be really appreciated.



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Paul Kim
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 7, 2012 at 5:28:26 pm

It just occurred to me that I could install half the computers with FCP X and the others with PP6. Not sure how that would work in terms of licensing and what variation in cost would be, but that might be an idea to have them learn both. I'm also unsure as to whether or not I should have them learn FCP 7 since many people are still using that for good paying projects. Though by the time some of them are out of school, maybe not.



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Chris Harlan
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 7, 2012 at 5:39:21 pm

[Paul Kim] "I'm also unsure as to whether or not I should have them learn FCP 7 since many people are still using that for good paying projects. Though by the time some of them are out of school, maybe not.
"


Just FYI--the current version of Premiere and FCP7 are very compatible, both in sharing files, and in operation.


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Chris Harlan
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 7, 2012 at 5:37:07 pm

Paul, this is the perfect forum to ask this question. You'll get a wide variety of answers.

Given your choices, my inclination would be to go with CS6 because of the other programs available in the full suite, its cross-platform availability, and its aggressive student/teacher pricing. I also have a strong personal preference for Premiere over FCP X as an editing tool, but lets leave that out of the discussion.

The fact that the Educational CS6 production bundle only costs about $50 more than FCP X (when combined with Motion and Compressor), and that it is easily available for educational rental at 30 bucks a month would be enough for me to go with CS6, what with Photoshop extended, After Effects, Flash, Audition, etc. Add to this that your students can run CS6 on either a Mac or a PC, and I think you have a fairly winning argument for CS 6.

And, Premiere's a good program. I'm curious about Avid, though. They have strong student/teacher incentives as well. What was your reason for ruling it out so early?


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Michael Hancock
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 7, 2012 at 5:43:19 pm

I'm curious too why Avid is immediately out. It's the cheapest of the three for institutions ($295/license), and students get it for $295 with 4 years of free upgrades, making it the cheapest there by a long shot.

However, if Avid is completely off the table I'd lean toward CS6 for the same reasons Chris said - the entire suite of applications is an incredible value. Plus, if the students learn to edit with Premiere they can transition very quickly and easily to FCP7 or Avid is a future job requires it. FCPX is such a different beast that I feel they will be at a disadvantage unless your market is all going FCPX. I'm not seeing that where I'm at or where my friends are at though - your area might be different.

----------------
Michael Hancock
Editor


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 7, 2012 at 6:55:12 pm

Paul -

I think that, as an educational institution, part of your responsibility to the student is to give them the tools which will help their success in the "real" world. I put real in quotes, because of the wide definition of "real". They may want to start a one-person shop, or go on to teach, or get a job in a corporation which has a workgroup system - you get it.

So the more industry standards you can include in your teaching, and the broader the exposure to the tools they're likely to run into, the better you're performing your commitment to prepare them for the future work they may encounter.

That said, we know they're going to need to learn Photoshop and at least a smattering of Illustrator, plus some sort of encoding tool (I prefere AME, since I use the Master Collection CS6 for all of my work), and these all fit pretty seamlessly within the After Effects to Premiere Pro workflow (although for short form stuff, I will often do the whole project in AE).

But there are so many post houses which have standardized over the years on FCP7 (and previous incarnations) who aren't going to jump ship to Adobe, at least for some time, that it might behoove you to give them at least a look at what the standard has been in a broad swath of the industry. Then you might expose them to FCPX to show them a departure from the "normal" NLE. AVID is also a standard in many sectors of the production world, and it's always good for freelancers to have AVID experience in their back pocket. But the jump from either FCP7 or Premiere Pro is not a huge one, since the NLE paradigm of all three is very similar. The hardest part of learning AVID is their arcane terminology and meaningless icon sets.

So I hope this helps, rather than confuses the issue. My decision would be to put the CS6 Production Premium collection on the preponderance of machines, then maybe have a license of FCPX and one of AVID to give a bit of cross-training. I don't think you can buy FCP7 anymore, but it might be good to have that on the same machine as FCPX to show the students the recent paradigm shift (if you can call it that - it remains to be seen).

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Bill Davis
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 2:40:27 am

Everyone knows what I'm going to say, but I'll say it anyway.

I suspect that many, many more of your students will be using video in some form or another for communications for the rest of their lives compared to the number who will become "filmmakers."

So I'd concentrate on tools that acknowledge that.

I'd install enough X seats to start conditioning the students to the critical importance of not just the editorial skills of video making, but the every bit as critical skills of metadata manipulation, search, and agile versioning - things that I think are becoming more critical to the practical world of general purpose video making every day.

Yes, I'd definitely reserve a few seats in the class for those who show a special aptitude or interest in collaborative "hollywood-style" moviemaking - and make PPro or Avid available to them to help them understand the complexities, strengths, and differences of traditional "big suite" or "big set" approaches. But I simply don't think there will be enough seats in the "professional filmmaking" industry in the future to justify focusing on tools designed for that task for young students. I believe there will be much, much more demand for functional business video - and I think that's precisely in the X wheelhouse.

Very, very few people will ever make money making a hollywood style movie.

But vastly, VASTLY more will end up using modern video technology to drive business, social and personal change in their lives.

Prepare MOST of your kids for that reality. Not for the diminishing niche market of "moviemaking."

It's a few hundred major movies - verses a few hundred thousand business videos being produced each year. It's the world of NBC verses the world of YouTube.

All the software discussed here can do all these tasks.

X just happens to be the most recently re-conceived - and the one that most acknowledges that video is changing and thus needed new software approaches to accommodate that. Heck, Apple discontinued the most popular video editing program on the planet because they realized what they used to offer wasn't the right tool for where video was going.

They built a new one for the future. Which is precisely where your "now young" kids will live and work.

Think about that.

My 2 cents.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Douglas K. Dempsey
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 3:55:43 am

I teach film/video at a private school, grades 9-12. Small classes, have used FCP 7 for reasons stated, good intro to the mostly universal track-based NLE.

However this year we got 20 new iMacs, some in a Digital lab for ALL students, K-12. Eight machines are for my class, 9-12 serious art students only.

All have iMovie of course, FCPX w/Motion and CS6. I kept a few FCP legacy seats as well.

Little kids mess with iMovie. Upper School welcome to try out FCPX and CS.

In my class I start with FCPX for reasons stated, nice quick easy to use for casual users and art students.

The more serious film students are encouraged to look at Premiere and FCP7 for reason stated above, to see traditional NLE.

So I'm covering the waterfront. BTW edu price on FCPX with 20 minimum I believe is $150 each. Also good site license deal on the Creative Suite.

Doug D


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Bernard Newnham
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 9, 2012 at 9:24:50 am

At the university where I teach they have a policy of rolling updates to their PCs, so asking for some Macs to run FCP would be not only taking them out of their comfort zone, but upping their costs per seat by some way. Back in the days when FCP looked like it was going to take over the world, we were working on persuading the cash people to buy a few because we needed to teach for the real world. I was a loud voice in this.

Not a chance now, they'll stick to Adobe, because some of the software are world standards - Photoshop and Illustrator - and PPro could be going in that direction, and in any case hasn't gone off at a tangent to the mainstream of track based editing. The Adobe education bundle is a huge bargain - as it's intended to be - and the uni won't get any arguments from me for sticking to it. They save loadsmoney not buying the Macs, too, and the area is more flexible for it.

B


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 10, 2012 at 3:13:20 pm

It's interesting to see Adobe doing just what Apple was doing in the old days (80s and 90s), giving hardware to local libraries and educational facilities, and providing training courses to get the kiddies used to the Mac platform, so that they would grow up to be buyers of the platform. It worked for a long time, and if Apple had seen fit to roll in some serious business applications to their creative one, we might see a world in which the Mac has 90 percent of the market, and the PC 10 percent. I'm platform agnostic, by the way...it's a tool to me, and currently the PC side has more of a cost/performance advantage for me.

Your views may vary...contents may settle during shipping.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Paul Kim
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 9, 2012 at 4:44:31 pm

I really appreciate the comments and multitude of perspectives. A couple of you mentioned FCP7 still being the standard. This, I recognize, and it's what my company's platform has been and my own personally on many a project. But do you think it makes sense to introduce it (think about students who don't have a history in editing) and to let that be a part of instruction? The earliest of them will be working in two years time, and I had thought by then we'd be long past FCP7. I thought about a short intro but that's about it. Anyhow, maybe I'm thinking past that too much.

Avid I discounted primarily from the standpoint of budget--and that if I'm having to choose one or two pieces of software to put in our Mac lab, it would be either PP or FCPX as more accessible options.

Also in my network of professionals (none of whom are in mainstream broadcast television), everyone who was on Avid moved away from it and was on FCP7. So, not a decision based on science, but I also thought they could transition to Avid if the opportunity arose.

I should also say that the majority of the program is geared toward documentary, and the organizational tools in FCPX has been appealing in the indie doc world.

However, the argument to have multiple NLEs is stronger than I considered. I should perhaps revisit our budget and see if there is a way to do this and manage less seats initially until more funding comes later.

My only concern with this--and this is a question for those teaching: Does having a variety of students on different NLEs (in terms of their personal choice) affect their ability to collaborate on projects--something that significantly affects their productivity?

Students have enough trouble working together to begin with, and I'm perhaps incorrectly envisioning them collaborating less because some are on different platforms. Especially for those with their own laptops who can only afford one piece of software.



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Bill Davis
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 9, 2012 at 8:36:56 pm

[Paul Kim] "My only concern with this--and this is a question for those teaching: Does having a variety of students on different NLEs (in terms of their personal choice) affect their ability to collaborate on projects--something that significantly affects their productivity?

Students have enough trouble working together to begin with, and I'm perhaps incorrectly envisioning them collaborating less because some are on different platforms. Especially for those with their own laptops who can only afford one piece of software.
"


Are you teaching them EXCLUSIVELY editing? Or the process of Videomaking in general? If it's the latter, you're over thinking this.

Since I've created content specifically for elementary and secondary education (StartEditingNow!) here's my 2 cents.

Editing software itself is not actually designed to be classroom collaborative. And that includes ALL the programs we've discussed in this thread. It's designed to allow an individual to manipulate content. To have a TEAM of editors working on an edit is a bit like having a team of people trying to play a violin.

People can WATCH and discuss editing, but only one person at a time can DO it, unless you're running parallel projects.

Frankly, that was precisely the design idea behind my SEN program. Students in a classroom setting get access to a pool of footage custom created to be assembled differently by each student or student team so that they can show everyone else how their team uniquely approached the storytelling concepts.

It's a shameless plug, but you might take a look at my web site for SEN (starteditingnow.com) and see if it might be something you could benefit from. We're in the heart of our selling season right now and are getting orders from all over the world from teachers doing exactly what you're doing. Setting up to teach video editing in classroom settings.

Our program doesn't care at all what editing software you're running, because it's not about the software. It's about learning the fundamental skills of what editing IS.

It's also popular because it puts editing concept instruction UP FRONT - so that when the kids go out to shoot their OWN projects later in the semester, they've done some editing so better understand how to "shoot for an edit" rather than just flail around.

At the heart, there is SO MUCH to learn and understand about the basic video production skills of planning, writing, shooting, lighting, and sound recording that have to be understood before you ever get to the editing stage, that unless you're planning to operate specific EDITING ONLY classes - then I honestly wouldn't worry too much about the edit software issues. It's not a very important thing really.

Teach them what editing IS. Stuff like what a jump cut looks like. What a Cutaway is - and how to use them in the edit suite. Teach them what good shot coverage is compared to poor coverage.

When they generally get this - THEN send them out to concentrate on the CORE skills of production - writing and planning, sound, light control, camera work etc.

Editing is actually a relatively late stage in the videomaking process. It presumes you have something that needs to be edited. And if your classes can get inspired and excited about the entire video creation process, they'll remain excited when they finally get to editing. Because they'll OWN the process that got them there.

Hope this helps.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Douglas K. Dempsey
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 12, 2012 at 11:13:02 pm

I don't mind having the choice; I can deal with the widely-varying experience level of my students. One kid came in bragging about how good he is with Vegas on his home computer. So I showed him a few things in FCP7 (it could have just as easily been Premiere Pro). He quickly adopted, and was pleased to "master" another app. Sometimes you need to throw those challenges at the "know it all" kids to keep them engaged. In his case it worked, he did a great documentary on dance, applied a number of effects, and made a multi-track mix using keyframes and the Audio Tool in FCP7. He was happy.

Other kids are incredibly insecure about the technology of filmmaking; one kid told me his family thinks of him as the one who always "breaks the camera." I handed him an old Canon GL1 and told him he would being doing the department a favor if it broke, and just concentrate on the compositions. We put him right into FCPX and the interface seemed simple enough that he "got it." And he liked the shiny, colorful look. It is less drab and utilitarian-looking than FCP7.

Others have made endless iMovies and are either a)happy to use FCPX because it looks familiar, or b) want to try out more "serious" software.

I don't preach that FCPX is the app of the future; I don't lament that FCP7 is out of date and discontinued. I do tell them that they are likely to run into Premiere as a very popular cross-platform, "bundled" app (i.e. part of Creative Suite), so it might be more professionally useful. Mostly though, I allow them to reach their own conclusions.

So far, I must say that it seems to be more about the way different people work and think. If I had to generalize, the more meticulous types, who require more control, want to use FCP7 and PPro look because they feel more in control. That may simply be because I don't know as many tricks in FCPX yet!

I predict, though, that when the more advanced students start to mess with effects, and see how effects and motion work in FCPX, they may leave FCP7 behind for that reason alone.

I may have to convince the department to buy me Phil Hodgett's "7toX!"

Doug D


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Chris Harlan
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 12, 2012 at 11:46:53 pm

Sounds like a great approach!


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Douglas K. Dempsey
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 13, 2012 at 12:15:12 am

The question was raised, what about collaboration? I always encourage the kids to collaborate, pointing out that most of filmmaking in the real world works that way. And it allows you to concentrate on your own perceived strengths and joys. Often one kid will want to "act" and/or direct. Another wants to shoot and/or edit. So it works itself out; the techies get to pick the editing app, or if no preferences, I make the call based on my gut. Still, like a science lab, EVERYBODY must complete an ingest, organization, edit in timeline and output exercise. Just so they know the concepts.

Doug D


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Paul Kim
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 13, 2012 at 2:09:07 pm

Doug, these are very helpful thoughts. I'm sure the kids really enjoy learning under you. I like your philosophy, and I think I'm headed in that direction of multiple platforms as hopefully I can increase the budget to have all the software we'd like.



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Douglas K. Dempsey
Re: NLE Setup for a School
on Sep 13, 2012 at 2:22:15 pm

Paul, FYI regarding budgets: for years we used FCP 6 (educational) exclusively, along with the free OSX-included iMovie if so desired, on only a half-dozen machines.

But a parent/donor came up with the Digital Arts Studio iMacs, desks and chairs, glassed-in separate room, and the software. The idea being to continue the small video classes, but make the gear available to the entire student population.

So this is an anomaly, to have all these riches. The argument for our school, and perhaps any school is, "let's fund-raise for the digital arts, because we NEED it for our kids to stay competitive with the rest of the world."

Having said that, the site license deals on 20+ seats, from both Apple and Adobe, are pretty good.

Doug D


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