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Not another "what should I buy" question

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Dave Snyder
Not another "what should I buy" question
on Jun 25, 2004 at 1:34:39 am

I am in the market for a prosumer digital video production suite. I have narrowed it down to Adobe Video Collection Pro, Avid Xpress Studio Essentials, Vegas +DVD, and Liquid Edition, which just so happen to be the same four products that are reviewed in the Real Time V article. Unfortunately, the article was rather brief and didn't go into much detail about each package. It also focused more on the abilities of the NLE rather than the complete production process.

My current hardware includes a 2.4G P4 (not hyperthreaded), 1G ram, 80G project drive, a Hi8 video camera, and an ADS Pyro A/V Link with ScenalyzerLive for importing footage. I do have some experience with Premiere 6.5 and the Premiere Pro 1.5 demo. I have also played around (very little) with the trial versions of After Effects 6.5 and Audition 1.0. I have never used a DVD authoring program.

My primary projects are going to be creating DVDs for my daughter's school activities such as field trips, plays, etc. These DVDs will be distributed to other parents as well, possibly selling them as a fundraiser. (Since I will be buying with an education discount, I need to check the licensing agreements on that one.)

My requirements are:
Stability - Crashes, hangs, and bugs are very frustrating.
Reasonable integration - applications should play together nicely
Flexible titling - screen crawls, rolling credits, flying text, etc
Good community support - active online communites are always helpful
DVD menus - custom menus, glowing buttons, video in background, etc
Alternate audio - allow "director's comments" on dvd
End to End solution - I can continue to import video with my Pyro and SL, but the package must include all other required applications. Purchasing software components separately is okay, but I don't want to have to purchase a lot of plug-ins to get it to work.
Reasonably fast
Good sound production abilities
Animation for school logo, etc.
Cost less than $1000

My "nice to have" list includes:
Multicamera editing
5.1 surround
Cost less than $700
Low learning curve - (may want to hold a video workshop for 5th graders)
Monitor or TV preview - probably, but not necessarily, by using my A/V Link
Audio loop creation - preferably with a large library of loops included

With that in mind, here are my thoughts on each package.

Adobe Video Collection Pro - $660
Includes Premiere Pro 1.5, After Effects Pro 6.5, Audition 1.5, Encore, and Photoshop CS. This is the direction I'm leaning in. I'm fairly familiar with the software and from everything I've read Adobe has integrated them all together very nicely. It is the most popular software so I'm sure to be able to find help online. I also have a kajillion books to choose from for learning the software. Having to shell out another $300 for Multicam and $300 for 5.1 surround really dampens my enthusiasm. There is a reasonable upgrade path to the Matrox RTX10 or RTX100 if I feel the need.

Avid Xpress Pro Studio Essentials - $995
Includes Xpress Pro, Pro Tools LE, Avid 3D, Avid FX, and Avid DVD. This is another suite hailed for its integration. I understand Avid is what all the professionals use, but since I have no intention of ever making money at editing that is unimportant. I believe Xpress supports multiple cameras, but it's not clear if 5.1 surround is supported. I also don't know if this package supports an external monitor without using Mojo. Given the cost of Mojo, I doubt I will ever upgrade. I'm also unsure of it's music looping ability.

Vegas +DVD - $270
At this price it is a very attractive package. (I could afford some good mics with the savings.) It looks like it falls a little short in the animation (After Effects, etc.) and titling abilities.

Liquid Edition - ?
Background rendering is very appealing but someone would have to present a very convincing argument to get me to go in that direction.

I've searched the forums for other threads asking about recommendations, but most of them have no responses. I realize the Videoguys don't want to anger any of their suppliers, but I was hoping some users would have insight into these packages.


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Re: Not another "what should I buy" ques
on Jun 25, 2004 at 1:01:52 pm

Don't expect a response of this forum either! Either these people don't know, don't care, or don't want you to know.

As for your question, I don't know. Here's my system:

P4-2.6G; 4G system drive; 20G capture drive; 512K; FW card; ATI All-in-wonder Pro/Radeon 9000 video card; Media Studio Pro 7; Windows 2000 pro; what else . . . I don't know . . .

That doesn't help you much, I know. I used MSPro 5.2 for a while and it worked, but was on a PII-300 system. Very slow. Just updated to MSPro 7 a week ago, much faster and smoother. First project in the process and so far no problems with program.

Good luck getting someone who cares to answer . . .

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Jon Oransky
Re: Not another "what should I buy" ques
on Jun 25, 2004 at 2:06:50 pm

being that you have the AV Link already and want something that is relatively easy to use, go with the Vegas5+DVD. It will handle the audio stuff the best and I see that is important to you. The cost is great and it has been a very stable product.

- Jon
800-323-2325 x120

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Re: Not another "what should I buy" ques
on Jun 27, 2004 at 3:23:13 am

I noticed that multi-cam is one of your nice-t0-have. You don't need a special software package to do multi-cam. Just run both cameras for your entire shoot. Do not stop and start cameras. Somewhere near the begining of your shoot, use a clapper, or get a few short bursts of sound on both cameras. You could also use a camera flash to align the video. (A short burst that can easily be aligned between cameras). Import the video on two tracks, line up the sound (or flash), and the videos will be in sync! Then just cut,fade, edit etc between the tracks for great two camera shoots. (If you stop one camera and then start it again, remember to get a good alignment somehow.)

I have surfed a lot of forums. Everyone seems to have a few bugs left in their software that from time to time will crash the system with all of your edits lost. Not even Macintosh is immune. But with WinXP and running one software at a time, eliminating as many background apps as possible, you should be able to have a relatively stable system with any of the higher end softwares you have in your list.

There is not much experience in the user department on these forums. Those who get experience, don't seem to hang out here. But you should be able to glean enough to point you in the right direction. Good Luck!


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