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Media 100
on May 27, 2007 at 2:36:55 am

I would like to know how Media 100, stacks up against Avid and final cut. Also would like to know what feature films have been made on Media 100.


Alexander Pena

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Tim Wilson
Re: Media 100
on May 27, 2007 at 6:16:46 pm

I suspect I'm among a handful of people who've used all three professionally...but that said, my opinion is worth the paper it's printed on. What's that you say? No paper? Well, there you go.

I'm not sure why you want to know about feature films unless you're looking for a job doing feature films for other people. If so, do Avid. Period. I know there are people who say FCP is up and coming, and it is....

...and last year literally 100 times more Hollywood features were made with Avid as its primary NLE vs. FCP (400 vs. 4). Same for Pinewood. When you look at Bollywood, the numbers skew even heavier toward Avid.

Prime-time TV is heaviest yet. Still only one major show posted in FCP (Scrubs), and it's on its way off the air after a long, successful run.

No disrespect intended toward FCP. A dandy application that keeps getting stronger, and yes, more widely adopted in Hollywood.

But a bear to learn to use. Don't believe me? Check the FCP forum. And the AJA forums. And the Blackmagic forums. And the HDV forum. And on and on. People have a LOT of trouble with it.

Avid is the next hardest to learn, in my experience. Media Composer is easier than Xpress, which is cheaper. (Go figure.) Again, Hollywood is built on Media Composer, which is now quite competitively priced for what it does, especially if you're a student.

While easier to use than FCP, I think Avid has a deeper toolset by a pretty long shot. FCP is terrific, and has a WIDER toolset....but no way it's as deep as Avid, especially for film.

The only feature I'm aware of cut with Media 100 is The Blair Witch Project. (Other folks, please correct me if I'm wrong.)

But for most people? I recommend Media 100 in a heartbeat....for USE. There's never been anything easier. And it just WORKS, which is one reason this forum is on the quiet side relative to FCP.

Folks here will surely weigh in, but to me the most distinctive difference Media 100 has really, truly is how easy it is to use, and how well it works.

If you're using it for yourself and your own work, Media 100 hands down. If you're using it because you want to use what's hot or cool or whatever, that's FCP. If you want to use what will get you a job in Hollywood, that's Avid.

Finally, I think every Mac user owes it to themselves to check out Premiere Pro for Mac. Any Media 100 user can pick it up in a heartbeat, and while it's been away from the Mac, it's become a monster...arguably the most capable NLE on the market.

It all depends on what you want to do, for whom, and why.

Tell more and we will too. :-)


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tim wilson
on May 28, 2007 at 6:03:01 pm

Tim Awesome response, very complete and detailed. I thought I was going to get just some random little response. But as my first time using creative cow, I am tremendously pleased with the answer I recevied. So I am going to psot a follow up question with Lightworks that I hope you can clear up for me.

I want to know your opinion on Lightworks, and also why you find final cut more limited in it's tools compared to avid.

thanks for the knowledge


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Tim Wilson
Re: tim wilson
on May 29, 2007 at 1:16:47 am

Lightworks is a very, very specialized application, designed for people who learned how to edit films on FILM. Dandy features, but the winner for most people is that it's similar to a Steenbeck editor, complete with wheel.

If none of that means anything to you, move along. I worked with one of its longtime product managers when we both moved to Avid. :-)

[boofer] "final cut more limited in it's tools compared to avid"

FCP has MORE tools, most notably in the compositing area. So in that sense, Avid is considerably more limited.

Avid has a deeper toolset among the tools it least when talking about Media Composer.
==Paint. Period. Not available in any Apple product in any meaningful way.
==Animatte. One implementation of the paint toolset is the ability to create custom, animatable masks inside a frame, either as mattes or masks. Also called intraframe editing. Nowhere in FCP.
==SteadyGlide tracker. Slick technology for both tracking and stabilizing. Hook it up to the paint, and away you go.
==Keyer is so much deeper and better than FCP's it's almost impossible to describe. :-)
==Script-based editing - uses actual WORDS on a page to edit film and video. Unbelievable, but true.
==Its media management remains the beyond-gold standard. Nobody's close. Too many reasons to name, but you can ask around.
==Deeper keyboard control over editing, with many of its approaches patented. (Same with media management, actually.)
==More pull-down options.
==More film-format support.
==More customizable timecode tracking, including options FCP simply doesn't have.
==Unbeatable collaboration -- again, nobody close, patents will keep others at bay for years.
==User identities make it absolutely painless to switch users on the same computer or take your own identity to another computer -- built on the recognition that freelancers work on other computers, and that NLEs in a busy facility often stay up 24 hours a day with multiple editors, each with their own layouts, keyboard shortcuts, etc.
==While Apple has added amazing new features with Color, it's a separate app that's not immediately easy to use. Avid's color correction (again) has a number of patented approaches that really work.

Look, I could go on for hours here....and have in the past. Media Composer is a much, much deeper application that's actually easier to learn. But it's not as cheap (although at $4995 MSRP, a fraction of that if you're a student, hardly the biggest expense in your kit), and it's not as cool or hot or whatever. But what I've listed above is a teensy, tiny set of reasons why Avid rules Hollywood, Pinewood, Bollywood, and everywhere else they make movies...and plenty of other stuff.

BTW, I mentioned FCP's compositing integration. Sweet! But as I said earlier, any editor truly serious about compositing needs to check out Premiere Pro. Integration with After Effects is staggering.

But for every day editing, where film, collaboration and clients over your shoulder are less of a way of life, I still think you show exceptional wisdom to look here as well. Media 100 is far too easy to overlook for such a pleasurable bit of software.....

I've been yap, yap, yapping away here. What are you really looking for?

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Re: Tim Wilson follow up Q's
on May 29, 2007 at 6:57:39 pm

Again Tim, really informative and to the point with your answers. I Know Avid is the Industry Standard, and that it has great tools. I as and independent filmmaker want to do the best works I possibly can with the tools and rescoures that are avaliable to me.

Saying that I have asked this question a million times on apple forums and everyone has given me garbage for answers. I want to know why Sky Captain, looks so inferior to Sin City, Since both were All cgi films. My questions was it final cut that made Sky Captain Suck!!! Or was it Avid that made Sin City great, Or was it Just the company that did the special effects. And could have Robert Rodriguez done the same quality work editing on Final Cut or Premiere.

Also I alway thought Premiere was the weakest of all the NLE. Premiere has never crossed my mind.

Side Note: I was so close to getting Media Composer with Mojo, Then I heard Apple released Final Cut Studio 2 and you could get an Aja IO to go with it.

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Media 100
on May 28, 2007 at 6:30:57 pm

[Tim Wilson] "he only feature I'm aware of cut with Media 100 is The Blair Witch Project. (Other folks, please correct me if I'm wrong.)"

There was another feature that was cut on a Media 100, the first one actually -- Dean Cundey did it on Disney's "Honey I Shrunk the Kids." In a phone conversation that I did with Dean back when it was happening, Dean said: "I will NEVER do it again." He was quite emphatic that he wouldn't -- laying out a list of reasons -- and he never has. (Even though he's worked on many films since.)

If I had shot a film like Blair Witch would I use a Media 100? Quite readily, yes. If I had shot a large multi-camera major feature like a Disney project, would I? Not on your life.

Using a screwdriver to drive nails is counter-productive. Using a hammer is much preferred. Avid excels at managing major projects but Media 100 excels in its ease of use and simplicity to operate. It is easily the quickest system to learn to cut on, bar none. That's why something like Blair Witch, which was quite atypical of industry production convention, was perfect for Media 100. It was just some guys telling a story; one shot on a VX-1000 or two as I remember the tale. No need to worry about cameras syncing in a multi-cam edit, as there weren't really those kinds of concerns.


Ron Lindeboom

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Michael Slowe
Re: Media 100
on May 29, 2007 at 8:26:21 am

Must just comment on Tim's long explanation. He gets it right on the nail every time. I was a film editor, completely illiterate as far as computers were concerned (never switched one on!!). Introduced to Media 100 as the nearest thing to film editing and even I learnt it. Wonderful for what I do (documentaries, one camera), cutting to music etc. Now we have got rid of Optibase things seem to be moving forward with great support. Just one question of Tim and Ron - why is Avid's media management so much better - I can't imagine anything better than Media 100 in this respect? Thanks fellows for the exoert opinions, this is what makes The Cow what it is, the best!

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Re: Media 100
on May 29, 2007 at 2:02:54 pm

Just to chime in...

I just finished a feature on Media 100 - albeit a relatively low-budget indie. I totally agree with everything people have posted about Avid and FCP. Avid is the program to use for cutting features - if nothing else because it is the industry "standard". Which does make a difference is when you reach the finishing stages or just when dealing with assistants and support staff. It is hard to find people who actually know how to use Media 100 (no matter how easy it is). I think if you are familiar with each of the programs you can handle your media fine... but others won't necessarily know how to deal with it if they don't understand the program.

Personally, I just like M100 and its interface and ease of use. Which is why I use it. I am a non-tech person and am not interested in doing compositing or effects within my NLE. What I do need is a steady edit program that remains stable and consistent. So to echo what someone wrote on this thread further, if you can do it on your own then m100 is my personal favorite. If others are involved it can get tricky. Hopefully that will change with the new "charge" M100 seems to be making.

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Tim Wilson
Re: Media 100
on May 31, 2007 at 12:19:54 pm

[Michael Slowe] "why is Avid's media management so much better - I can't imagine anything better than Media 100 in this respect"

A bit of disclosure I forgot to mention: I built the NLE part of my business on Media 100, starting in 1995. Avid was the bomb then too, but was strictly an offline tool, with the expectation that you'd conform your cut to film. Hey, great idea, well-enough implemented to win a technical Oscar in 1998....but not what I was doing.

And a bit of historical context: The COW's earliest incarnation had its roots in peer-to-peer support for Media 100.

Now, having said that, Avid's media management offers some unique advantages. It uses an external database to track things like timecode, source footage, and all kinds of other information. That means much more flexibility and reliability for collaboration, for moving media from one computer to another -- say, on a FW or USB2 drive (I'm partial to USB myself). There are also a ton of film-related media management tools that, again, have kept Avid solidly in the heart of the feature-production world.

That said, I'd put Media 100 at a strong #2. :-) If you're a solo editor, you have everything you need, much, much more easily and visibly than FCP.

One of the side effects of FCP keeping in its crosshairs is that they inevitably fall short, making things especially messy. FCP fans will of course disagree, but you asked for my opinion and there it is. :-)

[Michael Slowe] "Now we have got rid of Optibase things seem to be moving forward with great support."

Boris has always -- justifiably -- prided himself on his support, something I was proud to raise the bar on when I worked there. Now that he can actually get paid for support with Media 100 :-) the bar raises yet again. (Not being a wise-ass. Support costs money.)

[Denali] "Avid is the program to use for cutting features - if nothing else because it is the industry "standard". Which does make a difference is when you reach the finishing stages or just when dealing with assistants and support staff."

That's a HUGE deal. No question about it. Even if you're a solo editor or close to it -- say, Robert Rodriguez or James Cameron, who are very, very hands on -- there are still sound mixes, color grading, VFX, maybe file-based digital intermediates before film prints, and so on. All of these involve other people. Tracking and integrating all those changes across all those people is another benefit of media management.

Even if it's "only" TV, all of that besides film out still applies.

[Denali] "So to echo what someone wrote on this thread further, if you can do it on your own then m100 is my personal favorite. If others are involved it can get tricky."

There you go.

BTW, I'm very, very fond of Media Composer for solo editing as well. But I imagine that by posting here, boofer, you're mostly looking for affirmation that you're not making a mistake by leaning toward Media 100. If this looks like the right choice for you, then you can see from the enthusiasm of folks like Michael and Denali that it is.

[Michael Slowe] " Thanks fellows for the expert opinions, this is what makes The Cow what it is, the best!"

Yes indeed. :-)

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Sam Venning
Re: Media 100
on Sep 18, 2014 at 8:58:14 am

Zone 39 (1996) was edited using Media 100. To avoid EDL to edge-code match back challenges (25fps vs 24fps) the film was shot 25fps. Film editor, Peter Burgess, an experienced picture editor had used a Moviola on picture editing projects. I understand Peter found Media 100's user input (mouse) not entirely comfortable for a project of this kind. I was Assistant Editor responsible for media management.

Melbourne, Australia

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