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Understanding Avid products

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Tom Galli
Understanding Avid products
on Nov 9, 2011 at 11:39:39 pm

Aloha!

So, with the advent of FCP X, I am contemplating switching my lab to Avid. Looking at the website, I see they have 3 video editing product families:
-Media Composer
-Avid DS
-Symphony

But they don't really make any attempt to compare them, or tell you what one does that another doesn't. Can someone help?

Then there are additional packages. Pro Tools for audio, Motion Graphics for (I presume) motion graphics.

Ideally, I want a system that has the same inclusiveness that Final Cut Studio had... video editing, graphics, sound editing, compression, DVD authoring.

What Avid product/s would be right for me?

Mahalo!
Tom G

The difference between theory and reality is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.


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Richard Sanchez
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 9, 2011 at 11:46:41 pm

Media Composer is offline editorial. Symphony is a finishing system, as is DS. The DS is a product that was acquired by Avid, and is less common than Symphony. Symphony being solid finishing solution, and DS being a more high end solution. Pro Tools is audio recording and mixing.

The Avid software package is quite different from Final Cut Studio. For one, Avid DVD only comes with the PC version of Avid, not the Mac. Also, Soundtrack Pro was a tool that editors would use as a quick solution for noise reduction and the SFX library, but it is not the audio mixing standard that Pro Tools is. There are entire schools devoted to Pro Tools. Avid Motion Graphics is a very new product, but it looks like it is more geared towards on-air graphics, where After Effects seems to mid-range graphics and composting tool. Avid comes packaged with Sorenson Squeeze for compression, however now that you can buy Compressor separately, it's not a bad companion to use with Mac based Avids.

Richard Sanchez
Los Angeles, CA

"We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution." - Bill Hicks


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Andrew McKee
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 10, 2011 at 12:27:36 am

Media Composer does come with Marquee for motion graphics (which I would rate somewhere between Boris Title 3D and Motion) which launches from within the programme. As mentioned by Richard, AvidDVD only comes with the PC version, but to be honest it isn't that great anyway. Sorenson is really good, however.

I think the problem your having is that Media Composer doesn't really market itself for lone gunman. Its really a niche product for people who use it to just edit and don't tend to worry about the rest of the stuff. Unfortunately, if you wanat to use it for post from start to finish, you really have to combine it with another suite of products. As I have FCP7, I use Avid to edit and then grade in Color and use DVDStudioPro to author. Others use the Adobe Production Premium suite (I use After Effects, which Avid integrates pretty easily with, for compositing or motion graphics). For basic sound I quite like the tools in Avid and they have recently got alot better. For complex stuff, ProTools is amazing, but best handled by someone who knows the programme. This makes it all pretty expensive if your a hired gun, who's expected to do everything from start to finish and its one of the reasons so many people went the FCP Studio route.

I have heard mostly good things about DS, but never used it myself. Its a pretty high end sytstem. Symphony I have used, and I cannont honestly understand why people buy it. For the cost, you could get Media Composer, DaVinci Resolve, After Effects and probably a DVD Authoring package.

Andrew McKee
Editor/Colourist
Avid Certified Instructor - MC5.5
Apple Certified Trainer - FCP7
Pixelwizard.net


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Tom Galli
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 10, 2011 at 12:45:38 am

[Andrew McKee] "I think the problem your having is that Media Composer doesn't really market itself for lone gunman. Its really a niche product for people who use it to just edit and don't tend to worry about the rest of the stuff. Unfortunately, if you wanat to use it for post from start to finish, you really have to combine it with another suite of products."

That is truly disappointing news. And probably, from a cost-of-crossing-over perspective, will end up being a deal-breaker. Dangnabit!

The difference between theory and reality is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.


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Richard Sanchez
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 10, 2011 at 12:53:19 am

From the perspective of what to incorporate into your curriculum, it would probably be worth examining the goal in your editing course. If it's about the lone gunman sense, which lend itself more towards corporate videos and such, then the CS5 Production is a good option to consider. If the aim is broadcast and film, Media Composer is absolutely worth learning, despite it being a considerably more focused product than the CS5 Production Package or Final Cut Studio.

Richard Sanchez
Los Angeles, CA

"We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution." - Bill Hicks


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Tom Galli
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 10, 2011 at 1:00:22 am

Richard, that is an excellent point.

Honestly, my "concept-to-completion" desire is based on what I do with the systems besides teach classes. But, curriculum-wise, my goal is to prepare students for the professional workplace.

My dream, actually, would be to teach 4 semesters of editing, each one on a different platform. See me in 20 years for a status update on that dream. But for now...

Our students get a total of 3 semesters' worth of ENG classes: beginning, intermediate, and advanced. The focus is on the "tripod" of preproduction, production, and postproduction with increasingly complex tools and elevating expectations. DVD authoring isn't even featured, just acknowledged as a way to provide a demo reel.

So, with that realization, I'm back on the "maybe Avid" wagon.

The difference between theory and reality is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.


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Richard Sanchez
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 10, 2011 at 9:10:47 am

What's funny is, I got my career started on Final Cut Studio, and prior to that I was the most hard nosed PC guy you ever met. I originally learned to edit on FCP version 2, but continued my editing education on Premiere. Nobody took me seriously as an editor on premiere so I learned Avid, and funny enough about that time I started getting Final Cut jobs so that shaped my career path. Then Final Cut X came out, and filled me with a massive sense of urgency to get my Avid chops up, and fast. That said, the best thing that Final Cut X has done for the world of post is it's making people give a second look at Adobe Premiere. Back in the days of Premiere Pro 2, the only valid arguments against Premiere were lack of OMF support, and fairly limited hardware support. Now Premiere has OMF support and full support of AJA hardware. Premiere is really a pretty damn good NLE. That said, Avid really is the big dog in the world of broadcast and film, and their education versions would also probably help you in the way of price point.

Richard Sanchez
Los Angeles, CA

"We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution." - Bill Hicks


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Oliver Peters
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 10, 2011 at 1:04:48 pm

I think it's incorrect to characterize Media Composer as only an editor. I've done plenty of finishing on MC, complete with complex keys and effects, such as custom, traveling mattes. The color corrector is vastly superior to the tools inside FCP7 (not counting Color). You have exactly the same tools as in Symphony, except that the Symphony color corrector can do more. This can easily be augmented by adding DaVinci Resolve Lite for free.

The MC bundle includes Avid FX, which is really Boris RED hosted inside MC. So that's like having After Effects embedded inside the NLE. You can do uncompressed, native RED and more. Built-in effects tools include animatte, tracking, stabilization and more. The audio mixing can be clip and track-based with a healthy set of filters picked up from ProTools. MC 6 opens up to all the third-party hardware. So for most lab environments MC is a dynamite package.

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Andrew McKee
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 10, 2011 at 4:28:44 pm

Very true Oliver, they do bundle alot into the Media Composer package that makes it more dynamic in terms of colour correction, effects, motion graphics and audio. But it's still difficult to characterise it as a suite in the same way that Prouction Premium and Final Cut Studio are/were.

Andrew McKee
Editor/Colourist
Avid Certified Instructor - MC5.5
Apple Certified Trainer - FCP7
Pixelwizard.net


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Scott Cumbo
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 10, 2011 at 7:51:20 pm

Tom,
If your teaching kids editing, do them a favor and teach them Avid MC. Besides FCP, Avid is really the only editor used in broadcast and film. Sure their are plenty of shops and independent places that use premier and the other editing apps (too many to list) and they will all argue that they are great apps, which I'm sure they are. And maybe on day hey will be a part of the major markets.

But in pro TV and Film editing it's pretty much a 2 dog race, Avid media composer (which symphony is the same thing with a few extra features) and FCP (though who knows what FCP future is with the whole FCPX release) Using NYC as an example, no one is looking for a kid who knows premie or vegas video.

Scott Cumbo
Editor
Broadway Video, NYC


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Andrew McKee
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 10, 2011 at 11:03:44 pm

TV and Film production is not "the major market". Of all the people who produce audiovisual content, it is a small fraction and as time goes on, it will become a tiny fraction. I'm all for giving students the ambition to reach for working in those markets, but you have to be realistic. There are simply way too many media students and way too few jobs in the TV&Film industry.

Andrew McKee
Editor/Colourist
Avid Certified Instructor - MC5.5
Apple Certified Trainer - FCP7
Pixelwizard.net


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Scott Cumbo
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 11, 2011 at 4:58:28 am

Andrew your right, it is a smaller section of video pros, but why teach the kids things they won't be using in broadcast or film when those tools are used to make indie films, corporate and web videos also?

I have done my share of corporate videos, web videos, no budget music videos, I even cut a video for a clients kids sweet sixteen, all on avid and fcp. I'm not saying those other programs aren't valid. I'll use windows movie maker if someone wants to pay my rate for me to do it. Just saying, in this market right now someone who knows avid and fcp will find it easier to find a job than someone who know Vegas video or whatever.

And you know as well as I do that most of those kids won't be working in the video industry anyway. Most don't have the heart for it. But I say teach of the 2 kids that really want to do it, not the other 30 that are just spending their parents money.

Just my 2 cents.... Probably worth less than 2 cents anyway

Scott Cumbo
Editor
Broadway Video, NYC


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Andrew McKee
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 11, 2011 at 9:15:36 am

I agree, hence why I am an Avid and FCP7 certified trainer, but I dont think we should rule Premiere (because i think it will be an up and comer) or FCPX (because although its not right for my film work, I can see it being perfect for corporate work) out of the sylabus. In a long course geared towards post, students should learn as many pieces of software as possible. That way they don't get too attached, learn to pickup software quickly (which is really a necessary skill in this industry) and learn to focus on the techniques of editing rather than the software being used.

Andrew McKee
Editor/Colourist
Avid Certified Instructor - MC5.5
Apple Certified Trainer - FCP7
Pixelwizard.net


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Declan MacErlane
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 14, 2011 at 1:56:38 pm

Tom,
If you're interested in an all in one solution, then have a serious look at Avid DS. It's won't give you everything, but then what will.
It is however an excellent editor, has first class 2d compositing with trees, an excellent graphics too and very good audio tools. It also has a 3d environment which can work well for some thing but is limited.
I've used it for offline and online. Film, broadcast drama and documentary, some corporate and even a wedding video ;-) It is a very versatile machine and really should be the only "finishing" system that Avid offers, now that MC and Symphony are so close.
Good luck with whatever you choose.
Dec


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Chris Harlan
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 15, 2011 at 4:18:28 am

[Scott Cumbo] "Using NYC as an example, no one is looking for a kid who knows premie or vegas video."

Ditto that in LA.


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Tom Galli
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 15, 2011 at 4:31:24 am

Ok, let's pretend (for a moment) that I am sold.

I buy MC at the educational price of $295/license.

I like the idea of ProTools, but that's $700, with no mention of an educational discount. The MP version requires me to buy an audio interface, and the SE version only does 2 tracks, so those aren't contenders. So maybe all my future sound editing gets done in Garage Band?

But this leaves me without a DVD authoring package. And I do enjoy authoring a good DVD. Where does a Mac user who has been abandoned by DVDSP turn?

The difference between theory and reality is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Nov 15, 2011 at 9:25:42 pm

[Tom Galli] "But this leaves me without a DVD authoring package. And I do enjoy authoring a good DVD. Where does a Mac user who has been abandoned by DVDSP turn?"

Adobe Encore?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Stephen Mark
Re: Understanding Avid products
on Dec 11, 2011 at 5:56:01 pm

This comment is not much use if you have to make a purchasing decision for a school. I'll make it anyway. I've been a professional editor for maybe 40 years -- from film to Ediflex, Montage, D-Vision, etc -- then (and still primarily) Avid, played with early FCP, using it for a short doc that got nominated for an Academy Award -- did it in my bedroom in 2000, which was mind boggling at the time. And now I do some teaching. What I've learned when it comes to all these systems is that none of them will be around in the same form for very long. What I want students to know is the aesthetics of the craft. How do you confront a bunch of images and begin to decide, to feel, how to put them together? It takes years to hone craft and build one's confidence in his or her own aesthetic sense. But a competent professional should be able to adapt to any NLE computer program in a couple of weeks or less. Teach craft. The machine you use to practice on is the least important element. I'm aware there are employers who think potential hires must already be proficient in this program or that and while I consider that a delusion, it's a real obstacle. It also shows how little many employers know about what an editor does. The answer to any employer who places software knowledge over craft is, "Of course I know ______(fill in the blank with software)," and if that isn't really the case, run out and get the new book or set of online tutorials designed to get you up to speed.
And now my real reason for following this thread: Does anyone know if Avid FX or Boris Fx (i.e. Boris Red integration) is or will ever be part of Avid 6?


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