Need To Learn Avid
Hello Avid Forum! I am a born and bred FCP user and love it. Every time I've used Avid in the past I hate it and find it extremely un-user friendly. I know there is a great divide in the editing community over these two tools, but it usually comes down to preferences and what you're editing. I've always edited for offline that later goes to a finisher, or stuff that will go on the web, so Avid is not really necessary.
Unfortunately, the client I've been working with quite happily on FCP suddenly wants to switch to doing projects in Avid. I have NO clue why and it's very frustrating. It's all simple 2-4 min docs that are on their website and in my eyes there's no need for Avid when I'm much faster working FCP. None the less, if I want to keep this client, I may once again have to try and learn Avid.
I want to know from you guys the best ways, books, tutorials, etc. to learn coming from a FCP background. I've seen books before that teach FCP for avid users, but not the other way around.
Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
I may be biased, but I always think that training is the best way. For someone who can edit, 1 day with someone who knows Avid inside out (try and find a certified school in your area) can be enough to get you going and would take much longer through books and or tutorials. It just depends how much your time is worth.
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Thank you Andrew. I think training is great, but it's usually VERY expensive. Otherwise that would be the first option.
Need to learn Avid? Start here: http://community.avid.com/forums/t/67003.aspx
Want a book? Buy this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1460985451/ref=as_li_tf_tl/?ie=UTF8&tag=sp...
Have questions when you're done with those? Post here or the Avid forums. Both forums are active with well-seasoned veterans answering questions.
Thanks Michael. That book looks great!
[Danielle Warren] "Every time I've used Avid in the past I hate it and find it extremely un-user friendly."
Over a decade ago I came to Avid from some other systems, and I too felt as you do. However, all these years later and I wouldn't dream of cutting ANYTHING on another system unless somebody had a gun to my head. It's just that good.
However, my biggest advice to you is to stop trying to compare Avid to FCP. They're two totally separate systems, with different paradigms. Avid treats editing as if you've got spools of film in your hand, with everything run thru gang synchronizers. Learn and embrace the trim tools, particularly asynchronous trimming. It's a very powerful thing.
The sooner you embrace the "Avid way of doing things," the sooner you'll get up to speed and start enjoying what you're doing. If you try to make Avid act like Final Cut Pro it's gonna prolong your pain.
I totally hear what you're saying. I know it's not right to compare, but when you're no longer learning something on a system from scratch, it's difficult not to relate stuff from one program to the other.
For example, I almost never use trim. I never find much use for it, so why would I use it so often just because I'm cutting in Avid?
I want to try and learn with an open mind, but what hampers me is that it's taken me years to become as proficient and fast with FCP as I am (and I'm always learning new things as well), and I'm worried it will take me that long again to get knowledgeable AND quick, because as we know from clients' demands, you have to be fast with deadlines.
But I put this message out because I genuinely want to work at this and get better. I really appreciate your comments and explanation, it helps a lot!
[Danielle Warren] "For example, I almost never use trim. I never find much use for it, so why would I use it so often just because I'm cutting in Avid?"
Because it works so well. In FCP, Premiere, Edius, etc...the trim modes left much to be desired. In Avid, it gives you the ultimate control over very minute changes to your edit. You can see the outgoing frame of the previous cut, the incoming frame your trimming, the outgoing frame of that clip and the incoming frame of the next clip. I didn't use trim for my first year on Avid - once I discovered it and really started getting comfortable with it I used it more than anything else. I'm at a FCP shop now and it's the number one thing I miss.
[Danielle Warren] "I want to try and learn with an open mind, but what hampers me is that it's taken me years to become as proficient and fast with FCP as I am (and I'm always learning new things as well), and I'm worried it will take me that long again to get knowledgeable AND quick, because as we know from clients' demands, you have to be fast with deadlines.
Just keep working at it, and customize your keyboard. I'd estimate that 90%+ of your day-to-day editing activities can be done using only the keyboard, and once you master it and map it so it makes sense to you you'll be flying in no time. Just keep plugging away at it and watch those tutorials. They'll get you up to speed pretty quickly.
Thanks Michael! I'm actually watching some tutorials as we speak.
I'll pay special attention to trimming if it's as helpful as you say.
I also forgot to mention when I wrote the post that the reason the client gave me for wanting to switch to using Avid is because he thinks that FCP will no longer be updated, version 7 at least as that's still what a lot of people are using including he and myself. I haven't looked, but apparently you can't buy it from Apple anymore, you can only buy X.
What do you guys think about this? Is that really a valid reason? It never crossed my mind once, and while v7 isn't perfect, it still works great and I don't think that's really any issue. I know this is an Avid forum, but figured as editors you guys might have some insight.
[Danielle Warren] "I also forgot to mention when I wrote the post that the reason the client gave me for wanting to switch to using Avid is because he thinks that FCP will no longer be updated, version 7 at least as that's still what a lot of people are using including he and myself. I haven't looked, but apparently you can't buy it from Apple anymore, you can only buy X. "
FCP7 is dead. It's replacement is FCPX and it doesn't do most of what 7 did, hence the reason to look at other NLE options.
[Danielle Warren] "What do you guys think about this? Is that really a valid reason?"
Yes. FCP7 is incredibly dated already, and every release from Adobe and Avid leaves it further and further behind. When new acquisition formats are released by Panasonic or Canon or Sony, FCP7 won't be updated to accept them (FCPX probably will). It's days are numbered and it's now an unsupported platform. I wouldn't trust my business to it any longer than I had to.
I started on Avid, worked on Media 100 and Edius for a while, I'm now on FCP, at the turn of the year we're going to Adobe. If I do freelance at home I'll use Avid. I doubt I'll ever use FCPX. Software comes and goes sometimes, best to get comfortable on a least two of them (I'd recommend Avid and Adobe right now).
"FCP7 is dead. It's replacement is FCPX and it doesn't do most of what 7 did, hence the reason to look at other NLE options."
I see what you're saying, but I don't really agree. To be honest, I haven't seen anyone desperate to switch over and leave FCP completely at all. As a freelancer, I see way more job postings for FCP editors than Avid (or any other NLE), and many offline houses still use FCP with no desperate view to switch anytime soon.
I really don't believe that with so many users and a huge industry built around the software that they're just going to let it disappear. I have to think that there's more to come from Apple.
"FCP7 is incredibly dated already, and every release from Adobe and Avid leaves it further and further behind"
How is it dated exactly? As I said, a lot of editors I know aren't jumping to FCPX, but are also quite happy to stick with using 7. It feels like after the negative response they received from FCPXs release, they will probably go back to then update 7 instead.
Again, different NLE programs work for different projects. In work I do, FCP is better and less expensive to use since nothing is done online. It just doesn't make sense for big companies to switch something after years of using one system. Most of those editors don't know Avid either.
But I still want to know Avid just to know it, but I cringe at the idea of ONLY using that. Even the way it's laid out, the icons, the buttons etc. seems awful to me, lol!
[Danielle Warren] "I really don't believe that with so many users and a huge industry built around the software that they're just going to let it disappear. I have to think that there's more to come from Apple."
There's FCPX from Apple. There is absolutely nothing more coming from FCP7. DVDSP is EOL, Color is EOL, FCP7 is EOL, I believe Soundtrack Pro is EOL. All that remains is FCPX, Motion, and Compressor, and they're all sold separately.
[Danielle Warren] "How is it dated exactly?"
Can't read P2 footage natively. Can't read XDCam native. Can't read AVCHD. Can't play DSLR natively. Can't read Red natively. Requires way too much rendering compared to the other NLEs out there. Hasn't had a significant update in about 4 years. The list goes on and on.
[Danielle Warren] " It feels like after the negative response they received from FCPXs release, they will probably go back to then update 7 instead."
That isn't going to happen. The Final Cut Studio you know is dead, in the ground, and turning to dust. Apple is not bringing it back to life. Their replacement is FCPX, end of story.
[Danielle Warren] "Again, different NLE programs work for different projects. In work I do, FCP is better and less expensive to use since nothing is done online. It just doesn't make sense for big companies to switch something after years of using one system. Most of those editors don't know Avid either."
Most post houses were Avid and switched to FCP. If the FCP editors don't know Avid but the post houses switch back (and they are), the FCP editors will be out of a job. It's a lot easier to find a seasoned Avid editor than FCP editor, because most Avid editors had to learn FCP when things shifted that way. Now they're shifting back, they're in a better position than the FCP only editors.
[Danielle Warren] "But I still want to know Avid just to know it, but I cringe at the idea of ONLY using that. Even the way it's laid out, the icons, the buttons etc. seems awful to me, lol!"
Learn Premiere too, you might even want to learn FCPX. Then you can choose the right tool for the job.
Regarding the interface - I love the Avid interface because of its simplicity and bare bones design. I despise the Adobe interface and the FCP interface drives me up the wall. But I use them.
I haven't responded in a while because I was out of town in LA. I had a chance to catch up with my old shop and some friends at other shops and NO ONE is moving from FCP any time soon.
When you say it's dated because: "Can't read P2 footage natively. Can't read XDCam native. Can't read AVCHD. Can't play DSLR natively. Can't read Red natively. Requires way too much rendering compared to the other NLEs out there. Hasn't had a significant update in about 4 years. The list goes on and on." This doesn't matter to companies that do their work completely offline. We don't import straight from cameras. The thing that was the largest pain in my butt when I was an assistant was using a 3/4" machine, but then and now you mostly get footage on DVCAMs, and I think increasingly, already on drives in Quicktime format ready to go. Perhaps this wasn't explained better before, but that's why Avid was and won't be a necessity for a long time. And most people I talked to out there weren't worried and believed Apple was going to improve on what they have for all the shops like them. There are too many professionals to leave out in the cold when it comes to FCP. I have to think they aren't going to turn their backs on them.
I suppose it's tougher being in NY because people are paranoid, even when things being cut are not going anywhere near a movie theater or broadcast TV. But that's the way it is!
I'm going to spring for the Avid agility book, and if I can get the money together, go and do some training. Otherwise, I want to thank a lot of people on the thread for all the links and advice of great books and training online. I think the key is just starting to cut things in Avid and forcing myself to work in it.
Thanks Michael, and thanks everyone else! You've all been a great help and I'm more excited rather than apprehensive to start learning Avid!
As I mentioned, Avid is built on a film editing paradigm, so trimming is integral to the way it was designed. Think of strips of film run through a gang synchronizer which you roll your cuts through while trimming. In Avid, even the black is a "thing" just like film leader. That's why you can add effects to black space on the timeline, just as you could scribble notes on leader with a grease pencil.
DEFINITELY learn trimming, and you'll wonder how you ever did without it. You can also do asynchronous trims, ie: trim the head off your current shot, while trimming leader away from the tail end of a music cue, so your cue stays in sync with your cut. Powerful stuff, but you have to get your head around it.
We can all relate to your pain. Whenever we switch from one program to another or from one OS to another, it's a learning process. When I edit on a PC, my fingers need to hit CTRL+Z, versus CMD+Z on the Mac. If you have been doing this for years, you are used to working at a certain speed. Then when you switch to a new program, you feel frustration with not being as fast. That is a common feeling.
When I learned FCP, having worked with Avid for years, it took some time to train the fingers to find new places. I agree with Andrew that training is the best route. I took a three day class and spent the $1,000. That forces me to train versus buying a book and trying to fit that into my schedule.
With that said, I know Steve Hullfish is working on a book that is titled something like, Avid for FCP users. Haven't seen it yet.
can help, but I joke that you have to read it backwards.
Hope this helps.
Anything worth doing at all, is worth doing well.
- Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield
Thanks Ed. I'm glad I'm not the only one hurting! Perhaps it was my timing because I was young when FCP was out and it was obviously something you could buy for cheap, relatively. I bought FCP 3 with a student discount in 2002, just before I started college and just went from there. I was never around for Avid and to me it seemed like this beast of a machine/software that cost 100s of 1000s of dollars and only huge studios used it. Anything I've ever wanted or been paid to edit has never needed something specifically that Avid offered.
I was just reading through another thread that kind of goes along with what I'm saying: "Out here in LA, Broadcast production/post houses are sticking with FCP 7...looking at alternatives for when they NEED to switch. No need right now, as FCP 7 does everything we currently need"
This is my thinking right now. I don't see anyone switching any time soon as so many of those people working there now are young editors, like myself, that really only learned FCP, for better or worse. In a lot of post/trailer houses, which is where I have worked and freelance, FCP does everything you need. So why all the fuss to switch? (at least right now).
If it's working, then keep using it. However, realize that at some point Apple will release an OS which will make it stop working. At that point, you'll want to be somewhat versed in the alternatives, so you aren't suddenly playing catch-up with all the other editors who have already made the transition.
Thought I'd chime in. Avid has some tutorials on their own site you may have missed.
Please note, one is called FCP to Avid....
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I'm having trouble too picking up on Avid. I'm a short-term FCP and long term Adobe user, and I'm finding Avid... well, clunky. The old-DOS style font GUI, file import procedure and clunky titler haven't blown me away at all. I'm going to persist as I really want to learn MC6.0 (bought it in the crossgrade offer), but so far I'm not seeing a viable alternative to CS5.5.
For the font In the edit menu, feel free to change the font for any window.
The import settings? They're setup to make sure you preserve the full quality of your media throughout your workflow; the tradeoff, is that it's not as intuitive as we might like.
Trimming, media management, the editorial tools, are part of what makes it such a great editor. If you're dragging and dropping (and I'm not saying you are), those just aren't the best ways to edit. I'm not even talking about script sync or phrase find.
Avid's biggest weakness is that it should be more user friendly; but that would break ways that very fast, very experienced editors want the tool to work. Yes, I'd like it to be more intuitive, but if you can get past the font stuff, there's great depth there.
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[Peter Corbett] "I'm finding Avid... well, clunky. The old-DOS style font GUI, file import procedure and clunky titler haven't blown me away at all."
This is an age-old story; believe me, I went through the same stage coming from Speed Razor, Incite, and D/Vision. I just didn't get it for a while, and I was cussing it up and down. But as soon as I started to accept "the Avid way" and not try to make it work like the other tools I was used to, it started to click. Now, more than a decade later, it's the fastest most fluid editor I've ever used and I wouldn't cut with anything else unless somebody held a gun to my head.
There's a reason that probably 90% of all Hollywood TV shows and features are cut with Avid. It's fast, it's robust, stable, and powerful.
Stick with it, and eventually it's secrets will reveal themselves to you.
Hey I wrote up a post about switching, on Thanksgiving. You should read it. I started out on FCP 5 and mastered it up to 7. Once you learn how to trim in Avid you will wonder how you ever went without it. I was one of very few who used to use dynamic trimming in fcp which is a royal pain in the arse. Also, once you learn how to patch on the keyboard, it is 10x faster than in FCP and I did everything from the keyboard in tcp.
As far as tutorials "Avid Agility" is a must read. As check out avidscreencast.com. This dude has some great tutorials as well, though his voice really grades on you. It only takes about 2-4 weeks to get going if you commit yourself to it and then you start to fly. Funny thing is only after about a month of using avid exclusively I had to cut a show on FCP and didn't know what to do! Of course it all came back, but switching back and forth from these programs can be a real head trip.
Thanks Ed, that's good advice. Although I've definitely heard that it's less painful going from Avid to FCP simply because the UI is just easier and more intuitive and hence why so many have trouble going the other way. I really wish they would make that opposite book already, lol!