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Is DS still worth considering for...?

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Fred Gasc
Is DS still worth considering for...?
on Apr 4, 2013 at 11:47:56 pm

Hi,

I'd like to ask this question to DS users or people who know it well enough.

I don't really need a DS. I'm a very small indy/free-lance and the tools Im working with (MC 6.5, Resolve, Nuke and Scratch) are giving me everything I need. It would be a wim but...

Everything I need except one thing: I hate roundtripping, I really do, and I'm tired of metadatas and text editors, edls etc...in other words, I'm done with this kind of workflow and myriad of apps (with the learning curves...) and small-apps to make all the circus minimaly working.

I'm looking for an all-in-one App (except for compositing I'll still use Nuke). (Adobe is out of question)

I was considering Smoke that is cheaper and I'm kind of familiar with Autodesk interface. But it would mean switching back to Mac and I can't picture the roadmap of the Macpros. I don't really see myself cutting on Smoke and what worries me most is that the color seems weak compared to Resolve.

Also, I have a pressure from my collegues here that are trying to convince me to be back to Mac because almost all this industry is Mac, but my concern is that I have the sensation that Mac is changing and I'm not sure if it's not going to happen in hardwares what happened with FCPx...

So staying peecees and a DS is not a bad idea. It's expensive but if it allows me to work the way I want (no more roundtripping!), the cost may be a good investment.

I can't make-up my mind on that and as I don't know in my surrounding anyone that is on DS, I'm asking here for your views/advices.

Is DS still worth considering Smoke is now cheaper? Is CC in DS as robust as Resolve? And what are your view on Macpros? Do you think this industry will stay Mac or could it be that peecees will gain adepts in the middle term (I see much more power available on peecees at lower costs)

Many thanks.

Fred.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Is DS still worth considering for...?
on Apr 5, 2013 at 11:54:43 am

Certainly DS was/is designed to be the all-in-one type solution that combines editing, effects, audio, and color correction. And as it typical with many of these approaches is that can be good at all of them, but perhaps not great at some of them. So it depends on the type of work you do and if the feature set meets or exceeds your needs today and in the future.

There is a free trial of DS available, so you can certainly give it a spin to compare. You do have NAB right around the corner (next week) and you can wait to see what changes/updates/ and potential pricing changes might occur before you make that decision.

I would also look to the development history of the product. Usually the downloads page gives a history of releases, dates and what was in them. I know that DS owners have never been happy with the commitment to development the past 5 years or so - but who ever is? There are dedicated DS forums you can go through to get a sense of that which I would recommend.

I have been getting into Smoke more and more. I have both Mac and PC myself - for the type of work I do, long form narrative (features), it is not really ready for that - nor would I choose DS. They are not designed for the daily needs of a feature film cutting room. I look to smoke as being my online editorial and finishing. Once I have edited in Media Composer, managed my workflow and process and reporting (for the producers and such), I can conform in smoke and still make editorial changes if needed.

I don't think smoke or DS have the same level of functionality as Resolve. This is the difference between a whole team dedicated to one function, versus many.

As far as the future of the Mac? Who knows - perhaps we will hear something at the development conference in June. It's difficult to make one's way through all the rumors, wish lists, die-hards, fanboys and haters to get a sense of reality. And an email reply from Tim Cook that it will be awesome is not enough to base anything on - everyone has their own sense of "awesome" based on their needs. Jobs said the next version of FCP was going to be awesome. It was for some, and not for others. We can only wait and see. But I know developers at Autodesk and they have been pretty pleased with performance on the beefed up MacPro and Thunderbolt RAID. Depends on what formats and resolution mastering you are doing - but it is something to consider - again, based on your needs.


Michael


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Fred Gasc
Re: Is DS still worth considering for...?
on Apr 5, 2013 at 12:51:27 pm

Hi Michael.

Thanks for your answer. It gives me the oportunity to express my gratitude because I've been learning so much Avid tips thanks to you, through this forum or the Red'.

Some time ago I watched a great conference you gave in wich I discovered some "hidden" sides of MC and it was a gas.
But see? those metacheater stuff and text editors and blabla are exactly the "little" things that put me on nerves in my workflow.
I know that it's the Price to pay to access specialized apps and that a all-in-one will be always weaker. Between a rock and a hard place...but I just hate too much roudtripping to ignore it anymore.
And in my current needs I can "afford" not having to do it because I'm not working for big feature films-docs.


I got the DS trial in my Workstation but didn't start any learning curve because I'm on assignement and don't want to add more infos to digest (and distraction) in this moment.

The other dilema is that since Autodesk have cutted the Smoke Price to 1/3, DS appears very expensive. Are the 6000 euros difference worth? Will Avid do a comercial manouver to compensate this? That will be interesting to see.

I agree with you that a "wait and see" (as I'm not in a hurry) is probably the best to do. NAB will bring infos, Apple will son too and in few months things will clear themselves and make the dilema easier.

Yes, the thing on Mac pros is that I'm surrounded by Mac fanboys trying to influence me to switch back to Macs with the argument that this industry is Mac only, but I need to be aware of the cultism involved backstage and trying to keep my mind cold, wich is sometimes not easy. I'll wait Apple conference to see what they say.

Thanks for your repply, it was very usefull as always.

Cheers.

Fred.


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Glenn Sakatch
Re: Is DS still worth considering for...?
on Apr 5, 2013 at 1:49:46 pm

Hi Fred, just wanted to chime in as well.
First things first, never been a fan of "fan boy" comments, so i'll try to not have this be one.

I've been on DS since late '99, and have stuck with it through thick and thin. Currently running 11.02

I have also cut on MC since '95, so i know it extremely well also.

I started using FCP in 2006

I started getting into resolve about 2 or 3 years ago..when it dropped to 1000 dollars.

My company also has a Flame premium and we recently bought a Smoke Mac.

Just starting to look into the Fusion/DS workflow as well.

Because of my history with the products, i tend to head towards MC for the edit and DS for the finish. I am using resolve for a bunch of fun stuff, but when my back is to the wall, i color in DS, using the Euphonix panel.

I have been going through Smoke at my own pace, but to be fair to it, i need to commit a project to it, and just dive in. I find it's color weaker than Resolve and DS, but perhaps i haven't found all the magic yet. I've been struggling with some aspects of AAF workflows bringing lists in from AVID.

I find a lot of rendering taking place as well. The jury is still out on it.

As i said, I love my MC/ DS workflow. Its worth noting you get a license for MC when you buy DS, so in the grand scheme of things, that could help justify the cost. Unfortunately the reason for the MC license is the lack of AMA workflows. DS can do live links to Red footage, but many other camera types have to run through AMA to get converted. Its graphics tools are very good for creating effects and fixing many problems, or masking off areas for your color pass.
Its trackers can't hold a candle to the resolve trackers for Color correction, but i don't think many applications can. For effect tracking it is fairly basic, but anything major, i find it easier to go to Mocha.
and come back.

You say you are tired of the roundtriping, but i think that is the nature of the beast these days. To refuse one product over the other for that reason is perhaps not the best. I always try to pick a product suited for the job. If a particular situation comes up and i think it would be best if i jumped over to a different product for a particular fix, i wouldn't hesitate to do so. That being said, i can stay in DS for
95 to 100 percent of all jobs i throw at it, but i know the Flame artist will say the same thing, and i'll bet most of the Smoke artists will say the same thing.

I currently have Resolve and DS and Media Composer all running on the same box. The black magic card and the Kona cards don't seem to mind each other at all, as long as only 1 program is open at a time.

my 2 cents.

Glenn


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Michael Phillips
Re: Is DS still worth considering for...?
on Apr 5, 2013 at 2:10:08 pm

Great feedback Glenn, thanks. I love DS as well, and have used it in a variety of ways the same way I am now looking at smoke. Aside from functionality, the conform has been one of the stronger benefits of DS when working with an MC offline. What are your feelings on pace of development, and dare I say innovation in the DS line? While smoke may compare more or less (depending on functionality) with DS, I feel that its development, communication, and such is at a faster pace than DS. I agree that a smoke on Windows OS might make this conversation a moot point.

Michael


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Glenn Sakatch
Re: Is DS still worth considering for...?
on Apr 5, 2013 at 7:49:35 pm

Replied to this earlier, but it seems to have gone into the interweb waste lands, so i'll try again.

I don't think anyone can say Avid has been keeping up with the jones' on their upgrades for DS. A couple of years ago we were all told that the porting of the system to 64 bit was very tough, and occupying all their resources. Since then we have gone from versions 10.1 to 10.3 to 10.5 to 11.0 to 11.02 in fairly rapid (by DS standards) succession.

We are still all screaming for an AMA workflow so that we aren't out of luck when every new format comes out.

The Color panel upgrade in 11.0 was one of the happiest moments of my life. (how sad is that?) I love the panel. It isn't totally customizable, but there is a lot there that can be tweaked, including workflows for non color aspects of the program, like programming DVE control to one of the balls and wheels.

The 3d DVE needs to be redone from the start. I don't think it has changed since V7.6.
Same with the trackers. I would love to see a plainer tracker put into this box.

Many of the basic tools are the same as older versions, but honestly it was so far ahead of the grade back then, that it didn't matter. As all the new devices come out, its time for Avid to step up to the plate again, or it will lose more customers, rather than gaining new ones.

We've been talking about the price point on it, but it is actually quite a bit cheaper now than it used to be, so that is a start, but perhaps it needs another reduction. (to do that they would probably have to bite the bullet and merge MC and Symphony, and lower the price of that product)

Glenn


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Michael Phillips
Re: Is DS still worth considering for...?
on Apr 5, 2013 at 2:16:07 pm

The whole need for workarounds and such is always part of the new technology adoption curve. That was before AMA and such in Media Composer where dealing with such formats was problematic on both the media and metadata side of things. And with Media Composer currently being limited to HD resolutions, dealing with 2K+ can still be challenging if not properly planned for. In case you haven't read it, I suggest a read through the Cinema Camera Whitepaper that is somewhat difficult to find on avid.com:

http://www.avid.com/static/resources/documents/whitepapers/digital_camera/d...

With NAB 3 days away, it will be interesting. And now it seems that a repost of picture via Twitter hints at Blackmagic offering more on-set color management as well as an "online editor" ... the plot thickens:

http://www.eoshd.com/content/9965/davinci-resolve-10-sighted-on-set-color-c...

Thank you for the kind words - you are welcome.


Michael


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Fred Gasc
Re: Is DS still worth considering for...?
on Apr 5, 2013 at 2:45:40 pm

Many thanks Michael and Glenn for the quality of your repplies.

"i can stay in DS for
95 to 100 percent of all jobs i throw at it" : this is celestial music for my hears !

On the workarounds, I agree with both of you in the sense that it shouldn't be the motivation to choose a particular system.

But there are also other reasons that I'm seeing. You are in the US aren't you? Well, I'm a french guy living in Madrid. You have probably Heard about the current state of the spanish economy and of course the entertainment industry is no exception. The cine production almost paralysed, many teevees (some with big mediums) have closed, almost all the small prod houses I knew have closed and thousands of former pros are cueing in the unemployement offices. Even the national TV (all on Avid) wich is probably the best in Europe after the BBC is now on a wait-and-see attitude and is producing real garbage on the low-cost. Actors don't work, scenarists don't work etc etc...all the chain is bombed.

As a result of this situation, I see that colorists are now cutting, FX artists are doing color, editors are compositing etc etc...and I'm talking about people who would have never done any multitask some years ago.
What was a chain of colaborative workflows and specialized pros is slowly but surely transforming into "multitask" persons, lower costs etc etc...and when there was 10 seats before and they sent to Nucoda facility is now 1 or 2 seats and color and conform at home.

I have the sensation that this situation is just the beginning and not only because of the spanish more desastrous current situation. It smells that the workflow we are used to is going to change drasticaly in the next years. I might be wrong, but...I might be also right.
In that context, all-in-one apps may appear to be the solutions for the future, IMHO.

Cheers.

Fred.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Is DS still worth considering for...?
on Apr 5, 2013 at 3:14:12 pm

Well I'm 1/2 French living in the US... ;) grew up in Nice for almost 10 years till I was 17.

I have been reading about the economy of Spain, Greece, Europe, and well the world. But Spain has been hurting for a while. To some extent there is some of that in the US as well - the middle of the market fell out so we are left with fewer very large tentpole features out of the studios, then all the Independent films at the lower end. Television seems to be picking up on the scripted stuff, but it is still a lot of what we just shoot and cut into a story type programming. There was a story recently on Variety or The Hollywood Reporter about the glut of writers and lack of anything for them to do (and the mental state, etc.).

For freelancers, it's is fight for the few jobs on the tentpoles, or "work for credit" on the indies - making a basic living is getting more difficult. Many refer to it as the race to the bottom - but even junkies can hit bottom and pull themselves up again - I am counting on the same for the industry.

On one hand, the amount of content being created is going up, but combined with barrier of entry going down and huge amount of talent coming out of film schools, certificate programs, and such, competition is very high. A producer can grind down the prices as they will almost always find someone who is willing to do it cheaper. Now whether the quality is there or not is the question - and whether they care or the viewing public cares in the bigger question.

They do reach a point where the lowest bid will cost them more - we seem to be in that exploratory phase right now, where Producers are looking for that tipping point. Look at the VFX industry upheaval going on right now. The impact is everywhere.

Studios are becoming facilities, facilities are now creating original content, camera rentals are now dailies providers, labs are expanding into camera rentals - Manufacturers need to go after volume to keep up existing revenue streams - everyone is getting into everyone else's business and is very confusing -

But we are seeing Over The Top providers getting into content creation and seem to be doing what the broadcasters have been doing less of - high quality scripted content with Netflix, Amazon, and others on the way. The television models are being tested with content everywhere - where is the value and the loyalty? Is it the show, the producer, the broadcast channel? Everyone wants to own the brand... even the end consumer is getting confused with so many services of the same content being available on 6 different platforms (thus the unique differentiation of original content creation). Cost of exclusive licensing versus producing one own's content seems to be on par.

It's the wild wild west, and like the wild wild west, there will be winners and losers, and they may not be the same players as in the previous generation.


Michael


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Fred Gasc
Re: Is DS still worth considering for...?
on Apr 5, 2013 at 3:44:50 pm

Haa, Nice. The glamourous Riviera.
I was very close, I was studdying fine arts in Nîmes.

I agree. This is the wild west indeed. And yes, so much cost cuts that ironically it starts to costs more.

On the other-hand they do a silly humoristic show in a theater next to my home. 3 trucks of live coverage, 8 grass valley cameras (more tan 110000 euros per body...)
etc etc... and just for a bunch of one-man-show humorists that nobody watch because what's fashionable now here are those reality shows like "the first 48 hours", live homicide police enquiries in the US. The thing is that it's better, much better, than what the national teevee currently produces at astronomical costs.


Got the sensation that we all are, at all levels, in a transitional period.

Fred.


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