Avid - Still missing key features....
Been editing in Premiere Pro and Avid now for about 6 months, using them on every other project alternating. Still wondering when Avid is going to add features missing in FCP X and Premiere Pro. So many ease of use tools and functions, things feel more streamlined. This isn't anything to do with what the 'industry' is doing in terms of post. Avid is one of many tools used by 'professional editors'. So, this isn't an NLE attack.
One key feature that I really wish Avid would add, is the ability to have multiple time-lines open at the same time, regardless the purpose: editing, organization, etc. "Why on earth would you want to edit with multiple time-lines open?" Yes, this is a new concept for some, as whom only used Avid, but there are some efficiencies in being able to access 4-10 time-lines at the same time. Many people at the Avid booth at NAB, gave me the 'death' stare, at my mentioning this limitation. Jumping back to previous scenes, cuts, or versions of scenes, comparing one scene cut versus another scene cut a different way, etc, is just one way multiple time-lines can or could be used. Some people like to dump some of their b-roll on a time-line and have it open, so as to scrub through shots, and copy and paste from one sequence into another, and Steve Hullfish, did show me how this can or could be done in Avid, but it's kind of 'clunky', in the worst way to describe it. All NLE's are not perfect, but the multiple time-line feature would really help us non-professional editors out there who are embracing the Avid and Adobe and working with these wonderful tools. Last thought, Avid 7's update in which you can now crop in, or scale in, or zoom into shots more to get that crop or angle you need, we've seen this years-old feature already in other NLEs. Editing audio key-frames update in Avid 6.5 , we saw that back in 2009, with FCP 4-5... Hope Santa brings us Avid 8, with some new surprises, and heck, maybe a whole new interface, not built on the original 1990's architecture!
Digital Chop House
Salt Lake City, Utah
Sorry, I completely disagree with you on multiple timelines. Having AEed quite a bit on both FCP and Avid, I find a lot of editors duplicate sequences, maybe to try an alt version, but because they have multiple timelines open, confuse versions, work on the wrong version, then I do an export and get in trouble because it's the wrong version. Even with color coding, it opens up a huge variable for error. You can load your B-roll string into the source monitor, and toggle Source/Record when you need to and it works nicely.
It seems to me that you're falling into the trap of trying to make Avid work like Final Cut. Don't do it. It doesn't work the same way. I did this when I was learning Avid. As soon as I embraced how Avid worked, so many things made more sense to me (Particularly how Avid deals with extended edits, which I so prefer on Avid versus FCP).
I also disagree on changing the interface. Of all things, don't change the interface (Everybody hated the smart tool with version 5 and the interface change of that). Change under the hood, leave how we work alone. Fortunately they let us turn off the smart tool. I'll save you the suspense, Avid 6 was a ground level rewrite, so it won't change for MC8.
At the end of the day, choose the tool that works best for your workflow. Avid is an amazing tool for offline to online, designed originally around film and later applied to television. Corporate video work, and projects that are working online from beginning to end work much better on a program like Premiere or FCP.
Los Angeles, CA
"We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution." - Bill Hicks
How about finally upgrading the title tool? There are still so many bugs in it and how in the world are we still not able to see in on an external monitor while editing it!! SO many other NLE's can do this. Very annoying having to save and close it out so my client behind me can see it, just to make me open it back up and change something!
There should also be much more ability to change parameters of individual characters!
Just my 2 cents!
New title tool in MC7 is called titler pro. Look in the effects bin. It's amazing.
Freelance Documentary Editor
One of the easiest ways to ensure you are not editing the wrong sequence is to always check and ensure you are working in the right sequence. This is a project management essential, being mindful of naming and renaming sequences as soon as sequences are copied or duplicated, renaming them, and placing them in bins, and maintain that file structure and order to your project, as everyone has their own way of organizing and naming your media, is not the responsibility of the software, but the editor. So, I do understand your concerns there with getting used to editing with multiple time-lines open, but also taking advantage of using colors to label sequences, or just plain text, typing in: "XYX_Final Sequence".
When George Lucas embraced digital, famous DPs in Hollywood (and everyone else it seemed) freaked out about it. George Lucas never intended to stay comfortable with film, as a filmmaker and innovator, embracing 'change'. Visual Effects were being done digitally, thus, why not filming in a digital format, so the editing part came first, with him developing the Edit Droid, then camera companies started pioneering film cameras that could shoot digitally. So there that constant evolution happening and still happening.
I'm not sure that what we term "rewrite" is the same as what Avid thinks, is a "rewrite". A new version of a software, usually embodies brand new features, tools, etc. Adobe releases bug fixes and new things almost monthly, whereas the only difference with a new version of Avid, is an update, with one or two added tools.
This ripple in the pond affect, does have to do with job security, especially like what we are seeing now in the Special Effects industry, with cheap labor and 3D software that 'everyone' has access to. Same with cameras, everyone out of film school is shooting on Red. The student DPs and the professional DPs, both using the same tools.
With the Edit Droid and George selling his software to Avid, and then Avid taking it over and developing it. The difference is, as we look at Apple, at the core is a software innovator, Bill Gates (before he died was also heavily involved with Pixar - George's former VFX house), had been involved with supporting filmmakers involved with digital tools and technology that really helped people move into 3D animation. That Apple connection to George Lucas and to Pixar shows those fruits of labor today.
"Post" magazine, as well as "American Cinema Editor" magazine are relentless about ensuring every single article, blurb, or new update, has somewhere in the article: "__ was edited on Avid Media Composer", and that's great. What we want to do is strip the "against change" culture aside, and simply say, "Can we have this feature added?", but without the baggage of concerns, headaches, and resistance to change? Cause it's not classified as a change to the way people edit. It's a request to add a tool, and maybe to replace the hundreds of tools in Avid that are never used ever by an editor.
As far as 'under the hood', why are we not still editing on Moviolas then? They worked great right? Why move into digital editing? How many editors were scared when digital editing came into the picture?
I simply think that requests to add new Avid tools are simple requests. But if we come at this as "Well, why?", we go from the spirit of helping and innovation to a brick wall.
In the end, it would be nice and very beneficial, at least for me, if Avid had this feature, now having edited on several NLEs that have this capability.
Thanks for your thoughts,
Digital Chop House
Salt Lake City, Utah
I've cut a lot on Avid, FCP Legacy and now I might be working w/Premiere Pro and the inability to open multiple sequences has never bothered me in Avid. Loading a sequence into the Monitor and switching my timeline lets me do what I need to do.
The two things that probably bug me the most with Avid are how FX are handled and that frame size & frame rate are set at the project level instead of at the sequence level.
I agree with everything Richard Sanchez said above.
While you think Avid is missing features, I think it's a much better way to work. I hate the way FCP has all those timelines open, too much room for error. Plus, the way Avid works, and Lightworks did when I used it, you put your source in the source monitor and cut in from that. You don't get a nested section, you get the actual clips that were in the other seq and you know where you're cutting from. The FCP method makes no sense to me.
It comes down to preference, not Avid being behind the times. Personally I don't see why Avid it changing things to try to please FCP users because it's annoying to me. The "smart tool" isn't so great. I don't know why locators are now called markers. They're not markers, they're locators!
It has to do with what you started on and what you're used to. To me Avid is so much more streamlined than FCP. I do know someone who likes FCP better who started on Avid but I also know someone for whom the reverse is true. Ultimately you just have to use the one that gets the job done best for you and your needs.
Although I sometimes miss the option to have multiple timelines open when I've worked in Avid, after a while I just kind of got used to it. It didn't really bother me so much.
I recently cut a short in Avid MC7, and for pure CUTTING I think it is probably the best NLE available. I really enjoyed the editing experience working with it, and I was really happy I chose to cut the film on Avid as opposed to the other options out there. I like the way the audio mixing works, and dynamic trimming is a lovely option to have - it's so simple but it's probably one of the very best features I have ever used in any NLE. And it's implemented perfectly. When I really got to grips with trimming in Avid, I felt as though I had never properly trimmed a clip before whilst using FCP7.
I have also tried to use Avid for short-form content destined for the web. In truth this was a far less happy experience. The problem seems to be that for this kind of edit, I really needed to be able to do additional finishing tasks (effects/titles/grading) and quickly. This is where I found that Avid didn't seem to be the right tool for the job.
The title tool is god awful (and I've tried the new one in MC7 - I still think it's terrible), so I ended up using After Effects - whilst this workflow worked (though I do find the way Avid imports files with Alpha channels needlessley complicated and confusing), creating these elements right inside the NLE is always preferable for jobs where budget/time are at a premium. I have yet to discover a way to create any effects or transitions in Avid that don't look like they are from a cheap 90s corporate video, but that may well be my lack of experience. On the plus side, colour grading wasn't too painful.
So my rule is generally to avoid using Avid for any edits where anything more than very basic finishing is required. I find that FCP7 (and even X) do a much better job of these kind of tasks and I can get it done a whole lot faster.
But where it's more straight-forward cutting, with less finishing required (maybe it's going out to a grader or vfx artist once I'm done anyway) Avid is still an exceptional tool. And I certainly feel as though I've learned a whole lot about the craft of editing from learning Avid.