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Big Interview Project - Should I tackle it with AVID or Premiere?

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Enno Jacobsen
Big Interview Project - Should I tackle it with AVID or Premiere?
on Oct 19, 2017 at 4:56:31 pm

Which of the two, Avid or Premiere, allows for the best organizational tools during an edit of a complex interview project – and which of the two allows for a proxy workflow that doesn't get screwed up during the conform of the final edit to the UHD we shot it in?

I need some guidance from experienced editors on a basic question before starting a big editing project. Over the course of 4 days we shot 8 hours of interview footage on 4 cameras, all with the same two people in frame, in the same light setting. This footage of the conversation now has to be sorted into different topics and then culled down to about 90 minutes.

Between the multiple cameras, it's a lot of material to wrangle and sort through (30+ hours).

1 • Is Avid or Premiere best suited for a proxy workflow that allows subclips?
2 • Which of the two allows for best practices to sort and structure my material?
3 • Which lets me work with markers and some sort of clip/timeline metadata in the process?


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Shane Ross
Re: Big Interview Project - Should I tackle it with AVID or Premiere?
on Oct 19, 2017 at 5:19:21 pm

[Enno Jacobsen] "Which of the two, Avid or Premiere, allows for the best organizational tools during an edit of a complex interview project"

Hmmm... Adobe is easier to search the entire project for a word or phrase. Quicker anyway. Both do it but PPro is a touch faster. But organization is equal on both, IMHO.

[Enno Jacobsen] "which of the two allows for a proxy workflow that doesn't get screwed up during the conform of the final edit to the UHD we shot it in?"

Avid. Avid was born around the concept of offline/online workflow, molded by it....Premiere simply adopted it (Batman/Bane reference). Seriously, after trying a long form doc where proxies were made in Premiere...well, incorrectly done...relinking was a pain. But it was done wrong. That being said, Avid was built on this premise, so it's better.

[Enno Jacobsen] "Between the multiple cameras, it's a lot of material to wrangle and sort through (30+ hours)"

PSHAW! I've worked on long form docs with 70-100 hours of footage. And now, a reality show with 5 months of shooting, 8 hours a day, at LEAST three cameras on at all times. Talking over 1000 hours of footage, multicam...offline/online. Cut on Avid.

[Enno Jacobsen] "1 • Is Avid or Premiere best suited for a proxy workflow that allows subclips?"

Avid

[Enno Jacobsen] "2 • Which of the two allows for best practices to sort and structure my material?"

Equal, from my experience

[Enno Jacobsen] "3 • Which lets me work with markers and some sort of clip/timeline metadata in the process?"

Both. But Avid is better.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jimmy See
Re: Big Interview Project - Should I tackle it with AVID or Premiere?
on Oct 23, 2017 at 8:23:48 am

The decision of which platform often comes down to much more mundane factors than actual ability of one or the other to edit the type of creative project you're embarking on well because there's not much on the market that can't handle the type of sorting and cutting that you're looking at with aplomb (there's always technical advantages in the form of one or two specific quirks but speaking generally here). Most often the choice will come down to things like:

  • Who you think will be working on the project and if they have a preference,

  • If you're working with other teams or production houses that use one or the other

  • whether you have existing workflows and investment built around them that depend on one particular platform

  • What you're used to and how much hassle you can stand learning something new while on the job.


  • That means that the answers to your specifics could seem wishy-washy but that's because there's very little that can be held up as 'better' in one particular regard or another, that an enthusiastic fan of the 'inferior' platform couldn't refute or challenge. Here's my best shot though.

  • 1. In my personal experience, Avid has made this part of post production (which has always been a nuisance at best and nightmare at worst) harder than it seems it should be when it comes tapeless workflows. When you read up on best practice for relinking and hear that people have run afoul of it, it's usually revealed that they failed to take some steps at the start of the process that they should have done regarding metadata and especially tape names (even when there's no tapes involved). While it's fair enough that you should research what to do first and make sure you take all reasonable steps that can help make sure the process is smooth at the end, it has always seemed that the number of 'gotchas' and pitfalls that you can run in to unless you're exceptionally careful when trying to conform tapeless media in Avid surprisingly large and while I've not scientifically compared it against Premiere, it certainly feels like one runs in to more issues with Avid because of missing or not knowing about some obscure step you were supposed to do at the start that is now not rectifiable at the end. I am far from a fan of conforming processes in Avid. There's something else which I've put at the bottom of the post which may be a killer feature for Premiere that's important here regarding proxies. It's a new feature, but if it works well at scale as it does at small scale, it can really help you out.


  • 2. Both of these pieces of software allow significant freedom in how you structure the project once you've started it and hence they're both more than capable of facilitating best practice so long as you know what that is. The differences here are pretty slight and mostly down to a question of preference, however, by a nose I'd say Avid wins out. This isn't because it necessarily does anything you can't do in Premiere, or even does it better per-se, it's more that it's easier to implement a significant degree of organisational structure in Avid. As an example, metadata entry on individual clips is way better in Avid merely because of how the interface is organised. In Premiere this is hidden away as a kind of extra feature you could use if so inclined and you don't have as much latitude in deciding how the metadata is presented in bins. With Avid, they know that you're going to want to use metadata because it's usually the platform of choice for large scale projects so rather than being treated as an extra feature, metadata entry, presentation and sorting is always easily visible and accessible. It's also easier to export data for use in things like spreadsheets for example. I also found that the ability to sift through metadata is superior in Avid than Premiere, but i don't know if it's because it's really better or I've not yet explored this in-depth enough in Premiere.

  • 3. Both handle markers more or less identically. Metadata, in terms of metadata recorded in the media at capture as opposed to that which you enter, again it's close but Avid is maybe slightly better in certain circumstances that mainly revolve around synchronising disparate timecodes and dealing with multicam shot in uncontrolled environments with each camera switching on and off at unpredictable intervals


  • Premiere's enable/disable proxy function

    These days, Premiere has included very good functionality for switching between proxy and online versions of media with a single click. The newest versions allow you to import online media in to the project, then tell it to create proxies (for which it will leverage the very capable and flexible Adobe Media encoder software) which can be switched on and off at will, when this has been done correctly, there's no relink process or any traditional conforming, you simply enable or disable proxy clips. The real beauty of this is that you began by importing the online media in to the project, which creates master clips and then had the proxy generating process done from there. The implication of that is that the same Master clip is both the online and offline version, you're not dealing with two sets of clips in the project, even though it is two different clips on disk. That alone makes things much easier, and means less to keep a track of. However, lest I sound like an Adobe Shill, I've only tested this feature in small scale projects. Initial outlook, very positive but at scale great features or seemingly stable software has a habit of falling apart.


    Other considerations:

  • Subclips in Premiere suck! If you make a subclip in Premiere, it considers it to be basically a separate master, you can't matchframe it back to the original master which is a huge issue if you realise that there is more at the head or tail of the subclip that you didn't include when you made it, but you now need. I believe it also has implications for conform but can't confirm

  • Multicamera clips are WAY better in Premiere, not least because you can adjust them after you've made them.
    They're treated like special timelines that can behave as source clips or timelines when it suits you. They're very powerful

  • If you intend to send the edit to other software packages for different stages of Post Production, Avid is surprisingly unfriendly with many of them (except Pro Tools where it tends to be better). The lack of XML exporting support can be surprisingly disadvantageous despite the fairly wide support for AAF

  • Avid has some performance advantages of lower powered systems in some cases, I'm not sure, but I think it has something to do with the unique way in which it treats 'avid media'

  • Avid remains indisputably the best option for collaborative editing with large numbers of people, especially in networked environments with Shared Storage. Honestly it doesn't seem like it does anything all that much here, it's just that all the competition seems to do it so poorly that it's just streets ahead. Trying share sequences or bins, or clips (project master clips as opposed to media on disk is irritatingly difficult and cumbersome in Premiere by comparison)

  • The general consensus, and one I largely agree with is that if you don't have much editing experience, Avid is harder to learn initially. (I'm not assuming you are or aren't experienced, just leaving it for consideration one way or the other)


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    Enno Jacobsen
    Re: Big Interview Project - Should I tackle it with AVID or Premiere?
    on Oct 30, 2017 at 6:53:59 pm

    Fantastic responses. Huge help. Thanks so much.


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    greg janza
    Re: Big Interview Project - Should I tackle it with AVID or Premiere?
    on Oct 31, 2017 at 3:40:53 pm

    I agree with most of your assessment Jimmy.

    The one exception:

    [Jimmy See] "Subclips in Premiere suck!"

    In my experience subclips cause no conform issues.

    I'd also argue that for large projects like the OP is embarking on, the need for organized metadata is a low priority. I personally think large projects with massive amounts of material shot aren't well suited for active metadata management. Instead, a workflow involving string outs and markers is the most efficient approach and it works best with the pancake editing method.

    I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
    - Orson Welles


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    Jimmy See
    Re: Big Interview Project - Should I tackle it with AVID or Premiere?
    on Nov 1, 2017 at 1:03:50 am

    I generally can't think of a project that wouldn't benefit from decent metadata, but that said I tend not to bother with it much when dealing with mostly interview, or if the project is a small enough scale that keeping a handle on what footage is what and where it is in the project is fairly easy to do mentally in conjunction with some well organised workflow techniques.

    Good to know that the subclips do not affect conform, that was something I wasn't in a position to test. Still though, the lack of ability to match frame back to the original master is a sin not easily forgiven. I discovered that to be the case when using them in an edit of stand up comedy, it sounds like a small thing, but it's infuriating, maybe because it's a small thing and just seems like it could so easily be fixed. But what annoys one person intensely is minor or irrelevant to another.

    Pancake method is cool, I'd never heard of a name for it, I like it. This is something Avid can't do either, I think I hit upon the idea when I saw you could have two timelines open when I was first trying Premiere out, ultimately I didn't make much use of it though, I should maybe renew interest in it. One thing I think would make that feature great would be if you could have one of those sequences load in to the source monitor window, and the other load in to the program monitor. This would make it equivalent Avid's fantastic toggle source/record timeline function, only better because you could see both timelines at all times, rather than switching between. I should probably point out that for my home system Premiere is my personal choice so I definitely like it, I'm just aware of the flaws. Probably the best thing about it is the rate of improvement over time, now and then I noticed some problems that I think are unforgivable and extremely bad and they're gone in the next version update. There were concerns this is exactly what would stop with the subscription model in play, while I hope that doesn't turn out to be the case, I'm pleased that thus far it doesn't seem to be. With Avid, a problem will be a problem for a decade or more and might still not be fixed.


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    greg janza
    Re: Big Interview Project - Should I tackle it with AVID or Premiere?
    on Nov 2, 2017 at 4:29:33 am

    [Jimmy See] "One thing I think would make that feature great would be if you could have one of those sequences load in to the source monitor window, and the other load in to the program monitor. This would make it equivalent Avid's fantastic toggle source/record timeline function, only better because you could see both timelines at all times, rather than switching between."

    you can load sequences into the source side in premiere but for me it's faster to load the source sequence in pancake mode.

    A trend for me is to completely abandon any metadata management or clip management. I work with projects that often are a terabyte in size or larger and there tends to be a large amount of media in a variety of formats, i.e, multi-cam mxf, drone, osmo, etc. With that amount of media, stringouts and markers have become my go to method for clip organization or metadata management.

    I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
    - Orson Welles


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    Jimmy See
    Re: Big Interview Project - Should I tackle it with AVID or Premiere?
    on Nov 2, 2017 at 5:12:18 am

    I mean load it in to the sequence monitor while the timeline itself remains visible as one of the pancakes in the stack. Imagine you have Sequence A at the top of the stack of pancakes and Sequence B at the bottom. Now imagine you move the playhead, in Sequence A, and then Sequence B. The way it currently works, you only get to see the result of your scrubbing action in the program monitor, regardless of which sequences you're scrubbing. If, when you've finished scrubbing in sequence A, you then begin scrubbing in Sequence B, the Program monitor contents is overridden so you no longer see the last frame you rested upon in Sequence A, but instead see what you're doing in Sequence B. Of course that's not a massive problem it's just that having stringouts treated like clips, with the associated capabilites of master clips can be quite powerful. It's good for making match cuts for example, or sometimes for conforms it's handy because you might be moving sections of a near-finished complex edits from sequence to another, doing so by simply dragging the sequence in to the source monitor will work, you can scrub to where you want to start and mark in and where you want to stop and mark out and then insert, but when there's many many channels and tracks things get complex and it can be beneficial to actually see simultaneously the track layout of both the source and the record timeline so you know what you're mapping to what. It's something that since you've not really had the feature before it might be hard to envision the usefulness of, but once you've worked with, you prefer not to do without. While Avid doesn't actually have the feature I'm describing it does have the ability swap the contents of the timeline window between source and record via a button-press so you can very quickly check and then switch back, it also previews scrubbing operations performed in the 'source' timeline in the source monitor and the scrubbing operations of the 'record' timeline in the 'record/program' monitor. I'm envisaging a poaching of that Avid feature and combining it with Premiere's 'pancaking' feature to make it something better than both of them. I know it's possible because as I said you can actually already do it, it's just that there are too many steps involved and that makes it kinda of a pain in the arse.

    What would be useful would be if you could load sequences A and B in to the pancake stack, but nominate one as the 'source' and the other as the 'record' so that when you scrub the timeline at the top of the stack (Timeline A), the source monitor previews the frames that the playhead moves over in Sequence A, but when you move the playhead in sequence B, which is at the bottom of the stack, the program monitor previews the frames for that timeline's scrub operation. It actually is already possible to do this in Premiere via a workaround, but it's too much hassle to make it worth it. The workaround is to open the media browser, and navigate to the project file itself for the project you're working in, this will allow you to see the project's structure in the media browser including bins and sequences, and you can then load the sequence you want to be the source. Doing that opens a new timeline window which you can stack like pancakes just as one would the usual pancake method. It's really great when it works, but the thing is one is switching source and 'record' timelines all the time so it's not practical to have to keep loading the media browser over and over just for the small efficiency increase of having both the source and program monitors in conjunction with displayed timeline windows.


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    greg janza
    Re: Big Interview Project - Should I tackle it with AVID or Premiere?
    on Nov 2, 2017 at 2:10:18 pm

    [Jimmy See] "What would be useful would be if you could load sequences A and B in to the pancake stack, but nominate one as the 'source' and the other as the 'record' so that when you scrub the timeline at the top of the stack (Timeline A), the source monitor previews the frames that the playhead moves over in Sequence A, but when you move the playhead in sequence B, which is at the bottom of the stack, the program monitor previews the frames for that timeline's scrub operation."

    I too was a huge fan of Avid's swapping the contents of the timeline window between source and record via a short cut key. I think the pancake option in Premiere is comparable.

    I work in a two monitor setup so I load sequence A into my top pancake timeline (source) and load sequence B in my bottom pancake timeline (record) and these pancakes are on one monitor. On the second monitor I set it to full screen playback and then it's just a matter of moving my mouse to whichever timeline I want to playback and hitting play. And if I need to see my full Premiere project windows I just toggle full screen playback off on the second monitor.

    I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
    - Orson Welles


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    Brian Seegmiller
    Re: Big Interview Project - Should I tackle it with AVID or Premiere?
    on Nov 1, 2017 at 5:38:15 am

    Are you on a Windows machine or Mac?


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