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Re: Which NLE/compositor to go for?...

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SydneySRe: Which NLE/compositor to go for?...
by on Dec 25, 2006 at 8:22:10 pm

Well, here's the thing with Smoke... Getting files to and from the system without capturing/recapturing the data from tape. And when it does, to be able to handle advanced effects/transitions laid into the timeline from a FCP editor. The environment I was in has 4 Final Cut systems (Aja HD) where everything is shot on HDCAM. The idea was to have the Smoke system act as the finisher. We tried EVERYTHING... Automatic Duck, the XML thing, EDLs, you name it... The only thing that really worked without constant errors was the EDL thing, but slowed down the workflow so much, the Smoke ended up becoming a bastard stepchild with no work... Pissing off the owner of the company in the process. We got guys (And girls) from Autodesk (Discreet) to come down from Santa Monica to San Diego in the hopes they could help us make all of the hardware talk to each other... It never truly worked. We were told we needed to buy a separate computer from Autodesk to act as an intermediate file transfer system... At a cost of $15,000. The CEO then started shaking and turned all shades of red and purple. As it is, that Smoke system is still sitting there with little to no work.
It's not that the Smoke (Or any other Discreet/Autodesk hardware) system is a bad system... On the contrary, it is a top of the line editing/finishing system. The problem is, really, all of the other hardware/software companies. Most of that gear is designed with a penny-pinching end user in mind, professionally speaking. The price tags alone reflect that. Internally, the Autodesk hardware uses an entirely different method of data throughput than do the other systems. It is uncompressed, and hasn't changed much since the mid to late 90s or so... There has been no need... The advancements in technology these days have mostly been with compression technology and faster hardware... Two issues that are meaningless to Smoke, for the most part. The XML issue has been kicked around for a couple of years, and MAN OH MAN did I wish it would work.. Flawlessly... But, it's just not there yet.
Bottom line is, if all you can afford is a Smoke editor, then you've got to pretty much start and finish your project on it... Or else, have a dedicated array of hardware specifically put in place that allows for a better cross platform transfer and throughput of data. But, it'll cost you... I had much better luck transferring files between an Avid Adrenaline HD and the FCP than the Autodesk transfer, mostly because although they were different platforms, they understood each others' compression technologies. I know Final Cut makes a finishing system, I played with it a bit, I thought the hardware interface option you can buy as an add-on worked pretty well, but I only played with it for 1/2 hour or so...

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