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Re: Smoke: A Journey and a Look Ahead

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Adam Corey
Re: Smoke: A Journey and a Look Ahead
on Jun 8, 2012 at 4:58:10 am

I worked on DS starting at version 1.0 (yes prior to microsoft and avid). A few years later I worked at a facility that had 6 DS Systems. A comparison of Smoke and DS is certainly fair, they're the only two systems that offer similar tool sets without having to round trip to other applications. After nearly 10 years of working on DS, here's why I chose Smoke on Mac over DS when opening my facility a couple of years ago, despite never having used smoke in a session and having had over 10 year of DS experience.

Editing Interface: DS is comfortable for any Avid/Symphony/FCP or anything but Media 100 user. The Smoke editing interface can seem intimidating or confusing to a someone used to a source/record GUI, but once you've used it for awhile it's faster and more intuitive. This is not just my opinion but also that of the 3 other former DS&FCP editors at my shop. So I prefer smoke but I'd say this is more of personal preference, either will edit just fine. Advantage Editor

Compositing: With both the container and tree/node compositing options DS has a leg up. I don't like messy time lines so the timeline compositing in Smoke pre-2013 was annyoning. That being said, the node based connect fx should solve that problem for me. The ability to combine container and node composites give DS the advantage.

3D compositing: Don't even bother to open the bastardized 3D/Marquee DVE in DS. Action is very complex and can seem impossible to learn at times. I've barely scratched the surface but it works and almost makes sense...something I can't say for the 3D DVE in DS which hasn't made any real world improvements since v4.0. Advantage Smoke

Audio: The overwhelming majority of the spots I work on go to an audio engineer for mix and sound design so i don't have any extensive experience or ambition to know compare the audio tools. Advantage N/A

Color Correction: Both systems have nice intermediate CC abilities. I call it intermediate because they are both well above Media Composer, FCP, Adob Prem., Gen Arts and other various plugins. The DS has always had a nice color corrector but after some time with smoke I'll take the color warper over any built or plug in cc tool I've used (I'm not talking about dedicated Color Grading apps like Baselight or Davinci). Advantage Smoke

Total Conform: I've had a as many issues going FCP to Smoke as I've had Media Composer to DS over the years. The biggest issue in my mind is that neither exports an XML file that's usable should you need to regress back to the offiline stage. I'd love to start/revise/finish/revise/mix/revise again/re-mix/finish & finally delivery in the same box/room be it a DS or Smoke. However, the realities of real world project work flow and scheduling often create times when we need to move a project to another room and platform (to accommodate a schedule or freelance editors skill set), it would be great if either or both could export an XML. Advantage Client.

DS was and still is a great tool for a lot of projects, I've always been a big fan of what the product could have been. However, Smoke has the huge advantage over DS, Autodesk is a company that is putting talent, resources and money behind the product. DS has withered on the vine since Avid bought it microsoft over 10 years ago. This is the primary reason we chose Smoke On Mac over the dead street known as DS. Support from corporate gives Smoke the overwhelming adavtage.

Adam Corey
DC Collective
Design - Edit - Create

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