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M100 versus FCP

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olof ekberghM100 versus FCP
by on Sep 26, 2009 at 1:13:15 pm

I just posted this on a few boards:

"OK so maybe that is inflammatory. But this is driving me nuts.

I have been using FCP since v1. But I never really tried to do a long form. Because I also use M100.

M100 ever since the late 90's has been able to play titles real time with drop shadows, no rendering for recording to tape. And do CC full res no rendering.

I currently have 3 suites with M100 (latest Suite) and latest FCP (09 Suite). With AJA HDe and Matrox MX02.

The M100 will play realtime full res up to 4 layers of video tracks 1080 (I mean multi graphics tracks with drop shadows varying opacities and video tracks with varying opacities) with no rendering. Also lots of transitions play full res no rendering. This is on the same systems with 600MB/s RAIDS.

FCP needs to render even a cross dissolve to play full res. Also M100 CC is full res playback with no rendering.

Why is FCP so bad at this?

For the first time I am doing a 1 hr program in FCP, just to see how it would do. And I now really regret it. I am forever rendering. In M100 I would just work, and see everything play full res all the time.

Also the audio in FCP is really awkward, having to jump into STP all the time. M100 does it right in the timeline (compression, eq, reverb etc with presets you can make and just click on.

I really do like Color, but I can do XML round trip from M100 to Color just like in FCP.

Basically I believe M100 is about 3-5 times as fast to work in, at least the way I work.

I would appreciate any comments."

Olof Ekbergh

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Fermin BrangerRe: M100 versus FCP
by on Sep 26, 2009 at 7:29:29 pm

I totally agree with you. I've been editing with M100 since the begining and with FC since 5 years ago. I've edited some long features in M100 and a couple in FC (it was when M100 doesn't supported XDCAM nor HDV), and I feel so much comfortable and faster with my M100 (I also have HDe, MXO2).
I feel that FC is like to use a swiss-army knife with spoon and fork to cook and eat. You can do the work, because you have all you suppose to need, but it will be so annoying...

Now I'm editing another feature project in my M100 suite, but this time after use my small & lightweight M100 Suite MXO2 unit in the set, recording HD "live" signal from the camera. It is so good and quickly that I'm so sad thinking that I'll need to edit my next project (January) in FC7 again, because M100 doesn't support AVC-INTRA codec from Panasonic yet.

I know how hard have worked all the M100/Boris team to take this wonderfull tool to the place that it has reached again, but I hope that they could do something about AVC-Intra support to take advantage of all the power that I feel every time that I sit in front of the controls of my M100 Suite.

Fermin Branger
Caracas, Venezuela.

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Floh PetersRe: M100 versus FCP
by on Sep 27, 2009 at 11:16:16 am

I agree. We have to use FCP for some projects also, and it definitely has some nice features. But alone the loading times for larger projects is crazy, and the fact that timelines only "live" in projects and are not saved as individual files. With the work we are doing (usually with huge amounts of source material) we always reach a size where we can only have a single FCP project open. If we try to open a second one the app crashes; but since we eventually have to bring together different timelines from different projects this always is a huge pain.

Plus, the fact that it most of the time is extremely difficult to play out a complex FCP timeline to tape (missing audio tracks or missing audio keyframes during Master to Tape, problems when rendering audio clips, problems doing an insert or assemble edit frame accurate without audio or video glitches) really makes FCP a pain when trying to do long form projects or projects that extend over a long period of time compared to Media 100.

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Fermin BrangerRe: M100 versus FCP ...Some Dreams, questions & reflexions
by on Sep 27, 2009 at 8:42:55 pm

I remember, somewhere in the past, when M100 released the audio effects option, they said that (in the future) there will be more audio fx capabilities or plug-ins to perform a deeper and richer sound process. I love the way that M100 let us process our audio files but It would be so great to have noise reductions options. I use to export an XML file to FC and then send files to Soundtrack to do that.
I would like to have some kind of "contrast" option or "amplifier" option for audio waveforms too, because the image of the waveform are so pale gray, that my eyes cry...
It will be so great to have an "select all" channels to "show audio waveform" too.

I dream to have a 1080 23.98p output trough my LHe like FC, instead of psf only (I know that "P formats are rare"), but I always think that "why FC can output P formats and my M100 doesn't, if they are using the same card?"

I've noted that my M100 info window says that I have ProRes 4444 support and It's true because my files are updated when I import them, But I noted too that it is at 8 bit color depth only (?)

I feel that Panasonic will release their new High 4:4:4 Intra (AVC-Intra) codec & recorders next year and I'm so excited because I could acces to the whole power of my new Varicam 3700 in our film productions (log response... wider dynamic range).

I know that it isn't the way that M100/Boris are taking yet, but I'm sure that if M100 takes the first step in this way there will be a lot of digital film producers around the world that will come to see what's happening and why there is so many editors saying that M100 is the best tool to tell their stories, now that there wouldn't be more excuses to say: M100 can't support this nor do that.

Now that there is so many people searching for the "better" camera, the "better" codec, the "better" workflow, etc, etc., the market is in permanent reassessing. Raw support is still so expensive and, in more of the cases, unnecessary. There is so many "marketing" Megapixels hypnoting to the unwary; promises of new cinematic quality that means higher costs to post process that doesn't justifies to work on video. Fortunately there is a lot of people saying too: "Wait a second, let's think again: who are the more trusting systems? ..Why are we spending so much money to give 4K R3D files obtained with a common HD sensor? Why we need to edit reference files if the original files are resized and shifted to get that "Big"size? Why are we paying for Scratch sessions to color correct that files and conform it? Can we down costs without comromising quality?

I think that AVC-Intra, as in the past DV-DVCPRO-DVCPRO50-DVCPROHD, is a very good answer for the next years, Like ProRes codecs. The fact that, in the past, M100 were one of the first systems that supported these codecs allowed us to did more things, with cheaper equipment at very good quality.

We don't need a system with a ton of tools, we need support to do the best thing that we know to do: tell stories with images and sounds to communicate emotions.

M100 is the perfect tool for that.

These times of economic caution and needs for high efficiency at lower costs, call for such kind of decisions.

*once again: excuse my poor english

All the best


Fermin Branger
Caracas, Venezuela.

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Jim WisemanRe: M100 versus FCP ...Some Dreams, questions & reflexions
by on Oct 2, 2009 at 7:28:47 am

I also posted this in the Final Cut forum. Thanks to these threads, I took a look at M100 again.

Well, I've decided to hedge my bets. Media 100 just released their new Media Suite which now runs both in software and with AJA boards. They have a special upgrade offer for $1895 for current M100i owners which includes an AJA Kona LHi card (which also works with FCP 6 and 7). I was really not anxious to upgrade my G5 Quadcore PCIe 2.5Ghz to a Mac Pro for 3k plus to run FCP 7, so I gave them a call. They said download the fully functional trial software, now at 1.02, and try it out, no card needed. This I did, installed, and imported my XDcam EX-1 1920 23.98 mov's converted for a FCP project with XDcam transfer. They converted to ProRes 422HQ faster than realtime on import to M100.

I was able to play two streams of 422HQ in real time with the G5 at full res, apply filters such as levels concurrently. Will test other realtime features when the board arrives next week, although I am sure it will also do concurrent simple titles. The processors were not fully stressed. This was with a single LaCie Firewire 800 HD.

In short, I ordered it today, and plan to run the G5 with the LHi/M100 and also with FCP 6. I will run FCP 7 and my AJA ioHD on my Macbook Pro. Now I can wait another generation for the next upgrade to the Mac Pro's and not be forced to buy a new tower immediately. I had honestly forgotten how much I missed the real time features of the M100 since moving to HD shooting.

There are a lot of features I will certainly use in FCP 7, but for my situation, this promises to be a great solution. BTW, the new M100 Suite supports roundtripping to Color 1.5 via XML, as well as interchange of timelines between applications, as long as the features are supported on both.

Jim Wiseman

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Michael SloweRe: M100 versus FCP ...Some Dreams, questions & reflexions
by on Oct 2, 2009 at 10:38:54 am

Do I sense a real movement now as regards Media 100's place in the post production world? People, previously disenchanted, are looking again and realising just how good Media 100 is. Well done Boris (and Wickham) keep it going and the rewards will surely come. Those of us who never lost faith are vindicated.

Michael Slowe

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Wickham StrubRe: M100 versus FCP ...Some Dreams, questions & reflexions
by on Oct 2, 2009 at 9:39:45 pm

Hey Jim,
Welcome back. Mahalo.

I want to be absolutely sure that everyone reading along understands the two important details enabling Jim to pull this off...

1 - Media 100 Suite can still run on Leopard (Jim's PPC- based Mac can't run Snow Leopard). It's reasonable to assume that there will be a day when we just cannot keep Media 100 running on both operating systems.

2 - Jim's particular PPC Mac is one of very few made with PCIe slots (an absolute requirement for the AJA LHi card.


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