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Because you asked.... More on our Switch to Avid Media Composer 6

COW Blogs : walter biscardi's Blog : Because you asked.... More on our Switch to Avid Media Composer 6
Our short and sweet blog post yesterday about switching to Avid MC6 for our broadcast work touched off a flurry of requests for yet more information on our decision. Folks want to know “what specific features did it have that the others didn’t.” “Can you break it down feature by feature, why you made the switch?” ”You seemed so gung-ho about Adobe early on in your switch.”

Honestly I can’t break it down like that. For almost 6 months now we’ve had one edit suite running MC6 and one running Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 pretty much full time in each room. FCP 7 has been used in both rooms as necessary and I’ve also been cutting with Adobe CS 5.5 primarily on smaller projects. So this has been a real solid test. Three rooms cutting real projects with real clients in the room.

In a situation like this, you don’t compare “feature by feature.” You compare, “how does this work with the client looking over my shoulder?” Is the system efficient, can I do everything from FCP, what is the client experience, does the system service all of my needs?

Real world, client over the shoulder experience, Avid’s strength is the performance of the software in our FCP based infrastructure. What that means is my entire facility was designed to support Final Cut Pro. Mac Pros, AJA Kona video I/O boards, Small Tree Ethernet based shared storage system and a slew of third party hardware and applications. When we dropped Avid Media Composer 6 into that infrastructure with the appropriate AJA Kona drivers, the system didn’t miss a beat. We were truly stunned that Avid’s support of our hardware was that good. Tape capture and mastering are more efficient and more accurate than what we ever had with FCP. Overall performance of the Avid MC6 software on the same exact machine as FCP7 is much faster.

In comparison, Adobe Premiere Pro causes all sorts of playback and audio issues on output to our external monitors. This led to less than desirable client experiences in the edit suite. As long as the client wasn’t in the room, we would leave the external monitor turned off, but even there audio playback issues still plagued the system. See when I first started testing and posting about Adobe Premiere Pro, it was all from my 27″ iMac at home, so there was no external monitoring. At first the output seemed to work pretty well, but then things kept getting wonky and we could not get output to ever work consistently across multiple workstation.

And all of us were disappointed, to say the least, that tape capture / tape mastering is abysmal in Premiere Pro CS 5.5 with tape still being a very large part of our day to day workflow. Yes, the world is going digital, but we have a lot of shooters who still shoot tape and we have thousands of hours of tape on our shelves that get used for documentary and news projects. Lack of audio controls in the Source, track assignments and a lot of other small things created stumbling blocks and inefficiency in the workflow. Our overall feeling is that Adobe has got a lot of advanced features that nobody else has, but the basic core editing experience leaves a lot to be desired and at the end of the day, we’re storytellers and need a solid core editing tool. Yes we are aware that Adobe is most likely going to introduce CS6 soon and with any luck some of these issues will begin to be addressed. Premiere Pro will still play a part in our facility on smaller projects and potentially an independent documentary.

But right now, after so many months of using both systems in our core FCP infrastructure, Avid MC6 just performs so much better. It’s actually a more limited toolset when you consider that we purchase the Adobe Production Premium suite that comes with all the other applications, it seems like a waste to spend that money on just one tool. But it makes you appreciate the tool for what it is. One hell of a very fast storytelling machine. Yes there is frustration because we have to “un-learn” a lot of our FCP mindset and re-think our workflow more with Avid than a transition to Adobe Premiere Pro. But that’s just learning which buttons to press.

So there you go, that’s more of our reasoning on taking Avid MC6 to all of our broadcast work, in a nutshell there’s more of a comfort factor bringing the product onboard for broadcast. This was probably the biggest decision I’ve had to make in my career after almost 12 years of keeping Avid OUT of my facility. But Avid truly did listen to what we told them and opened up the software to a world of possibilities by letting me simply drop it into an existing infrastructure.


Posted by: walter biscardi on Mar 28, 2012 at 12:09:51 pmComments (12) Avid, Adobe

Comments

Re: Because you asked.... More on our Switch to Avid Media Composer 6
by Eric Rocheleau
Are you saying that you since moved your broadcast projects out of MC6 and are now doing them in CS6?

Ever since the launch of FCPX, we've left our stations at status quo.

I have these at OSX 10.5.8

MacPro4,1
Quad-Core Intel Xeon
2.26 GHz
6 GB RAM

I'm not even sure how far I can upgrade OSX to keep my FCP7 operational and I'm not too keen on tossing out my konas.

We are still debating between Avid and CS6.
@Eric Rocheleau
by walter biscardi
Are you saying that you since moved your broadcast projects out of MC6 and are now doing them in CS6?

Yep, we just completed Season Two of "This American Land" for PBS stations (13 x 30) on CS6. Also completing our second documentary project with a third and fourth about to head into Post.

The Science Nation series we cut weekly has also been transitioned into CS6. So we're pretty much a CS6 shop now.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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@walter biscardi
by Eric Rocheleau
In this post from March you seemed pretty happy with the Avid solution. Has something happened to push the scale back towards CS6. I've been looking for a clue in your continuing series, but haven't really found one.

Eric
@Eric Rocheleau
by walter biscardi
http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/a-cautionary-tale-for-the-fcp-switc...

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

Blog Twitter Facebook
Re: Because you asked.... More on our Switch to Avid Media Composer 6
by William Burrus
hey guys.
already have media composer 6, so no arguments there.
want advice as which is best tutorial available.
know about lynda.com and mccauliffe's work on cow.
any other suggestions?
thanks.
@William Burru
by walter biscardi
Actually after this article came out, we more or less dumped Avid due to so many issues. Hence my article a few months ago, "A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher" also here on the Cow. Details the entire situation and what we did to remedy it.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

Blog Twitter Facebook
@walter biscardi
by William Burrus
good luck on the switch.
i only wanted suggestions regarding best media composer 6 tutorial.
i've, obviously, connected with the wrong blog.
at 63, i do that more and more.., not to mention the fact that i'm so twentieth century when it comes this whole field (see: pathetically over his head].
ah, well...
thanks for your reply.
@William Burru
by walter biscardi
i only wanted suggestions regarding best media composer 6 tutorial.

Go to Ripple Training and purchase their series for Avid 6. It's outstanding and reasonably priced.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

Blog Twitter Facebook
@walter biscardi
by William Burrus
thanks walter.
you're a good man.
@walter biscardi
by William Burrus
btw: love the variety of your work -- "chef" is particularly interesting. i've been chief cook and bottle washer for 3 daughters over the last quarter century.., and, love the creativity indemic to food preparation.
doubtless, you're pretty damned good.
best wishes.
Re: Because you asked.... More on our Switch to Avid Media Composer 6
by Rob Grauert
Walter,

Since you're moving to Avid and Adobe, are you considering selling any of your FCS/FCP7 software?

Rob Grauert, Jr.
http://www.robgrauert.com
command-r.tumblr.com
Re: Because you asked.... More on our Switch to Avid Media Composer 6
by Marcus Warren
If a solid editing platform is what you wanted (that works well with FCP-compatible third party gear) you really should have thrown Media 100 Suite into the mix. Based on your comments in this post, it seems a Media 100 trial download is in order. Many of us would love to read your comments about this very underrated but extremely professional NLE.


Professional Video Editor, Producer, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media, a full service video and film production company with about 65% of our work in HDTV. The show you know us best for is "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also create all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.

 




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