A Cautionary Tale for the FCP Switcher

Creative COW by Walter Biscardi, Jr.

What follows is a cautionary tale for anyone switching from Final Cut Pro 7 (or earlier) to anything else. If you are looking for an exact replacement for FCP, you'll be sorely disappointed. There is nothing on the market today that is as flexible as that tool was. Multiple NLEs have similar and better ways to do some things, but as someone who has edited on FCP since 2001, I have found absolutely nothing that absolutely positively replaces that tool completely. So you will most likely end up in a similar situation as I have, installing multiple tools and using the right tool for the task at hand. Well, sometimes even picking what you think is the right tool might go awry.

This entire story revolves around a magazine styled show that features reports shot by photographers all over the United States using every camera and format imagineable along with completed stories submitted by stations nationwide.

As I reported previously in my blog, we made the decision to switch from Final Cut Pro 7 to Avid Media Composer 6* for our broadcast projects after extensive testing with both Avid 6 and Adobe Creative Suite 6. In particular, we really wanted that extensive media management Avid is famous for and it was nice to see the AMA linking feature make it a bit quicker on the ingest side. Also, we still do a lot of documentary and broadcast projects that involve tape capture / mastering from professional VTRs and that's one area where the Adobe Creative Suite just falls flat. (*Note: I ended up buying 5 copies of Avid Symphony since it was cheaper with the cross grade offer than Media Composer)

For those who don't know, the AMA linking is Avid's first step into supporting native file based workflows allowing the editor to mix and match files, formats and even frame rates in a timeline. P2, XDCAM and other file based camera formats can essentially be brought into a project, in their native formats, and the editor can start using those files right away. In the past, Avid required the editor to transcode everything to a conformed codec / frame rate / frame size before the editor could start working. We have since discovered that the AMA comes with a price, as you will see. read more...

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