Horses for courses

digitalfilms by Oliver Peters

Frequent forum discussions among editors involve those arguing the relative merits of one favorite editing tool versus another. The reality is that no one tool is ideal for every task. It’s all about picking the right tool for the job – or as the British call it – “horses for courses”. Whether you cut news, films, shows or spots - handle your own finishing or farm it out – or just want to deal with the least technical tool available – you’ll want to pick the right editing application for you. Often the choice is purely subjective, such as a preference for one operating system or hardware platform over another. Or it’s the system you first used and liked in school.

In this post, I’ve set out to offer some choices based on these needs. I’ll stick to desktop, software-based solutions, which make Autodesk Smoke for Mac OSX and Avid Symphony the top end in our group, based on price. Very capable options, like Quantel or Autodesk on Linux are clearly excluded, simply because of price. On the other hand, if it’s your job to determine solutions for a news operation or DI house, then be sure to check these out. Lastly, I’ve also excluded the wild card NLEs, like Lightworks (open source) or The Foundry’s Storm. These are still in beta and it’s too early to tell what sort of impact they’ll have on the industry at large. Let’s dive in.

Finishing / Online Editing

Avid DS

Autodesk Smoke for Mac OSX

“Finishing” covers the whole range of creating a final master that meets broadcast or digital cinema specs. The ideal system not only produces the highest quality image, but also includes advanced color correction and compositing tools. An increasingly important feature is the ability to be resolution-independent and work in raster sizes that are larger than HD. Both of these systems fulfill that criteria. read more...

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