Creative COW by Matthew Lincoln
It is the curse of our trade that tired industry standards seem to set more rules than the actual merits of products. I only ever use Final Cut Pro when clients request it specifically, and that is about 90% of the time even if I attempt to patiently explain that their project will cost less, be turned around more quickly, and arguably be delivered in better quality if I use a different platform. Despite the fact that it is essentially built around an inherently flawed lossy codec which was never a great solution to what is now becoming an obsolete problem, Final Cut is what people know and therefore what they want to use (FCPX claims to be moving away from this structure, but I'm one of the many who are convinced that it hasn't moved too far even if it were fully featured enough to be adopted into pro edit suites). As we enter an age where our raw footage is either so compressed that recompression for an online edit seems like a very silly option, or so beautifully flexible that we shouldn't be binding it with the permanence many budgets and minds associate with a transcode to ProRes, the stage is being set for raw workflows based in metadata.
This is where Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 shines.
Prior to CS3 (and really CS4 and CS5 as far as the arguments in this article are concerned), Premiere was generally not great. It has an understandable marketing hurdle to overcome given the bad reputation it rightfully garnered, but if you haven't looked at it recently, Premiere deserves your attention. It edits almost everything natively. This can save you time on small projects where a transcode constitutes a good deal of a rush schedule, as well as larger projects where many different voices may make re-transcoding necessary. Since raw footage remains intact until your final export, generational loss is also essentially non-existent depending on your delivery format.
Let me make an example of everyone's favorite ugly duckling (now turned beautiful swan by the glory of metadata based workflows): the R3D file. Many editors I speak to are convinced that FCP is the best way to edit RED footage. A little while into each such conversation, I find it is the only way they know of. The solution in their minds is the solution that's been there since the beginning: launch their favorite RED interpretation software, and bake their interpretation of the raw data into a ProRes file to import into Final Cut. read more...