The Software Suite

digitalfilms by Oliver Peters

The power of modern desktop editing solutions is often in the aggregate of the parts and not just the core editing application. Apple Final Cut Studio and Adobe CS5 Production Premium (or Master Collection) are certainly recognized as software suites, but this is also true of Avid Media Composer, especially when you add the Production Studio bundle of third party software. Dedicated, all-in-one editing/compositing tools are primarily the domain of more expensive tools, like Avid DS, Autodesk Smoke and Quantel eQ/iQ/Pablo.

When you dissect the three main desktop bundles, you find tools for editing, color grading, visual effects, motion graphics, encoding, DVD authoring and sound mixing. These break out in this fashion:

Avid – Media Composer (editing, color grading, sound mixing with RTAS plug-ins)

  • Avid FX and Boris BCC plug-ins (effects and compositing)
  • Marquee (motion graphics)
  • Sorenson Squeeze (encoding)
  • Avid DVD (Blu-ray, NTSC and PAL DVD authoring)
  • Extra: Avid “helper” applications, like EDL Manager, Film Scribe, MetaSync, etc.
  • Optional: ScriptSync and PhraseFind

Apple – Final Cut Pro (editing)

  • Color (color correction and grading)
  • Motion (effects and compositing/motion graphics)
  • Compressor (encoding and blu-ray authoring)
  • DVD Studio Pro (NTSC and PAL DVD authoring / HD-DVD authoring)
  • Soundtrack Pro (sound design, audio editing and mixing)
  • Extra: Cinema Tools, media content

Adobe – Premiere Pro (editing)

  • Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse (color correction and grading)
  • After Effects (effects and compositing/motion graphics)
  • Adobe Media Encoder (encoding)
  • Encore (Blu-ray, NTSC and PAL DVD authoring)
  • Soundbooth (sound design, audio editing and mixing)
  • Extra: Bridge, Dynamic Link, Device Central, Mocha tracker for AE, media content

I’m not going to argue the relative merits of one tool versus another. Suffice it to say that there are plenty of ways to complete a given job with great results using any of these toolkits. What’s more important is how well the collection works. How are the tools integrated and why does a manufacturer go down this route in the first place? read more...

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