Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Avid versus FCP

Edgar Burcksen, A.C.E.

FCP (Final Cut Pro) has made huge inroads in the prosumer editing world and seemed also to take the "low end" professional editing world by storm and especially the documentary side of it. A lot of my colleagues bought systems and started working on them enthusiastically. Most of them however have since ditched their system and went back to Avid.

Why? Apart from all kinds of list nightmares assistants had to deal with FCP has one major flaw that many of us have begged Apple to deal with: when you create a select reel in your record monitor and you put it in your source monitor to start editing from (in the old film days this would be called a Kem reel) all your select clips lose their connection with the original clips. There are work arounds or you can saddle up your assistant with reconnecting but it puts a big damper on the work and creative flow. Apple's latest version FCP 5 still hasn't fixed this flaw either.

Having to cut on FCP is a deal breaker for me. A lot of documentaries these days are shot digitally on a plethora of cheaper formats and filmmakers who have dabbled with editing at home think that FCP is pretty awesome and hence assume that we as editors have the same notion. FCP might work okay when you deliver your final product from the machine itself but when you have to go through the multiple levels of post in the professional world it doesn't deliver.

The project I'm currently working on a mockumentary provisionally called American Shopper was completely digitized and ready to go on FCP when I was approached to do the editing. I liked the director and producer and I loved the project even though the money was not plentiful. However when I heard that they had planned to do the editing on FCP I told them plainly that they would have to find someone else to do the editing. Luckily they had set their mind on getting me and we came to a compromise. I edit on the Avid and I use the FCP system for viewing the dailies (180 hours!) and make select reels. My assistant digitizes my selects in the Avid and I can do my work as I'm used to.

The one positive thing FCP has done that made a big difference in postproduction is that it finally put some competition in the marketplace. Avids have come down dramatically in price and Avid also has finally come down to the prosumer market with its Avid Express line of products. For my money I would choose an Avid Express over FCP anytime.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Chi-Ho Lee said...

" FCP has one major flaw that many of us have begged Apple to deal with: when you create a select reel in your record monitor and you put it in your source monitor to start editing from (in the old film days this would be called a Kem reel) all your select clips lose their connection with the original clips. There are work arounds or you can saddle up your assistant with reconnecting but it puts a big damper on the work and creative flow. Apple's latest version FCP 5 still hasn't fixed this flaw either."

With all due respect to Mr. Burcksen, A.C.E., this is not a flaw. It is simply a different philosophy. But let me give him a piece of free solution, the type of edit he is looking to perform is called "Overwrite Sequence Content" and the keyboard shortcut is CMD-F10. And of course, he can remap this to whatever new keys he like. And as for one correction, this shortcut has indeed been implemented for FCP 5.

Mr. Burcksen, If your assistant did not know this feature, then I would suggest you hired me as your FCP assistant for your next film.

I'm a FCP trainer as well as an Avid editor for broadcast docs. You may reach me at chiho at chiholee dot com.

If hope someone sees this comment and sends it out to all the Avid editors that had this exact problem.

1:04 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home