Final Cut Pro X: Avid’s greatest marketing success?

It’s official. Today, after 15 years of using NLEs, OneRiver Media officially purchased our first licensed seat of Avid Media Composer. This was actually a long time coming, as we’re constantly in situations where Final Cut Pro 7 has limitations in how we work in the timeline. And don’t get me wrong; we’re not completely jumping ship from Final Cut Pro. We still have several projects that are in Final Cut Pro 7 right now, and may even continue to use Final Cut Pro 7 until we get solid hardware migration working with Media Composer, namely our AJA Kona 3 hardware. We might temporarily use Matrox hardware in the interim and sell the Matrox hardware if and when our beloved Kona 3 cards finally work with Media Composer.

My first viewing of FCPX at this year's NAB in Las Vegas at the FCPUG Supermeet and the excitement that filled the air. Ahhh, those were the days!

With today’s release of Final Cut Pro X and the sheer amount of features it has dropped from its functionality really hit home. Rather than sit and wait, I decided to buy a seat of the $995 cross-grade offers from VideoGuys.com while they’re still available. Who knows how long the discounted supply will last for, or how long the offer will last for, right? I was certain last Friday was the last day to buy it, so I felt compelled to buy a $995 Media Composer seat today while I still had the second chance.

I’m definitely still interested in what Final Cut Pro X has to offer, more so in the future than the now. Right now it’s just too young as a version 1 release. But in a version or two, I can see some cool things being added (and re-introduced from FCP7). And don’t get me wrong, there are some really cool features that FCPX has now that I wish FCP7 and Media Composer had, namely the magnetic timeline.

It’s been a fun journey though, all the way back from the first release of Final Cut Pro 1 in the late 1990’s. Before Final Cut Pro, we had a Media100 system, which I was able to sort of hack the hardware into the Final Cut Pro 1 software, which made for some fun. Final Cut Pro was a huge step forward for us at the time, and continued to be. I admittedly had strong animosity towards Avid back in those days. I still think they’re a bit of a pompous company, if ya ask me, but at this point, I feel joining the dark side of Media Composer may end up being the best thing for us at this juncture. I know at the very least it wont hurt us in trying, and if it meets or exceeds our expectations, then all the better.

I know Final Cut Pro X will continue to be a powerful and useful tool for many people, and possibly even us, but for now, we’re going to switch gears a bit, and Avid Media Composer is going to be the vehicle that takes us there.

Edit: Follow up blog post here: Is the trust for Apple gone for good?

13 Comments

  1. Tracey Frohn's Gravatar Tracey Frohn
    June 24, 2011    

    Is there a particular reason you wouldn’t go to Premiere Pro as opposed to Media Composer? Those of us looking to stay in a Pro environment would be interested in your input. Thank you.

    • June 24, 2011    

      Premiere Pro is an excellent choice to get out of the FCPX debacle. My longtime friend and colleague, Walter Biscardi of Biscardi Creative is switching his entire facility from FCP to PPro for all his edit suites which can utilize his AJA Kona 3 cards right now.

      For me, I’m going to try with one seat of Avid Media Composer first and see how it works out. It’s actually something I’ve been considering for some time now, but have been reluctant due to the lack of AJA Kona 3 support. We may try a Matrox or AJA iO Express box as an interim for the Kona 3 (surely not a replacement by any means, but it at least gets our feet wet) if or when Avid will support Kona 3. I do like the media management of Avid. I like the interface. I like that it can support extremely large and complex edits with no problem or sluggishness. I like that an Avid editor can come in and get cracking.

      But if in the end Avid doesn’t support the Kona 3, we may do one of two things; invest in Avid hardware (Nitris) or switch over to Premiere Pro after all. If it proves too costly for Avid hardware, then we will do the latter. But hopefully Avid wises up and we can start using our Kona 3 hardware sooner than never.

    • June 28, 2011    

      May I chip in with the advantages of Avid for me over Premiere? BTW I use After Effects daily, have over $5000 worth of filters in AE format and already own the Master Collection – so if they were equal I’d choose Premiere!
      - DNxHD (native editing is nice, but I still want a ProRes-like codec to render to for some things!)
      - Fantastic trim tool
      - Avid Transport is a lovely job/shuttle wheel and works great with Avid
      - Mix & match resolutions & frame rates easily
      - Multiple users can work in a project at the same time
      - Feels slightly faster
      - Time remap with optical flow
      - Superbin works for me
      - Offline / online workflow works well when I want it
      - Keeps track of my media
      - Integration with Pro Tools
      - Better audio effects (and can use Pro Tools plugins)

      Gotchas for Premiere:
      - previous versions from 6.0 -> CS5 have always crashed often for me
      - After Effects integration is glitchy
      - GPU accelerated Mercury Engine slows down with video output

      Let me know if I missed anything!

      Bruce Allen

  2. Tracey Frohn's Gravatar Tracey Frohn
    June 24, 2011    

    Thanks for the quick response. Very helpful. My I/O is Kona 3 as well.

    • June 25, 2011    

      Glad to help. Forgot to mention too that another reason going to Avid Media Composer is for our ProTools HD recording studio. Figuring that since both companies are Avid based, it should make for the most seamless integration between our edit suites and the audio control room.

  3. Joe Kelly's Gravatar Joe Kelly
    June 27, 2011    

    I think you are wise to try AVID and I agree AVID was and still may be an arrogant company. Just like the release of Final Cut Pro X Apple did the same thing with Logic Pro Audio when they released version 8 making it more like garage band. This is not what I want, since I have to use this software for my full-time job. It is not my hobby, it is my profession. So if Apple wants to continue to use the word “Pro” in their product names, as in professional, they need to seek advice from the “Pro’s”. I still use a mac for audio, however I use Avid’s Pro Tools software. I my opinion that is the good news here, Avid has a real opportunity to gain market share. I hope Avid stays focused on the Apple hardware, it is a great match. AVID’s move to allow non-avid hardware to work with with Pro Tools 9 and the new Media composer is brilliant! I hope Avid is able to profit from this and Apple can sell the computers.

    • June 27, 2011    

      Thanks for posting, Joe. I agree with all your comments. And it’s not like Avid doesn’t have competition, since Adobe is now their biggest competitor. Would be in Avid’s best interest to keep opening things up. Really need that AJA Kona 3 working with it!

  4. Jeff Bernstein's Gravatar Jeff Bernstein
    June 28, 2011    

    FWIW: AJA new 9.0.1 drivers along with their Adobe Plug-In 9.0.1 release fixes the issues with the Mercury Engine.

    The main concerns I have for Premiere Pro and in general are…

    • Is it a good enough offline editor?
    • Is there enough media management?
    • What is its future, in that, how focused is Adobe on Premiere when tons of features the user base has been asking for, let’s say in After Effects, has not materialized in a timely fashion?
    • Why is it that companies that make editing software have problems with the C-word… commitment? Remember, Adobe let Premiere die on the vine once before. It wasn’t until Avid got brand new upper management that the company refocused resources into Media Composer.

    Just sayin’.

  5. June 28, 2011    

    These are indeed very interesting times but at the end of the day its just pushing pictures round on a timeline.

    I have cut with razor blades, flown a £1 million pound digital tape suite but can now cut HD on my laptop.

    Up until this FCPX disaster (and I was ready to buy it) I didn’t realise how much of a foothold FCP had in the States. Although I can cut on FCP, in the broadcast world in England we are so AVID heavy and I just don’t understand the animosity towards it.

    MC has been slow to develope in the past but then again the last 5 years have seen massive changes in how we all do our jobs. We have gone from standardised workflows to a new camera format seemingly appearing every week.

    The killer feature of AVID is its multi user workflow and integration into a Pro-tools based workflow. Although Interplay is the crappest thing I have ever seen and avoid at all costs!!!

    On Thursday, as I often do, I will be on-lining a well watched ITV show which we sometimes only complete minutes before TX. I would never trust FCP for that but know that AVID with its rock solid print to tape functions and ISIS allowing me to switch edit stations in an instant give me the piece of mind I need to do my job.

    I love my Macbook Pro but I have absolutely no faith in Apple to support me and take me forward with them on their journey.

    Sad really.

    Here’s guessing AVID 6 will be 64bit, truly hyperthreaded and will support those Kona cards?

    Ian

  6. Robert Brown's Gravatar Robert Brown
    June 29, 2011    

    Did anyone mention here that it would be great if Avid worked with Kona 3? Has anyone heard the slightest rumor if this might be in the works?

  7. June 30, 2011    

    I’m a Graphic and Web Designer, and have gotten used to being marginalized by Apple for years now. I do have to do the ocassional video project for clients, So have been following the FCP X issue with some interest.

    But from the looks of things, Apple will not even wave good bye if folks like you bail. But it looks like it’s been a good week for Avid and Adobe.

    What ever you may think of FCP X, Apple without a doubt mishandled this release. And considering how they handled the OS 9 to X and Power PC to Intel transitions, we all KNOW they could have done better. They may be giving an awesome tool to the masses, hobbyists, amateurs, indie studios, but it was a resounding Brooklyn Cheer to the Pros who put FC on the map, especially with yanking FCP7 and FCS.

    And here’s something, many Edit Pros already have some flavor of Adobe CS – Production Premium, Master Collection, what-have-you, which they got to get Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, After Effects… etc.

    … so a good bunch of them already have Premire Pro installed on their machines. The purple “Pr” box just sitting there on the dock, a click away. Waiting.

  8. Uddin's Gravatar Uddin
    October 3, 2011    

    I have just cross graded to mc it looks cool and solid.I am still using fcp 7 for my existing projects. I also used pp and it was horrible. I have edited a few long projects with avchd footage and it gave some mental depressions. I don’t like the way it conforms audio,it takes too long to open a long project and it crashes quite a lot with long projects. Having said all that there are other things like photo shop, after effects and encore are very good. It’s basically the p pro not very trust worthy for professionals.

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