Premiere Pro pain — necessary or not?

No one likes unnecessary pain.

It must’ve seemed like unnecessary pain to many editors, having to learn a new piece of software when the old one works just fine. And no, I’m not talking about Final Cut Pro X (yet), but Final Cut Pro 7. Years ago, I saw a lot of hostility towards it from Avid guys, and I always thought that, frankly, they were just too lazy to learn a new bit of software.

That sentiment, though, has come back to haunt me as I’m being forced into the world of Adobe’s Premiere Pro for the first time. In my one day’s work with it, it hasn’t impressed me, but is that its problem or mine?

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Breaking News: Final Cut Pro 7 is still dead!

Gotta say, I agree with this post regarding Final Cut Pro 7. I just finished a job with it and, sadly, it wasn’t up to the task.

Admittedly, I’d over-estimated it, recommending against transcoding footage from a C300 (which poor old FCP7 insists is XDCAM HD422) when the client indicated that storage space was limited. I know we could’ve transcoded to proxies, but the initial tests with a few clips showed no performance hit and I figured it would preclude pernickety re-linking come Online Time. However, when trying to deal with an hour-long timeline and gazillions of clips, FCP7 continually freaked out.

And I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s not just dead, it’s bean dead for nearly two years (if you count from the FCPX announcement rather than the release). That’s a long time not to have replaced it. Sure, you can say it works as well as it ever did, but we’re not using the media we always did. We’re hiring the latest cameras, using the latest codecs, so, in real terms, Final Cut Pro 7 does not work as well as it always did.

There’s also the dead bug problem. All software has bugs, but I’ve always been able to live with them because you knew that somewhere, someone was working to fix them. There were enough examples of updates that addressed that specific bug that you’d been ranting about, and it was like letting out a piss that had been getting painful.

The instant Final Cut Pro X was announced, though, you knew that no one was lifting a finger for version 7. It would crash and you’d get the standard ‘Final Cut Pro quit unexpectedly. Do you want to send a report to Apple?’ and it seemed like a joke. Did these reports now go in a killfile? Maybe the best ones got read out at the Infinite Loop Christmas party. “Quieten down: this one’s a belter. ‘Crashed while dragging keyframes on a .png that was’ — get this! — ‘12,238 by 9,496!’ Ahahahahaha!”

Whatever. They certainly weren’t helping to improve the software. The problem you’re having? You’ll have it forever. That was the thing, for me, that really made Final Cut 7 really feel dead.

And yet I still hear people saying, “I suppose I’d better think about where to go next.” Mr. Ostertag is right though, the day’s getting late for that kind of talk.

For me, Avid’s been a constant throughout my career, so it’s there for the broadcast jobs. When I get the chance I use Final Cut Pro X because it’s already the best way cut shots together, in my opinion, and has the scope to go stratospheric with its new paradigm in the way that the track timelines can only tinker themselves better as far as I can see. I still mean to give Premiere a serious go, though. Hell, I’ve bought it, and a FCPX-shy director I work with is making noises about using it for a feature next year, so I’ll start mucking about as soon as I get a chance.

But I’d be happy to abandon Final Cut Pro 7 forever, frankly. I only relented and installed it on my iMac because the deadline for the job I mentioned at the start was bearing down and I needed to take it home if I was ever to see my wife. I had hoped to keep it just on my old MacbookPro, and only for those times I needed to convert an old project. I didn’t want it on a new machine.

That’s not that I didn’t love it. I did. I loved my father, but I don’t want him exhumed. He’s dead, and so is FCP7. Better face it.

Tip for logging with keywords

My favourite way of logging with keywords is to have ‘No Ratings or Keywords’ selected as the criteria for display in the Event Browser. Then, add a keyword and the clip vanishes. So you always know which clips have yet to be sorted. Ah, but what if you want to add more than one keyword? The clip disappears as soon as you add the first, no? Well…

If the keyword editor is open, the act of committing a keyword (or keywords) to a clip leaves the clip itself in that kind of half-selected limbo where its highlight is grey and not blue. Like it’s selected, but in an inactive window (which, I suppose, is what it is).

[pic of situation]

Here, type all the keywords you want to apply to the next clip (even if there’s a shortcut), select them all and cut them, leaving the field blank. Then click on the next clip and paste the keywords in.

The clip will vanish, but it’ll have all the keywords you wanted associated with it.

Bow to the Audience

My favourite living musician and recording artist is Prince. I’ll allow that if you don’t like him, you probably really don’t like him. That’s because he’s really good. Not a middle of the road, demographic-studying slave to shifting units. He is a businessman of remarkable savvy and boldness—he does know how to shift units—but he doesn’t pander. Ever. He is, truly, an artist.

If there’s one level-headed criticism levelled at him, though, by fans and haters alike, it’s that he can be self-indulgent. He can, and has, had moments where he’s seemed to go in a direction that’s hard to follow{{1}} [[1]]Could be too brilliant, could be too crap.[[1]] and appeared disdainful of anyone not up for it. But you don’t stay vital and successful in the creative arts by being unconcerned with the audience.

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For the love of God, can we kill interlaced?

In my day, my young ’uns, faster frame rates than the usual 23.97, 24, 25 and 29.97 frame rates were only useful if you wanted smooth slow motion. With Peter Jackson boldly using 48 frames per second for The Hobbit, the idea that they could be used as a playback option has a good chance of taking hold. The effect is the smoother motion that TV viewers associate with news shows, talk shows, daytime soaps and certain multi-camera sitcoms. To the editor, that’s known as interlaced, and it’s a pain and a remnant of antiquated broadcast systems. Can we now consign it to the cutting room floor of history?

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Serious Multicam problem in FCPX 10.0.4

Multicam may have been implemented in Final Cut Pro X, version 10.0.3, and improved in 10.0.4, but working on a show that’s destined to be broadcast to License payers, I found it’s led to a new problem that could mean the loss of an awful lot of work. Of course, back-ups were also introduced at some point, but restoring from back-up doesn’t help if the back-up is just as corrupted as the current version.

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Dying formats, emergent workflow

The only problem I’ve encountered with Final Cut Pro X during my first edit for broadcast TV involves anamorphic QuickTimes, but in solving it I found a new friend in my editing life.

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A tape project in Final Cut Pro X

The only major complaint about Final Cut Pro X, now it’s in 10.0.4, left over from the .0 release’s Big Four—no multicam, no broadcast monitoring, no XML, and limited support for tape formats—is the last.{{1}}[[1]]Along with the (slightly) lesser stuff like support for PSDs, etc.[[1]] The first three on that list were certainly deal-breakers as far as my TV work was concerned, but with them now present and (mostly) correct, I felt confident enough to use FCPX for a broadcast project, though it involved a ton of DigiBeta tape to which Final Cut is now profoundly indifferent.

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Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro X logo

So… Final Cut Pro X, eh? Lot of chatter about it. Lot of controversy.

I bought it the day it came out expecting to jump in and find an editing Nirvana. Instead I found something that made my head hurt. I believe this reaction was not unique. Being slightly busy, I resolved to keep an open mind and give it a proper go when I had the time. Turns out that time is now: six months later! Continue reading “Final Cut Pro X”