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mdsteves

Video editing software/rants/praises etc.

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Reason for thread: I don't want to make you people on the Adobe thread mad since I am not an Adobe user.

I just want to say that I feel the pain of all the folks here who have experienced editing hell. The anxiety of system crashes absolutely interfere with the artistic experience. Of course there are exceptions. System crashes could in theory contribute to someone's muse. I pity the person who needs that kind of inspiration.

Fortunately there is hope. Editing computers don't have to crash.

Unfortunately the answers for a stable system are not necessarily on the side of either hardware or software though it seems like a lot of you have hardware issues. Especially you Mike H with your unusable RAM slots. That could be a bios RAM timing setting. Having only 256 megs of RAM though does contribute to a painful experience.

Unfortunately for Adobe users, Premiere is famous for being unstable, though they have improved it greatly with its latest incarnation, mainly because it has rewritten code.

Having said that I will say that it is also possible to do amazingly artistic things with Premiere. No matter what they say, Premier is not a toy.

The main reason I mention the stability issue is because most of us would rather be creating than staring at the "blue screen of death" or its approximation.

Half of the films that comes out of Hollywood(minus SFX stuff) could be cut on Premiere. The main difference is speed and the "Hollywood Polish" that requires money. The super expensive avids are expensive because they are designed for speeding up the task of implementing creativity. They're also expensive because they say AVID on them.

So mainly the issue is the software and what you can actually do with it. I'm assuming that most of us aren't interested in used-car commercials so seeing page turns and spinning globes in real time isn't a priority. However, we probably want dissolves and some level of compositing.

The following are the low/no budget options for editing. Most of us are probably familiar with at least one or two of them.

Adobe Premiere:

Version 7/Premiere Pro is a greatly improved piece of software. With real time previews(note: this does not mean you don't have to render(unless you have a RT card) but you can be creative on the fly and see the approximation of the results immediately. It's audio features are greatly improved though for audio there is a better option. This latest version is PC only.

If any are interested in Panasonic's AG-DVX100 24p editing, this does not currently support native 24p editing.

NOTE: all 24p footage on that camera can be edited on any system, though it won't necessarily have "native 24p" capability.

Final Cut Pro 3/4

This is a great program and for MAC users is the only real option(outside Avid). In my opinion it's the main reason to get a MAC if you have to. The initial release wasn't as stable as version 3, probably because they added so many new features without enough time to test. I'm not sure how that issue currently stands.

Version 4 does support native 24p

Someone asked what the advantages of Final Cut were over the other mainly PC editing incarnations. To the best of my knowledge if you are staying in dv their is no quality difference. If you are doing anything beyond dv(i.e. SD uncompressed/HD etc.) then Final Cut has more I/O options.

Sony Vegas(Formerly owned by Sonic Foundry of Sound Forge fame)

This is what I use. This thing is as solid as a rock. I use it at home and at work. I think I can get to crash every couple of months. And that's with Win XP professional. Of course I'm paranoid about crashes from my Premiere days so I'm always pressing the save button.

For dv this thing is as capable as Premiere or Final Cut. IMO it's also one of the easiest programs to use that I've ever run across. And it has real time previews. Adobe sort of played catch up on that issue.

It can also edit native 24p footage.

On the audio side of things it probably has the best audio features of any editing package in this field. It virtually eliminates the need for a separate audio editing program.

One word of warning. Its interface IS different than most others. This might be a turn-off but the rewards are well worth it.

Pinnacle Edition/Liquid"

Main thing going for it: Background rendering. I have friends who use it but it's more of a "I sold my soul to Pinnacle" kind of relationship.

I don't have more info but when I get more I'll add to this.

Avid DV Express:

The defacto in Hollywood: At least the interface is. To put it simply you don't need this program unless you want to work in Hollywood or just really love it for some reason. If you do then once you learn this interface it will be easy to move up.

What you are paying for is the name brand. For dv the other editing systems can doing anything this can do.

BTW. This also has native 24p capability.

Summary:

I hope this is a decent intro for people less familiar with this stuff. I suppose you could cut a feature on IMovie or Movie Shaker??!! and Windows Movie Maker??!! but I wouldn't recommend it.

These are considered prosumer which isn't entirely "professional" I guess. But you could make something that gets into Sundance on one of these systems. "They" will just try to convince you that you can't.

Lastly I want to say that these are just tools. If your computer crashes every minute and it takes two minutes to reboot and it takes you 5 years to finish the movie, you've still finished it. That really sounds depressing though.

Also if you're wondering about my obsession with native 24p it's because I recently got "that" camera and I'm infatuated with the way it makes my door look. That was a joke.

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Now that was a mouth full.

I was not, primarily, an Adobe user until about 6 months ago when I installed Premiere 6.0 to learn the program a bit better (had v5.0 previously) due to a potential opportunity. Until that time I was using Vegas Video, so I am glad to see another not only using Vegas but also recommending it. I would also be inclined to recommend Vegas over Adobe and Final Cut. It is definitely more intuitive and end-user friendly. The interface is quickly understandable and the layout more convenient. I have been using Sonic Foundry audio and video software for years and stand behind it, even though they sold the video portion to Sony. Side note: their customer service has been excellent which makes the purchase even more of a value.

There are definitely some differences between Adobe and Vegas both having pros and cons. For instance, Adobe does have more advanced, flexible effects (transparency, alpha channels, etc) but Vegas is a much better tool for navigating to these similar features. Vegas does allow for a preview without rendering it first. I do understand that Adobe Premiere 6.5 added a similar feature. No matter, I am still a Vegas supporter over Adobe. I like Vegas and find myself closing Adobe and going back to work in Vegas.

The audio should definitely be noted in this program. Sonic Foundry had a separate audio program used for multi-track recording (similar to Cubase, ProTools, Sonar, Nuendo, etc) called Vegas Audio. I believe they have condensed this program into Vegas Video but they may still sell it separately, never the less, all of the audio options are available in Vegas Video and it works more like an audio program. I do not use Vegas Audio for audio production as I am very drawn to another program that I not only like better but have money and time invested in it.

Vegas BABY!!


...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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PS - It is a difficult task trying to convince someone that there are other programs out there other than Adobe PRemiere and FCP. OR that there is some thing other than a MAC to create on.


...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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I really enjoyed reading this thread. I'm using FCP 3 and am sold on it... but I am tired of people who claim that the Mac platform is sent from heaven.

I'm also convinced that people need to get out there and make films with what ever software they have, regardless of the functionality. Software is often like an animal in much need of attention. The danger is that you spend all your time tweaking your software and no time creating good films.

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In the adobe premiere thread someone asked if anyone uses Avid. Since the reply seems to fit better in this thread, I figured I would post here.

At work I use one of three Avid systems. One is Avid DVXpress which mdsteves mentioned above. I would agree with him that it is overpriced and you don't really get as much bang for the buck. It will do everything that FCP and premiere does, but not much more. The color correction features are on par with FCP (which is what sets FCP above premiere and other $500 ish programs) but we've had a lot of problems with stability and communication with our miniDV deck (I believe that our dealer sold us a deck that wasn't Avid approved - grrrr.) But, since our other two systems are Avids as well, it made sense for us to go with DV Xpress. The other systems are based on Media Composer and are sweet sweet sweet. They are an absolute pleasure to edit on. Our newest system - called Avid Adrenaline can do 5-8 channels of video superimposed on one another without rendering at all. It makes life pleasant and enjoyable. It also will take video in uncompressed, which, since we use Beta a decent amount (an analog format) means a rather nice picture.

But with all the money we have loaded into these machines, they still crash and they still get testy at times. I have not had any experience editting on FCP (I started on premiere and find it fine to work with) but the general experience of working on a mac is, to me, more pleasant than a windows based machine. I feel like the mac treats me like ahuman, where as the windows tells me "Error 37 :: 1" - and some engineer is chuckling in his sleep (and these are nice computer systems built to do video editing.) But alas, if someone else was not paying for the software, I would probably do a lot of work on Premiere.

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That could be a bios RAM timing setting.

Could you tell me more about this?

I'm spending this week reshuffling my IRQ slots in hopes of getting my machine to capture again, and while I've been in the BIOS I did notice something about RAM timing. If it's not heinously complicated, can you give me some tips on how such a thing might be adjusted to better accomodate my memory sticks (if that is indeed the problem)?

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I do not use Vegas Audio for audio production as I am very drawn to another program that I not only like better but have money and time invested in it.

And just what is that other program that you are drawn to? Name! I need a name! (besides my own.)

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Hi Mike,

About the RAM timing.

Basically what I'm referring to is the CAS timing. RAM is usually rated a certain CAS(i.e. 2.5, 3 etc.). If you have a setting for that it might be set wrong. It could also be a megahertz issue. I'm not sure what system you're running but the old EDO RAM was generally rated 66 megahertz and then it went up to PC100 etc. Now the RAM is generally RAMBUS or DDR. You're system sounds like it's older though correct me if I'm wrong.

The main thing to do is check if you can set the CAS timing. It might say what it is on the RAM sticks. If it doesn't just try the settings and see if they increase/decrease stability. If you have different RAM sticks with different timings that might be an issue also, I've never really tried it.

Also you might check and see if the bus speed is set properly for the ram. The clock multipler times the bus speed generally gives you the overall cpu speed in megahertz.

Lastly you might check to see if there is a turbo setting in the bios. If there is you might try turning it off. If it's off or it doesn't have one then that's obviously not the problem.

As another resort you might try reinstalling the OS.

If none of this works get back to me.

And how much harddrive space do you have free?

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I do not use Vegas Audio for audio production as I am very drawn to another program that I not only like better but have money and time invested in it.

And just what is that other program that you are drawn to? Name! I need a name! (besides my own.)

I am hesitant to promote this company because their customer service is horrible. Keeping that in mind, I use a program called SONAR, which has evolved from another program called ProAudio by Cakewalk.


...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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mdsteves:

Thanks for the tips. I looked thru my BIOS and didn't really find much that seemed to match up with what you are talking about. There is a setting for "SDRAM Timing Configuration," which is set to AUTO, and I'm glad it is because I wouldn't know how to set anything manually. I couldn't make much connection from numbers on the sticks to numbers in the BIOS. There's also a "CAS Latency" that has been set automatically to "3 cycles". No idea.

The main issue at the moment is the inability to capture. After some investigation and experimentation, I'm pretty confident the problem is not IRQ conflict, or software or hardware problems. I'm thinking there's a wrong setting somewhere, but I haven't yet tracked it down. I've been trying to get some answers at the Pinnacle Forum . The situation is rather frustrating, as I was capturing video okay some months ago. At some point, however, because of other problems (which I now blame on the lack of RAM), I reformatted & reinstalled, and now can't figure out what I'm doing different. But I'm re-reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair, substituting computers for motorcycles as I read, and striving after zen-like equanimity.

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The main issue at the moment is the inability to capture. After some investigation and experimentation, I'm pretty confident the problem is not IRQ conflict, or software or hardware problems. I'm thinking there's a wrong setting somewhere, but I haven't yet tracked it down. I've been trying to get some answers at the Pinnacle Forum . The situation is rather frustrating, as I was capturing video okay some months ago. At some point, however, because of other problems (which I now blame on the lack of RAM), I reformatted & reinstalled, and now can't figure out what I'm doing different. But I'm re-reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair, substituting computers for motorcycles as I read, and striving after zen-like equanimity.

I think that substituting computers for motorcycles will work. I learned to drive in a similar way. I read a book on helicopters and simply substituted automobile for helicopter. biggrin.gif

Are you receiving any errors when you try to capture? What did you reformat and install? Did you change OS? Did you add new hardware/software? So many variables.


...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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