Transitioning: Update on our search to replace FCP

We’re one week into our search to transition our facility away from Apple and Final Cut Pro so I wanted to bring everyone up to date on where we stand so far. This was a very busy week as you can imagine with both production work in the shop and many MANY requests for myself to speak to national media outlets, podcasts and personal visits to our facility. So the testing will really ramp up this coming week.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5

This has been installed both on my home machine (27″ iMac) and our testing Mac Pro at the office which also includes the AJA Kona 3G board. Early testing shows that the workflow is remarkably similar to Final Cut Pro and in fact Adobe even includes preset keyboard remapping for Final Cut Pro 7.0 and Avid Media Composer. The new AJA 9.0.1 Plug-Ins for CS 5.5 are working very nicely and Premiere is talking to our SAN. So it’s essentially plug-and play to get going with the system.

Is it perfect? No and the Adobe reps I’ve been talking to have been very upfront about the good, the bad and ….. well nothing’s ugly so far so that’s a good thing. The most difficult part of the workflow is that Adobe might actually give us TOO many choices and settings.

For example, there is no direct equivalent to “Easy Setup” in Premiere so you do have to through several menus and settings to get your Project set up correctly. However, those Project Settings remain with the Project. So to create an “Easy Setup” you simply create multiple Project Templates with all the settings as you’d like them for various projects. So I create a “720p / 59.94 AJA Project” which has all the settings for a 720p / 59.94 project using the AJA Kona board for Capture and Playback. When I have to do a project using those parameters, I simply Duplicate the project and my entire system is set to work. That’s an elegant workaround and with the multiple workstations in our shop, I can create all the Template projects on one machine and share them with everyone else. By the way this was a great tip given by the book “An Editor’s Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro,” which you can find on various websites and even iTunes for download.

The most refreshing part of testing CS 5.5 is the openness and willingness of the Adobe team to admit that they still have things to be improved and they are listening to what editors have to say. I have heard stories of their development team literally watching the editors work through screen sharing to learn the “why” and “how” editors work in their daily sessions. That’s pretty neat.

Oh one last thing, Adobe Premiere Pro is cross platform so I have purchased one copy of Windows 7 Professional for installation in a new clean drive on our Test Mac Pro system. I want to see how this works out because this will open us up to working with freelancers and shops in town that might be Windows based, thus giving us an even larger pool of shops to work with. Much more testing to be done, but early testing has been great.

Avid Media Composer

Honestly don’t have a lot to report just yet as it is being installed on our testing Mac Pro at the facility. What we have done is to install a clean hard drive inside the machine, which we actually partitioned so we can install a clean copy of Snow Leopard on one side and the Windows 7 on the other side.

I wanted to ensure that we don’t create any issues by having Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5 and Avid MC all installed on the same drive. Most folks I talked to said they always installed FCP and Avid on separate boot drives, so I followed that advice. This way if we have any issues or crashes I don’t have to wonder if anything is being caused by the other apps. So this will be installed by itself on the drive to ensure we are only testing that software, that workflow.

Of immediate concern to me is that there is no support just yet for the AJA Kona Board. Avid did hint at NAB that support is coming and a recent exchange on Twitter states that Avid is listening. So hopefully we will hear something official in the near future. Secondarily, I’m not sure how / if it will work with our Ethernet SAN. That will be even more crucial than the Kona testing. I’ve been told that Avid doesn’t like third party storage that much, so this will be a good test. The guys from Small Tree Communications happen to be coming to our shop next week so if we do have any issues, they are going to be right there to investigate.

I’m excited to be testing this out actually because this brings me full circle back to the very first NLE I learned back in 1993 / 1994 when Avid was introduced to CNN. And from my conversations with Avid at NAB 2011 and subsequent communication since, Avid is truly listening and responding to years of complaints about being a very closed and hard to work with company. As with Adobe, I’ve heard more from Avid reps since April than I ever heard from Apple in 11 years. More to report soon.

Autodesk Smoke 2012

Autodesk was kind enough to send us an evaluation copy of Smoke 2012 which is something I’ve always known about, really like the interface, but have never had the opportunity to put my hands on. It’s not installed anywhere yet as this will be the last software we’ll be testing. It’s a very new software to me to I want to spend time with Avid and Adobe first, then we’ll test Smoke. Not sure it will be the primary editor for us, but it could very well fit into a finishing role for some shows and series.

It does accept interchanges with both Adobe and Avid so I’m most interested in how well handles the myriad of codecs we get and does it like mixed timelines / mixed formats? We’ll find out soon, but I’m really REALLY excited to give this a test drive!

So that’s the basic update for the moment. On a personal note, I have to be very honest and say that the FCP X roll-out has actually made me re-think some of my overall support of Apple in general.

At a recent event (I think it was the WWDC) Apple reps said they’ve heard from many consumers that they would love to tablets to be their primary and sometimes sole computer device. Well how can that be if Apple has decreed that Flash will not be supported by the iOS devices? Sure it’s a “legacy” format and can cause “performance issues” with the tablets, but since Apple says it’s so, they don’t appear on the iOS devices and we simply accept that. With the iPhone, sure I don’t care because that’s primarily a phone, but if the iPad is supposed to be a “primary computer device,” I don’t think so.

I have visited hundreds of sites that incorporate Flash one way or another and it’s incredibly annoying when you can’t use the site, so I have to pull out one of our computers just to use that site. I hate Flash as much as Apple does, but that doesn’t mean I won’t visit a site that uses it. Try planning a cruise on your iPad, for example, and you’ll find that most major sites like use Flash to display their cabin layouts when you go to select a cabin. Sure the world will probably be going HTML 5 soon but how many years away are we from that? In the meantime it would be nice for the iOS devices to support Flash if I as the consumer who bought the product would like to use a Flash enabled site.

With Final Cut Pro X, Apple did the same thing with third party capture cards and tape formats. Because Tape and Capture Cards don’t fit with the “modern workflow” model Apple dropped all support for them natively inside the application. Without that support for tape formats, I cannot make a living in our workflow.

The same apparently applies to “legacy projects” too. As in “You will not be able to open old projects because we say so.” Apparently Final Cut Pro X is only for “Modern Projects” and cannot be sullied by “Old Projects.”

So I gotta say, while I was really looking forward to whenever the iPad 3 comes out, I’m starting to get very annoyed with “You Can’t Do That Because We Say So” and the “You Will Do It Our Way” attitudes from Apple.

That’s not really “Thinking Different,” that’s “Telling You How To Think.”

With Final Cut Pro X, that was Apple “Telling You How To Edit Video.”

Does any of this remind of you of a certain 1984 commercial from an upstart company? Only now that upstart is directing the minions…….

I’m gonna take a close look at that new Galaxy Tab from Samsung and other tablet options out there that don’t close off part of the internet experience just “because they can.” Also going to take a really close look at Windows 7 when it’s installed on that machine because I have some hard-core Mac fans who are telling me “it’s good.”

The debacle of FCP X has caused me to “lift the blinders” that kept me focused solely on Apple and Apple development. There’s a whole new world out there and I am now open to accept the possibilities no matter where that opportunity comes from.


  1. I worked on Windows machines for years (Media Composer and Avid DS). The biggest issue I had with them was security. I always needed web access with the machines and there was constant concern about all the varieties of cyber attack they were vulnerable to. So it was an ongoing dance with security software and making sure your definitions for all the nastys were up to date. It made using the web as a resource a very paranoid experience. I dont miss that whole business at all.

  2. Hi Walter,

    Are you going to take a look at Media 100 as well? Apparently that supports AJA as well. I’m probably heading towards PP, but I thought it would be worth a look.

    • It’s funny because I used Media 100 for six years before I switched to FCP but that does not really have a user base in the Atlanta area. Being an independent shop we need to interface with multiple editors and producers in the area. So we need to make sure we don’t create an island for ourselves by going with a software package that’s not in wide use in the area. Avid is in wide use and most of the current FCP shops I’ve talked to are looking at Premiere.

  3. Walter, if you are testing Smoke as a finishing station you should also consider Avid|DS, especially if you go with Media Composer offline suites. Considering that you do a lot of long form, you may find the workflow a little less frustrating than Smoke. I’ve used the system for about ten years and while it definitely has some issues, I can definitely say it has a great toolset. Lasvideo’s concerns about web security on PC is definitely valid, however, with my DS system, I don’t use it for web access. I have a MacBook Pro which I use to access the Internet and that has kept my system safe and sound for years (knock on wood).

    • If we can’t use Media Composer to finish then we would not be able to install that as our primary editor. Maybe a single suite but. Not across the entire facility. All of our suites finish with the combination of FCP, CS5 and Color with ProTools done in a separate room. When time and budget allows we move the shows through Resolve.

      But primarily the shows start and end in one room. Smoke I’m testing because Autodesk was kind enough to send an evaluation copy. If I find a reason to incorporate it into our workflow then we will do that. If it’s something that just doesn’t quite work, there would be no reason to keep it in the shop

      Thus we test. Folks seem to think we will be able to have an answer in one week but that is not going to happen. Need to take our time.

      • Actually, the DS is pretty good at handling projects from beginning to end (something that Smoke does not do as well). As a pure editor, it may lack a lot of features you like in FCP, but personally I find it to be the most intuitive system I’ve used. Totally unlike Media Composer’s arcane interface where it’s like you have to know a secret handshake to get anything done. It also works great as a finishing system when needed. I’ve conformed projects from Media Composer (through AAF) as well as Final Cut (with Automatic Duck).

        Since it’s a compositor as well as an edit system, it lets you do most of your graphics and effects work without having to round trip to other software. It has a layer based compositing module (similar to AE) as well as a node-based effects module (similar to Color and Resolve). Not as good as Resolve for CC but it does allow you to deal with multiple secondaries, traveling masks, etc, all within one timeline. I find it particularly good when dealing with Agency clients who rarely understand the concept of “locking” the project at any point. In one session, I had five creatives in the room hitting me from all directions — “Make his shirt redder”, “Remove the cracks in the road”, “Paint away the garbage on the lawn”, “Look for a different take of her smile”, “Replace the sky”, on and on — all handled quickly without ever having to leave the timeline.

        One other note–the media handling on DS is quite good. I juggle a lot projects in a day, so I find my media drive filling up pretty quick. I’ve hooked up an esata raid drive for backup and all I do is drag media folders from my DS drive to the backup to clear up room. When I want the media back, I drag it back into the DS media folder and the system instantly re-indexes and voila — media reappears on timeline. No relinking or anything required. If it’s anywhere on the media drive, DS will find it within seconds.

        Anyhow, just something to consider. It’s definitely not a system you’d put in every room — since it’s priced a bit higher than the alternatives — but I could definitely see it touted as the “premiere suite” in a facility like yours.

  4. My thoughts…I have been an editor for going on about 11 years. I have worked all all sorts of systems, MC, M100, Sony Vegas, Premiere and lastly Final Cut Pro.

    I switched to Apple for many reasons in about 2004. Producers in the Boston area I was editing for considered it unprofessional that I was using a self built PC and Sony Vegas for professional editing. Everything I was doing was firewire based DV creation.

    Eventually I switched to Apple and things got simpler and better. My computer didn’t crash as often. I could interface with producers easier. (I was scared of them taking a project I edited home and re-cutting it on their laptops, but, well, they paid me, so…why not?)

    A few laptops and software purchases later, I’ve made my name as an editor in Boston who is known to speak up for how awesome FCP is. Heck, I got a rather large outlet to switch from Media Composer to FCP. Apple had to have made some bank from that, right.

    Apple’s MacPro line got more and more expensive. So I built a Hackintosh. It ran just as great a macpro and was less expensive.

    As of 2 days ago, I wiped the hackintosh side off and reinstalled windows 7. For a windows release, it is the best I have used thus far. I just installed the Adobe Master Collection and off I am to the races. One purchase of macdrive plus, I have access to all my media and previous projects.

    Back in business. FCPX is no more.

    I guarantee that in 2 years you won’t be able to buy a macpro anymore. The world will be lucky to have Imacs. FCPX will be ported onto ipad somehow.

    That is fine. That is not where I work or plan to work. I have been afraid during this whole debacle of now being 30, instead of 20, that I have become an old foggie. People used to tell me, you can’t broadcast that minidv stuff, and I would go shoot a documentary on it and festivals played it. If it was good enough, then whoever wanted to broadcast it would “figure it out” I would say. El Mariachi was made for 7000 dollars. (200,000 afterward to get it distributable)

    So I hope that I am not losing out here. That the 20 year old kids with an iphone will tell a better story, just the same way I kicked tape based editing and steenbecks to the curb when I left filmschool.

    Only time will tell.

    Thanks…Sorry for the diatribe.

  5. I received this very long and very well thought out email primarily in response to my personal comment there at the end of the blog about rethinking my overall relationship with Apple products. Peter graciously gave me permission to reprint it here as I think everyone who reads my blog would benefit from his history with both Mac and Windows. This email is also a great example of what I absolutely LOVE about the internet, blogs and forums. They make the world a little smaller allowing a Geek from Atlanta, Georgia USA and a Geek from Germany to have a simple conversation and dialogue…..

    Hallo Walter,

    I am German, excuse the odd spelling and grammar mistakes you may find, but here are just a few random thoughts and things that sprung my mind after reading various things you have posted in the past two weeks.

    After the bomb that exploded in all our faces when FCP X was released I started following your blog and tweets with much delight.

    I applaud you for not only speaking up, voicing long overdue criticism towards Apple but to also to see your statements are followed by actions. I am very curious and interested in following your experiments with Premiere, Avid etc. in the weeks ahead. Way to go, man!

    I have been using Macs for over 20 years. One of my first machines was a Apple Classic used for desktop publishing. I’ve been with Apple from the very beginning, through the tough times with Mac clones and later on when the momentum for them picked up.

    I have used FCP starting with their very first release (coming from EditDV :-) ). Just like a lot of us, I have converted at least 30 people to buy Macs in the past and have been evangelizing people to switch – and, I, too, have edited a lot with the application in the past 10 years: from corporate stuff to feature films, television; you name it. I had serious doubts about Apple and the direction they are taking since their dropping of Shake and the ever increasing consumer focus with everything they did.

    I don’t really have to say anything about FCP X itself, the shortcomings and the way it was introduced that felt like a slap in the face to many people. You know it all too well. Anyone who takes a step back and looks at this affair with an objective mind sees how ugly and arrogant this went down. I, too, see Apple move away from the professional market in general. In the long term, I see them moving away from the Mac and OSX in general.

    We are a relatively small shop with four Mac workstations and 2 PCs. Our main business these days is DVD and Blu-ray feature film authoring. 70 per cent of the source material comes on tape, either Digibeta or HDCAM-SR.
    I pretty much knew Blu-ray was never coming from Apple, but with the loss of proper DVD authoring and tape based workflows I obviously don’t fit anywhere in Apple’s worldview anymore. Do I feel EOLed, too. Hell no, in fact our business has picked up quite a bit since late last year.

    We are running Windows 7 via bootcamp anyway for Blu-ray authoring and there is nothing bad I can say about the OS at all. Never had any issues with it. On the contrary, a lot of things turned out to be a lot easier for us approaching things via Windows, both on the soft- and hardware side of things.

    Many years ago, when Apple dropped PCI in favor of PCI-X, I lost the ability to use my old SCSI card, my Aurora Igniter card and my Wired Inc MPEG 2 encoder board. We upgraded all of that against pay. Only one or two generations later Apple dropped PCI-X in favour of PCI-E.
    Aurora went out of business (Owner Mike Stroven wrote at that time about Apple’s business practices, a good read for anyone still in doubt about their attitude), Wired dropped the card, we had to buy yet another SCSI card.

    Me and my company went through the whole lot that was changed, eventually abandoned and dropped again and again:
    We had an Xserve raid that was way overpriced and not as good as competing products, graphics card with ADC interface that needed adaptors to connect to other displays, Apple displays with ADC that needed adaptors to connect to Mac Pros a couple of years later when they went all DVI and now the same story again with Mini Display port. Phones that only work with one carrier, music you can only play via itunes or Apple devices, tablets that won’t do Flash, hard drives in iMacs that have special firmware so one has a hard time using anything else, and now a “pro” application that refuses to talk to the rest of the worked via established protocols.

    18 months ago I have started opening the blinds and started looking at other solutions and what I have found was truly fascinating. Both from a consumer point of view and with regards to my business necessities. With regard to Apple TV, I decided to try and build my own little Home Theater PC, one that could play everything. I build that little box from scratch and when I looked at that 80 Dollar consumer mainboard from Gigabyte – 3x PCI-E, 1x PCI, 6xUSB, now also USB3, Esata, FW, 1G Ethernet – I truly felt liberated and free in comparison to what I when I looked at the Apple line-up.
    I can play blu-ray, dvds, mkv, mpeg1,2,4, basically everything without anyone telling me what and how I should consume my media.

    When it came to seriously upgrading our storage in my company we went with a self-built Linux based NAS, 48TB, sharing via 10 GB Ethernet to both Macs and PCs via AFP and SMB and giving us a whopping 700MBs throughput and uncompressed HD on multiple workstations at a price of only 5.000 dollars.

    If it needs to be upgraded. No problem. If we want to go the fibre channel route – no problem. I I want to connect more machines – no problem. And it is rock solid in its performance and stability. Building and then using this box on a daily basis was really an eye opener and gave us great insight in the joy of using software outside the Apple realm.

    Apple and Microsoft still carry a lot of the baggage from their early years – both the good and the bad.

    People still think the Mac is safe and virus free when it is proven by lots of security experts that it is the least secure platform out there, with security holes left unpatched for month. Microsoft struggles with the notion of the blue screen of death and compatibility issues when I never had a single issue with Windows 7 ever. I installed it once, I recognized everything out of the box and it has worked rock solid ever since.
    In fact, I had much bigger issues getting 10 Gig Ethernet cards working properly inside my Mac Pros and without the help of the guys where I bought them from (Small Tree) I would never have succeeded.

    Obviously, the cards for the Mac were almost three times more expensive then the cards for the PC. Not Small Tree’s fault at all- they’re absolutely great and serve a very small market so its justified-but it made me wonder how much money I could have saved over the years by looking at the other side of the fence.

    I look at a friend’s HP Workstation, with 7 PCI-E slots and an old legacy PCI slot thrown in for the sake of it – 1.500 dollars cheaper then the current Mac Pro.
    He can easily go back to an older OS if there is need without any issues; hell, he is able to run Spruce DVD Maestro although it is over 10 years old. We won’t be able to run FCP in three years time.

    What I generally found is: as long as you do things the way Apple wants you to, you are ok and things are smooth. Like a soothing bubble bath with a free brainwash on top of it. But as soon as something requires a different approach or you “misbehave”, on purpose or because a job requires it, you find yourself in a world of pain much worse than anything on the windows side of things (just try opening a couple of 2hour mpeg2 files in Quicktime).

    Actually, we may find that Apple has done us a big favor by pushing us away and dropping their software efforts in our market, certainly in the long run. This also relates to the debate about what is a “pro” and “pro” work. We hardly make serious money with DVD authoring alone anymore. So many people are offering it on the cheap because they got the app for free when they got the FCP package. Apple has devaluated the market big time, cheap software to sell expensive hardware. Like the oil lamp and the oil. We do, however, get a lot of “fixing” jobs where things with the cheaper guys went wrong. Not a week goes by without content that has wrong field order, color shifts, hard to read text and many other issues, all incorporated for the 10.000th time in the same templates that are part of the software package. And when we talk the people it is usually the same story: “it looked fine on the computer monitor, we don’t have an external display”. “What is field order”? “What is title safe?” etc.

    Blu-ray authoring packages are more pricey so the same people never went there which is why that market is still very profitable for us. Looking back, it turned out that the really expensive gear alway turned out to be the investments that made their money back the quickest and brought lots of new, reliable customers. We bought an HDCAM-SR deck only late last year which helped a lot in getting two big, reliable clients that have jobs booked with us well into 2012. So much for “Tape is dead” as far as we are concerned.

    My point is: anyone can open a hot dog stand but that doesn’t make you a great chef. And all the cheap, available gear won’t make people “pro”, great editors or great filmmakers (we all have seen enough crappy amateur films shot on dv that floods the dvd shelves). Yes, every now and then there is an exception but those guys would have come to shine anyway and their number is nothing compared to amount of bad quality rubbish that is feed into the media world everywhere. A great talent can use windows movie maker to his advantage. That doesn’t make it a pro application.

    We, too, are currently evaluating Premiere Pro CS5.5, Avid MC and we will be looking at Edius 6 in the coming weeks.
    What I do know, however, is that for us the time has come to also move away from Apple in general. Certainly for our business. A company so unpredictable and ruthless in their decisions, their ignorance for customer needs and requests plus their complete inability and unwillingness to properly communicate is not a healthy and reliable partner for small businesses.

    I know a lot of the howling regarding FCP X is unfortunatley just that with many people. Once the dust has settled a lot will adapt, get used to it, wait for new features, buy third party software, find workarounds etc and make do until the next bomb explodes (like Mac Pros without PCI Slots and only Thunderbolt, or no Mac Pros at all anymore in two years time).
    I don’t want to go through this anymore and be milked by Apple so I’ll take my business elsewhere and have peace of mind and alternatives to choose from.

    I guess my point is: now that you have started looking over the fence, take a good look and keep looking. There is a lot to like and a lot less limiting in many, many ways.

    Keep up the good work, I am very much looking forward to reading your future observations and findings with regards to your move.

    Best regards from the other side of the pond,

    Peter Blumenstock

  6. Walter, first off, thanks for your knowledge and wisdom – you’ve really helped a lot of editors out over the years.

    Like a lot of us, I’ve been nursing wounded feelings over FCPX, wondering what happened, how could it have gone wrong. But I think I’ve figured out the Why of all of it that has allowed me to come to peace with the whole deal…

    FCP died because its revolution was over.

    It did what it was intended to do… to disrupt and revolutionize film and video editing, and bring it to the masses. In 1999, I had just become an editor, having learned and worked on (and grown to resent) AVID. Yes, clearly this was the future of editing, not the Steenbeck that I’d worked on at film school. But the system was $100,000! And Avid as a company was arrogant and proprietary. They couldn’t care less what the feedback from editors was. They were the only game in town.

    But then Final Cut showed up and lobbed a grenade right into the whole damn thing. Editing on a laptop?! And no dongle?! (Yes, my first FCP was bootleg… like some of you, I’m guessing ;) It was a revolution, plain and simple. And the revolution hit its peak with the release of Final Cut 6… Oh my God, they’ve put a professional color correction program that cost $25,000 into the suite, basically for FREE?! It was INSANE. Editors everywhere rejoiced. But Final Cut was about to die. Why?

    It was too successful.

    Suddenly, Avid ran on a laptop. And cost 2% (!) of what it used to. Adobe Premiere stopped being a joke and turned into another low cost professional editor. Even Sony Vegas and Edius joined the party. But what this meant was, the FCP8 that you and I and all the other (now established) pros wanted – basically the same interface, but 64 bit and optimized – well, that would have just been an incrementally better product in a now-crowded market niche. And Apple doesn’t do that. If it’s Apple, it has to be BIG. Splashy. “Revolutionary”. So they lobbed a grenade into the whole deal, and this time it landed on our heads.

    Timing is funny. Literally 2 weeks after the intro of FCPX (and the death of the Final Cut we knew and loved) the final victory of Final Cut was announced…

    Resolve, formerly a pro-only high-end color correction program was released. It now ran on laptops. At the insanely reduced price of $1,000.

    And the revolution was complete.

    Now, with where I am in my career, I don’t need revolutions. I’m older, I’m established, I need stability and dependability. So I’ll move back to Avid. They don’t lob grenades.

    But as I purchase Media Composer, part of me will tip my cap to Final Cut, and, yes, Apple, for making the whole thing possible (and 98K cheaper!). And for launching thousands of successful careers just like mine.

    So, RIP, Final Cut. And, believe it or not, thanks Apple. I mean it.

  7. Hello Walter.
    Very interesting read.
    I want to share with you my experience with Avid networking/storage/media management.

    I’m sure you know about the whole block level and file level approaches. Avid (block level) won’t work with your existing SAN. There are a few trick and hacks (alldrives) that might get you started but pretty soon you’ll have to asses fiber channel and/or Unity, to get the level of sharing you’re used to with FCP (or even Premiere).
    Then again, SmallTree are very talented people. With a little UNIX hackery, it is possible to get an equivalent level of sharing with off the shelf storage using iSCSI.
    Drop me a line if you want to hear to some ideas I’ve had.


    • Thanks Oren! Small Tree is coming back to our facility this coming week and we’ll have our evaluation copy of Media Composer already installed by that time. Obviously whether or not we can access this SAN will be the first test and if we can’t I’ll hold off on anything until they get here to take a look. Connectivity to the SAN is paramount to us next to overall workflow in the facility.

  8. Hi Walter,

    one more thank you for all your work covering the XFCP debacle and the pros and cons of other options. It’s very helpful of you and much appreciated!

    I have a million dollar question (for Apple at least) and now it seems like you have a possibility to answer it:

    Can Premiere Pro on Windows 7 open FCP 6 / 7 projects and in what shape? This of course necessitating the media files to be on a drive that Win7 can read.

    Best regards

    • Premiere is cross platform so why not? It’s just an XML file.

      Now the codecs, like ProRes could be an issue because you will have to have ALL the codecs installed on the Windows box to work. That’s one thing I’m loving about the whole truly “native” editing that Premiere does. Both Windows and Mac read the native cards / files from a camera. So Premiere is truly cross platform to move projects back and forth with native codecs.

      • True, the codecs. Guess I’m lucky in the end that, for whatever reason, my Decklink card has never worked well with ProRes so most of my media files are captured as PhotoJPEG so I’m dodging that particular lock-in to FCP / OSX.

  9. Walter
    I’m sure you are inundated with switching questions at this point.
    But I have one that I haven’t seen anyone blog about yet.
    How is Premiere’s folder structure at the Finder level?
    Final Cut Pro’s Finder level folder structure was great. I never even bothered to use the Media Manager within FCP. If I needed harddrive space I just deleted the render files from projects I wasn’t working on. For archiving finished projects I took the entire Capture Scratch folder and my project files to an external hardrive via a Wiebetech enclosure and shelved it. Relinking was easy if I ever needed to make a quick fix.

    How well is Premiere’s folder structure? FCPX is terrible now. Im hoping that Premiere’s is similar to FCP.
    Might be a good blog post. I send this same question to Richard Harrington as well.

    Lou Borella

    • Premiere does not move any media anywhere on your system, say from a camera card. You simply assign it a place on your hard drive and then you’ll set your Scratch Disks according for captures and renders. Richard Harrington recommends making an “Adobe Media” folder on the Scratch Discs for the raw media, copy all the camera data there and THEN import into Premiere.

      I have not done a lot of work with this at the moment, so Richard will definitely have better insight on this. I’m still learning all the ins and outs. We also use a WiebeTech RTX (actually 3) for archiving our data once a project is done, but we do go ahead and use Media Manager just in case something was left hanging elsewhere. Adobe does have a similar function but I have not used it yet

      • I adhere to a strict workflow using a template folder.

        Here is a link:
        Its worth a look

        I duplicate this folder per job. I’m constantly tweaking it also. (There used to be a LiveType folder as well)
        Any music or AE renders or Photoshop files or client logos are sorted in the proper folder as I go. There are some sound FX that are in the folder that I use on almost every job so they are part of the template. If I find others that I like they get added to the master folder. Anything that is specific to the job goes into the proper folder. Even if I use the same file I will add duplicates to each job folder. (Harddrive space is cheap!!! Searching for a previously used file is a pain)
        Its pretty detailed and very intuitive. I even color coded the graphics folders to match the corresponding application!! When my project is done, this folder and the capture scratch project folder from my Media drive are put on a harddrive via the Wiebetech. The project folder is self contained at that point so its very easy to account for all of the files that are used in that specific project. There is no need to backup the FCP renders since they can be recreated easily. The Wiebetechs are fast enough that if I need to go back and make a change to an archived project I can work off the backup drive after relinking the media. Since I back up ALL my camera files there is no need to use the Media Manager.

        I’m hoping I can taylor this workflow to Premiere after I switch. I think the new library system in FCPX would make this really hard.

        Lou …

  10. Walter, have you come to any conclusions about Adobe Media Encoder as a replacement for Compressor, or were you not using Compressor to begin with? I have been using Compressor’s ability to distribute a task over the network successfully, to reduce H.264 output times considerably, and I note that AME does not have this feature.

    Any thoughts?

    • Adobe Media Encoder is blazing fast on our systems, much more so than Compressor. An H.264 file renders 50% faster on the same machine vs. Compressor. The problem so far is that lack of all the features in AME vs. Compressor. The extra filters, the ability to turn on TC, etc… Some of this you can do inside Premiere and then without rendering send that to AME for rendering.

      But I’m hoping to see added features to AME to get a bit closer to Compressor as the product moves forward. We do not use the QMaster distributed rendering period on our systems. Causes way too many issues with our SAN so we leave it turned off.

  11. I have to laugh out loud at these posts…I’ve been saying this for almost 20 years. I started out with an Atari 1040ST computer in 1983 or so…I scored 10 or 12 movies on it using Steinberg software (Pro 24) and MIDI…it was rock solid, never crashed unless it was user error. The computer had 1 MEGABYTE of memory, and you loaded the operating system on a floppy disk. My next computer was a Mac Classic II…over the years I’ve used Macs, PCs, built my own…you name it.

    Back then I spent 90% of my working time working, and 10 % figuring out how to do things…today, it’s sometimes 50-50 or worse. Mac has been at the forefront of a curve that demands that features be constantly added whether they are needed or not. When I go to trade shows, I’m in awe of the product specialists who demonstrate amazingly cool stuff, but I have no wish to be a product specialist. I consider myself a story teller and anything that gets in the way of that is a negative…

    OK…about the cult of Mac…I have used Adobe Premiere, FCP, (and sometimes Vegas) for the last 10 years. I have never used Avid. I have no wish to…Anyone who uses Premiere will tell you how far it has come…and if you can’t do it in Premiere, you can do it in After Effects, or Photoshop…Vegas, which started out as an audio platform and still has the best feature set there,, has also come a long way.

    About 7 or 8 years ago I started to notice that the stuff inside the Mac box was not cutting edge or close to it. The fact that they constantly were selling you a new OS or some kind of software upgrade made me realize that the Mac platform was a beautiful looking, beautifully designed marketing scam that existed for only one purpose…to put their hand ever deeper into your pocket. I’ve made a bunch of money from their stock over the years, but now that they have abandoned the pro market (which vetts all their new stuff), I believe that Apple has embarked on a slow slide down. They have let everyone else back in the game of tablets, phones, MP3 players…their gear may still look cool, but there are plenty of other designers out there.

    I wish you all the best as you become de-programmed form a cult I have always felt is as dangerous as Scientology…see you at the Genius Bar…hope they start serving cocktails…

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