I made a comment at this past week’s Atlanta Cutters meeting that surprised many of those in attendance. It was something along the lines of “I’m anticipating our Avid’s will be a one year solution to our editing workflow and then we’ll see where we are next year.” In other words, Avid meets our broadcast needs today so that’s the horse we’re going to ride right now for our broadcast work. For some of our non-broadcast work, we’ll go with Premiere Pro CS6. When Smoke 2013 is available, we’ll see how that fits into our workflow.
Software has gotten to the point where pretty much any NLE tool on the market is now accessible and the Return On Investment can be had in a single job. So while I wouldn’t call the software “disposable” I would certainly call it affordable and wise to load up the toolbox while the gettin’ is good.
We’re fortunate to be in a position where we’ve been able to test both Adobe and Avid products for a while now. Adobe has made tremendous strides forward with CS6 but there are still areas that we would like to see addressed, particularly under the hood and some core edit functions, so I’m looking ahead to 2013 for a potential more widespread rollout of Premiere Pro in our workflow. Of course, we had no idea Autodesk was going to drop this new, more edit friendly, version of Smoke on us and I’m already giving them feedback on where I’d like that product to go in the next 12 months. Depending on where they go, I can also see a more widespread rollout of Smoke in our workflow in 2013.
But this is 2012 and I’m not going to stand still on Final Cut Pro 7 and just wait to see where both products are next year. That’s just another year of using an old, increasingly slower edit workflow and right now, Final Cut Pro X doesn’t work for us. Right now, today, Avid works for our broadcast editorial needs and so right now, that’s the tool I invested in and our editors are quite happy with the Symphony packages that have been installed across the facility this week. At $999 each they will pay for themselves in one episode of our current series. They were supposed to be Media Composers, but I saved $2500 across the 5 licenses buying Symphonies instead with that incredible cross-grade offer. When we need more licenses of the product this year, they will be Media Composers moving forward because they won’t be cross-grades any longer.
So stop agonizing and trying to pick “that perfect NLE” that will serve you today and for the next three years because quite honestly things are changing quite rapidly. In fact you shouldn’t even have just one NLE on your system. At the very least every single editor should have Premiere Pro and Avid on your systems so you can work with anyone out there. You’re also going to find that each tool is better suited for some tasks. Premiere Pro’s core strength is the “any format native editing” and the interchange with its entire suite. Avid’s core strength is the tremendous media management for large products and fast keyboard based editing. Your skill set will translate quite nicely between Avid and Premiere Pro so you should be able to move pretty easily between the two apps. Smoke 2013 was designed to be used by Avid and Premiere Pro editors so that should be fairly easy as well.
Heck keep in mind you might not even be on the same hardware platform next year. So many traditional Apple hardware users are discovering that PC workstations are as good as and oftentimes better than their Mac counterparts.
So look at your needs today, right now. What tool(s) do you need, or want, to get your work done for the next 12 months? Plan for that. Next year if something else comes along and meets your needs better, don’t gripe that your current tool isn’t as good, hasn’t kept up, blah blah blah. Just get the new tool added to your toolbox and keep on keepin’ on.
In the long run, a suite of tools and expanding your toolset knowledge is going to benefit you better than just hanging onto something familiar because it’s something you’ve used for a year. Or longer. My two cents.