FCP7 vs FCPX vs AVID vs Premier 6

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by treehorn, May 17, 2012.

  1. treehorn macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    Not trying to start a flame war and pray that this gets civilized/rational responses (fingers crossed...knocking wood...etc)

    I've been editing professionally for about a decade (done a documentary, edited a ton of stuff that has been on TV...blah blah blah...long story short 100% of my income has been through editing for over 7 years)

    I've been editing with Final Cut since version 2. I'm currently using Final Cut Pro 7 and haven't upgraded for a variety of reasons, which are becoming less and less (and to be honest, trying to keep up with what features are present, what features are still missing AND trying to run a business...enough to make head spin).

    I've been toying with upgrading. I've also been toying with switching to Avid (which I purchased a year ago but haven't really delved into...largely because of the hassle of keeping my software and hardware compatible with it). And now I'm reading more and more about how Premiere 6 could be what I would really benefit from given the equipment/codex I use.

    So I would really love some real world insight, based on my technology, etc. as to what direction I should be looking towards.

    Computer: Mac Pro, 2X 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xenon with 14GB of memory and a NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512 MB graphics card

    Cameras: 1 to 3 Panasonic AG-AC 130 (AVCHD standard (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264))

    Rarely ingest media via VHS any more but it happens.

    Currently I'm having to import/convert the footage to ProRes, which takes up a lot of disc space, (especially since most things I shoot are 2 hours in length...and multiple camera). So the concept of being able to natively edit from the cards...is very welcome (so points in Premiere's favor). And I'm noticing a lot of hiccups/slowedowns lately in FCP7 so moving to something new seems inevitable.

    I know I'll lose most of my purchased transitions, filters, etc.

    I've already been moving away from Motion and into After Effects at an ever increasing rate so Motion has less and less pull (and Compressor...and DVD Studio Pro...need replacements anyway)

    I see pluses and minuses of every system, and hate that the main reason I want to stick with Final Cut is loyalty to a piece of software I have been using for over a decade...(not to mention a computer system I've supported since the old II+...for all the love they've been showing back lately...)

    I'm taking advantage of the CS6 road show courses when they come to NYC but being forearmed...

  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Avid's AMA can also help you edit AVCHD footage natively, if your machine is beefy enough.

    I started editing with Premiere 5 (before it became "Pro" or "CS") and switched to Avid three years later (2002). I also dabbled with FCP (two short projects), but though it is similar to Premiere, using Avid MC has changed my editing habits, that I prefer Avid over Premiere and FCP (though the rest of FCS - DVDSP, Motion and Color - was quite easy to learn and use for me, for instance, iDVD is "too complicated" for me).

    If you can, you could test Premiere Pro (trial) and Avid MC to see, which of them is easier for you to handle with your footage and editing habits.
  3. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    Ironically, I have all of them (except FCPX) - at least I have Premiere 5.5 (as it was part of the suite I purchased - and will probably be upgrading to 6 in the near future)

    my MacPro is one generation old (which is a dinosaur given the lack of upgrades Apple has given us).

    Good to know about Avid - as that's the type of information I need (trying to find one source that compares all the features of all the programs...good luck :)
  4. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    I don't really have actual answers for you, but I can share my own experience.

    At work we're currently using both Premier 5 and FCP 7. Basically it's a "use what you want" situation as we don't share projects much. (And when we do we're all comfortable with both programs.)

    The end of 'traditional' Final Cut Pro has prompted my supervisor to decide that we should all move on to Premier 6 and just standardize around that. I'm a currently an exclusive Final Cut guy, but I'm not arguing. For what we do here and how we work, I think that's probably the right choice.

    BUT I'm currently trying to use FCX at home for all my personal projects. I really do think it's introducing a lot of cool new stuff that will spread to other systems in the future. I am convinced that knowing it inside and out will be a smart thing for me as it prepares me for changes that will undoubtably come to all systems down the road. I think that knowing both Premier and FCX will be good for me.

    So I guess it comes down to this: I'm a big, big fan of Final Cut X who is going to suggest Premier 6 to you. It's pretty damned nice from what I've seen so far.

    Hope this helps somewhat.
  5. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    With Avid you know what your getting but you also have to be diligent with the specs. Sure we've ran Avid MC with our Nitris DX for years without following specs but I also don't upgrade (software) for months. What I do is check the Avid forum to see how everything is working out first.
    Now for Adobe, it seems you have everything ready for an upgrade. Its always good to have an arsenal of tools.
    We run Avid mainly but use FCP and FCPX for other projects.
    I teach FCPX (local college) so I'm biased plus very comfortable with all its shortcomings (which is a lot for any seasoned Avid user).
  6. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
    I'd suggest grabbing a demo of FCP X and giving it a try, but it's great to hear that you're open minded.

    From personal experience (more FCP and Avid than Adobe) they all have their downsides.

    Avid will always be Avid, it's got it's fair share of hair-pulling bugs but will get the job done when you operate within it's frame work. I've edited feature length broadcast documentaries using the AMA plugins and extreme control over my media sources, but most of my colleagues say I'm crazy to do so and that a prerequisite of a smooth workflow is transcoding media (no native editing).

    FCP 7 is going the way of the dodo due to it's poor memory management and thus limited capabilities with "new" codecs like AVCHD. FCP X is I find very promising. Altough I love the direction it's going, I also have to admit there are a couple of details that make it oh-so-close-to-primetime-but-not-there-yet. If you find that the demo works for you, then fine. Hardware wise you may find that you are a bit limited tough: your GPU/Open CL is currently 8800GT and that would probably make thinkgs slow and painful.

    I'm by no means an Adobe Premiere expert, but looking at your current specs it will take some upgrades to your Mac Pro to take advantage of CS5 and CS6 via CUDA.

    Whatever your choice of editing platform, editing native AVCHD takes a lot of horse power. None of these apps will magically transform your Mac Pro into a beast. You'll have to update your hardware accordingly to be able to exploit your footage natively.
  7. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    I would say the same but according to his present hardware specs, Avid would actually work more smoothly in his case but would have to use v5.5.x and older.
    We had ours running really old NVIDIA cards up to v5.5.x until we finally moved to v6.x using ATI 5770. I forgot what NVIDIA card it was but it wasnt an Avid approved card. Only reason we used those cards was to drive dual Apple 30s.
  8. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    Thanks for all the info (especially taking into consideration my computer's specs - which until Apple get's their butts in gear and decide whether or not to support professionals with the hardware they need and upgrade the MacPro...not much I can do to fix!)

    I'm going to be going to the Adobe CS6 Production Premium Road Show so that will be interesting. And hopefully I'll get some idea on how to make it work on my current set up.

    And should try out the Final Cut Pro X demo (I thought the free trial had been discontinued to be honest and the only way to try it out at this point was to buy it)
  9. racher macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    I think you'll be very happy with Premiere Pro CS6. I've been using CS5 for the last year, and after downloading the trial for PP CS6, I'm amazed at how much snappier and responsive it is compared with CS5 for playback of native AVCHD files. I'm not sure how old your Mac Pro is, but it's possible that you might be able to install the CUDA drivers for your nVidia card, and there's actually a way to edit a text file in the Adobe folders that forces PP CS6 to use the GPU-accellerated Mercury Playback Engine (even if Adobe says your nVidia card isn't supported). I did this with my 2-year-old Macbook Pro and it works great (and my nVidia 330M only has 500MB of video RAM). The Mercury Playback Engine (when hardware accelerated) is really the key selling point of Premiere Pro now. You can get realtime playback with several HD layers and effects with NO dropped frames! As long as you can adjust to Adobe's editing paradigm (which is pretty close to FCP7's), you have a solid editing system with some serious power. I also use After Effects a lot, and being able to switch between that and PP using Dynamic Link makes for some quick editing options.

    And no, I don't work for Adobe! :) But it sure helps to have friends who do who can get you their software for cheap. Tee hee..

  10. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    My MacPro is 2008...figure there's no point in upgrading that until a newer model cones out. Had to replace the video card last year as it died so...
  11. ppc_michael Guest


    Apr 26, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've used Avid and FCP side by side for quite some time, although never FCPX. I have found that generally Avid seems to play better with other software in larger workflows, like going out to Smoke or color grading apps or DAWs for mixing. FCP does well within its own Apple ecosystem, but for me, anyway, I have had better luck with Avid. And I generally just like DNxHD, and being able to run Avid on Windows allows me to build a PC specifically for that purpose so it performs incredibly well.

    I keep Premiere around but I can't really say much about it.

    But really it's all up to you and how you work.
  12. 4God macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2005
    My Mac

    For me, I used Final Cut Pro since version 4. Before that I started with Adobe Premiere. Used Final Cut Pro up to version 6 (didn't see a strong need to upgrade to 7) but then upgraded to FCPX when it first arrived. I like FCPX a lot, it's definitely geared for the future of editing but I'm in the present. I still use it for single camera edits and other small projects that I can just whip out in a day or two. Now with Adobe Creative Cloud, (at 29.99 a month for the first year since I qualify) I feel I can't go wrong with having a whole new set of arrows in my quiver. To me having Adobe Premiere (and the rest of the CS6 suite) as well as FCPX is the best of both worlds. Now if Apple could've pulled of having an NLE that was both of those put together...they'd be on to something.

    I just like track based editing better anyways. The UI in PP is easier to deal with IMHO. Not to mention that FCPX is still a little buggy but PP is fast, snappy and responsive. I'm using it on an early '11 15" Macbook Pro with 8GB of RAM and so far it plays 4 ProRes streams over firewire 800 without a single dropped frame. Amazing. It literally feels better than the '08 8 core MacPro I recently sold.
  13. Kevin Monahan macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2011
  14. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    Have to say...went to the NYAE meeting on Thursday, which had bigwigs from Adobe talking about Premiere and After Effects CS6 and was mightily impressed with both of them - even in a quick one-hour demonstration there were enough features in Premiere that made me perk up (if only a new MacPro would come up so I could upgrade and take full advantage of them...). Taking advantage of the Adobe Road Show on Tuesday (which conveniently has a class that is basically 'how to transition from another editing system to us') so we shall see...
  15. islanders, Jun 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012

    islanders macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2006
    Charleston, SC

    Your graphics card and specs don't meet the minimum requirements to run Premiere unless you want to transcode first.

    The only problem is working on projects with other editors on FCP 7 or Avid. They aren't compatible and take much longer to edit.

    FCP 7 is like a VW Bug crawling up the Rockies. You can't tell them they aren't having fun, and when they finally use Adobe they will never go back.

    I'm using a PC for Adobe and considering a MBP to use with FCP when I'm working with FCP editors.

    It depends on what market you are in and who you work with.

    Edit: I've also taken an class in Avid. More of a learning curve, but can see how it could be faster once you get used to it. However, the integrated functions with Adobe are much more of an advantage. Most FCP users are oblivious to what they are missing. The only advantage (which is huge) is being compatible with other Macs with FCP 7.
  16. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    Having spent 11 hours at the Adobe Road Show today (where every instructor was an ex-FCP person....and most of the participants were switching over and voicing the same concerns/opinions as I've been saying and hearing here....). I am dying to make the switch - the fact that they are devoting a Software Suite that encompasses every aspect of production....well, I had almost forgotten what that was like. To come home and read that Mac Pros may be on the horizon was icing on the cake as I was having serious hardware envy over the HPs today.

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