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FCPX or CS5.5 Production Premium


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#1 uwxplorer

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 09:40 PM

I have followed (and foolishly commented on) the Final Cut Pro X "expectation" and "post partum depression" thread. As an amateur, it would appear that FCP X has been developed for me. However, it also appears that if I wanted to do some animation, I would need Motion, and if I wanted to export thing with some kind of sophistication, I may need Compressor. That's a $400 investment in a product that is, from all opinions, still in a preliminary state.
What I understood is that I would not be able to run it off my 2006 MBP, so I have ordered a 21.5" iMac i7, which I am planning to beef up to 12 or 16 GB of RAM (that's the max). Not a pro station, but all I am planning to invest in editing hardware (and I love the form factor). FCP X should run fine on this, but so should Premiere. I have started looking into Adobe's website, and I must say, I am pretty impressed by the amount of tutorial information there is for grab. The attractive thing is that I realized that I could get CS5.5 for $359, which is less than the complete product "half-suite" from Apple and contains tons more (although I may not need half of it).
Being only familiar with FCE (after migrating away from iMovie 9 out of frustration), I wonder what to do. It seems that migrating from FCP/FCE to Premiere shouldn't be too much of a problem. I am seduced by the idea of having a complete suite with which I may in the future do things that I don't know I needed to do now. Moreover, it appears that Adobe is capable of doing something that Apple pathetically says is impossible (that is importing FCP projects into a different NLE environment), which is great.
I'd be interested to hear about passionate (and not so passionate) opinions and advices on software (and possibly hardware).
Thanks!

#2 Drew

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 11:16 PM

If you've used iMovie 2010 or later, FCX isn't all that far away GUI wise. CS5.5 is more old skool NLE style. The Color Correction is weaker on the CS5.5 but there's DaVinci Resolve lite that's free. It's slower than the full production version. You obviously get a full production suite that will pump out DVD/BD from CS5.5/Resolve Lite combo, unlike FCX where you still have to buy Toast or some other software to produce discs. If your finishing is all online, then it's a viable package.

Pitfalls are that CS5.5 isn't all that accelerated without Nvidia CUDA cards with at least 96 cores and I think 800MB VRAM.I'm not familiar with the iMac range so check on that. CS5.5 is still native editing but it does not have the background rendering of FCX.

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#3 uwxplorer

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 07:01 AM

All Macs (except the Mac Pro) are now using ATI/AMD graphics cards, so no CUDA on my iMac.
Background rendering in FCPX seems to have its critics (not so inconspicuous as the term "background" would imply) on some machines with less than the maxed out Mac Pro horse power, from what I have gathered. At least I suppose that being able to render with 8 cores will help!

#4 uwxplorer

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 07:20 AM

Bought CS5.5 Prod Premium for $309 with my new iMac. From what I understand, CUDA is not used for everything (mostly rendering some effects) and in particular not for decompressing videos. I am looking forward to long nights of learning how to use the suite...

#5 Steve Douglas

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 11:10 AM

Been using X for a bit and the key word for it is 'potential'. Right now it is missing several features that we took for granted in FC7 and we will have to wait for it to grow. For the professional, not being able to do a multi-cam shoot on X, not being able to open up older projects is a real deal breaker for many, especially the topside shooter. With Steve Jobs stepping down and what we perceive as a backward direction towards the home movie hobbiest, we can only hope that Apple moves toward improving X to, at least, its former abilities. It really is a wait and see at this point. The media management in X is quite good and the auto save seems to work just fine. However, I really don't care for their color correction tools and especially how the canvas shrinks to next to nothing when you bring up the scopes. Equally as devastating to me is that you can't see or do proper CC from the computer to an external monitor. How horrendous is that? Matrox was trying to create drivers for that purpose but something has thrown a wrench into their work and nothing is on the horizon so far.
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#6 uwxplorer

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 08:42 AM

So far (after one day) my experience with CS 5.5 has been abysmal... Premiere is not even capable of previewing H.264 clips smoothly in 1/4 resolution (17 Mbps AVCHD clips rewrapped into mov files by ClipWrap). From what I am reading on Adobe forums, this is not due to my iMac currently not having enough memory (4 GB, more on the way), as people with Mac Pros and 16GB+ have the same issue. How do they shoot all these "tutorials" on Adobe TV, showcasing smooth playback of RED footage???
I am totally bummed...

Edited by uwxplorer, 28 August 2011 - 10:02 AM.


#7 Drew

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 09:44 AM

You don't need to convert into .mov.... just import into timeline. Using .mov will only use one core, which is why it's slow. It's a known bug for CS5.5 and Adobe QT server, which runs in 32 bit slowpoke!
Another workaround is to rename the files to .mpg, which is really the workaround for D7000 files. Use the original files for native.

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#8 uwxplorer

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 10:01 AM

You don't need to convert into .mov.... just import into timeline. Using .mov will only use one core, which is why it's slow. It's a known bug for CS5.5 and Adobe QT server, which runs in 32 bit slowpoke!
Another workaround is to rename the files to .mpg, which is really the workaround for D7000 files. Use the original files for native.

Thanks for the tip. mts files appear indeed to be playable smoothly by PP, but they cannot be viewed within Bridge... But those are not playable by QT, so how do I preview them, except from within PP?
BTW, the mpg name change does not work for me. The files are not read correctly by QT or any other players I have on my iMac...

Note added: I went back temporarily to importing .mov files in Premiere (due to the Bridge issue discussed in the posts below) and I realized that when playing an AVCHD clip rewrapped into a .mov file, Premiere uses the 4 cores of my i7 but with a single thread per core! But when using .mts files, it uses 2 threads per core, which seems to give it enough juice to play smoothly (with effects applied)... So it is a bit more subtle than one vs multicore.

Edited by uwxplorer, 28 August 2011 - 08:53 PM.


#9 Drew

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 11:32 AM

Native playback means not converting them to anything. Why would you need to use Bridge? Just use PP media browser.

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#10 uwxplorer

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 02:06 PM

Native playback means not converting them to anything. Why would you need to use Bridge? Just use PP media browser.


Well, naively I bought into the whole story about the advantage of metadata and file management... So Bridge seemed like a good starting point in my workflow:
- drag and drop files from camcorder to disk
- use Bridge to preview clips, rename them and add keywords and other info
- backup
- start editing in Premiere

#11 uwxplorer

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 07:53 PM

After some research, it appears that the fact that Bridge does not support mts files is an omission (it seems to have been supported in CS 4, at least on Windows, but it was relying on ActiveX support for other components of CS, which have become unnecessary in CS 5 and were therefore dropped).
This is essentially preventing from using Bridge to add metadata (to mts clips).
Premiere providing very little in terms of previewing clips (no thumbnails, workspace cluttered with all the editing tools), I am wondering whether some Mac/CS 5.5 user would have some recommendation on how to organize work.

Note: I may have found a (weird) work around! If I rename the .mov files (rewrapped by ClipWrap) as .mpg files, they remain visible within Bridge (although the playback is a bit jerky) AND they seem to be played natively within Premiere. Best of both worlds (sort of). However, I get an extra .xmp (metadata) file for each clip AND I can't play back these clips with QT (or preview then in the Finder)...

Edited by uwxplorer, 28 August 2011 - 09:26 PM.


#12 cavey_dave

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 09:51 PM

After some research, it appears that the fact that Bridge does not support mts files is an omission (it seems to have been supported in CS 4, at least on Windows, but it was relying on ActiveX support for other components of CS, which have become unnecessary in CS 5 and were therefore dropped).
This is essentially preventing from using Bridge to add metadata (to mts clips).
Premiere providing very little in terms of previewing clips (no thumbnails, workspace cluttered with all the editing tools), I am wondering whether some Mac/CS 5.5 user would have some recommendation on how to organize work.

Note: I may have found a (weird) work around! If I rename the .mov files (rewrapped by ClipWrap) as .mpg files, they remain visible within Bridge (although the playback is a bit jerky) AND they seem to be played natively within Premiere. Best of both worlds (sort of). However, I get an extra .xmp (metadata) file for each clip AND I can't play back these clips with QT (or preview then in the Finder)...


I'm following this thread keenly as I'm in the same boat and just about to take the plunge. Will be keen to hear what you make of it CS5 when you're up and running.

Thanks,

Dave

#13 Drew

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 11:23 PM

Well, naively I bought into the whole story about the advantage of metadata and file management... So Bridge seemed like a good starting point in my workflow:
- drag and drop files from camcorder to disk
- use Bridge to preview clips, rename them and add keywords and other info
- backup
- start editing in Premiere


You can do all that in Media Browser within PP. Don't need to use Bridge.

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#14 uwxplorer

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 07:27 AM

You can do all that in Media Browser within PP. Don't need to use Bridge.


I think I see what you mean by that (I switch to Window>>Workspace>>Metalogging), but I have to double-click each clip to open it in the viewer to figure out what it is (no thumbnail for instance). Bridge definitely has a much more streamline interface for media management

For instance, I can easily batch rename all my .mov files into .mpg ones in Bridge. Although they are not playable by QT, it is easy to associate them automatically with MPEG Streamclip (free), which plays them fine (I sometime get a "File open error: unrecognized file type", but if I disregard it, the clip plays fine).
However, I am not impressed by Bridge's responsiveness. Although each .mpg file gets a .xmp file associated to it (presumably to save the metadata), it takes a few seconds to get this metadata to be displayed in Bridge, which makes it a bit frustrating when tabbing rapidly through clip thumbnails.

Still experimenting... before I get started editing.

#15 uwxplorer

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 05:09 PM

CS5.5 is growing on me...
It takes quite some learning but luckily, I have access to lynda.com's tutorials and there are plenty of free resources on the net.
So far I am favorably impressed by the dynamic link feature, which allows selecting a clip in Premiere, send it to After Effect (for stabilization for instance: the new Warp Stabilizer does miracles) and have it updated without rendering in Premiere.
Coming from FCE, I am discovering much more powerful color correction tools too.
And it appears that Audition might be something I may want to dive into next to clean up my audio tracks.
I am still lacking on memory, so some of the playback is a bit slow at times, but if I so desire, I can render the timeline, which is definitely faster than it used to be on FCE running on my MBP (it obvioulsy depends on the nature of the effect applied: warp stabilization for instance is more demanding but AE renders in the background, so in some cases forcing a render is not even necessary to get decent playback). But again, I need to check how things improve (or not) when moving from 4(!) to 12 GB (and maybe 16 GB later, if I am convinced that this could further improve things).
Now I have $100 to spend on the Apple Store (Apple promo), but not much motivation to splurge on FCP X anymore...

#16 Steve Douglas

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 12:59 PM

Final Cut Studio 7 is now back up for sale by Apple. While it is not 64bit, it is a great NLE and I would still recommend it.
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#17 TheRealDrew

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 01:22 AM

Final Cut Studio 7 is now back up for sale by Apple. While it is not 64bit, it is a great NLE and I would still recommend it.
Steve



Didn't see it listed back on Apple's site. The other day there was discussion of purchasing remaining units by calling Apple.

#18 Steve Douglas

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 09:34 AM

Yes, it is not available at the local mall Apple Store on Apple's online App store. You need to call 1-800-My Apple
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#19 uwxplorer

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 11:33 PM

Update: I just can't seem to get Premiere to work smoothly on my spanking new iMac... For those who have some time to waste (but not as much as I did trying to solve these issues), the story unfolds here.

#20 wagsy

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 12:58 AM

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