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Avid and Final Cut, Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Avid and Final Cut, Can’t We All Just Get Along?

A couple weeks ago we hosted a round table discussion involving Kirk Arnold, COO of Avid, Michael Phillips, Principal Product Designer at Avid and about 20 of Central Florida’s most highly regarded post production specialists. The evening was put together by the Orlando Post Pros group and we were very happy to play host as well as have our two staff editors involved. The purpose of the evening was for Kirk Arnold & Michael Phillips to tell all of us what they are working on and what’s ahead for Avid and also to listen to everyone in the room about what they like, don’t like and need from the future Avid products.

I thought it was a good night, time well spent. How often do you get the opportunity to visit with two high ranking people from the company who’s product is very important to your business? Inevitably any discussion about Avid these days turns in to a discussion about Final Cut Pro as well. Often times those discussions end up being an us against them or a this is better than that conversation. And my question is can we all just get along?

Our philosophy here at IDEAS is that there is a time, place and budget for both Avid and Final Cut Pro. It doesn’t have to be a conversation about whether one is better than the other. It should be a conversation about what’s the best product for the project you’re working on. We take great pride in the fact that we have both Avid and Final Cut Pro in our facility. Currently we have a Final Cut Pro with all the bells and whistles (Color, Motion, etc.), a Media Composer Nitris DX and a Symphony Nitris DX. All of the systems work almost exclusively in HD off both files and tape.

We have been working with Avid products since they became mainstream back in the 90s. We have been using Final Cut Pro for about two years now so we admittedly have much more knowledge and are more comfortable on Avid. But that doesn’t change the fact that we realize the pros and cons of both. Cost will always be something that hurts Avid. Stability will always be something that hurts Final Cut. Avid has the hardware and software parts down to a science. Final Cut is only software so while it will always be on a MAC, there are a variety of media drive choices as well as video cards depending on what you’re doing. The Avid DS, which we had for 6 years, is the best tool out of all of them for compositing and effects. But DS is more expensive which means there’s less out there which means (as we found out) there are less people out there who know how to operate it.

The bottom line is that some projects are better done on an Avid while some are better done on a Final Cut. Anyone who tells you that every project is best suited on one or the other is, in my opinion, incorrect. We talk to our clients, see what materials they have, what they are trying to accomplish, figure out the best way to produce the best possible final product, then decide whether it should be done on an Avid or a Final Cut. And as far as price goes, we don’t really have a rate card for our services on either system. We have done editing for $75 per hour because it’s pretty low maintenance (cuts & dissolves only) but we’ve done editing for $200 per hour because it was intense and it required a lot of resources (color correcting, plug-ins, etc.). And those rates have been charged on Final Cut or Avid so price isn’t driven by which system. And of course, the $75 & $100 per hour rates are offered, regardless of the system for higher volume, longer term clients and projects.

Anyway, just my $.02. Both Avid and Final Cut are good systems. There’s no need to bash one over the other, they both have their place in our industry.

John Lux
As COO of IDEAS, John manages the day-to-day operations of the company. He is a category expert in studio production and is responsible for bringing advanced digital media technology to IDEAS.