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Best NLE

Posted: Thu, 22nd Nov 2007, 5:47pm

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The Duelist

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Hey, I'm in the market for a new NLE. I need something that has a lot of ways to adjust the clips, like aspect ratio, interlacing, etc. What would you guys suggest? I'd appreciate multiple suggestions, some for lower to medium prices, some for higher priced items. Please give me a few pros and cons about the program as well. Thanks a lot, guys!
-The Duelist
Posted: Thu, 22nd Nov 2007, 5:58pm

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Merrick

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I bought Adobe Premiere Elements along with Photoshop for $100. It allows you to choose what file type, codec, and aspect ratio you want to export a video as. Also when exporting, you can blend the fields together to make the footage progressive without loosing quality. It also allows you to conform footage to different aspect ratios. One drawback that I have found is that I can't find a way to make it interpret interlaced footage as progressive (bad for using with lab programs). Also, the DVD burning software that came with it doesn't always work on my computer. I'm very happy with the program, though.
Posted: Thu, 22nd Nov 2007, 6:48pm

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Serpent

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I'm assuming you are a Mac user. If I were you, I'd go for Final Cut Express and I bet every other Mac user will say the same (unless you go for FCP). If you are a student, you might be able to get an educational discount on Final Cut Studio, which would come with a lot of fantastic software. The full price is a bit high, but it's still a great value. I'd say those are your two (best) choices. Anything else is too pricey or too inferior to the above on the Mac.
Posted: Thu, 22nd Nov 2007, 9:11pm

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pdrg

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I'll wave the flag for Avid Xpress Pro - you probably won't buy it, and lots of people here will shout it down despite most of them never having used it, but it's got some real plusses...

1) it's a professional product (some 80%-odd feature and TV projects in the world touch an Avid)
2) script-based editing (import a marked-up script, and edit from there roughing out your timeline easily from there! This is WAY cool)
3) grouped camera editing (gang and sync upto 4 camera angles for the same event (eg multicamera shoot, live bands, conferences, etc) and then simply vision edit them in the timeline as if they were a live feed. Again, WAY cool)
4) Lossless HD editing (DNxHD intermediary codec)
5) Full native support for mixed formats and resolutions on the timeline - including DV, HDV, DVCPRO HD, 10-bit SD, native DV50, Sony XDCAM, Panasonic P2
6) Comes with Sorenson and DVD-it free
7) It's a power tool
cool Unlimited growth - you can move seamlessly to the higher power Avid systems (eg get a job in a newsroom/etc with dedicated Avid hardware - you'll already know the interface)
9) Mac and PC versions provided, so you can switch hardware without any change to your workflow
10) Work seamlessly with other Avid projects (eg finishing houses, etc)
11) There are heaps more...including some of the best colour correction available

The downside is the UI is not as simple as FCP/Premiere, nor is it cheap, but I have to make its case as you wanted a range of options and I didn't want you to think you were limited to consumer NLE's (FCP nudges the bottom end of professional, but Avid still is the industry de-facto standard)

I, for one, having tried a few tools, and having invested the extra effort to get to know the ways of the Avid, would never go back. Yes, it'll take you longer to learn than a lesser tool, but you only have to learn it once!

hth wink
Posted: Thu, 22nd Nov 2007, 9:39pm

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The Siege

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Sony Vegas, the way to go!

Pros:
- Easy to learn interface
- Easy editing
- Very powerful and (I for one) haven't experienced much hangs.

Cons:

- Keyframe animation isn't that great

All I can think of for now, anyone want to extend the total list?
Posted: Thu, 22nd Nov 2007, 9:43pm

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Hybrid-Halo

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Ultimately, they all output the same final result meaning that the only important factor is how you get along with the software - for you to find this out you need to try them out yourself.

If you're on a Mac, Final Cut Pro is very highly regarded whereas if you're on a PC, Premiere Pro (or Premiere Elements if you're on a budget) is the most popular though Sony Vegas has its followers too.

Off you go smile
-Hybrid.
Posted: Thu, 22nd Nov 2007, 11:29pm

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SketchWork

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I'll have to join pdrg waving the Avid Xpress Pro flag.

I suppose Avid is like Marmite - you either love it or hate it!

We use it all the time and love it.
Posted: Thu, 22nd Nov 2007, 11:56pm

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A Pickle

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Adobe Premiere Pro CS3. biggrin
Posted: Fri, 23rd Nov 2007, 1:46am

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Rockfilmers

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I agree with seige on this. But They don't make Vegas for Mac. I've heard alot about final cut express though.
Posted: Fri, 23rd Nov 2007, 2:10am

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SilverDragon7

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Now as people have stated the best way to go are...

Final Cut Express - For Mac.

Sony Vegas 7 or higher - For PC

Adobe Premire Pro CS3 (if you willing to shell-out 1000 bucks) - For both
Posted: Fri, 23rd Nov 2007, 4:16am

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Hybrid-Halo

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Yeah, If you're on a Mac you can't go better than to get Final Cut Pro as not only is it an intuitive piece of software but is also completely professional by standard. If you're looking to become an editor or involved professionally in Visual Effects/Post Production then having FCP under your belt is a big plus - Believe me, I've just spent the last few months learning it just to have it on my cv.

A lot of places have completely replaced their Avid systems with FCP in the UK, ranging from the BBC to several large Visual Effects Houses. The place I'm at currently runs off 8-core G5's running FCP and connected to a giant raid. smile

-Hybrid.
Posted: Fri, 23rd Nov 2007, 5:36pm

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The Duelist

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Thanks! But I have another question. On these programs, I'm sure the export settings are endless, but what about the internal settings. The problem I keep running into on my current software is that there's no way to just pick a clip and say, "I want that to be widescreen." There just isn't an option. So in these products that you've suggested, are there a lot of internal controls that allow you to manage stuff like that?
Posted: Fri, 23rd Nov 2007, 7:20pm

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Hybrid-Halo

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The Duelist wrote:

Thanks! But I have another question. On these programs, I'm sure the export settings are endless, but what about the internal settings. The problem I keep running into on my current software is that there's no way to just pick a clip and say, "I want that to be widescreen." There just isn't an option. So in these products that you've suggested, are there a lot of internal controls that allow you to manage stuff like that?
If there wasn't then we wouldn't recommend them and they wouldn't be either good, or professional products. Any good NLE will allow you to interpret footage or set up a sequence any way you like it.

-Hybrid.
Posted: Sat, 24th Nov 2007, 9:52am

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Atom

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Vegas that biatch.
Posted: Mon, 26th Nov 2007, 12:58am

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The Duelist

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Great. Thanks guys, this has been really helpful!
Posted: Mon, 26th Nov 2007, 3:02am

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er-no

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I'm an avid Final Cut Pro user.

BOOM BOOM!

(even after a 27,000+ word disseration on the program; and yes, even comparing it to the 'almighty' avid, it hands down wins my vote)
Posted: Mon, 26th Nov 2007, 3:13am

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Xanikoo

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I now use Newtek's SpeedEdit it's about $500 bucks,but I started with Magix movie edit pro it's about $50 bucks.They're both very good for the price but I would suggest starting at the lower end and working your way up.As your skill increases so should your programs.
Posted: Mon, 26th Nov 2007, 4:16am

Post 18 of 27

Atom

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TKDMaster wrote:

As your skill increases so should your programs.
I completely disagree. I find that there's a nice middle-range that encompasses every skill and experience-level of editor that opens up and makes easier harder tools to use as both increase.

I hate to bang people over the head with it, but Vegas is precisely this. I've used it practically from entrance into editing into the highly-complex things I work on today, and as I've grown as an editor it's always been up-to-par, if not above, on always having the tools, functionality, and workflow I need.

This may not be true for everyone, and I won't claim it to be, but it's what I believe worked best for me and think several others could benefit from the use of the NLE. Heck, it started me with doing grading simply because it was so easy to do in Vegas. Nowadays I do many more levels and tweaks much more complex things to get the looks I want, but like I said it has an easily-accessible creative opening at every level.
Posted: Mon, 26th Nov 2007, 4:48am

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Xanikoo

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You may be right I don't know. But for me it's better to spend $50 on a starter program to learn the basics.I'm only saying this if you have a budget. I know some of the younger film makers may not have that kind of cash lying around.I do agree if you can aford it go for the best.
Posted: Mon, 26th Nov 2007, 3:34pm

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Bryan M Block

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pdrg wrote:

I'll wave the flag for Avid Xpress Pro - you probably won't buy it, and lots of people here will shout it down despite most of them never having used it, but it's got some real plusses...

1) it's a professional product (some 80%-odd feature and TV projects in the world touch an Avid)
2) script-based editing (import a marked-up script, and edit from there roughing out your timeline easily from there! This is WAY cool)
3) grouped camera editing (gang and sync upto 4 camera angles for the same event (eg multicamera shoot, live bands, conferences, etc) and then simply vision edit them in the timeline as if they were a live feed. Again, WAY cool)
4) Lossless HD editing (DNxHD intermediary codec)
5) Full native support for mixed formats and resolutions on the timeline - including DV, HDV, DVCPRO HD, 10-bit SD, native DV50, Sony XDCAM, Panasonic P2
6) Comes with Sorenson and DVD-it free
7) It's a power tool
cool Unlimited growth - you can move seamlessly to the higher power Avid systems (eg get a job in a newsroom/etc with dedicated Avid hardware - you'll already know the interface)
9) Mac and PC versions provided, so you can switch hardware without any change to your workflow
10) Work seamlessly with other Avid projects (eg finishing houses, etc)
11) There are heaps more...including some of the best colour correction available

The downside is the UI is not as simple as FCP/Premiere, nor is it cheap, but I have to make its case as you wanted a range of options and I didn't want you to think you were limited to consumer NLE's (FCP nudges the bottom end of professional, but Avid still is the industry de-facto standard)

I, for one, having tried a few tools, and having invested the extra effort to get to know the ways of the Avid, would never go back. Yes, it'll take you longer to learn than a lesser tool, but you only have to learn it once!

hth wink
Ah, the Avid...

Well, I want to thank pdrg for always patiently answering my questions about the Avid in the past, and I'd like to say that having spent another year getting deeper into the Avid as an editor, and more precisely as a director sitting in an edit with a "real" Avid editor at a post house, I have gained a much deeper understanding of the advantges of the Avid in certain situations. I will say however, that I still cut on Vegas in the office and at home for most things and have begun to appreciate the deeper professional features of Vegas more as well- it has a LOT to offer.

Anyway-to those points- Vegas also allows mixed formats on the same timeline- in fact, I'm still not sure you can drop an mp3 or a flash piece or rip right from a DVD to the Avid timeline- all of which you CAN do in Vegas. smile

Vegas also supports multi-camera mode for live events etc...

But the titling tools in Vegas absolutely SUCK- try building bullet point lists etc. for corporate video- no way. The new Vegas 8 titling tool is a HUGE step in the right direction, but it also has lots of shortcomings- some of which I asked the Vegas forums and I got the response that "it's a first generation piece, hopefully they will expand the functionality of the new titler..."

But to the heart of it, I've seen how good the color correction tools are in Avid, I've seen how having the proper plug-ins etc... for keying tc... can make an edit a real treat with an experienced operator, of course I'm talking about a guy with 20K worth of software and a 750K post facility that he built onto the back of his house who edits national spots and even did montages for the CMA award show this last go round- he has high end clientele. I've also been working with another editor who is very skilled at Avid and can do alot with Photoshop, Avid, and After Effects and the single most impressive thing I've seen is the whole script outlining feature- that is an INCREDIBLY useful tool that the Avid has that I've not seen anywhere else- I've read that it even has voice recogntiion now! Very impressive and makes total sense. The truth is that I have never been able to get anyone to tell me why the Avid is truly a "better" tool because most editors have no idea what the features of programs like Premiere or Vegas or FCP are- they have no idea what they are capable of- They only remember that Avid is for pros and then everything else is for hobbyists to edit their home movies on, and that is what has been the frustrating thing- I just wanted some objective facts and comparisons! So- long story short, Learning the Avid DOES make total sense because you can interface with high-end finishing houses and as pdrg said "You only have to learn it once" But most of the "advantages" of the Avid will never be used by the indie filmmaker- In fact the guy with the big 750K facility has sold off one of his Avids and built an Adobe CS3 editing suite with After Effects, Flash, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro- He said we thought he should get an "integrated system" that was an alternative to the Avid.

So, the bottom line is that at this point, Avid, FCP, Premiere Pro, and Vegas are all high end editing apps that can produce similar results depending on the money spent and the time taken to learn the packages- Some may offer more advantages than others in certain areas- like the integrated Adobe solution or the way Vegas works with Sound Forge and Acid and Cinescore or does 5.1 surround mixes right on the timeline- or some of the more advanced options in the Avid (media management, color correction, script based edit, copatability with higher end systems etc...) So the questions then become "What is your budget?" and "what is your skill level and learning curve like on things like this?" and "do you need a stronger set of features in one area or another?" For example if you do lots of After Effects work, you might want to consider just learning the Premiere software and keeping your approach as integrated as possible. If you like to do alot of work with audio, compose with ACID or be able to incorporate a bunch of different media formats into a single project, and ease of use is important- maybe the Sony products are for you. If you are on a Mac- well, FCP is very well supported and has TONS of high-end features that are only going to get better. If you are working on projects that need to be portable to the next level or have serious organizational and high-end broadcast specs or interfacing with lots of hardware, you may want to consider delving into the Avid and learning it- it will serve you well as you progress in your career.

B
Posted: Mon, 26th Nov 2007, 9:50pm

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DVStudio

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There are many out there for all kinds of needs.

Adobe Premier and Photoshop
Sony Vegas
Final Cut Express
and more!

These are what I use, and Vegas seounds good.

Last edited Sat, 21st Mar 2009, 11:39am; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 27th Nov 2007, 12:39am

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The Duelist

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Final Cut Express sounds good to me. I'm on a budget, $200 being the higher end after springing for Visionlab (so glad I did!). I'm on a Mac, so Vegas is out, and I'm a hobbyist filmmaker, but that doesn't stop me from making professional-quality (or almost) films. FCE sounds like what I need.
Posted: Tue, 27th Nov 2007, 1:59am

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Serpent

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The Duelist wrote:

Final Cut Express sounds good to me. I'm on a budget, $200 being the higher end after springing for Visionlab (so glad I did!). I'm on a Mac, so Vegas is out, and I'm a hobbyist filmmaker, but that doesn't stop me from making professional-quality (or almost) films. FCE sounds like what I need.
Good choice. If you planned on upgrading to FCP later it's a very similar workflow and interface (same interface).
Posted: Tue, 27th Nov 2007, 4:03am

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FreshMentos

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Make sure that you get the student discount on FCE! it cuts the $300 price to $150.
Posted: Tue, 27th Nov 2007, 11:51am

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pdrg

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Bryan M Block wrote:

the whole script outlining feature- that is an INCREDIBLY useful tool that the Avid has that I've not seen anywhere else- I've read that it even has voice recogntiion now!

If you are working on projects that need to be portable to the next level or have serious organizational and high-end broadcast specs or interfacing with lots of hardware, you may want to consider delving into the Avid and learning it- it will serve you well as you progress in your career.
Bryan, nice smile I like your summary and that's all good information - and you're totally right, Avid really isn't for everyone, and the other tools are getting more and more competitive (although I still see a lot of them as playing catch-up, but they're doing it well!).

pdrg

ps - I love the idea of the voice recognition - that sounds very error-prone, but how cute if you could effectibvely hit 'autoedit' wink
Posted: Tue, 27th Nov 2007, 1:03pm

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Arktic

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The main drawback of FCP in a professional sense (and also Vegas and any of the others) when compared to AVID is the lack of a fully functional Unity system. I know attempts have been made to create something similar for FCP recently, but nothing I've seen stands up to the downright ruggedness and easy of use that a Unity system affords.

But, I do think that whilst learning AVID is a useful step in the right direction for someone looking to edit on a professional level at some point (as is learning FCP, as that's gaining more of a foothold in the 'real' industry these days), my advice for someone who wants to get some new software to use at home is this:

Get some demos, try them out. What works best for you is personal preference. People can make suggestions, but I reccomend actually having a bash yourself and seeing what you like and what you don't like about a piece of software.

All the big ones have demo versions - Avid Free DV is a good place to get your head around 3 point editing if you're not used to it, and there are demo versions of Premiere and Vegas. I'm not sure about FCP, but maybe try to find someone who owns a copy locally to you and get some experience using it before you decide which one to buy.

I've edited professionally using AVID (for the BBC), and I've spent a lot of time in AVID based edit suites; but at home I edit on Premiere and do anything motion graphics-wise in After Effects, with grading and special effects in VisionLab. I don't neccesarily think these are the 'best' products available (if I could buy an AVID Nitris set up for my bedroom, I would!), but they're the products and workflows that I personally work with best and could afford. I found this out by trying different programs, and came to my own conclusion.

I reccomend you do the same smile Hope this helps!

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Tue, 27th Nov 2007, 7:38pm

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Bryan M Block

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Arktic wrote:

The main drawback of FCP in a professional sense (and also Vegas and any of the others) when compared to AVID is the lack of a fully functional Unity system.

Arktic.
Do you mean the network sharing? Again, this is definitely a great feature that Avid offers, but that no one I know is really using- so it becomes one of those so-called "advantages" that aren't really tangible to a one or two man shop, and especially the indie film-maker. I can see this being a big advantage in a larger post-production facility, but even in some of the ones I work in, they aren't really using these features. The thing I'm excited about is that now I am truly finding out EXACTLY what each platform can offer that the others can't- those are OBJECTIVE comparisons- whether or not you use them or how they are implemented are SUBJECTIVE comparisons and that's all I could get from AVID user's before. I mean, sometimes AVID editors are surprised that you even have color correction tools or 3D compositing in or something in Vegas or Premiere or whatever because their concept of what those programs really are is terribly skewed. I'm not into saying that one is "better" than the other- but I DO want to know what one offers that is different than the others, and it has taken me three years to finally get to what some tools are that AVID has that others don't- but at the same time, I still feel that there are many advantages of using other packages besides the AVID in many situations, especially as I learn more about those packages.