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  • Posted by Simon Ubsdell on December 10, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    If you’re anything like me (and I guess you’re probably lucky if you’re not), you will be deeply conflicted about the applications that you use.

    When I’m in After Effects, I wish it could be more like Motion, and when I’m in Motion I wish it could be more like After Effects; I wish Fusion could be more like Nuke and I wish Nuke could be more like Fusion; there are things I love about Media Composer, and things that make me want to punch a hole through my screen.

    What’s really great is that moment when you realise that the application you are using is just perfect for the job you are doing at that moment, and you wouldn’t change it for anything.

    What’s really annoying is to be in the middle of a job and realise that you’d much prefer to be doing it in another application.

    What’s really bizarre for me is that pleasure and grief seem to be more or less equally meted out between all applications, however amazing they are.

    What things make you smile with pleasure and growl with anger … in one and the same application?

    So, not a question about which applications you prefer, but rather a question about whether you agree that every application has its sweet spot, and every application has its horrors.

    Or am I just weird like that?

    Simon Ubsdell
    tokyo-uk.com

    Herb Sevush replied 8 years, 5 months ago 16 Members · 59 Replies
  • 59 Replies
  • Michael Hancock

    December 11, 2015 at 12:37 am

    Sorry for the long post. I love your post and hope it sparks some interesting discussion.

    I think the question/discussion you bring up is a great one, particularly now that more and more people are well versed in multiple skill sets, and not just multiple skill sets but multiple applications within each skill set (NLEs – FCPX, Premiere Pro, Media Composer; Mograph – Motion, AE, C4D; Compositing – Fusion, Nuke; Color – Resolve, Speedgrade, Lumetri, Apple Color). This familiarity with so much competing and overlapping software highlights that every application is a great choice and a terrible choice, depending on the project. And the harder people drive the software and compare it to the competition, and really spend timing learning it, the more evident each system’s strengths and weaknesses become.

    [Simon Ubsdell] “What things make you smile with pleasure and growl with anger … in one and the same application?

    So, not a question about which applications you prefer, but rather a question about whether you agree that every application has its sweet spot, and every application has its horrors.”

    Does every application have its sweet spot and horror? Absolutely. And picking the wrong, or less suited, software at the start of a project is maddening when you get far long to realize it, but too far along to change it.

    But a big part of knowing you may the wrong choice, and thus being frustrated by it, is knowing that you made the wrong choice. And you can’t know that if you don’t know what the other software is capable of.

    Since I spend the majority of my time editing, I’ll just address my love/hate relationship with my three main NLEs:

    FCPX – skimming is fast. Crazy fast. Rough cutting is incredibly fast. But I despise the interface when I’m ready to refine my edit or dealing with a complicated composite where tracks would really, really help keep things organized. There’s not early enough keyboard control without having to keep a hand on the mouse all the time, and the interface often feels sluggish and slow to respond. And the lack of customization in the program keeps me in a state of slight irritation, particularly when it comes to metadata entry and display. If it’s really a database with an NLE attached it’s wasting its potential as a database. But to organize my footage and get that first cut done it’s lightning quick and fun to use.

    Premiere – incredible at accepting anything I throw at it, with great keyboard control (most of the time). But it’s temperamental, the interface often behaviors unexpectedly and interrupts my flow, and the lack of a proper offline/online workflow is a huge oversight. If you get too far into a project and realize you really need to switch everything to an offline codec it’s a major pain in the ass and you will rue the day you chose Premiere for that project.

    Avid – I still feel it’s the best for straight cutting, particularly when it comes to refining an edit (love trim mode and keyboard control). Love the offline/online workflow and incredibly robust metadata support and customization. Hate that AMA is still unreliable and performance suffers for it. So if you have to get cutting right away, Avid may not be a good choice. Hate the lack of format support (transcode or suffer is still very much a thing in Avid). Hate that little feature requests have been ignored for 10 features (Symphony color, anyone? Title tool? Improved effect handling/interface?). And I miss Scriptsync.

    I love and hate them all, but I find the love and hate rise and fall depending on what I’m doing in each app. Like you said – pick the wrong one and it’s a lot of grief. Pick the right one and you’re in love all day.

    Curiously enough, I often find myself in an NLE wishing that it had more UI/UX elements like After Effects, or like Resolve. And when I’m in Resolve or AE I find myself wishing they could behave more like one of the NLEs. And I don’t mean “I wish Avid had layer masks and precomps and could do motion graphics like AE”. More like, “Resolve’s ability to quickly sort a timeline by source then create groups would be amazing in Premiere right now so I can quickly apply this effect every shot from CamA_Clip004”. Or “I wish I could hide a handful of these tracks in FCPX like I can in AE. You should be able to make a role “shy” like you can a layer in AE. This timeline is too cluttered and I don’t need to see it all right now.” And I wish every app would work with hardware controllers like color panels or knobs and pots and transport controls. With customizable keyboard shortcuts (I’m looking at you After Effects).

    [Simon Ubsdell] “What’s really bizarre for me is that pleasure and grief seem to be more or less equally meted out between all applications, however amazing they are.”

    I think you see this because, and I’m making an assumption here, you really know the apps at a very deep level. Based on your posts you seem to learn not just the superficial handling of an app so you can slap some cuts together – you try to find its breaking points so you know where you will run into problems and how to solve them, or when not use the app so you can avoid them. I don’t use Motion but I watched your tutorials and they’re mind blowing. I never would have guessed the app could do so much. So while I may open AE and spend 2 days working on something you may open Motion and have it done in an hour, with similar or better results (talent not included). To go back to my earlier thought – I wouldn’t know I made the wrong choice in software because I don’t know what I don’t know. If you had instead started in AE and hit a point of no return you would have been a lot more frustrated than I would have been because you would recognize that Motion would be a better choice.

    If you know multiple apps at a deep level you recognize when something in app A is deficient compared to app B, and vice versa. I imagine that insight amplifies both the pleasure and the grief when you realize you definitely made a good, or bad, choice.

    Because the price of entry for all the software is now so low I think more and more people will start to recognize an apps strengths and weakness and will start making decisions on which app to use on a per project basis, rather than always choosing X, Y, or Z because it’s what they’re most familiar with. And with that, will the religious wars over software slow down, or end? Probably not. But I like to think the conversation may swing from “My app is better than your app” to “What is the best app for this project, and why?” And it’s the why I’m most interested in.

    —————-
    Michael Hancock
    Editor

  • Shawn Miller

    December 11, 2015 at 12:44 am

    [Simon Ubsdell] “So, not a question about which applications you prefer, but rather a question about whether you agree that every application has its sweet spot, and every application has its horrors.”

    Yes, 100% agree. There is a lot of crossover in the tools that I use… but none of them do everything perfectly, so I often finding myself wishing that one did something as well as the other. I do appreciate all of them for what they do well, though, and I feel pretty fortunate to live in a time when the tools I use are so incredibly powerful and accessible.

    Shawn

  • Simon Ubsdell

    December 11, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    A really great post, Michael, and you managed to say pretty much everything I would have said on the subject.

    A lot of your pluses and minuses are very similar to mine, incidentally. (Don’t get me started on AMA – it’s the Devil’s work! It’s very frustrating that the NLE that has historically been the strongest at media management is still distinctly unreliable in a feature that is really vital for today’s workflows.)

    Slamming up against the walls of an overly rigid interface is a classic instance of where pleasure turns to annoyance. There are interfaces that are designed with a very specific way of working in mind and it’s great when you stick to the designer’s notion of how you should work, and everything will feel fluid and easy. But the rigidity will quickly lead to frustration as soon as you want work in a way that the designer didn’t envisage. But then again, the same application can be rigid in some respects and flexible in others …

    I do wonder whether “extensibility” has a lot to do with the degree to which an application can frustrate or not. Seeing how someone like Walter works with After Effects (simply amazing!) makes me think that there are applications that in a real sense have no actual limits because of the means they offer the user to build out beyond the core in any direction. (NLEs are fundamentally not like this, although I can see that it might happen with Premiere at some point.) If you can to some extent “rewrite” the application to suit your needs, are you going to hit fewer of those sticking points?

    Simon Ubsdell
    tokyo-uk.com

  • Herb Sevush

    December 11, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    [Simon Ubsdell] “When I’m in After Effects, I wish it could be more like Motion, and when I’m in Motion I wish it could be more like After Effects; I wish Fusion could be more like Nuke and I wish Nuke could be more like Fusion; there are things I love about Media Composer, and things that make me want to punch a hole through my screen.”

    Since I’m a monogamous ap user I don’t have this conflict nearly as much as the realization that there is a feature in a now dead bit of software that I wish I could resurrect into the here and now.

    I get the feeling that most NLE software designers have a rather rudimentary knowledge of the history of their field and are not aware of some of the rather sublime features that many “dead” NLEs had that are worthy of consideration and emulation. it is very odd to be working on something in 2015 and wishing for a feature you used to have in 1998.

    Herb Sevush
    Zebra Productions
    —————————
    nothin’ attached to nothin’
    “Deciding the spine is the process of editing” F. Bieberkopf

  • Steve Connor

    December 11, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    [Simon Ubsdell] “Slamming up against the walls of an overly rigid interface is a classic instance of where pleasure turns to annoyance. There are interfaces that are designed with a very specific way of working in mind and it’s great when you stick to the designer’s notion of how you should work, and everything will feel fluid and easy. But the rigidity will quickly lead to frustration as soon as you want work in a way that the designer didn’t envisage. But then again, the same application can be rigid in some respects and flexible in others …”

    I’m still hoping for some more customisation in FCPX, I actually like the interface a lot but I’d like to be able to change layouts as quickly as you can with other NLEs

  • Steve Connor

    December 11, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    [Herb Sevush] “I get the feeling that most NLE software designers have a rather rudimentary knowledge of the history of their field and are not aware of some of the rather sublime features that many “dead” NLEs had that are worthy of consideration and emulation. it is very odd to be working on something in 2015 and wishing for a feature you used to have in 1998.

    Features like…..?

  • Herb Sevush

    December 11, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    [Steve Connor] “Features like…..?”

    EMC2

    Ripple Wall –
    which allowed everything to the left of a specified point to ripple while everything to the right of that point is frozen – similar to locking tracks, but horizontally, not vertically.

    Shot overlay –
    when overwriting shots the previous shots are still there, but hidden by the higher level shots. Think of layers in photoshop – underlaying layers remain unless and until you decide to “flatten the timeline.

    In-point/out-point/duration calculator –
    Any of those time code attributes of a clip could be stored as a value and then used in a mathematical function to quickly and accurately calculate proper values for specific trim functions, i.e., (Extend out point clip of A by (In point clip B – minus out point clip A)) this was done faster than you can say it, with keyboard shortcuts.

    Edit*

    Rendering in context –
    When compositing in a timeline and messing with effects edit* “knew” which part of an effect actually needed re-rendering and instead of re-rendering the whole effect it would only render that part of the effect that had actually changed. Instead of a single “red line” above a render, you could see a group of lines, each indicating a specific partial render and you could play around with these lines, turning them off and on which enabled and disabled that aspect of the rendered effect. It was brilliant.

    Archive –
    Edit* had the best archiving function I ever used. It would save the project file, the clips from the timeline, any nested clips, any clips used in any third party aps associated with the timeline, and any titles or graphics, all into a single zip file.

    There are many other bodies in the NLE graveyard, and, like people, they all had something memorable, worthwhile and unique about them.

    Herb Sevush
    Zebra Productions
    —————————
    nothin’ attached to nothin’
    “Deciding the spine is the process of editing” F. Bieberkopf

  • David Mathis

    December 11, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Perfectly normal feelings and spot on. My biggest beef with FCP X, as much as I like it is no Send To Motion option along with keyframing that needs improving. Exporting indvidual clips is a pain. I want to see a hybrid timeline, turn on and off tracks.

    Speaking of which, tracks don’t necessarily slow you down but you do have to pay attention to track assignments.

    Rendering is a big annoyance in Resolve. One minor change and it’s back to the old drawing board. Some stuff renders fast, others, not so much. Probably need a beefy machine for that.

    Fusion, good but needs tracking in addition to more OFX support.

    I forgot to mention no Send To Motion,a big annoyance.

  • Shawn Miller

    December 11, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    [David Mathis] “Fusion, good but needs tracking in addition to more OFX support.”

    Fusion does 2D tracking, do you mean 3D tracking? Where do you feel OFX support is lacking?

    Shawn

  • David Mathis

    December 11, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    [Shawn Miller] “[David Mathis] “Fusion, good but needs tracking in addition to more OFX support.”

    Fusion does 2D tracking, do you mean 3D tracking? Where do you feel OFX support is lacking?

    Shawn

    Glad there is 2D tracking, not much I do in 3D so not an issue, yet.

    Would like to see OFX support in the free version as I wait for Studio version to come out. Just subscribed to a three month plan of Sapphire and would like to use it in Fusion as well. Guess that I will have to be patient on that one.

    I do like Fusion and Resolve though the editing is still kind of rough in there. No plans to leave FCP X anytime soon. Same goes for Motion. Too bad Sapphire is not supported in either one. That is how the ball bounces.

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