Posted by Mack Truck 
March 16, 2011 12:33PM
I've been using FCP and XDCAM EX for over 3 years now and all I can say is that I have not seen a lot of improvement regarding some bugs.

First of all, when you use the smoothcam plugin, you loose all the rendering files when you reopen the project and render another effect on any other clip. Not very convenient when you have a lot of aerial shots...

But the worst is when you work on big projects. At some point, FCP crashes when it displays thumbnails in a bin. I am currently working on a project with 50 bins and almost 100 hours of footage, and the damn thing crashes like every 20 minutes when I am editing. Knowing it takes about 3-4 minutes to re-open the project, that's at least an hour an a half of wasted time at the end of the day. This is a known bug, and only happens with XDCAM EX. Unfortunately when you log and transfer, and unlike P2, you can not convert to ProRes, which does not bring FCP to its knees.

I have to admit the last release of Final Cut Studio was a big disappointment. No new features, not of the above bugs were corrected, and still no blu-ray support. In the meantime Adobe's engineers have been doing their work with After Effects and Premiere.

I've heard rumors about a new version of FCP for over a year now... With nothing new from Apple. So being sick and tired of waiting, I sent an email last week to Steve himself, asking him if Apple's engineers were doing something besides developing for iPhone and iPad. I asked him about a release date for the a new FCP. He answered me, but did not give any date. All he said was "soon", which he already said about a year ago to some other guys asking him the same question. He also said that the next release would be "awesome".

So how long do we have to wait for awesomeness ? Will that really be a full re-write so I'll be able to enjoy my new 64-bit 12-core Mac Pro ? I've heard rumors about August. I'll wait until then, but I am considering switching to Premiere, even if I don't like it (I have about 12 years of FCP projects).

Hope to hear a good news from Cupertino soon...
March 16, 2011 01:48PM
There was some news about the next FCP. Apparently some guys have seen it and it is supposedly "awesome". I sure hope it will be.

Now, I'm not sure how Premiere handles xdcam ex, but avid sucks at it, because AMA is currently more for a quick and dirty mode of editing (aka not reliable for heavy editing work).

With long GOP formats, it is a situation of pay me now or pay me later. You don't want to master to any of the long GOP formats as they are incredibly lossy. You can transcode. In fact, I almost always transcode long GOP formats. You can start editing on import, just create a Compressor droplet and transcode it when you leave and reconnect when you come back in the next day. It is quite painless.

I have edited xdcam ex natively when the schedule didn't allow me to transcode, but I didn't encounter any issues with thumbnail previews. When did this start happening?

March 17, 2011 04:57AM
Could you develop what you don't like about AMA ?
I might use it soon on an Avid configuration. I'd rather stay with Fcp, like most of what I do, and I need some arguments !
March 17, 2011 08:50AM
Experienced editors using Avid's AMA counsel transcoding instead. You cannot do both, you cannot mix workflows. AMA is a great demo event; manufacturers support it with specific plug-ins; it shows promise, but it has serious limits-- for instance, Avid's own 5.0 docs tell you AMA is not supported for multicam work. Most serious editors, especially on any but highest end Macs and only those requiring more than a single stream in the timeline, choose to transcode camera native formats to Avid's efficient DNxHD codecs-- doing on Avid what they do using ProRers422 on FCP.
AMA is not yet seen as a mission critical tool.

- Loren

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March 17, 2011 09:28AM
The multicam issue is a big one, and partially stems from an inability, when using AMA sources, to add or change metadata like reel names. Dupe detection in AVID relies on Reel Name and TC so that won't work either. There's stuff in the manual about what bad things might happen if you modify the wrong data. Mostly it affects the ability to relink to the AMA media.

I can't confirm this one because it was something the assistant on my last AMA gig told me and I was long gone by the time conforming came around, but the ability to do OMF/AFF outputs is also affected by using AMA media.

Worth checking into if that's part of your workflow.

Sleeplings, AWAKE!
March 17, 2011 10:29AM
"exception: a serious error has occured. Please restart" my case seemed related to a long qt clip (offline reference). No issues initially, then it happened. But do a quick google on this error and AMA and there seems to be many causes and many fixes:

And many more..

Also it doesn't take reel names, or support qt timecode. I'm probably dreaming if they made metadata exchangeable with qt, but reel names....

And there are possible stability issues which I have heard of, but have yet to encounter as my practice is to avoid AMA except when necessary. So far it's been only ProRes and some dvcprohd. So far my take is to use it as often as you would use non editable codecs in FCP. It's good when you have clients in the room, but for serious editing, always ingest and transcode. You save time consolidating media and troubleshooting when you need to export for audio mix.

March 19, 2011 01:16PM
Thank you all for the insights.

A Day late & a Dollar-short Productions
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