on jobs too - not sure where to put - seeking Premiere expert for private instruction

Posted by Marla Mitchnick 
Schedule for this is late July/early August:

Alas, we are considering alternate options and preparing to let go of our beloved FCP 7.0.3...

Though we are considering FCPX, and Avid, it's my lot to investigate Premiere, which I've never really used.

I need two private sessions with someone THOROUGHLY KNOWLEDGEABLE both in using AND teaching Premiere. Preferably NOT affiliated with Adobe for any kind of sales.


Session one - go over our special way of dealing with HD multicam, and our overall workflow. Investigate how we might accomplish our aims and methods with Premiere, pros and cons, what's different and what's the same, etc.

Session two - advanced techniques, exporting issues, bigger picture pros/cons, GFX, audio concerns etc.

For appropriate replies to this post only, please respond to marla@ted.com

Anything else, feel free to reach me through LACPUG.


Re: on jobs too - not sure where to put - seeking Premiere expert for private instruction
July 04, 2013 01:41AM
That could be fairly interesting. Unfortunately due to distance and schedule, I can't do a private session. I would think someone like Kevin Monahan could help, although he is affiliated with Adobe.

Re: on jobs too - not sure where to put - seeking Premiere expert for private instruction
July 06, 2013 11:02AM
For Avid, here's a discussion on the pros and cons of going from FCP7 to Avid.


Re: on jobs too - not sure where to put - seeking Premiere expert for private instruction
July 06, 2013 01:36PM
I'll do a quick comparison between Avid and Premiere. I'll first start by mentioning a brief background of Avid, FCP and Premiere to put things into perspective.

Avid comes from the higher end film and broadcast industry where collaborative workflows is the norm and Avid also makes their own server systems for collaborative editing, eg. ISIS, etc.. They also own ProTools which is very widely used for audio mixing. ProTools is an industry standard, if you want to use that term. This professional film and broadcast world is Avid's core market.

Traditionally Avid was designed for the film and tape based workflows. It came to prominence in the age when hard disks were expensive, when most edits started by capturing media in offline resolution before recapturing the final picture edit in high resolution. The result of this is that Avid has probably the most robust tape based offline/online system and EDL workflows.

FCP7 came out a little bit later and initially championed the MiniDV workflow and real time Firewire capture on a desktop. Avid at that time was a fairly expensive solution, boasting proprietary hardware video cards for real time acceleration of video processing and a robust VTR capture system which could work with high end broadcast VTR formats such as Digital Betacam and Betacam SP. This was the age when computers weren't very fast and storage was expensive. FCP's main claim to fame was desktop editing. FCP7 hit prime time when it supported 3rd party capture cards, and FCP could lay off programs to broadcast tape decks such as Digital Betacam and Betacam SP. This meant that it was finally usable for broadcast and thus, FCP as professional tool that we know of today, was probably born during that time.

Both Avid and Apple own their own video formats. Avid uses MXF, and previously in the SD days, OMF, and they have a history of using a variety of video compression codecs such as DNxHD, 1:1, 3:1, 15:1, Avid Meridien, etc. Apple owns QT and they developed ProRes, which came out years after Avid came out with DNxHD.

This is a rather interesting backdrop, because not long after this, a variety of file based formats in the HD era hit the market. FCP developed the Log and Transfer module to "re-wrap" media into Quicktime and transcode to ProRes if the format is too processor intensive for FCP to handle. Avid eventually came out with AMA (Avid Media Access), which was designed as a way to quickly preview tapeless formats before consolidating into Avid media where most of Avid's media management took place.

Avid's history of working with the tape based offline/online workflow and owning their own video formats and codecs meant that by this time, they had developed a pretty robust media management system.

FCP was largely designed as a Quicktime editor and to cope with file based formats, they started using metadata (Clip ID) which is buried within the QT file and in the FCP project file. This allowed FCP to keep a link back to the source media format which allowed users to re-ingest the Quicktime media from the original camera media. When we transitioned to a 64 bit computing world, Apple decided they wanted to re-invent the software, perhaps to target a new generation or a new market of users, hence FCPX was born, so the word is still out on whether that is a success or not.

Premiere was largely designed for the native workflow. Adobe has never owned a video editing format, unlike Avid and Apple. So unlike FCP7, where you need to transcode or consolidate media into an FCP7 friendly format, Premiere was designed to be able to edit with processor intensive media formats in the timeline such as RED or H.264 without transcoding or creating new media if you give it a powerful enough machine.

You will often hear of Premiere's "Mercury Playback Engine". This is a series of under the hood processes that is designed to streamline the native workflow. It consists of a 64 bit architecture built around multiple processor usage, GPU acceleration for effects (for playback and rendering), and numerous other background processes such as caching and indexing media for performance. The effect of this is that you can pretty much cut anything your machine can handle. It also allows the user to selectively drop playback resolution to improve performance when working with very processor intensive media like REDCODE. Premiere was the first of the 3 big NLEs to transition to 64 bits.

Premiere also supports a very wide range of formats, and in Premiere Pro CC, it can read and write to DNxHD MXFs (it can read Avid media), DVD VOB files, Quicktime files, XDCAM, Avc-Intra, etc... It supports a huge range of formats because of the native workflow that Adobe champions.

Some people will mention that Premiere is designed for the "render on output" workflow vs "transcode on ingest". This is partially true, but Adobe has certainly done a lot of R&D on optimizing the native workflow, as they see this to be a big selling point for Premiere and you will see the effects of the Mercury playback engine both on playback within the app and in rendering/exporting to your final output.

Adobe's history is that at one point in time they went after the desktop publishing market. This happened around the era when there was strong rivalry between Apple and Avid and Microsoft, but I digress. Anyway, that was the era when desktop editing and desktop publishing came to prominance. The result of that era is that Adobe today owns the full set of desktop publishing and design tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand, Flash, Dreamweaver, etc.. And these are offered together with Premiere in the Creative Cloud. They also own After Effects, which is very widely used for motion graphics, industry standard, if we have to use that term.

I'm going to cut this short because I need to get back to editing my scene. I don't mean to imply that Avid is old and antiquated, but rather that it has its roots in certain workflows from an older era.

Pros and Cons:

Premiere Pro CC

- Great native editing support. This speeds up ingest tremendously. And is useful for quick turnaround environments.

- Good interop with After Effects and Illustrator, you can import Illustrator files direct into Premiere. You can send a series of shots directly to After Effects straight from the Premiere timeline, and any changes in After Effects will update in Premiere.

- Premiere Pro CC comes with a built in loudness meter from TC Electronic which is pretty much the standard for broadcast today.

- Audio waveforms can be created and cached on import. This is a user preference, but I like this feature because after waveforms are created during import, they show up instantly. And this is great when you are cutting large chunks of interviews, because unlike in FCP7, you do not have to wait for waveforms to load.

- Wide interchange format support. It supports import/export of FCP 7 XML, Avid AAF, EDL and OMF export. There are limitations to some of the format support, but this is pretty much the garden variety of interchange formats out there.

- OMF export to a digital audio workstation is only limited to ProTools and Adobe Audition.

- Lacks a file based offline/online workflow. You can batch re-link between two sets of the same media (eg. low resolution and high resolution versions) if the file names and file extensions are the same, but in today's world of file based acquisition formats, they aren't. Media management in this sense still leaves quite a bit to be desired.

- Lacks a consolidate and transcode feature. This can be a bit of an issue because while Premiere supports so many formats, you may be doing finishing work in an application that does not support as many formats as Premiere (eg. the Davinci Resolve does not support XDCAM EX and AVCHD). There is no function to transcode the media within the edit into another format to make the edit more compatible with another system. So media management in this aspect needs to be pre-planned.

- It uses multicam sequences rather than multicam clips so if one cameraman shot many short clips instead of one long clip, you can pop all those clips onto the same track and create one multicamera sequence. Premiere CC also allows in app syncing of multicamera clips by audio, similar to FCP X or PluralEyes, but in some areas I feel multicam is not at a very mature state in Premiere when compared to FCP7 or Avid.

- Integration with Speedgrade still leaves a lot to be desired. Speedgrade came into the Adobe suite late, so I suppose it is a matter of time before we get better interop between these two apps. You can export looks from Speedgrade into Premiere CC, but sending an edit over to Speedgrade will require the Premiere to transcode everything to DPX which is huge files.

Avid MC

- A very mature editing platform, very robust trim and edit tools. Great for a storytelling environment. There are little design intricacies like how the source and record monitors are always the same size and right next to each other, which makes it easy to match continuity when editing.

- Very good for collaborative multi seat editing with Avid ISIS. Many editors can work off the same Avid project and they do not risk saving over each others work. Downside is that Avid ISIS is a turnkey system, compared to some of the DIY NAS editing solutions that some of us use. But this is kind of a price vs reliability/performance comparison.

- Stable due to design. An Avid project usually consists of multiple bins, and Avid does not care about the overall size of the project and the amount of media within the project as a whole, but how many bins are open at the same time. This is what made Avid very stable on large projects in the 32 bit computing era when FCP easily becomes a crashy mess without careful project management if you're working with a lot of media. This also means that project loading time between a large complex project and a small project is about the same, unlike in FCP where a large project takes far longer to launch than a smaller project. Launching a fairly large project in Premiere is pretty fast, but it may take a while for all the media to re-connect.

- Robust workflows between Avid, ProTools and finishing applications such as Baselight, DaVinci Resolve, Smoke and Flame.

- Robust offline/online workflows. In the feature film and multicam reality world where Avid comes from, editing low resolution in SD or a proxy codec like DNxHD36 is commonplace, and relinking between low resolution and high resolution media is quite robust. In Avid you can choose to relink based on timecode and reel names, clip names, etc.. and you can choose to relink a clip to a partial file. It also has a very robust consolidate and transcode function and you can transcode your edit to one format and export an AAF for finishing/online.

- Symphony option. Symphony contains color correction tools such as source side color correction and secondary vector color correction. Source side color correction means that you can grade one master shot from an interview and that color correction will automatically be applied to all instances of the affiliate clips in the edit. It can be hooked up to color correction controllers such as the MC Color for fast precise color correction. The criticism with Symphony is that it was pretty powerful years ago, but in our age of $1K DaVinci Resolve, much of Symphony's features has languished. A notable lapse is that it lacks trackable power windows and also the color science within the app can be improved.

- Playback engine certainly is not as optimized for editing with native formats if compared to Premiere.

- Audio waveforms in Avid MC7 is cached after first generation. So while you may have to wait for audio waveforms to show up, after that, it doesn't regenerate waveforms. Also waveforms generate faster with Avid's native media formats than they do with AMA formats. This is still an area where I prefer Premiere's implementation over Avid's. But to Avid's credit, this was what I hated in previous versions of MC, but it's a lot more palatable in MC7 and there has also been a noticeable improvement with AMA waveforms.

- While support for Avid's own AAF interchange format is quite robust, Avid does not work with XML which is more developer friendly as XML can be opened and edited in a text editor. This leads to noticeably less 3rd party workflows and is also one f the reasons 3rd party plugins tend to take their time to arrive on the MC platform.

- Playback engine is still a little bit... historic. I mean, it's the only system out there where if you hit play and you adjust an audio fader, playback stops. Unless you use fader automation and record audio keyframes.

- Limited to 24 audio tracks. I just did a cut in FCP where I had 32 audio tracks because of split mic-ed subjects and music and effects. So yes, I find this rather limiting.

- One audio effect per clip. You can have multiple audio effects on a track, but only one audio effect per clip.

- Generally poor with effects. Blend modes are limited, unless you have BCC effects which comes bundled with the Symphony option. However, it has a built in tracker and a paint and masking tool (Animatte). Avid is no After Effects, and does not claim to be. The main advantage of the in built effects tools is that it facilitates the offline edit because for offline/online workflows, the workflow gets tricky if you have to round trip to a separate effects app before picture lock.

- Avid on the whole seems to have less 3rd party integration when compared to the other NLEs such as FCP7, FCPX and Premiere (eg. plugins), but there are notable ones with excellent integration such as Script Sync, Phrase Find, Baselight for Avid, Izotope Ozone, but they come at a price.

On the whole, I find the learning curve from FCP to Premiere to be easier because the editing paradigm is quite similar. Avid is great as a storytelling tool. They are slightly different solutions even though they are video editing softwares.

Hi Marla,
Where are you located? I could try and put you in touch with a trainer, if you like. Just need more info on your location and I'll see what I can do.

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