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Feedback: Letters To and From the Editor --

By Charlie White

with Charlie White

Mr. White,
I am a Graphic Design student in Minnesota with a deep interest in non-linear editing.  I use Premiere at home with an Iomega Buz box, just doing very small personal projects for CD-ROM and school.  I have seen and used Avid Media Composers and Media 100 suites, and am currently looking into Avid certification.  Before I was in Graphic Design I was in school locally for Film and Video Production.  My interests steered me towards editing.  My question is this:  Is Avid editing certifiaction a good route to take?  I have had mixed reactions from freinds in the indusrty.  The coursework is a hefty $3000.00, and I would like an opinion on the current state of the digital editing industry.  Any advice you give would be greatly appreciated.

Hi James,

Ouch. I didn't know that costs $3000. Seems like a good resume reel that you've edited on an Avid would get you further than shelling out $3K for a certificate.

But if you need to learn it and don't have any industry contacts, it might be a good way to get in the door. See if you can learn how to use the Avid without spending money -- ideally, try to get paid while you learn, and then have a resume reel that shows what you've done.

Keep in mind that the video industry is more of a "show me" scene than a "let's see your degree" thing.


My year 2000 prediction is that Adobe Premiere will not only lose ground to Final Cut Pro (which is Mac-only software), but will *also* lose major ground to the new MEDIASTUDIO PRO 6 from Ulead Systems with its revamped interface, support for
Type 1 OHCI Microsoft DV compatible PCI boards, and built-in MPEG-2/DV editing.

Jerry Jones, Boise, Idaho

Dear Charles,
Just read your Pizza syndrome commentary.

Thank goodness you feel confident about your advertisers. The world needs
more criticism of the manufacturers in the media market. Even when they had a small population of rich broadcasters to sell to, they practiced sleight of hand, and bait and switch. The Pizza game is just the software variation. In the globalized economy, we see transparency and integration, yet the media tool manufacturers are continuing to build walls and segmentation.

While the trends are toward greater functionality at ever lower price points, Avid is attempting to drag everyone up to the $100,000 editing system after three years of five figure systems.

At the same time the users need to see that they cannot expect to build on their basic platform beyond a finite number of years. You can't get uncompressed video off drives built five years ago. Nor can you get sufficient bandwidth (or expansion) from a motherboard designed in 1994 to accomplish real time effects.

There are also a limited number of 'features' which define and articulate 'editing'. At some point- maybe like when we add pan and scan to the editing software -- you are beyond the fringe of a market's wants and desires. So what will be the motivation for a manufacturer?

The market now looks like we will see ever less slick products at lower and lower price points. Professionals will be asked to choose between their wages and their tools. It is showing up in the marginal productions in independent features, cable and television right now. Coming to the editing rooms of the new economy soon!

Keep on em, and keep informing.

Patrick Gregston
The Picture Works

Gawd, I hope you're right about video compression getting a major shot in the arm! We have lots of our stations sending (or trying to send) video files around our wide area network and clogging the system. Please, oh please, be right... <grin>

Terry White
Sr. Network Analyst
Sinclair Broadcast Group
Hunt Valley, MD


I just read your "pizza syndrome" article and I completely agree. Like most I do not have hundreds of thousands to spend on an editing system and of the two, hundreds and thousands, I am unfortunately in the hundreds category. I've been researching some of the lower end systems, specifically Premiere and Final Cut Pro and was wondering what your take on either was. I am just starting to put together an edit suite and want to know if Final Cut Pro is a wise base or should I look at something else?

Just starting out,

Dear David,

Thanks for your response to the "Pizza Syndrome" commentary, definitely the most agreed-with editorial so far. Seems like there's lots of trepidation with the vendors lately, and everybody's looking for a way to get their work done without getting burned.

So you're looking into Premiere and Final Cut Pro? My take is that I like both of them a lot. I've been a Premiere user since its earliest Mac-only days, when the Windows version was only at 1.0 and was so crappy it was a joke. Not any more. I really like Premiere's ease of use and its real-time integration with low-cost boards like the Pinnacle ReelTime, Matrox Digisuite LE and upcoming Matrox RT-2000. But if you're not teaming up with an accelerator card, it's slow as molasses, so spring for that card if you want to use Premiere. Or, you could use it on a Mac. Final Cut is also a great app, but you're restriced to a Mac with that one. It has lots of great features that are a lot like After Effects.

Besides my reservations about the Mac OS in general (which you can read about in my latest editorial), I'd say you can't go wrong with either Premiere or Final Cut Pro.


"Mac Sucks" Editorial


You asked for it.

You can't say:

"...with the "insanely great" Steve Jobs quacking on and on about this fantastic new OS..."
"...Please don't think I am one of those Mac-hating NT bigots with an ax to grind against Apple..."

in the same article and have any credibility.
With all the hype and bullshit surrounding NT/98/2000, I find it hard to believe your words. I work with both systems, we have 4500 IBM thinkpads on campus and I have 2 8500 and a G4 and NT PIII650. If I had to work with Windows I'd go back to shooting full time.

If you had an unstable Mac that is your fault. You can't run MS office with its 45 extensions and DLL libraries on a video box while you're surfing the net.

Secondly, if you left the Mac during the Nubus years than you were just damn lucky to edit on a computer when your wintel option was a 486/25.

You should know that they have been working on OSX for years and it has its foundation in Next/Unix which also has an extensive development record.
If you think windows is where it is at, raise your standards, the whole thing is built on a house of cards. I spend more time fixing the one NT machine than all three macs put together.
As a friend of mine in Hollywood who rents nonlinear says "...I have 10 times as many Media 100 boxes as I do Wintel boxes, and they are always out (rented), I could rent another 50...I don't think there was ever a demand for video on windows -- it was driven by the manufacturers...I treat my Macs like a vtr, we hump them around plug em in and they just keep working..."
"Microsoft, with its billions of dollars and armies of developers took about five years (from the shipment of Windows NT 3.1 until NT 4 was finally almost stabilized)"
"Almost stabilized" is the key phrase. Come on. It takes a small army to keep an NT shop running. You're either a geek or an artist: Do you want to create or fuss with a machine. "It worked this morning...it didn't do that last time" -- staples of the NT world.
I say take your 2x800 PIII, make it 4x800 and sit it by my G4 and we'll edit the same show, I'll render at night because I know what I am doing and I'll be done 2 days ahead of you on a 5 day edit.

Just because most people are driving a K-car (read American piece of shit) doesn't mean I'm going to give up my Volvo.

Dave Sheehan

Thanks for your comments. Sorry you didn't like the editorial. I would have agreed with you two years ago, but my experience has been a lot better with NT than with the Mac in the recent past, especially since Media 100 released Finish for NT and Avid has been refining Symphony. Also, Softimage|DS is another success story for NT.

You're right, though, about NT being hard to configure, but so is the Mac.




Here's more provocative Feedback!

Charlie White has been writing about digital video editing since it was the laughingstock of the post-production industry. He's an Emmy award-winning producer and director for PBS, and producer of this Web site.

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Related Keywords:nonlinear editing, gotchas, disk costing, disk space, complex effects, money, steep learning curve, Digital Video Editing, Charlie White

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