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Getting the most for your dollar when choosing your editing package

In Part 1, Kevin Mcauliffe covers the main tools in Adobe's and Apple's video production suites By Kevin McAuliffe

These days, it seems like everyone out there has an editing package. Apple has Final Cut Studio, Avid has Media Composer that you can bundle with Studio Toolkit (on Windows only), Adobe has Creative Suite - Production Bundle and even Sony has the Vegas Pro editing bundle, but with all these choices out there, what should you choose? 

First things first. When choosing an editing package, you want just that. A package!  With computers getting as powerful as they are, we as editors (and compositors, and graphic artists, and sound mixers) now have the option to get a “full package” that includes editing, audio mixing, DVD creation and web solutions, and for companies to offer us anything less (as a package), almost seems pointless. So, where do you start, when looking for the package that’s right for you? Well, for all us Mac users, the choice is made easier right off the bat. First, we can eliminate Vegas, as it is Windows only.  Second, we can eliminate Media Composer, as Studio toolkit is Windows only, and I said in my review, Media Composer is the best editing application on the market, but it is just that, an editing application, and we want the most for our dollar, so that’s out.  Well, it looks like we have two choices left; Final Cut Studio 2 and Adobe’s Creative Suite CS3 Production Bundle. 

What You Get
Apple and Adobe are both moving in the right direction when it comes to giving users the tools that they need to get their jobs done, from start to finish. Here’s the breakdown of what you get:

Apple’s Final Cut Studio 2

  • Final Cut Pro
  • Motion 3
  • Soundtrack Pro 2
  • Compressor 3
  • Color
  • DVD Studio Pro 4
  • LiveType 2

Price : $1299 USD

Looking at the value you get for your dollar is a little difficult here, as there are no individual prices for each one of the programs, as they are not sold separately (except for Final Cut Express which retails for $200), but here is a little indicator of the value of this package. Most people were excited to hear that Apple was including a color correction and grading program in with Final Cut Studio, but what most people don’t realize is that Color was actually a different program before it was Color. Originally designed by a company called Silicon Color, Final Touch (as it was originally called) was pretty much the same program you see now, minus the tighter integration with Final Cut Pro, and retailed for about $5000 US (for the HD version). Now, this $5000 US program is included in Final Cut Studio 2 at no additional cost. You can pull yourself up off the floor now!

Adobe, on the other hand, is a little bit different. All its programs can be bought separately or as part of a bundle (with a couple of exceptions). Here’s what you get with Adobe’s Creative Suite 3 - Production Premium (CS3-PP):

  • Premiere Pro CS3 ($799 US includes Encore)
  • After Effects CS3 Professional ($999 US)
  • Photoshop CS3 Extended ($999 US)
  • Illustrator CS3 ($999 US)
  • Flash CS3 Professional ($699 US)
  • Soundbooth CS3 ($199 US)
  • Encore CS3 (available as part of Premiere Pro CS3 or the CS3-PP)
  • OnLocation CS3 (Windows Only - available in Premiere Pro CS3 or CS3-PP)

Price: $1699

Needless to say, if you are going to buy Photoshop Extended and After Effects Professional, you are just better off buying the CS3-PP, as it is obviously the better deal. You are essentially getting about $4700 US worth of software for $1700. Now that’s a great deal. But, I know better than anyone that you can’t judge a package by the value of the software, but by what is delivers, so I’m going to break things down into five categories that will let you determine which package is better for you. The five categories are:

•  Editing
•  Motion Graphics
•  Still Graphics
•  Sound Mixing
•  DVD Creation
•  Above and Beyond

and then we will take a final look at the overall packages and their pros and cons.  


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Related Keywords:editing suite, video editing, video production, NLE

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