SWITCH to Premiere Pro

I teach courses at VIVO Media Arts Centre in Vancouver on SWITCHING TO PREMIERE PRO CS6 and INTRO TO PREMIERE PRO CS6 .

Here are some useful links for switching, below this rant which I had earlier posted as a blog comment or two

One thing I want to say is that I’m not afraid of change.  FCPX defenders always throw that first so let’s forget it. I moved to Premiere Pro. This was a change. I was not afraid.

Also, I’m not a hater or a Mac lightweight. I’ve been C-64, Amiga, Mac since OS9, Windows 98, XOPC / Linux, and now I’m working on a sweet Hackintosh (thank u, Nofilmschool!!).

I love Mac. But I HATE FCPX.

FCPX lovers will ask, “Why all the hate?!?” To them I reply, “WHY ALL THE LOVE?!” Are your emotions more valid than mine? Is thy love stronger than mine hatred? Canst thou empathize only with those who feel as you do?

I started teaching Premiere at the local video co-op here in Vancouver because I think it is the better way for video artists / editors to go. More control, more hands-on with your materials. You are closer to the file system, where your media lives, not separated by a slick barrier of eye candy. You should organize your projects into project folders, not have FCPX handle the “movie events” while iphoto handles “picture events” and itunes handles the “music.”

I recommend FCPX to people who don’t want to learn to edit, but just want to finish their projects. It’s much easier to get rolling. But if you plan to open the project a year from now, something will go wrong, that’s what my gut tells me.  I used i-products enough not to trust their long-term memory.  FCPX feels like one of them… idvd will jumble a whole project if you so much as wiggle the ‘date modified’ on one of your files.

A lot of FCPX-lovers say: “It’s not the tools, it’s the talent,” or “It’s not the capabilities of the tool, it’s the capabilities of the professional.”

I just want to argue that one of the capabilities of a professional is choosing a proper tool. Apple’s major mistake was handing the pros a new tool they didn’t ask for.   Then the pro-FCPX crowd started arguing that we were wimps, chickens, no-talents etc if we didn’t immediately take to that software and just start liking it.

Well, FCPX seemed lame to me. I’ve always hated Imovie’s interface and its move away from project-based workflow to a whole-life based workflow; i.e. each sequence is its own project, and everything you’ve ever done is ordered together in one app interface. Three sequences from this project are bundled together with every sequence you’ve ever created.

That was worse, I admit, than Imovie HD’s approach, which was to copy all the reference media into the project file, thus forcing you to archive a whole 10-gig chunk intact or never open that project again.  No offlining there!  But neither is as good as Final Cut Classic’s (and Premiere Pro’s) way, which is the reference the big media files and keep the editing project itself in a small, clean standalone file that can be emailed / transferred / backed up easily.  It can even be opened and worked on without the reference media.

I am one of the few pro editors with extensive experience with Imovie; I’ve taught kids on macs for over 14 years and have had to put up with the stupid Imovie paradigm.  I never liked it.

It’s tied up with sandboxing and security and the move away from general-purpose computing (i.e. the Finder) and standards-based communications (i.e. html and web browsers) and towards one-purpose software & walled gardens (iLife) and file-management only within apps (i.e. the App store model – all your pictures are in your “Pictures” app or whatever).

It disempowers the user and reduces efficiency, plus it makes it hard to focus – I like a folder with all my project assets in it, and a project panel in an app (like FCP7, or PP) that has ONLY the stuff I need for that job, organized how I want it. Same thing with tracks in the timeline, magnetic timeline etc.

When I ask, “Why can’t I do such and such,” the modern corporation says “Why would you want to do that? We removed that ability because dumb users had problems with it. Viruses, losing files, messing up their OS etc. Learn to live without it.”

FCPX had that attitude written all over it, behind a smokescreen of real improvements. I hate to throw out a baby with the bathwater, but I also refuse to be railroaded into a computing world that is a step backwards overall.

Track-based editing is way better for me. I also hate the idea that I would have to tag stuff for it to be organized into stems, folders, collections etc. And then instead of looking at my timeline and knowing instantly where all the subtitles were vs intertitles, or music vs f/x vs dialogue I have to search for tags?

When I drag something into the timeline I build a picture in my head, and I hate seeing it get rearranged almost randomly based on where FCPX wants to shuttle the tracks. Hate it. How can I keep it all straight?

And grrrr – audio dissolves. Shift-Command-D in Premiere, Shift-Command-T in Final Cut 7, but in FCPX it’s click, drag, click, drag, etc etc… tiny little rubber bands to drag. It can’t work the same way because the tracks have to keep swapping around all the time? Or what? I make audio dissolves 50 times a day. Don’t take away that simple power, FCPX. I hate you.

And who needs automatic tagging of their shots into “2shots” “closeups” etc? That’s lazy and dumb, I think. Watch your footage. Get to know it.

Okay, maybe I am starting to sound like a hater but I’ve done a couple of short projects on FCPX just to see what I was missing. It’s improving now but too little, too late, and the attitude is all wrong for me. Definitely, a media artist wants to see the seams in the system, the cracks and edges, not be protected from the means of production by idiot-proof pretty toys…

Now the links.

10 Premiere Pro Tips for FCP Editors

Adobe.com: Switching to Premiere Pro

Workflows for Final Cut Pro users on Premiere Pro CS6

Quickstart Guide to Premiere Pro for FCP Users


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