Question: Vegas vs Avid

Post » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:26 am

This question has probably been asked before but with the release of 9 I am curious about some things.

1, What makes Avid "so much better" then Vegas
2, Other than SCS lack of marketing and some support of Vegas why is it not a player?
3, What would need to be done to make Vegas a more mainstream NLE

I love vegas and probably will never give it up for the kind of editing I do it is amazingly fast and fluid, I have never done a large movie so I am not sure what makes Avid of FCP SOOOOO much better.

I have a friend that is a MAC head and swears that I could be so much faster with FCP, but from what I have observed with the particular way and things I edit Vegas is much faster.....

Vegas has power that I have never touched and yet people in the industry seem Hell bent on making or claiming it is not a powerful NLE...

Just a thought provoking question...

Paul B
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Post » Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:23 am

As you point out, for "the kind of editing you do" Vegas is a great tool.

I think the kind of editing someone does and their workflow is extremely important.

Workflow on a highend movie usually involves a series of specialists
an assistant editor to put together a rough assembly of a scene (possibly one per scene)
the editor who puts the final assembly together
a colorist who does the color correction
a sound editor who does the sound editing (Also probably with Assistants)
a composer who does the score.
someone who does automatic dialogue replacement

probably some others that I forgot.

So you need a workflow that allows you to shift the media and the project to all the above people and the various software they use to do the above. Often you also need a way of taking your edit back from you NLE to film. Remember the All-digital workflow is actually still a very new thing. Playing well with others and going back out to film is what Avid and FCP do well. Vegas is designed with a philosophy of "we can do it all in Vegas."

Another thing involved with high-end film is media-management becomes extremely important. When you got 42 takes of a shot, you want to be able to get to the right ones quickly. This is one area where Avid editors have a problem with Vegas.

HIGH end codecs. Before Vegas 8, it only could use 8 bit codecs, I believe. Vegas 8 introduced 32-bit color processing, but it was a bit clunky to use.

Most Important: Tons and tons of trained Professional Avid and FCP editors. One-man-band editors LOVE Vegas, however, if you are opening a production house that edits 10 reality TV shows and you need 20 well trained editors in your market, you're more likely to go with Avid or FCP. College Students studying film are far more likely to be trained in Avid and FCP.

Once a market is entrenched in Avid or FCP, you really have to create a great tool to dislodge people. They are trained and proficient in a specific workflow. They have a large investment in the tools. If they are pros who have a great amount of work, when do they find the time to learn a new way. If you are coming completely new to editing, it's much, much easier just to pick the best tool for you and for a lot of folks that's Vegas.
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Nick Swan
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Post » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:42 pm

1. Reliability. Even if a particular task seemingly might be simpler in Vegas (and often is) the fact that you can't relay on its stability makes it consumer product. If you ever tried to work on a longer project you would know what i mean, if you ever tried to work on a longer project and worked with HDV you would know what i mean. FCP on top of that supports a variety of formats naively (P2 for instance) that Vegas never was and never will.

2. It's not a player because Sony doesn't care and if the makere of the product doesn't care then who should?

3. Fix the above two.
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kat no x
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Post » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:51 pm

I can offer opinions but I've not laid hands on an Avid. I do occasionally have dinner with a guy who made his living with Avid installing Avid facilities around the world. Just that sentence should give you a clue.

So. To start with, Avid is pretty much the grand-daddy of nonlinear NLEs, so you can guess that there is a large skilled user base with many years of experience, and the Avid product line has evolved to serve those needs.

Avid doesn't just provide individual edit systems. They also provide media servers and all the sorts of infrastructure a large TV station or network might use. If you've got a hundred edit stations and you want them all accessing the same storage, Avid can set you up with that, and they can set you up anywhere in the world.

What comes with that big infrastructure is a certain rigidity. I think if you're on Avid it's a bit more like being on a public transit system. It's big, it's coordinated. and it gets a lot of people where they're going all at the same time.

In contrast, Vegas is much better geared to the small shop or the individual prosumer. It's light and flexible. It's biggest problem is lack of project exchange with other NLEs, or with things like Protools, or with professional grading systems. Vegas 9 looks like it's taking a small step in that direction with improvements to some of the file formats it supports, improvements to its 32-bit color processing, improvements to its image size support, etc.

There's also a dearth of info about other things people would like in the professional sphere: BWF support, OMF, AAF, EDL support. These are all things that would help Vegas interact with other programs like Protools or Avid or FCP.

Which brings us to FCP. I picture FCP falling in the middle zone between Avid and PPro. Maybe on the continuum between Vegas and Avid FCP would lie about 2/3rds of the way down the road. A lot of it's initial development was geared at building something better than Avid that would serve smaller shops. A lot of the development team for the pre-apple effort came from a Media100 background and there was a lot of thought about how they could improve on their Media100 experience. There was also a lot of Premiere influence but I think that largely influenced ideas about building it a a popular desktop application.

So, FCP also has a big user base with lots of experience, but you could say that the thinking behind FCPs design is a little old. It's still geared towards professional users and Apple does attempt to address some of a facility's larger infrastructure needs, but not quite to the extent that Avid does. I gather that working in FCP involves a lot more "process" than in Vegas which makes FCP seem frustratingly slow to work with, but maybe it's also much more structured.

I can give you a little qualitative observation about PPro and FCP. We have three PPro+Axio systems that we bought a few years ago. The boss is a guy with long Media100 experience (an early competitor to Avid) and has a lot of ingrained work habits. PPro is pretty modern and he found it very lacking in things he expected to be able to do. And it crashed so much that there was no hope of doing a long form doc on the systems. In the end they bought one FCP system for the long form doc and so far he and his wife have been working every day and purring like kittens. They are in ear shot and I heard a LOT of gripes about Media100 and 844x during the last doc. Things are very quiet so far with FCP.

Rob Mack
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Shirley BEltran
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Post » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:40 pm

People who say AVID or FCP are better are retarded.

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keri seymour
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Post » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:57 pm

WOW thanks guys, allot of info there. I would love to see an Avid editor at work and see how they do it. I have mesed with FCP a little but not enough to form a opinion. Someday I would like to do some documentary film stuff and my wife and I really want to do some what se call family Heirloom videos for familys of terminaly ill family members. ( but need a beter camera for that) it seems that vegas still is best for me at this point and in the future...

So thanks for all the input. I always love to learn things... and this forum is a great place to do so..

Paul B
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roxanna matoorah
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Post » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:50 pm

It sounds to me like Vegas could do the job for you pretty well. I think you'd be very well served to have a lot of 10 minute long projects under your belt. Those seem long enough that you'd need to develop good media management practices.

Buster and I pretty much said the same things . Patryk makes a point I'd like to expand on, which is that we see a lot of complaints here of people who've gotten a long form project to the point of making a full render only to find that Vegas can't complete the render. It's very hard to test something like this without actually just doing the edit, and this is a point where FCP shines. Users KNOW it can render a long form project. In the case of Vegas, you'd have to test it.

I wonder if the new Production Assistant add-on could be set up to do these sorts of tests? You'd have a long form project as a template and use productions assistant to just pile random video into it and then do a test render.

BTW, that Avid consultant I mentioned has since retired. He has an FCP system for hobby use and LOVES it.

Rob Mack
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Dean Brown
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Post » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:09 pm

Just wanted to add some thoughts to the previous great responses.

1, What makes Avid "so much better" then Vegas?
Answer: Rather than "so much better" I'd rather say "where it works better". Avid has evolved to be a must NLE for Film editing. With their high costs and with requiring you to use their expensively priced hardware (at least in the past) this makes sense - if you have a Film BUDGET. Years ago there was no way I could afford it (and barely FCP) and I wasn't planning to edit Film.

2, Other than SCS lack of marketing and some support of Vegas why is it not a player?
Answer: Marketing is more effective if the "players" use you. The little guys can use Vegas but if the name droppers aren't its tough. But we shouldn't underestimate the internet word of mouth. Sony has tried to make inroads: ex. their association with AMD.

3, What would need to be done to make Vegas a more mainstream NLE
Answer: If Sony could release a MAC version of Vegas (like Adobe) it would cause a dramatic ripple in the APPLE world (maybe its been blocked for that reason or maybe PC/Windows structure is more stable he he). If they did I would still use the PC version because I like PCs directness over MACs symbolic way of doing things.

In my line of work I use both Vegas and FCP. Again, using, rather where it works better: Id say they are even in several regards. In regards to rendering: similar but with each doing some forms of media a little faster. Overall, I find a complete editing creation tool (VALUE PRICED) with Vegas vs. a spoke in a wheel approach with FCP. To get as good and a better complete editing creation tool with FCP you need Final Cut Studio. Studio is great when I have several people working on a project but when its me solo I get tired of rendering out and/or importing and doing things I need in different software rather than doing everything within Vegas. For instance, audio is important for me. In Vegas: Sound Forge is nearly built in with all the plugins (and you can create a Red Book CD from the timeline). In FCP: audio seems like an afterthought and you have to render out to Soundtrack to do any serious fixing. Then theres the cost of Sony Vegas 9 ($600) vs. Final Cut Studio 2 ($1,300).

So, not whats so much better but what works better for YOU?
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Ellie English
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Post » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:22 pm

1, What makes Avid "so much better" then Vegas

I don't think that Avid is so much better, unless you are talking about specific niches like high-end TV/film.

For higher end work where each task is left to specialists, you need to be able to move your audio + video edits between systems... that means EDLs and OMF/AAF. Vegas' support here is weak as CMX-style EDLs are not officially supported. So that puts Vegas at a big disadvantage. Also, there used to be issues with SDI in/out (I don't know if there still are).

For offline editing, the products are pretty mature and a lot of pros (AFAIK) cut on ancient Avids, or cheaper versions like Xpress DV + Mojo (no longer being sold AFAIK).

For online editing, Avid's main strength is that it integrates with the Avid used for offline. Other than that, it's not that great. Its hardware acceleration doesn't do much. Other systems are significantly faster (e.g. Quantel). Avid is not the only game in town there.

A lot of high-end systems are not that reliable. Most of them crash.

Format support is typically much, much lower. For the most part, you convert everything into SDI or maybe image sequences.

Avid of FCP SOOOOO much better.
They're... not.

If you're a one man army, you'll probably be more productive in Vegas than FCP or Avid.

That being said, many of them systems are good at something.
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Eric Hayes
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Post » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:18 pm

I've only seen Avid used over the shoulder of the editor as a news writer.
Seems backward to me and FCP seems frustratingly clunky.
But Vegas did when I first got into the game.
It's what you know and what you learn. Kind of like a language.
I have only ever edited with Vegas, from version 3 I think.
Just now I am printing to tape a one hour instructional video for delivery to a client tomorrow.
I used Excalibur to choose shots as this was a multi-cam shoot.
Now I realize this was not a film with all kinds of FX and colour correction etc, but I had NO problem at all with rendering and no crashes.
In fact Vegas has never crashed on me.
Do I just live a charmed life?
Usually I edit what I shoot, so for me Vegas is perfect.
Besides at 60 it takes me a bit longer to learned other NLEs.
And i really don't see any reason to, though I may when I step over the line into tapelessness and HD, which is not far off.
All this to say I love Vegas 'cause I've never known anything esle.
If I grew up with FCP or Avid, I may love them too, and may yet.
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Louise Andrew
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Post » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:46 am

can't answer your questions as I have little experience with both (but Premiere...), but...

if you're editing DV, vegas is more then you'll ever need to do anything you'll want to do. HD is where the long form projects get picky. But even "pro" software has limitations (I remember Maya 1, which cost ~$12-30k, had many many specific issues which were documented vs Lightwave 5/6 which had less issues overall and it cost under $1k).

If you are going to work with other vegas editors you'll have no issues. If you want to go back & forth with other NLE's that gets harder. doable (I used to do Vegas <> Premiere) but not as easy as other nle's.
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Michelle davies
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Post » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:15 am

I edited on an Avid Media Composer for 10 years, starting around 1994. The Avid worked, but it was klunky, workflow-wise (other formats had to be rendered to one file type, and each effect had to be rendered seperately), and the privilege was expensive; only the high-dollar segment of the production population could really afford it. The system was $80K. Hard drives had to spin at 10K RPM and cost exponentially more than what they cost now. Service cost was exorbitant.

(And, oh, by the way, Macs can lock up, regardless of what all the Mac zombies spout. If I had a nickel for every time Avid claimed it was the Mac, and Mac claimed it was the Avid peripherals...)

1. Avid developed first. He who gets there first, typically wins half the battle. Ask the developers of Betamax, Hi-8, or HD-DVD.

2. Sony Vegas is like a Swiss-Army knife. It does a lot of things really well at a fraction of the cost of an Avid, but simply didn't get there first. Patience, grasshopper.

3. Regarding the comparison of Vegas to FCP, if you have to work on a Mac, buy FCP (and prepare to pay out the nose). If you can handle a PC operating system, buy Vegas, and use your surplus cash to pay labor or buy other useful tools.
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Jason Rice
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Post » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:33 pm

I like to compare Vegas to a ShopSmith...

Rob Mack
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Rex Help
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Post » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:29 pm

The SDI factor is not to be underestimated because it can make everything you ingest conform to one specific codec that an edit system might like.

For example, when I started my current job in 2001 (and stopped being a full time grip/electric) we were shooting DV25 on a DSR500, ingesting via SDI (not firewire), and editing on Media100. The SDI ingest made the DV25 footage and anything pulled from BetaSP conform to just one codec that was friendly to Media100. The fact that Media100 only worked with it's own motion-jpeg format limited it but it also eliminated a lot of potential problems.

I've read posts by FCP users indicating that they (some of them) ingest just about everything over SDI, even if it could have been gotten over firewire. Some of them ingest DVCPro-HD over SDI and then save it in a DVCPro-HD CODEC, which makes me think they're missing the point of SDI, but it allows them to run everything through a Kona card.

Rob Mack
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Zosia Cetnar
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Post » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:52 pm

SDI has obvious advantages, it's routable. That's kind of vital when all your VCRs are centrally located.
Conforming everything to the one codec has considerable advantages too. There's probably a role for Vegas alongside an Avid system in that scenario.

I've only once watched someone cut on Avid's MC running on a Mac laptop. Totally smokes Vegas and FCP for speed. I'm talking about material shot by a competant crew with real cameras and I think that's what's too easily overlooked in these discussions.

I'd point out that this editor has used them all, including Vegas to cut two season of a reality TV series. Kind of apt as the series was shot in Vegas :) He had good things to say about it but for him too slow to use.

What I'd like to know is which Avid system are we comparing to Vegas?

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