I mentioned previously that there are two other software packages to consider for editing. They’re Avid’s Media Composer and Apple’s Final Cut. In truth, there are several more, but I don’t have much experience with Sony’s Vegas, EditShare’s Lightworks or even Blender’s editing tool. That’s not to say that they aren’t good, just that I haven’t tried them out.
I have tried out Avid’s Media Composer. In fact, my first experience with non-linear editing was with Media Composer, one of the first non-linear editors on the market. Provided you keep an eye on versions, it’s an extremely reliable solution. The internal database management is strong.
Are you finishing a cable series with three main cameras, five GoPros, several SLR-style cameras all running in sync (or not) with or without timecode and double-system sound? Edited by three different offline editors across the country? Each handling workflow and proxies differently?
Media Composer is the ticket. Its ability to attach high-resolution media to sequences is unmatched. (Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve comes close by virtue of its need to connect XML files to footage.)
While Media Composer may be “Old Reliable,” Apple’s Final Cut has a 20-year history, believe it or not. The current version, Final Cut Pro X, had a bumpy rollout (to say the least) in 2011, as editors grappled with a fundamental change in how timelines work. Its magnetic timeline was both confusing to some and game changing to others.
But rather than rehash that history, I can say that Final Cut Pro X really is a marvel when it comes to metadata. It takes a little upfront planning, but you can quickly organize your project even if you have tons of footage.
Tagging based on content, attaching transcripts, defining the shot type and use, all lead to getting the organization done early on so you can concentrate on editing. Then you can easily find shots: Need that bite when the interviewee says, “Perfect”? Easy. That exterior b-roll shot of the car leaving? Done.
Of course, Final Cut Pro X is only available on the Mac whereas all the other options I’ve detailed are cross-platform. It also requires a different approach to using timelines and organizing your project.
In any case, Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, Media Composer and Final Cut Pro X are the tools I keep handy, depending on the project. It’s a matter of picking the right tool for the job.