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Final Cut Studio, redux

May 26, 2014

Oliver Peters has an interesting post about recreating the old Final Cut Studio with current non-Adobe or Avid products. I’m not sure what to think about his suggestions. A couple of notes to add to what he says.

First, he suggests Logic Pro as a replacement for Soundtrack Pro/Audition/Pro Tools (I like putting Pro Tools last in that list, just to be a curmudgeon). I did some research on audio software when we were moving from Final Cut Studio (at UCA, we settled on the Adobe Cloud), and found one instance anywhere online of someone doing a narrative feature in Logic Pro. And it was a guy who primarily did music, but thought he’d take a crack at a film.

Please correct me if I’m missing a group doing narrative sound mixes in Logic Pro, but what I kept finding was people saying that Logic is a great music creation tool, but just doesn’t cut it for narrative work. My take on it was that Logic Pro is laid out to handle notes and beats, not dialogue. I suspect that Oliver was suggesting it as a tool to augment doing your major audio mix in Premiere, which for an audio guy just isn’t a pretty concept.

I’m not a power user of Photoshop in any way, but is there any world where people don’t pass photoshop files back and forth? Again, I could be out of the loop, but working in something other than Photoshop feels like whenever someone gives me a file in Pages format, and I have to go bug someone with iWorks to convert it to something usable for me. I could easily use a program other than photoshop, given how simplistic my needs are, but I can’t imagine trying to work with anyone else while doing that.

The post side-steps DVD creation, saying that FCPX and Compressor can make simple DVDs, but that’s hardly what a client is looking for. I’m not using X, but the old FCP and Compressor DVD tools couldn’t completely hide the MS-DOS looking menus, and were pretty buggy. Of course, Adobe has left Encore out of the Cloud apps. Am I really the only person still making DVDs? I’m typing this right now while burning an hour-and-a-half program for a client. Where should I put that online that’s convenient for him to download and watch? DVDs are still relevant, and comic books used to be 25 cents!

Of course, I’m about to get a new laptop which does not include a DVD burner. We’ll see how that goes…

Wow, I didn’t mean this to be a negative reaction – I thought it was an interesting post, but turns out as I dig into it, life without the Final Cut Studio or Adobe is lacking.


  1. May 26, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Logic Pro is now Logic Pro X and supports FCPX XML and AAF. It’s a lot more serious about editing sound for video/film than previous Logic Pro versions. Although it got mixed reviews on its FCPX integration initially, it was recently updated with more robust FCPX support. LPX will probably see more use by video/filmmakers who cut with FCPX as the workflow between the two gets more and more robust.

    Pixelmator is a wonderful graphics app that is very fast, and as OP mentions, can do a lot of vector work, as well as having a full set of raster editing and painting tools. My issue with it in the past was lack of higher bit-depth support, but the latest version has 16-bit color support, which makes me happy – 32 would have been better though for us animator-types who create 32-bit images… It reads and writes PSD files with layers. My favorite thing about it is that it lacks the features in Photoshop that I don’t use so it does not feel as cluttered.

    Pages is free now with Mavericks. You can grab it when you get your new computer. Its proprietary format was my #1 reason for not using it even though it was a joy to use. Now that its format is finding more support (Google is helping with that), and it has an online and iPad editor, I am going to it a lot more frequently.

    The DVD issue is muddied with raster size, compression, and other issues. Since it’s SD, even long form videos could be sharable via Dropbox or one of the many online storage and client sharing services without being giant files (MPEG2 is a hog compared to h.264 for instance). A USB stick could be dropped in the mail… Seems like there are a number of ways of not having to author a DVD unless a client or festival demands it.

  2. May 28, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks for the (as always) well-thought-out comments, Scott! Everyone should check out Scott’s blog, with even more info about Final Cut alternatives in his latest post at http://renderwalk.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/adobe-alternatives/

    I’m looking forward to giving Logic Pro X a second look, though I’m still waiting to hear someone else using it on a narrative in any large way.

    The DVD thing isn’t about clients demanding it as they are expecting it. It’s the tangible thing that anyone can play anywhere. A USB stick or download still isn’t universal (what system are you using… oh… you should install…), and it’s permanent. You don’t accidentally overwrite it, or move it, or rename it or…

    DVDs still also have a cache that a file just doesn’t. I watch videos of Emma in dance class on a movie file. I watch The Avengers on DVD. That’s still the case for a lot of people/clients, and probably will be for a while.

  1. May 26, 2014 at 10:24 pm
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