Some pretty in depth questions there but I’m happy to try and briefly answer them.
1. Avid manages it’s media with database files. If you link to media in the Avid (AMA link) it works kinda like Premier and loses links to files occasionally. We transcode our media for editing to a low data rate MXF which then is managed by Avid in a “Avid Media” folder on your storage drive. The benefits are that when you open Avid as soon as you see the interface you can press play and it plays, you don’t have to wait for Premier to find the media. Footage never becomes unlinked or missing. If something happens and there is a problem you can delete the database file (.mdb) Avid then checks the metadata for all the files in that folder and creates a new database. You can plug your drive in any Avid and it will check the “Avid Media” folder, find your footage and will ready to cut straight away. Things like having multiple copies of footage on multiple drives are not a problem because the drive name doesn’t confuse the application. The benefits of this might not be apparent until you connect 10 edits workstations to a single shared storage, or have editors working in different locations. Keep reading below if you want to find out how and why we transcode our footage.
2. Bin locking. An Avid project is a folder in Finder (or Explorer if your in windows). In that folder are some settings files and all your bins. Each bin (.avb) is a seperate file. This is really useful. Avid need only lock that bin to stop it being over written by multiple systems. How does this work in practice? If I’m editing day one’s rushes my assistant can be in the same project and create a new bin called “Day Two Rushes” she can work in that bin naming, synching and selecting with out effecting my Avid project. If her system loses power it won’t effect my system. Importantly I can open her bin while she’s working on it and check her work or look at the footage and it won’t cause a problem. All that happens on my system is I get a red padlock icon on the bin so I know any changes I make to that bin won’t be saved. This is better than Premier because when you import an edit from another project it brings in all the dependent media as well. Chances are you probably already have that media in the project but its not smart enough to know that. I was working on a Documentary with another editor in Premier recently and the process was workable but still annoying.
This open file nature of Avid is also useful for projects that share content. I can open (not import) a bin from another project. I could make a bin that has our custom countdown, and open it in every job I work on so I can put that at the start. Imagine a bin with every second of Ford Mustang commercial footage ever shot so if I need a Mustang shot for an Ad I need only open that bin. Not only that but every shot is logged and labeled so if I only want blue Mustang’s I can custom sift my bin with the keyword “blue” and it will show only the blue cars. I know metadata and sorting are a big thing for FCPX but I’ve been custom sifting my bins for “Scene 01” and “Mazda3” since I started using in Avid in 2000, it does require you to name your footage but your crazy if you’re not doing that anyway.
Also I need only send an updated bin (i.e. Edits.avb) to someone in another city (assuming they have the same media) and they will have my latest edit playable in their Avid.
3. Premier is for editing and AfterEffects is for motion graphics. After Effects is not a compositing package that is comparable to Nuke, Fusion or FLAME. You can do some VFX sure and potentially green screen work but you need a node based system for real VFX work. Weta, ILM, MPC, DNeg, Method, etc. don’t comp VFX in AfterEffects, they use Nuke (maybe Fusion). Depending on the size of the facility there will be a mix of systems, maybe (probably) AfterEffect was used for the title sequence and end credits. If you want to work in the VFX industry download Fusion for free and lean how to composite with nodes, if filmmaking is a hobby then you can do your VFX in AfterEffect, there is a large learning curve to composting with nodes and Nuke can be very confusing at first. I know people will argue AfterEffects is a serious composting package but my answer is a) why isn’t it the the go to package for Feature films? b) layers aren’t suited for complicated VFX. I find compositing in After Effects like cutting onions wearing oven mitts, I can kinda get there in the end but its very hard. If Adobe make a node based compositor the market might shift.
4. No they might be 6 months or 20 years behind Avid. Software development is complicated and costly. I imagine Premier is probably perfect for 95% of people editing in the world. Should they put the resources in to go after professionals like me? I don’t know. There are different types of professional editors, News, Wedding, Corporate, Instructional, Feature Film, TV Series, Documentary, etc. do they all need the same tools? No. Documentary and News editors want very different things from an editing package even though from the outside the are making material from live event footage. It might cost a lot to develop Premier in that direction and they’ll get no more subscriptions.
If you’ve bothered to read this far then here is a bonus answer about how we get footage into Avid. Avid’s bad at transcoding footage, they have this amazing “FrameFlex” thing for applying LUT’s and interpreting varied different types of footage. It’s bad “rendering” those files out to proxy files. We use Resolve to transcode. We have a Avid media preset, we apply any LUT’s we need to and hit render. We put those files into the “AvidMedia” folder and open Avid. Avid creates a database (.mdb) in the folder and we drag that .mdb into an Avid bin and bang! there’s your footage. We also use Resolve for grading so its a good way to check that the files are ok, no bad frame rate flags, etc.
The other reason I always transcode is for playback. Avid really good with effects for “offline” or “rough cut” edits. Green screens are realtime. I can have two foreground elements, a background plate, a graphic and a disclaimer and maybe a grade over the whole thing and it plays back realtime on my MacPro Trashcan. If the Avid was accessing the original Arri (or RED) files I’d have to render. This is important because I usually have a director in my suite and if I move a background plate or extend a shot I (we) don’t want to have to wait for it to render. The half an hour it take to transcode a typical shoot days worth of footage saves me more time in the edit session.
I hope this helped.
It seems like a good first step. This is way better than the current way multiple editors have to share Premier projects but its not yet an optimal solution.
The Avid implementation is still superior. The other thing the Avid has is more robust media management. This is really important and a huge pain with Premier.
When we get juniors in and teach them our workflow they quickly understand why Avid still is the go to system for large facilities and preferred option for (senior?) editors. Avid has its problems but it’s way more powerful and flexible than people assume but it requires some learning.
I’m sure in 5 years Adobe will get Premier where it needs to be. If Adobe decide to develop a compositing package then the future will be bright for Adobe. That is assuming they can get dynamic linking solid enough for prime time.
The negative comments here amaze me.
This is a master class in lighting cars and you complain that they are lighting a model? Increase the size of everything by 6 and you should understand why it would be difficult to run a workshop with a real car.
A few thoughts on the tutorial; Sometimes you want everything under the ‘belt line’ blacked to accentuate its sharpness, it depends on the car.
Grading can help things like wheels which can be hard to light separately from the car.
Focal length can be important, some manufactures want to make large cars seem smaller or vice versa, making lens selection crucial.
Cutting on the beat or cutting musically is important! I’m not being facetious!! It really is underestimated these days and seen as ‘old hat’ or unnecessary.
Motivated edits are the key to good editing and music give you lots of motivated edit points and things to play with.
Long shots and pacing has been under used but not forgotten.
I’d argue the craft is not lost. Hotline Bling is a great case of a crafted edit, the success of that clip was not an accident, a lot of talent people worked hard on that clip.
Look at the work of people like Director X ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRK7PVJFbS8 ) and groups like Canada ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBzrzS1Ag_g )
If you talking pop checkout Katy Perry ‘This is how we do’ ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RMQksXpQSk ) A great execution of a simple idea that works with the content of the song.
Also the budget on these these clips is tiny compared to what it used to be. It does depend on who the artist is and their involvement but you’re probably looking at 20% of the ‘Vogue’ era clips. Thats no excuse rather, it makes the good ones that much more impressive.
Everyone should have the experience of shooting on film, especially anyone that wants to be a DOP. Though you probably only want to do it once and then move on.
The thing with film is you really have to know your shit technically and thats super beneficial to every part of your craft. When people want to stay ignorant so it doesn’t ruin their creativity it really shits me. Without knowing the advanced technical aspects of the craft (let alone the basics), you don’t know whats possible. You don’t know how to achieve that look you want or how to develop and create different styles. Knowledge un-bounds your creativity enabling you to create a film that is much more than its budget.
The point about using film to build a crew is a good idea but you probably want an experienced clapper / loader when dealing with film.
There are a few things I have a problem with in this article. First is the 16mm thing. The way its written up is that there is no benefit to 35mm film which is wrong. I think what it means to say is 16mm looks more like film because it has a much lower quality image. The stock might be the same as 35mm but projected or on the same size screen the grain will be twice as large and thus it will look more film like. I don’t particularly like it. I kinda hated working on 16mm jobs because it always meant it was a “cheap” job, working on 35mm jobs was a career progression. I’m biased but try and shoot 35mm, it’ll give a better result. Depending who you talk to 35mm is equivalent to a 3.5K digital picture once scanned in, which sounds right to me. You can scan it at 8K if you want but the size of the grain structure is such that you are resolving about a 3.5K picture. Half that for 16mm and you can see why I reckon you might want to shoot 35mm.
Point number two is tricky. Shooting negative is a larger risk than digital so yes do lots of planning but do it to embrace the (risky) medium. Shoot camera tests and try things you can’t do the same on digital like pushing stops, cross processing or bleach bypass. You might get your focus and exposure correct but the lab might fuck the bleach bypass process and your screwed, at least you went for it.
The other thing that bug’s me is that a lot of these things should be obvious. If shooting film was cheaper than shooting on a Alexa then lots of jobs would still do it. I was cutting lots of jobs on film after the Alexa came out but once someone used it on a job they didn’t go back. The image is basically exactly the same as shooting on film with with out the hassle on set, the Neg cost, processing cost, and transfer cost. Everyone just jumped off film to put that money somewhere else into the production. Notably they spent it on lenses, if for the same money your option is shooting film with standard speeds or an Alexa with Master Primes the Alexa is what people chose. A HDD to store your footage costs the same as about 1 camera roll of 35mm and on a TVC they would shoot about 12 camera rolls a day, not to mention processing cost and telecine.
Another point I have a problem with is that modern technology allows you to fix problems with film like a hair in the gate. People have been doing this since the 90’s so if by modern technology you mean 20 year old computers then ok. Dust busting was standard, thats how juniors learnt VFX systems. Here’s a tip, if your doing graphics on a still shot, track them to the frame. Film floats in the gate so it will help integrate the graphics, also add film grain to them. FLAME has a good film grain tool that lets you choose the stock and then sample the shot to match grain, though I’m sure Nuke and Fusion probably have good tools for that too.
Don’t be nostalgic for the medium just be practical for your job. 99.5% of that is going to be a digital film camera like the Alexa. Lenses are the new film stock, learn their looks.
I really hated the Kodak boss referring to the Alexa as a “video” camera, it shoots digital “film” not a limited dynamic range video image. It’s not MiniDV. Bringing ARRI RAW into Resolve is the same as loading a roll of 35mm onto a C-Reality, Sprit or URSA Telecine chain with a DaVinci grading desk. Thats why the digital film revolution happened, ARRI got digital capture to film equivalence.
There is no reason to shoot film and I wouldn’t recommend it for most jobs but try and do it once to learn the craft. There is no escape from the technical with film, it will help your creativity.
Free can work out for you but you have to think of the project. If you are working free on a no budget indie film chance are you won’t get much future work from it. Probably don’t do it.
Think about who else is working on it, at what level they are and what the quality of the project will be. You may be lucky and be assisting a young Greg Fraiser (DOP for Rogue One) on a music video in the early 2000’s as a few DOP’s I know did back in the day only to later get a call up to operate or work second unit. That is a million to one chance. Most likely that the free crew are all inexperienced want-to-be filmmakers with no real insights into the craft.
However if a working (TVC, TV Series) DOP needs an assistant for an indie film or music video but has no money to pay, that is a real opportunity. They will run the set like a real production and you will learn a lot. Most big DOP’s don’t own their own camera or lenses, what they bring to the job is their experience and the ability to run a set. So think about what your gaining if you take these free jobs.
Another thing. I’m an editor so I’ll talk from that perspective but this could apply DOP’s and on set professions. Assistants are important. Most great editors were assistants first. As an assistant you lean the craft for someone that knows what they are doing, that is very important. Then you get your first editing jobs from the person that taught you, either because they are too busy, the budget is too small, or the job is crap. That as the case with me and a lot of other editors I know. Why does a top director want to work with you on your first big job? because you’ve been vouched for by your mentor and also the director recognises you from set. They already know you. That is how Jack Green became Clint Eastwood’s cinematographer, listen to this podcast if you don’t believe me https://www.theasc.com/site/podcasts/unforgiven-1992-jack-n-green-asc/