Monday, 11 February 2013

Changing the way Swagger Post Does Business

Recently at Swagger Post, we completely overhauled our post production pipeline by making the switch from Final Cut Pro 7 to Adobe’s Creative Suite. We made this decision due to a number of reasons, and I was excited to see how the change would affect the way we do things in the post world here at Swagger. It’s been about a month since we’ve transitioned to Adobe and, as is often the case with such changes, there have been some growing pains. Let me break down a few of my findings:

Top Reasons I’m Glad We Switched

1. User Interface

The UI in Adobe’s suite is much easier on the eyes and adds elements that are familiar to both native Final Cut users and Avid buffs. I personally like the feel of Adobe’s UI and the ease of round-tripping from one application to the next.

2. Keyboard Shortcuts

The ability to easily change the keyboard shortcuts to Final Cut shortcuts is a breeze. Most of the commands are exactly the same with the exception of a few. This functionality made us feel right at home in a completely different software.

3. RAM

Most professional users of FCP know that it was limited to using 4GB of RAM across the board. Adobe allows all of its application to run in 64 Bit and natively use as much RAM as you can throw at it. This greatly affects render speeds.... In a good way.

However... (There is always a however...)

Tops Reasons Why I Miss FCP

1. Old Dogs

Those like me who have learned non-linear editing on Final Cut miss the general feel of the software and may even be experiencing separation anxiety. That old saying about teaching an old dog new tricks could not be more true. FCP was our lifeblood for a very long time and it was a tough decision to ponder with regards to migrating our Post pipeline.

2. Baselight

Baselight was our high-end, big-budget color grading software and it is only available for FCP and Avid-based systems. It is similar to DaVinci’s Resolve grading software but is more budget friendly for those who cannot afford a $10,000 grading suite. I will miss it, but with that being said I am very impressed with Adobe’s Speedgrade, an application included in their Post Pipeline Suite.

3.  Native Codec
No NLE is going to be perfect. Not even Final Cut Pro X.... Sorry I couldn’t get through writing this without at least dogging it once. With that being said, FCP has some wonderful options when it comes to Codecs. While we are still in the testing phase of Adobe’s suite, I believe that there is a very strong possibility that we will continue to use Apple’s ProRes codecs. The quality derived from the compressed information in the footage when transcoding to ProRes is only matched in my opinion by that of Avid’s DNX codecs.

The overall verdict? Adobe’s Creative Suite was the right choice for us, because ultimately it made our pipeline faster and all the applications from ingestion to mastering are neatly packaged in one suite. However, if there ever comes a time when I determine that the workflow is not saving us time and money and furthermore helping us deliver a better product to the customer, then I reserve the right to change my mind!

What do you think about FCP7 versus Adobe Premiere? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned to our blog for tips and tutorials on Adobe’s Suite and other video production/post-production topics.

Stay tuned for my next topic of discussion about Maxon’s Cinema 4D. This thing is a game changer and you won’t want to miss what we have found!


Ali G

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