I found footage management to be very good with all three of the editing programs. Each program has it’s own twist on bin management and how you view and interact with the individual shots. Final Cut Pro X
Final Cut Pro X has perhaps the most interesting method of handling footage. At fist glance an editor might freakout at the lack of traditional bins or even a footage viewer for that matter. However the bins do exist but they now are now called “keywords” which are much more overarching and functional than standard bins. With FCP X sub-clips are a thing of the past; by being able to apply multiple keywords, “favoriting” in and out points within your shot and naming the shot, your footage is accessible on a much more complex level. Viewing your footage is what really makes this program sleeker than the competition; simply scroll your curser over the footage thumbs and it will jog, hit spacebar and it will play. This system is a true visually based way of knowing your footage with an organizational structure that goes way beyond just clip and bin.
Avid Media Composer 6 uses a much more traditional approach to footage organization and maintains a clean bin structure. The bin master folder can only hold bins (no drop-down reveal) and folders; that may sound restrictive, but to a FCP 7 user this restriction cuts the clutter, and if there are multiple editors working on a project this is a good benefit. The viewer is limited to viewing only items from the bin/folder area; a clip cannot be loaded into the viewer by double-clicking it in the timeline (this is a prominent FCP 7 function). My favorite bin function in Avid 6 is the footage “script view” which allows you attach a comment or script info onto each shot; I could see this working nicely for a-roll logging. Sub-clipping is also possible within Avid 6 along with a color coding option.
Final Cut Pro 7
Final Cut Pro 7 has very logical and straightforward bins. In FCP 7 the bins are simply folders unlike Avid 6 where there is a difference in appearance and operation. Sub-clipping is available in FCP 7. Color coding is a big part of the bin structure but I’ve found that a lot of editors don’t even use this function and if they do they don’t use it as suggested (green = broll, orange = good take). The beautiful part of the FCP 7 bins is it’s loose structure that give the editor many different ways of logging and organizing footage.
All three of these editing programs have their strengths when is comes to footage organization and execution. FCP 7 is like an old friend that seems more open to folder and sub-folder manipulation. Avid 6 had a structure very similar to FCP 7 with a couple of organization restrictions such as the bins/folders only master folder; however Avid makes up for it in level of detail, footage information and the ability to script each shot. FCP X is a whole other animal with accelerated viewing and a visual interface that may actually be faster when it comes to finding that illusive shot; however it only allots for one way of doing things (it might be the best way though). I would rank FCP 7 and FCP X nose and nose with Avid 6 slightly ahead do to it’s comfortable in-depth file structure and scripting/comment system.
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