Editing System Showdown Finale (4/4) Project Archiving!

In the last installment of our Editing Showdown between Avid, Final Cut X and FCP 7, we take a look at one of the under-emphasized pieces when choosing an editing software solution:  Project Management! Archiving is no doubt a very important step in maintaining a project for possible future use. The idea in archiving is saving only the media you use and discarding everything else. Of course if you’re smart you will always have the raw material backed up in some dark, cool, dungeon-like location. Also with each of the following programs and with editing in general you always want to save the original project file in several places; just think of all the time it took you to build that 2 MB file.

FCP X Thankfully Final Cut Pro X has been good enough to maintain a small bit of FCP 7; this being “project management”. Although it is now called “Duplicate Project”, it does not diminish how weird it is that FCP X actually uses the word “Project” here instead of “Event” after being so adamant about using the word “Event” throughout the rest of the program. Sadly the detail oriented structure of FCP 7 is not carried over with the “Duplicate Project” in FCP X. You get three options for project duplication which begs the question, “can you streamline something to death”? Even though “Duplicate Project” is a little too simplified it does get the job done (and pretty quickly I might add!) You also have the option to choose the basics of project placement and what media to include.

Avid Media Composer 6

There are not many ways to get the desired archiving effect within Avid Media Composer 6 that we look for at Explore Media. Sadly there is not a straight forward archiving option within the program. You have the ability to specifically consolidate chosen media within a given bin (and even though you can adjust media handles) this is a far cry from actually archiving a project. The only true way of archiving an Avid project within the software is to drop your timeline (footage) into a bin and then do the “consolidation” option. Being that this area is somewhat limited there are some 3rd party programs which you can choose, but as far as Avid-based archiving it takes someone with a manual approach to make this work.

Final Cut Pro 7

It’s nice to have options in general and FCP 7 has many of them; archiving is no exception. We here at Explore Media, an Indiana video production house located near Fort Wayne, have been happily using the “Media Manage” tool in FCP 7 for years now. What makes the Media Manage tool so effective is the ability to individually adjust every aspect of your managed project. Along with the option of re-compressing media you can also choose your filename structure, as well as a many other exporting options and tweaks, such as being able to see the pre-optimized size of your project compared to the original. Final Cut Pro 7 definitely has the archiving advantage over the competition in this test.

Final Conclusion

These three programs have their individual perks that make them stand out. However after much evaluation Final Cut Pro 7 still holds the title as best overall professional editing software in my opinion because of it’s ease-of-use and intuitive layout, stable structure, balanced editing environment, and best hands-down color option integrated into the software. Avid Media Composer 6 definitely has it’s strong areas, especially when it comes to detailed footage manipulation, RED support and .r3d editing though AMA, and the industry standard in multi-cam editing. Final Cut Pro X is the fastest when it comes to actually editing footage and laying down your timeline, along with a remarkable footage navigation system.  But if you’re like us and focus on custom storytelling for editorial web video & television commercials which have moderate budgets, Final Cut Pro 7 is hands-down the best solution.

It seems that AMC 6 and FCP X haven’t quite stepped out of FCP 7’s shadow; they are both great attempts at complete editing platforms but they both seem limited when compared the solid FCP 7. AMC 6 rates only slightly ahead of FCP X because of it’s RED support; other than that they are neck and neck. I think the one to watch is FCP X and even though it’s not quite up to par now, just give it time, Apple is definitely going to have some positive updates in the future.

Explore Media are the artisans that bring your story to life using not only the latest but the greatest in production gear. Check out our Fort Wayne Video Productions to see our broad brush strokes.