Creating a comfortable workflow… it’s the American dream.
When you start using a significant amount of your time for post-production work, you realize very quickly that headaches are a bad thing. Choosing software that meets your particular needs and works well with your brain is hugely important for productivity.
The three most important things to keep in mind when designing your post-production suite are:
- How much bang can i get for my buck with this software?
- Can I figure it out with paying for a tutor?
- Do I really need it right now?
Getting your basic editing tools is the obvious first step and reading reviews can be important. Major players right now are Final Cut Pro Studio 7 (be wary of Final Cut X unless you’re into iMovie), Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere.
Premiere has a lot of things going for it, being 64-bit and packed full of friendly Adobe features. With an intuitive interface and high compatibility with other super cool tools like After Effects and Photoshop, many professionals I know are considering a permanent switch to Premiere for the long haul.
Final Cut Pro is a great suite of tools that cover all the basics: video, audio and motion editing, DVD authoring and cinematic tooling, but it lacks the power of a 64-bit engine. Apple’s latest “upgrade,” Final Cut X, is 64-bit but is more of a re-design than anything and for some reason did away with a lot of professional features. It should really be called iMovie Pro, not Final Cut.
Media Composer is a great suite, but God bless you if you can find the scratch. I personally cannot justify selling one of my cameras to afford Media Composer 6, but it sure looks lovely. Composer 5 and 6 are a new breed that I personally have not tried but have heard they integrate Avid’s powerful features with Final Cut’s user friendly interface.
Avid is arguably the most geared for professional filmmakers, but diving head first by dropping $1500 on Composer 6 might not be necessary. Consider going with a lighter software package like Premiere CS5 that has all the basic tools (and then some), won’t cost you a liver and gets the job done well. Final Cut is great, but may quickly be out-dated so just make sure it’s what you want before you buy.
Take your time, have a look around and read some reviews. The most important thing is giving yourself a solid foundation to build on and not blowing your kid’s college fund while you’re doing it.
Also, think twice about that $1200 effects packages until you are bringing in jobs that can pay for it; part of me feels like Boris is laughing all the way to the bank.