Many offer both Avid and Final Cut

Once dependent on a combination of electromechanical antiques and multimillion dollar suites, many post houses have taken advantage of Moore’s Law and typically offer both Avid and Final Cut — and, in some cases, more.

At Modern Videofilm in Burbank, the goal is “a purely tapeless workflow, all file based,” said managing editor Richard Russel. “And that’s what (software maker) Autodesk, not Avid or Apple, does best. Herein lies the conundrum. We need advances in the way the three platforms talk to each other.”

Russel acknowledges that “the metaphorical Hollywood is an Avid company town. But Avid is keeping technology close to its vest, so there is no such thing as a perfect cross translation.” Russel said Avid promised to use Advanced Authoring Format (AAF) as a lingua franca between machines, but he’s been disappointed so far.

Conspicuously, Angus McKay, Avid’s segment marketing manager, who recently came from Autodesk, said Avid’s on board to create “a film networked environment with shared storage, going off- to online with seamless transition, and using AAF for sharing — rather than an EDL.”

Despite being a late arrival, Final Cut has found its niche, Russel said. Modern cut the entire syndication of “How I Met Your Mother” and Russel personally cuts multi-camera L.A. Opera specials on it. Hundreds of movies a month are quality-controlled for iTunes. And Avid DS has maintained its lead by developing into an online editing tool, albeit one that requires patience.

And though the $2 million linear suite has gone away, price pressure on the other end has not. “Post houses have had to reinvent themselves as the margins for these rooms go down — and you and I can go to Fry’s and be editing HD tonight.”

Many staff editors at post houses have had to learn both editing systems to please clients insistent upon one or the other. Evon Barros, senior editor at Digital Jungle, Hollywood, edited “Taylor Swift: Journey to Fearless” on Avid to take advantage of its media sharing capabilities since it was “a big show with lots of editors on it.” For the “Hell Bent for Hollywood” pilot, Barros used Final Cut because “it gives you more options with your settings to customize.”

“You can use both systems in a professional setting,” she said. “There’s definitely good in both — if they had a child, it would be perfect.” – — Gregory Solman

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