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Avid vs Final Cut Pro Studio Applications

If you are new to the arena of video editing, eventually the question will arise. Which software is better, Final Cut Pro or Avid? The question can be a complex one. Each application has an army of loyal enthusiasts. Although, I won't take sides on this issue, here are some items to consider.

The Final Cut Studio Bundle
One major difference, that must be mentioned here, is you can not purchase Final Cut Pro as a stand alone software product. It now ships as Final Cut Studio. This means you will receive the following major software components.

Final Cut Pro
DVD Studio Pro
SoundTrack Pro
Cinema Tools

This bundle is hard to beat. Of course, good luck becoming an expert at all of the products. LiveType, for example, doesn't even ship with a manual. You will have to print the .pdf.

My favorite program in this bundle, is the LiveType application. LiveType is a motion graphics program that handles text effects with ease. This application is amazingly simple, yet complex enough that you can really expand upon the templates provided.

For a wish list, the only two items that are missing from this entire bundle are:

No matte tracking ability, and no true 3D. I hope to see these features added with the next version of Final Cut Studio.

Avid Xpress Studio
So be fair, you would really need to compare Avid Technology's version of their Studio bundle called Avid Xpress Studio to fairly compete. Of course, you must purchase the Studio package as an add-on. It does not come with the standard Avid Xpress software. The Studio Bundle ships with the following applications:

Avid Xpress HD
Marquee Title Tool
Pro Tools LE
Avid FX (Boris FX)
Avid 3D (A scaled down version of Softimage XSI)
Avid DVD (Sonic DVD)
Sorenson Compression Suite

Which bundle is better?
For the average consumer, The Final Cut Studio bundle is a little easier to handle. Although each application is feature rich, most editors will be able to figure out the basics.

For Avid's Studio Bundle, the learning curve is much higher, especially when it comes to sound design, and special effects. You'll notice Avid includes Avid 3D in the bundle. This is an entire industry within itself. Don't expect to become an expert with the Avid Studio applications overnight.

Supported Platforms
When your purchase that Avid software, you receive MAC and PC software. I must warn you to pay special attention to the system requirements for both Avid Xpress and Final Cut Studio before you assume the software will run correctly on an existing PC.

How does Avid's color corrector compare to FCP's?
Hands down, the Avids color corrector is much easier to use. It is visually easier to look at, and the controls are much more responsive. There is a one button operation that will automatically adjust your black and white balances. The waveform and vector scopes are also much easier to read. A unique feature of the Avid Xpress Pro is to color match one shot to another by displaying three consecutive clips next to each other and allow you to select certain color with a color picker to match.

It terms of functionality they are both similar. The one advantage of the Final Cut Pro 3-Way color corrector is you can limit a color selection. This means you can change one specific color without changing others.

What is the learning curve?
In my opinion Avid Xpress Pro is going to have a higher learning curve when dealing with effects. Avid Xpress Pro has two different effect modes, and there are many different tools and features that are hidden to the average user. I definitely recommend a certified training course when attempting to learn the Avid Xpress Pro effects interface.

Final Cut Pro is fairly easy to get started, but users can become overwhelmed with the number of options and different ways in performing the same function. Anyone familiar with After Effect's style of effects editing will appreciated the Final Cut Pro interface. My advice is to stick with what you know works and then take look into taking a training class to learn how to improve your efficiency.

Keep in mind, for the new video editor, both programs can be extremely complex when it comes to learning all of the available features.

For more detailed comparisons about Final Cut Pro and Avid Xpress visit:

Avid vs. FCP podcast

Final Cut Pro VS. Avid Xpress (updated)

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Avid Express/Composer Definitions Part 2. was the previous entry in this blog.

Final Cut Pro and Avid Tutorials is the next entry in this blog.

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