Horses for Courses – Avid vs. FCP

I am an Avid editor really. I know Avid, I use it every day and I am totally at home with it. But I’m not afraid of FCP, I can operate it, feel pretty comfortable with it, but it’s not my ‘safe place’ and I’m not as quick or effective.

But one big issue for me, not being as familiar with FCP as I am with Avid Media Composer, is where are the strengths and weaknesses of each system. What jobs suit which system best. So I’m appealing for feedback from those better acquainted with the two systems.

Avid editors who’ve switched to FCP, or vice versa, or even better people who are using both systems actively.

Supposing you have both Avid Media Composer and Apple Final Cut Pro at your disposal, cost is not a factor, what jobs end up in what system? And why?

My overall impressions are that FCP is strongest overall in situations where you’re doing it all in one, capture, edit, finish and output. While Avid is much stronger for offline/online workflows. Also, I consider Avid a much stronger contender for multi-editor networked work, with Unity. While FCP requires a very careful approach in the same situation to avoid media management problems.

Where are the real traps? Anything that you think should be totally avoided in one system or another?

Have you shifted a regular job from one system to another? Why? What have been the pros and cons of that shift?

I’m keen to hear comments about this, but I’m not really interested in any comments that can’t at the least acknowledge that both systems have genuine strengths and benefits. Fan-boys need not apply. Would be good to know the type of work you’re doing, and what version or generation of each system you’re most familar with (ie. are you making your judgements based on Xpress DV from 2004?)

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