posted by George Pursall

Finding the Right Tools

A good workman doesn't blame his tools, as the saying goes. So when it comes to editing software, it can be a little daunting to find so many tools that all, ostensibly, do the same job. Are they all as good as each other or do some actually offer something different? If you are struggling to fulfil a creative vision or brief using one of these programmes, can you legitimately tear that old saying up and blame your editing application?

For the last couple of years at Sparkly Light, we have been editing on Final Cut Pro X. For those who may not know, Final Cut Pro X is a completely revised version of an older programme called Final Cut Pro 7 (imaginative titles aren't they?) FCP 7 was an established industry programme that had been around for years. With FCP X, Apple threw out the rulebook. It was a completely new, completely different programme. It changed everything so radically that editors using FCP 7 ran to the hills (or more literally, ran to AVID or Adobe Premiere Pro, two rival editing programmes). Needless to say, within the industry, FCP X is typically looked upon with derision and scorn, although this is slowly changing...several Hollywood films have now been cut on it and with all the revisions and updates that Apple have provided over the last few years, it has become far more robust, powerful and useful.

We have seen the changes that have been made. They have been, almost without exception, overwhelmingly positive. FCP X has allowed us to deliver engaging, professional broadcast quality work for our client's time and time again and it certainly no longer deserves the reputation it has. If there were any problems encountered during an edit, we certainly couldn't blame our tools.

Yet we are now moving the bulk of our post production work to Premiere Pro. Why, you may (quite rightly!) be asking, if FCP X has served you so well?   

Well, there are several reasons, but the key one is due to integration.  Adobe, the company behind Premiere Pro, are also the company behind After Effects, Audition, SpeedGrade and Photoshop (you might have heard of that last one). The wonderful thing is, when you purchase a licence to Premiere Pro, you also purchase a licence to all those other programmes (which are collectively called the Creative Cloud). And it gets better. Not only do all these programmes offer almost unrivalled creative opportunities, they are all fully integrated, so work created or altered in one programme is then automatically updated in the others. From a productivity and functionality standpoint, this is a Godsend.

The truth is, clients want more from their films than they did twenty or even ten years ago. With technological barriers constantly being broken year on year, the sky is now the limit in terms of graphics, audio work and grading. Clients want to see every penny they spend up there on the screen - and rightly so. 

So, as a company, we want to offer them every opportunity to allow the vision they have in their head to appear on screen in all it's Sparkly glory - and so we need the right tools to do the job, tools that are adaptable and useful in any situation. 

Funnily enough, that means using both Premiere and FCP X.

You see, each of the programmes has their benefits and drawbacks -  all editing programmes do. FCP X offers phenomenal speed and efficiency while the Adobe offers a such rich suite of programmes where the only limit is the scope of your imagination. Yet only by utilising both of the programme's strengths and navigating around their weaknesses, will we have the best opportunity to create the work that our clients deserve. 

So, in the murky world of editing, is the old adage a good workman never blames his tools still appropriate? When it comes to post production, perhaps a more fitting saying would be a good workman uses as many tools as necessary to get the job done.

With Adobe Creative Cloud and FCP X tucked under our belts, we are confidentially ready to start on the next job right away.