A couple nights ago I was at Birns and Sawyer giving a presentation on the P2 workflow with Final Cut Pro. It was a Panasonic event that was all about “OK, you shot it…now what?” Mainly DPs there, but a few people who were into post. But before I gave my presentation, Steve Holyhead of Avid gave his presentation on the P2 workflow with Avid (2.7 and higher). This is one presentation that I really didn’t want to follow…not only was Steve good, but, well, the Avid P2 workflow is so darn easy. There are “no shinanigans” as Steve puts it.

Avid captures media in the same format that Panasonic decided to use for P2…MXF. Because of that, Avid imports the files super fast, and works with them NATIVELY…no copying, no putting into a quicktime wrapper. And if you want to copy all of the footage into the media drive where Avid stores all the media (Avid MediaFiles>MXF>1) then all you have to do is consolidate the media. And the copy process is very fast…faster than if you did it on the finder level. Want to work with MXF files natively with FCP? Then you will need to shell out more dough for third party solutions (Raylight, HD Log, Calibrated, MXF4QT).

And Avid works not only with DVCPRO HD natively, it also works with AVCIntra natively as well. FCP needs to transcode it into ProRes, a process that takes time, and requires an Intel Mac to do so. AVCI and Avid…well, I can import and work with it on my G5. Very slick. And I can mix those formats on the timeline, with XDCAM and DV, and 20:1 and require no rendering. And when you import…if you uploaded metadata and assigned a User Clip Name, that name is what goes into the NAME column in Avid instead of the 001GH number that the camera generates. Meta data is mapped to columns in Avid, making the data searchable. You can do this with FCP as well, but that requires HD Log, and the steps required for HD Log are numerous.

AND IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH…Avid, keeping in the tradition of offline editing at lower resolutions, can import the P2 footage and transcode it to lower resolution as it imports. So you can have your master archive footage, and the low res import of that. When you are done cutting, simply reconnect to the original files (or copies of them…never work with your master archives) and you are ready to output. With FCP if you wanted to work in an offline resolutions (and there are several vaild reasons you might want to do this), you first need to import the footage as Quicktime files, then use the Media Manager to RECOMPRESS the footage. So you aren’t saving any drive space because you need all the footage at full quality from the start.

So yeah, after Steve gave his brilliant demo on how Avid works with P2 rather quickly and easily, I had to get onto the stage and show off all the shinanigans needed for FCP to work with P2. I am REALLY liking Avid now.