I’ve been a happy Final Cut Pro user ever since, and infact I’m still happily editing projects using Final Cut Pro 7. If I convert material to ProRes first, I can edit footage from AVCHD camcorders and H.264 DSLR footage quite comfortably, and really, at the moment that’s the only thing that makes me want to consider switching; saving some time on Log & Transfer.
But Log & Transfer is a known quantity.
I tried Final Cut Pro X, and went back to FCP7, but I’ve continued to evaluate other options.
I’ve had Creative Suite 6 since it came out, yet apart from using Photoshop, have been holding off on diving into it. But last week I was starting a new project and thought it might be worth giving Premiere Pro a try.
And I thought I’d go the whole hog and start with Prelude to import all the content.
Starting with Prelude
I fired up Prelude for the first time, and despite the fact that I’d sat in on a demo - and the fact that it doesn’t really do that much - it still took me longer than I expected to figure things out.
As I saw it, Prelude lets you select clips and do basic trimming, and transfer those clips from the camera – or memory card – to your hard drive. It is that simple, but I didn't find the program so simple.
When I launched the application, it didn’t automatically list the drives and devices that are connected to the computer; first you have to choose Ingest from the File menu to import things.
This opens the Ingest dialog. That does list the drives and devices (in this case a Canon camera attached via USB) that are available.
Clicking on the appropriate drive/device icon doesn’t show you the files either; it shows you the directories in the device. Depending on the camera and the file structure, clicking on that directory opens a list of files. This screen lacks icons the first time, or a preview; which might be fine if you kept track of the tracks you want to import, but otherwise leaves you a bit at see.
BUT, if click on the thumbnails icon (bottom of the screen) it switches to a thumbnail view. Then you wait a few seconds – especially if there are a lot of clips – while it loads them.
Once you get that far, you see little icons and can preview clips that way. But it was only that I had seen in a demo that you can mark the in and out points, that I worked out I could set in and out points by scrubbing and pressing the I and O keys.
I really don't understand why they didn't have a preview window with play controls and the ability to set in and out points.
Setting In and Out Points for a clip
It’s not exactly easy to navigate about a clip, even if you are supposed to only do quick/rough edits here. You can enlarge the thumbnails. Still, there’s no real play commands, but it does at least make it easier to select edit points.
Drag the slider to enlarge the icons
Once you’ve selected the In and Out points (if desired) you then click the check boxes next to the clips you want to transfer.
The next part in the process is selecting where you want to transfer the clips to. This caused me problems the first time because the first time you run the app, there will be no location entered, and you might not realize it! I kept getting an error, and I even added a second destination thinking the first wasn’t really a destination, before I realized I had to click on the blank field and choose a destination.
A destination needs to be entered here
Finally, click Ingest and away you go; it copies the files to your hard drive and adds them to your Prelude project. Once imported, you can then add meta tags to indicate sub clips or flag interesting things, and you can also create a rough cut.
Going to Premiere
How do you go from Prelude to Premiere? That took me a minute. I tried seeing if Premiere would open or import a Prelude Project, but that didn’t work. I then found an export to Premiere menu option. Warning: it’s recommended that you launch Premiere first before you send to Premiere.
Creating A Rough Cut
This also took me a minute to figure out.
You create a Rough Cut in Prelude by first clicking the Rough Cut icon, which creates a separate Timeline sequence. Then drag either clips (or sub clips) into the Rough Cut. You can then select the Rough Cut and send that to Premiere.
Creating a Rough Cut in Prelude
Note: I had a weird issue with the sub clips where it didn’t seem to recognize the sub clip selection when I copied it into a Rough Cut. But later it started working, so I don’t know what’s going on with that.
I also had a problem transferring multiple clips to Premiere the first time I tried it; it hung the computer and I had to quit everything and try again. It worked the second time.
A Rough Cut imported into Premiere
After a bit of playing around with Prelude, I think I’ve figured it out and could actually use it to transfer files and do a rough cut. It didn't encourage me to tag media, rough cutting was rougher than I thought it would be, and stability was a mixed bag.
I’m not too sure that I’m going to do a lot of things in it; meta data seems to be the primary reason for this app, and I know meta data is important for future reuse of content. Unfortunately, most of my material won’t be used again. And that 5% that will? Well it’s just not worth spending so much time logging and documenting everything for those few times I have to go back and find things.