Sunday 7 January 2007

Editing systems - how open are they.

A lot gets written and said by editing software and systems manufacturers about how open their systems are. How easy it is to import and export, and work with external media. And in todays shared post production environment it becomes really critical for one to be able to share a job on multiple systems and platforms. This needs systems to be as open as possible.

But working on various systems, here's a report card on openness of various systems based on simple, common-sense criteria.

Avid XPress/MC
1. OS - WinXP, MacOSX
2. Media format - .omf
3. Media openable in other apps - No except Avid apps.
4. Media disk format - NTFS, MacOSX extended.
5. Media disk visible and R/W to other apps - Yes
6. Other media formats can be imported directly - Yes
7. Other media formats can be used directly - No, none

Final Cut Pro
1. OS - MacOSX
2. Media format - Quicktime, and others.
3. Media openable in other apps - Yes
4. Media disk format - MacOSX extended, maybe others.
5. Media disk visible and R/W to other apps - Yes
6. Other media formats can be imported directly - Yes
7. Other media formats can be used directly - Yes, some.

Autodesk Smoke/Flint/Flame/Fire/Inferno
1. OS - Linux, Irix
2. Media format -Proprietary
3. Media openable in other apps - No
4. Media disk format - StoneFS/proprietary.
5. Media disk visible and R/W to other apps - No
6. Other media formats can be imported directly - Yes
7. Other media formats can be used directly - No, none.

Quantel eQ/iQ
1. OS - WinXP
2. Media format - Proprietary
3. Media openable in other apps - No
4. Media disk format - Proprietary.
5. Media disk visible and R/W to other apps - No
6. Other media formats can be imported directly - Yes
7. Other media formats can be used directly - No, none.

Avid DS Nitris
1. OS - WinXP
2. Media format - .omf
3. Media openable in other apps - No except Avid apps.
4. Media disk format - NTFS
5. Media disk visible and R/W to other apps - Yes
6. Other media formats can be imported directly - Yes
7. Other media formats can be used directly - No, none

I don't have data on Premiere, Vegas, Liquid, and other apps.

But from these you can see that the top-end editing systems are almost completely closed. Discreet has made some efforts via third-party utilities like XStoner, and other Wiretap utilities but these are not quite as convenient as directly sharing over the network. Quantel systems don't even let you check how much space you have available in terms of Gb and Tb. And Avid use their own file-naming conventions so you can't really meddle with their app even when things are broken.

FCP is almost like a Quicktime Player that edits as far as open-ness is concerned. But the flip side to this open-ness is that there is still no real multi-resolution support, and lots of rendering, which is the same as having to import as far as time is concerned.

4 comments:

  1. Dev Benegal2:46 AM

    Neil: what is the difference between omf and quicktime as file formats?

    Is their such a thing as a file format which is open and not tied into any company?

    My concern arises from QT relying solely on Apple for development.

    ReplyDelete
  2. OMF is a euphemism for "Open Media Framework". It works absolutely only within Avid Apps.

    Quicktime is a format or actually just a wrapper for many other formats. Its cross platform and runs Win, MacOS, Linux, and Irix.

    Of course Apple is the only developer for QT, but they open development details to other softwre manufacturers and there are many companies writing codecs and plug-ins for QT.

    Neil Sadwelkar

    ReplyDelete
  3. Does this mean we are safe storing all our data in QT for long term and long term archival uses?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes I think we are. I don't know about hundreds of years, but for 10, surely. If I think back about QT movies I'd have made in 1996, QT 7 now can surely open them. Of course, I'd probably have stored these movies on a Jaz drive, which unfortunately wouldn't be readable now.

    Neil

    ReplyDelete

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