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TOPIC: Good-bye, Lightworks.

Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 4 weeks ago #164749

  • Frogroar
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I started my editing career in a post-production company in Ghent, Belgium. My boss there introduced me to Lightworks, a video editing platform I never heard of. At the time, Avid was (still) king and FCP7 was probably the second standard choice. This was before Premiere Pro became stable enough to finally use it on a professional level.

Despite the import and export issues my assistant editor was complaining about, I really liked the simplicity of the GUI. No need to render (basic) effects, no need to save anything, clips were easy to find on the timeline thanks to automatically generated colours and that big console was fast and intuitive compared to those finger-twisting shortcuts on the keyboard. After a couple of weeks, Lightworks became my new favourite editing software.

Flash forward 6 years. I left the company in Ghent and became a freelance editor. After working with Avid and FCP7 to edit several TV series, I decided to adopt a new editing suite, one that felt less "machine" and more "human". This is what brought me back to Lightworks, or better: its console. Since my last project on the system, I discovered that Lightworks was redesigned, open source and that the console was still available: great! Or so I thought...

In the last few years, Premiere Pro made huge leaps forward and finally got Hollywood and the rest of the world to adopt it as a serious editing platform. FCPX had a terrible start due to its very different way of editing and lack of export options, but they seem to be doing alright again. Avid, well, Avid is Avid I guess. Anyway, I can't help but wondering why Lightworks got stuck somewhere along the way. When I think about it, they've always been kinda stuck really. I understand it's a much, much smaller team than Apple or Adobe, but we're talking about software that's been around for ages and - let's be honest here - never got to the point where it actually fully works like they promise. It's always been plagued by bugs here and there and is mainly always been a pain to import and export. Why? Why change file names making it impossible to relink? Why making EDLs or AAFs that delete or change TC's and other meta data? Why is the OMF export still crashing after all these years? Some of the latest revisions didn't even produce correct XML files all of sudden, which used to kind of work before.

Today, after two years of daily Lightworks usage, I can honestly say that the amount of time you save from the speed of the (expensive) console and the clutter-free GUI gets slowed down by 2 or even by 3 due to never ending problems while trying to export correct files for sound mix and VFX. Even when exporting a simple Quicktime with a TC overlay (BITC), Lightworks creates a file that skips frames and messes the TC up. They keep releasing new versions to fix some bugs... and create all new ones. It never stops!

Since Lightworks creates unreliable files, let me explain in detail what I do to export for colour grading and sound mixing whenever the editing of an episode or film is locked:

---

1) In LWKS: export XML file from the complete timeline. At least that's an export feature that is kind of reliable. Mind you, I received an unofficial "in between" revision of the software thanks to my support plan, because I still encountered problems exporting XMLs.

2) Open the XML-file in a text editor and change all the <pathurl> into <whatever>. Without this change, FCP7 doesn't know where to look to relink the footage. Strange, since Lightworks calls the XML export a "FCP compatible one". This is actually an extra step since version 14 of Lightworks. It used to work fine before...

3) In FCP7: LWKS dissolves at the start of the cut by default while FCP7 dissolves in the middle of the cut. Somehow dissolves do not correctly translate from LWKS to FCP7. Luckily, you can fix this in the XML file itself, but you don't want "start" dissolves at the end of a clip. So first, I manually (!) fix all ending dissolves by right clicking on EVERY ONE OF THEM and select "end" instead of "center". Then I export a new XML file from FCP7.

4) Open the new XML-file in the text editor and replace all remaining "center" dissolves with "start" dissolves.

5) In FCP7: import the modified XML-file from step 4 and export everything you need from there: EDL, AAF, XML. At least you won't get complains from the colour grading and sound mixing guys.

6) In LWKS: export an AVI-file with BITC overlay. The huge AVI-file is the only way the BITC and video do not skip frames. When exporting directly to Quicktime, the BITC gets messed up and the video skips frames from time to time. Unacceptable to use as a reference! Before I forget, when exporting a reference video like this, I have to move all audio tracks +1 frame so the final result is in sync. True story.

7) Finally, I convert the huge AVI-file to something smaller, like an Apple Prores, which usually takes another 30 to 45 minutes.

---

I recently tried FCPX, one of the most critiqued editing suites of the past years. It converts, renders and saves in the background too, without you even noticing it. Sure, you need third party software to actually export some files... but once you installed everything, it does work. A ProRes Quicktime of a 50 minutes episode takes 20 minutes to export! No frame or TC skipping whatsoever. It might be unfair to compare FCPX with software that runs on several platforms, but try Premiere Pro then. It's not as fast as FCPX, but it's very reliable too. No frame or TC skipping when exporting a Quicktime and it exports correct EDL, AAF and OMF files with no problems. In fact, I might adopt PP as my main editing suite from now on.

I'm not looking forward to edit on the keyboard again, but I'm done with Lightworks. Even with a support plan, I don't feel like I'm improving my workflow. Instead, I'm paying money to tell the guys at Lightworks what to fix next. How is that fair? I know I don't have to pay for a support plan (there's a forum for that) and I don't have to pay for an expensive console (there's the keyboard for that), but when editing for a living, it's all about speed and reliability. It's almost 2018. I just want to edit and concentrate on the project.

Lightworks is still a good idea though, always has been.
Lightworks 14.0.0.0 Pro, 64 bit, console Mk III

System: Mac Pro, OSX 10.10.5 Yosemite
Memory: 24 GB RAM, 1333 MHz DDR3
Storage: 2 x LaCie 4Big 12 TB @ USB 3.0
Graphics: AMD R9 4 GB RAM

Re: Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 2 weeks ago #165247

  • Bellhops3
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You're leaving Lightworks after all this time; I downloaded the program &started on my first project last week.
Opening up today to continue editing, everything is plastered with "Media Offline" and I don't know where to start to get the project back.
So I check the Forum & elsewhere for a solution and find veritable minefield of problems & 'fixes' or 'advice'.
That's not how I expect software to treat me in 2017, almost '18 so that might be me cutting my losses at the first hurdle.
Why should I persevere?

Re: Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 2 weeks ago #165261

  • hugly
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Hello,

Love it, change it, or leave it..

Frogroar went through these steps and I'm really said after reading through his post.

Reading through your post I'm wondering why you've posted here. My impression is that you skipped the first two steps already. What's left, go for something else that meets your needs, maybe?
It's better to travel well than to arrive...
Last Edit: 5 months, 2 weeks ago by hugly.

Re: Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 2 weeks ago #165262

  • Craig Marshall
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Bellhops3 wrote:
... Opening up today to continue editing, everything is plastered with "Media Offline" and I don't know where to start to get the project back....


This is the same message you will get with any NLE if you have moved your files or re-named your folders since closing the software. Lightworks simply cannot find the missing media. You can manually restore the files or better still, use the 'Re-link Missing Media' tool, locate your files and solve the issue.
Custom Haswell z87 i7 3.9Ghz 4770
System SSD, RAID SSD, RAID HDD
16GB DDR3, Thunderbolt, Nvidia GTX 970 G1 Maxwell GPU
Lightworks Pro with DNxHD license
Resolve 12.5 with OxygenTec ProPanel
X-Keys Pro 68 key USB Jog/Shuttle controller
2 x 24" HD GUI, 24" 10bit IPS Reference Monitor
12G Decklink 4K SDI Pro>HD-Link Pro>Display Port
Sony 55" X9000B 4K Client Monitor
Sony Super 35 HD camera with Atomos ProRes Recorder
4x4" matte box/follow focus. Zeiss 'Contax' FF primes with Metabones 'Speed Booster'
Rode NTG-3/I-Rig XLR Phantom preamp
HDvideo4K.com
Last Edit: 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Craig Marshall.

Re: Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 2 weeks ago #165265

  • Craig Marshall
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To the OP: Thanks for taking the time to clearly set out your issues none of which I see on a PC based platform. I work exclusively with LW and Resolve, exporting only EDLs and AAFs which translate perfectly in the latter - with never a skipped frame or Timecode or Reel Name issue. (I'll admit to taking extreme care to have correctly prepared TC & embedded reels before hand even re-striping client ProRes to avoid skipped or broken code pre-edit)

You might find Premier to be the most popular yet over rated and under performing NLE on the planet. It's inability to multi-thread is legendary. DaVinci Resolve is a hardware resource Hog but once suitably equipped with Decklink, calibrated Monitor and a modern GPU, it is capable of Delivering product quickly and to the highest standards. Even with my low powered four core i7 CPU and older 970 GPU, I can play 4K ProRes in real time (25fps) on the COLOR page. I know Mac guys with multi core Xeons who cannot achieve 24P 4K in real time but I'm not here to suggest you switch platforms. BTW, what could be more simple than a single click on F1 for immediate import of files and F2 for Export?

The LW Console has it's place but for only $250, my X-Keys 68, back-lit key, USB Jog/Shuttle device runs rings around it. I have at least thirty buttons mapped to Lightworks specific Edit commands and when the local Premier guys come into my Grading suite for some Resolve work, they are astounded by the speed I can edit with the mapped X-Keys mated to Lightworks. Activating Lightworks 'Slip Clip' feature with curled ends on the X-Keys Jog wheel simply blows them away every time!

The Console cannot map 'mouse clicks' which the X-keys can so by setting these up with custom shortcuts for both Lightworks and Resolve, I can move seamlessly between both platforms, often using identical keys for the same transport/edit functions.

What about Resolve as an Editor? Certainly, since v14.2, it is getting there and some of the newer Trim commands work similar to those of Lightworks but it's Audio Jog is a Dog with just a series of digital clicks, one per frame, rather than the superb analogue style Jog you get in Lightworks.

IMO, Lighworks is still the best, most flexible and refined Editor out there and if two of the world's Top Five Feature Editors employ Lightworks, then it'll probably do me. As of v14.1 LW works in full 32bit float as does Resolve and PP and LW fully supports my 12 gigabit 4K SDI Decklink Pro too. As for Lightworks internal processing? Don't know. Never used it. I simply maintain my annual Subscription for Lightwork's class leading Edit Interface to Export only an EDL, AAF or XML, then Finish and Deliver in Resolve.

I think you will miss it....
Custom Haswell z87 i7 3.9Ghz 4770
System SSD, RAID SSD, RAID HDD
16GB DDR3, Thunderbolt, Nvidia GTX 970 G1 Maxwell GPU
Lightworks Pro with DNxHD license
Resolve 12.5 with OxygenTec ProPanel
X-Keys Pro 68 key USB Jog/Shuttle controller
2 x 24" HD GUI, 24" 10bit IPS Reference Monitor
12G Decklink 4K SDI Pro>HD-Link Pro>Display Port
Sony 55" X9000B 4K Client Monitor
Sony Super 35 HD camera with Atomos ProRes Recorder
4x4" matte box/follow focus. Zeiss 'Contax' FF primes with Metabones 'Speed Booster'
Rode NTG-3/I-Rig XLR Phantom preamp
HDvideo4K.com
Last Edit: 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Craig Marshall.

Re: Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 2 weeks ago #165285

  • briandrys
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Bellhops3 wrote:
So I check the Forum & elsewhere for a solution and find veritable minefield of problems & 'fixes' or 'advice'.


Welcome to the forum.

The OP's interchange issues appear to be different to your off line media, the latter can have a number of causes and happens with other NLEs. This video is good starting point for finding a solution:

Last Edit: 5 months, 2 weeks ago by briandrys.

Re: Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 2 weeks ago #165300

  • Bellhops3
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Thanks for these responses.
I'm not one to give up easily, even in my 78th year on the planet, so I'll make another attempt to sort the problem but I'm not aware of having done anything to relocate the media.

When I read forums where even, apparently, younger, more 'techy' people struggle it doesn't bode well, however.

Re: Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 2 weeks ago #165319

  • Tamerlin
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I'm with you regarding Premiere... the more I use it and the more I have to tolerate people using it in workflows that I participate in, the more I hate it. It's buggy, full of usability issues, and slow.

Resolve is demanding, but it also makes far better use of the resources it's running on than the crappy Premiere does.

That said, I'm running Resolve presently on an Ultrabook with an egpu... that I've been color grading a feature film on -- shot with an 8K Helium camera.

The conform process was an absolute nightmare; I'm not going to work with any editors who use Premiere ever again after this experience if I can help it.

But seriously... why anyone would continue using the Adobe suite when Resolve is a one-time $300 purchase is beyond me.

LightWorks is great for working on small machines, and does a good job with interchange.

Re: Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 2 weeks ago #165332

  • Craig Marshall
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You only have to look through Pro Colorist fora such as LiftGammaGain to see read account after account of failed Conforms from Premier. I really think the issue though is the inexperience people who use it rather than the software itself. Adobe has established itself very well in the Educational market so most of the film-making kids I mentor use it exclusively with no real knowledge of any alternative. Some of these kids want to bring their material into Resolve as though it will somehow provide a 'fix' for poorly planned and/or poorly lit work but none of these people seem to have been taught anything about timecode or Reel name conventions let alone the benefits of I Frame codecs.

I actually offer a free transcode service just so I don't have to deal with their crappy compressed H.264 variants.
Custom Haswell z87 i7 3.9Ghz 4770
System SSD, RAID SSD, RAID HDD
16GB DDR3, Thunderbolt, Nvidia GTX 970 G1 Maxwell GPU
Lightworks Pro with DNxHD license
Resolve 12.5 with OxygenTec ProPanel
X-Keys Pro 68 key USB Jog/Shuttle controller
2 x 24" HD GUI, 24" 10bit IPS Reference Monitor
12G Decklink 4K SDI Pro>HD-Link Pro>Display Port
Sony 55" X9000B 4K Client Monitor
Sony Super 35 HD camera with Atomos ProRes Recorder
4x4" matte box/follow focus. Zeiss 'Contax' FF primes with Metabones 'Speed Booster'
Rode NTG-3/I-Rig XLR Phantom preamp
HDvideo4K.com

Re: Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 2 weeks ago #165333

  • jwrl
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Tamerlin wrote:
why anyone would continue using the Adobe suite when Resolve is a one-time $300 purchase is beyond me.

I tend to agree - except that it's the bundle that probably attracts people to Adobe. "Look at all you get! It's fantastic!" Except that analysis of their workflows would probably reveal that they don't use any of the bundle except for one or two items.

Breakdown of the CS5 bundle, the last Adobe product that I bought, and my usage of them (when I was actually using them). Bold face indicates frequent usage, non-bold intermittent, red text not at all.

After Effects
Adobe Bridge
Device Central

Encore
ExtendScript Toolkit
Extension Manager
Flash Catalyst
Flash Professional
Illustrator

Media Encoder
OnLocation
Photoshop
Pixel Bender Toolkit 2
Premiere Pro
Soundbooth

Mocha for After Effects

So out of that bundle of 16 items I regularly used After Effects, Encore, Photoshop and Mocha (which is really just a plug-in and probably shouldn't be included). I very occasionally used Media Encoder when I wasn't able to use Sorenson Squeeze for some reason, and could probably have done without it.

Nowadays I have little need for Encore and none at all for Media Encoder. I will occasionally use After Effects when it provides something that Fusion doesn't (extremely rare), and I use Photoshop on a regular basis. My preferred package today would therefore be in no particular order:

Lightworks
Blender
BMD Fusion
BMD Resolve
Photoshop
Convert

On that basis is it worth my while renting Photoshop? Not really, since Photoshop CS5 does all my titling and logo needs and I already own that. But note that two of those items are free or extremely low cost (Blender and Convert), and three have very powerful free versions available (Lightworks, Fusion and Resolve). Why do I need Adobe at all? If I had to I could learn The Gimp I guess, and cut them out of the equation altogether and have a completely free setup.

Except that I prefer to pay developers for their hard work. But it should be an alternative for the education market, surely.
Last Edit: 5 months, 2 weeks ago by jwrl.

Re: Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 2 weeks ago #165334

  • Tamerlin
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Craig Marshall wrote:
You only have to look through Pro Colorist fora such as LiftGammaGain to see read account after account of failed Conforms from Premier. I really think the issue though is the inexperience people who use it rather than the software itself.


One of those colorists described his process for conforming Premiere projects... and it's mostly manual because Adobe's exporters are both old and buggy (still using XML1 while the rest of the world has moved on to XML2, for example)... but we were already half way through the edit when I discovered this.

But... never again. I basically recreated the entire edit in Resolve... and that included implementing scale + transform for a lot of clips that didn't make the translation. It's basically spending extra money to create extra work, which is incredibly dumb.

Re: Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 2 weeks ago #165335

  • Tamerlin
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jwrl wrote:

Except that I prefer to pay developers for their hard work. But it should be an alternative for the education market, surely.


BMD is giving away its software to sell its hardware, so getting more people onto Resolve and Fusion gets BMD more control panel sales, which is what pays its developers.

That said... I favor paying developers for their hard work, but Adobe's pace of development seems to be getting slower, and the customer service isn't great.

My software kit now consists of:
Resolve
Fusion
MistikaFX
Blender
LightWorks
Affinity Photo
Luminar
Mischief

And I'm able to work with 8K Redcode in Resolve and LightWorks using an HP Spectre convertible with an 8th gen processor and an external GPU... try that with Premiere

Re: Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 2 weeks ago #165343

  • briandrys
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The Affinity range of productions is another option if you don't want to buy into Adobe:

affinity.serif.com/en-gb/

Re: Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 2 weeks ago #165344

  • Frogroar
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Tamerlin wrote:
I'm with you regarding Premiere... the more I use it and the more I have to tolerate people using it in workflows that I participate in, the more I hate it. It's buggy, full of usability issues, and slow.


Have you been using the latest version? Because on my end, EDLs, XMLs, AAFs and the export of Quicktimes is going well. I did not make up my mind yet though and will do some further testing with Final Cut Pro X as well.

Tamerlin wrote:
LightWorks is great for working on small machines, and does a good job with interchange.


No, it does not. Maybe it's because I'm on Mac, maybe it's because people don't always work with Resolve (like some colour graders I worked with in the past). I always had to go through a Lightworks -> Final Cut Pro 7 workflow to make it work. Exported files from Lightworks are unreliable.
Lightworks 14.0.0.0 Pro, 64 bit, console Mk III

System: Mac Pro, OSX 10.10.5 Yosemite
Memory: 24 GB RAM, 1333 MHz DDR3
Storage: 2 x LaCie 4Big 12 TB @ USB 3.0
Graphics: AMD R9 4 GB RAM

Re: Good-bye, Lightworks. 5 months, 2 weeks ago #165346

  • briandrys
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Have you tested the V14.1 beta?
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