Smoke on Mac hands on training
I took part in Autodesk's offer of free hands on training for Smoke on Mac at this years IBC. It is a great way of showcasing the software that has always looked a little daunting for Avid or Final Cut Pro users. Now that the price is significantly decreased, their demographic has changed as well, and this is a good example of trying to reach their new market.
About 5 workstations were set up running Smoke on Mac, all facing a projector on which the tutor leads you through a couple of projects to show you some keying, tracking and 3D text all through a speaker system and headphones which are essential to overcome the din of hall 7.
It proved to be just the right amount to understand a little more of how Smoke works and how it could be useful. I use Avid DS on a daily basis and grow ever more frustrated with Avid's disinterest of the product and lack of major releases at every broadcast event. With every month that I get closer to deciding whether to stick with DS or jump ship to Smoke, I am afraid to say I lean towards the latter.
Smoke's tracker is fantastic. It's keyer is effortless. It has true 3D compositing and the ability to import 3D models, adding lighting and textures. It is everything I want Avid DS to be, just with a strange interface.
My DS has a stay of execution while I wait for Smoke to play nicely in an Avid Unity environment (it can only handle the HD flavor of Avid codec's DNxHD - not the SD MXF) and I hope that with a cheaper software price point and possibly more sales, Avid might once again see the reason to invest in the RandD of the product. From my part it has until NAB next year, else it is back to compositor school for me!