Final Cut Pro vs Final Cut Express question

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Final Cut Pro vs Final Cut Express question

Postby NightMistress85 » Tue Jun 17, 2008 10:48 am

I'm considering getting final cut express over pro, to save myself a good grand. However, I was wondering if FCE has some features that I noticed with FCP. Do they both generally have the same matting capabilties? (like 8 point garbage matting), as well as color key capabilities (like when I want to make a color transparent). Also, does FCP have a significantly greater choice for effects and transitions?
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Postby mahler » Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:44 pm

In my experience, FCE is going to have just about all you need, minus the ability to edit in many different codecs (like DVCPRO50, etc). It also doesn't have quite as advanced color correction abilities. But the garbage matte is the same (you can download a free plug-in that is 50 point, I believe) and a lot of the other filters are the same.

I have Final Cut Studio 1 and FCE 4, and I find myself switching back and forth between the two. I like FCS1 for Compressor, Motion, and Cinema Tools, but I think for most people (especially with making of fan videos) that FCE is more than ENOUGH.

Of course, if you are a power user who feels like you must edit in 23.976 or something, get Final Cut Studio.
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Postby LivingFlame » Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:35 pm

FCE sux. :amv:

My personal feelings from using it at school.
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Postby Athena » Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:16 pm

I refused to compromise, but then I was using my mac to make political ads. I've made only two videos on my macs.

But I went with Studio. I didn't like express when I tried it. But it's probably a matter of preference.
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Postby mahler » Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:14 pm

How recently have you used it?

FCE 4 lacks the ability to edit in the 23.976 timebase. You get a choice of a few codecs (DV and Apple Intermediate Codec) and you have less media bundled in LiveType. It lacks, of course, the other apps (like Compressor, Soundtrack, Cinema Tools). You can't fine-tune color correction quite as well.

It used to lack the ability to keyframe filters, but that was added in FCE 3.5.

What else about FCE4 compares so badly to FCP? I admit I am not a power user in either so I probably am missing some of the nuances. But then again, I have a feeling that a lot of other people making fan videos are similar to me.

Please educate me—I'd like to understand better how exactly it's so inferior. Please give specifics, because as I said, I'm not a power user. All the reviews I read (and the comments I read on places like the Final Cut forums on Apple.com) say that it's pretty good, and usually more than enough if you're not a professional.
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Postby LivingFlame » Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:52 pm

Does FCE4 = FCE HD? FCE HD is what we have at my school. Well, anyway...

I'm sure it would be fine if you planned on being nothing more than a hobbyist dabbling in video editing. I, on the other hand, am majoring in Visual Communication and currently work in video production. That said, I can't stand the limitations of FCE, especially codec limitations. When I tried using FCE on my university's computers, I was used to using Premiere (on Mac) and Vegas (on PC). FCE just felt clunky and less responsive than I would desire in an editing program. I haven't used FCP, so I can't make a direct comparison to that.

I didn't stick with FCE for any extensive period of time. I just got fed up with it and brought in my laptop with Premiere on it and got finished editing much faster.

And for the record, I don't know if the lack of responsiveness was due to the software or if the university's hardware just sucks. (I can't recall what the hardware specs are, right now, and I'm 150~ miles away from the school.) I just know it wasn't as responsive as what I expect out of a program.

Oh, and the FCE titler can bite me. I just started making titles in Photoshop instead.



Random tidbit: if deinterlaced/IVTC'd, most anime will end up being 23.976 fps.
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Postby mahler » Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:28 am

No I don't think FCE HD is the latest: http://www.apple.com/finalcutexpress/

No mention of HD there. Sounds like you have version 3 or 3.5.

Most of the people I know who make fan videos are hobbyists, and are not willing to pay somewhere around $1000 to indulge their hobby. So I'd say that for many fan video enthusiasts, FCE 4 is more than enough. You clearly are in a different category, because you intend to go pro. A lot of the people I know are more than happy with what FCE offers them, and won't get near to pushing it to its limits. Purchasing FCP would be massive overkill. (It was probably overkill for me too, but I got a very good deal on it.)

Sure, the codec issue is annoying. I've learned to live with it and have a lot of DVDs converted over to DV MOV, so I can switch back and forth between FCP and FCE without rendering.

If FCE felt clunky to you, then FCP probably would too. (My guess, since their interfaces are very, very similar. Almost identical at first glance.) I think a lot of it is your hardware, and what you're used to. I found Vegas incomprehensible at first, and also found Premiere unintuitive. I like Premiere (Elements, which I have) much better after having gotten used to it, but Vegas is still a bit of a mystery, and it has several things I actively dislike. (But it's fine, I'm sure, once you learn it properly.)

As for LiveType, a lot of people claim that is one of the best things about the Final Cut Suite. It takes a bit of getting used to, but let's just say it's a far cry better than using Photoshop for making titles! :lol:
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Postby BasharOfTheAges » Sat Jun 28, 2008 8:59 am

mahler wrote:Most of the people I know who make fan videos are hobbyists, and are not willing to pay somewhere around $1000 to indulge their hobby.
This is completely true. Yet a significant number of people here have such software anyway. Read between the lines a bit.
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Postby mahler » Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:39 am

Yes, of course I know how they get it. :roll:

Sure, if expense is not an issue when acquiring software, then get the pro version rather than the express. They're not paying for it either way, so they can afford to be picky.

It also is true that not everyone desires to *ahem* "acquire" expensive software without paying for it. I know quite a few people like this. And actually, I am like this. It's not a bad way to be. Just like it's not a bad thing to prefer to buy the DVDs rather than downloading bootlegged movies or episodes. Or to buy the music you use in a video, rather than getting it for free on Limewire.

I've also encountered people who have difficulty "acquiring" software. (Like, people on dial-up.)
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Postby mahler » Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:42 am

Furthermore, it appears as if NightMistress85, the person who started this thread, is talking about "saving a grand," which indicates her intention to buy the software.
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Postby Athena » Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:29 am

I bought my mac with FCP HD5 (studio 1) pre-installed. I saved a ton, because it was a limited time offer. I bought mac, I got FCP for free. I dealt with express earlier on work computers and did not like it.

Some of us are professionals. As stated, I used my mac for political commercials mostly. I do almost all my amv editing on my pc.
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Postby mahler » Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:47 am

I have no doubt that some of you are professionals, and as such you would naturally want the pro version. I believe I said that earlier.

If NightMistress85 (the person who started this thread) is intending to go professional, then she should consider Final Cut Studio. If she is going to be doing this as a hobby, making fan videos and home movies and such, does she require Final Cut Studio? Will she use all of the features she'll be paying for (an additional $1000 or so)? What features will she require, that are only present in the Studio version?

She may feel that more media in LiveType is worth it. Or the inclusion of Soundtrack is worth it. (I'd recommend finding a copy of FCE 3.5 on eBay and using the LiveType media and copy of Soundtrack in it. It would cost far less than $1000.) Or she may consider Motion, Cinema Tools or Color worth it. If she does, then she needs Final Cut Studio.

If she's mainly concerned about editing fan videos and using effects like garbage matte and filters and transitions (which is all she's asked about), then (at least in my copy of FCE 4 and FCS 1) she might decide against paying the extra $1000 for Studio. Most or all of the third-party plug-ins that work with FCS should also work in FCE.
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Postby LivingFlame » Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:54 am

mahler wrote:No I don't think FCE HD is the latest: http://www.apple.com/finalcutexpress/

No mention of HD there. Sounds like you have version 3 or 3.5.


Yea, I looked into it; the university has 3.5. Not sure how much changed between the two versions.

mahler wrote:If FCE felt clunky to you, then FCP probably would too. (My guess, since their interfaces are very, very similar. Almost identical at first glance.) I think a lot of it is your hardware, and what you're used to.


FCE's interface is actually quite similar to Premiere's. (Actually, I think one of the lead designers for Premiere also had a hand in creating Final Cut. That's just hearsay, though.) So it didn't take me long to understand how a lot of the program worked. That said, the hardware it was being run on probably just sucked. >_>

Don't misunderstand me here, I'm not trying to bash Final Cut or anything. It's probably just one of those instances where I had a chance bad experience with the software and now I just have a bad taste in my mouth. I'm sure I'll give it another shot some day (on better equipment, no less) since it is a sort of industry standard these days.

mahler wrote:...Vegas is still a bit of a mystery, and it has several things I actively dislike. (But it's fine, I'm sure, once you learn it properly.)


Heh, I'm curious what you actively dislike, but that's not for this thread. :P

mahler wrote:As for LiveType, a lot of people claim that is one of the best things about the Final Cut Suite. It takes a bit of getting used to, but let's just say it's a far cry better than using Photoshop for making titles! :lol:


Actually, I was making lower thirds to put on some interviews, and you can really make much nicer looking lower thirds in Photoshop. (Obviously, I wouldn't be making a credit roll or some other sort of motion title in Photoshop, lol.) :P





And I think I mentioned at the beginning of my last post that FCE would likely be perfectly fine if the TC had no intention of ever progressing beyond a hobbyist.
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Postby mahler » Sat Jun 28, 2008 7:40 pm

LivingFlame wrote:Yea, I looked into it; the university has 3.5. Not sure how much changed between the two versions.


There's apparently a bit of difference between 3.5 and 4, but since I jumped from 3 to 4, I can't speak too specifically on that.


FCE's interface is actually quite similar to Premiere's.

The first version of Premiere Elements was different enough for me that it was confusing. Finally I adjusted. Now I'm on version 4, and it's much easier.

Don't misunderstand me here, I'm not trying to bash Final Cut or anything. It's probably just one of those instances where I had a chance bad experience with the software and now I just have a bad taste in my mouth. I'm sure I'll give it another shot some day (on better equipment, no less) since it is a sort of industry standard these days.

Fair enough. :)

In any case, I still think it comes down to what you're used to, and what you're looking for. Many people are very happy with Final Cut, and with Vegas. They both are great products.

mahler wrote:Actually, I was making lower thirds to put on some interviews, and you can really make much nicer looking lower thirds in Photoshop. (Obviously, I wouldn't be making a credit roll or some other sort of motion title in Photoshop, lol.) :P

Yes, I see what you mean. LiveType has some advanced features that are praised by many. I'm still learning about all that it can do. Apparently it can be quite powerful.

And I think I mentioned at the beginning of my last post that FCE would likely be perfectly fine if the TC had no intention of ever progressing beyond a hobbyist.

Fair enough. I think that applies to a lot of us, but I wouldn't know percentages.
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Postby LivingFlame » Sat Jun 28, 2008 8:44 pm

mahler wrote:
LivingFlame wrote:
mahler wrote:
LivingFlame wrote:Oh, and the FCE titler can bite me. I just started making titles in Photoshop instead.


As for LiveType, a lot of people claim that is one of the best things about the Final Cut Suite. It takes a bit of getting used to, but let's just say it's a far cry better than using Photoshop for making titles! :lol:


Actually, I was making lower thirds to put on some interviews, and you can really make much nicer looking lower thirds in Photoshop. (Obviously, I wouldn't be making a credit roll or some other sort of motion title in Photoshop, lol.) :P


Yes, I see what you mean. LiveType has some advanced features that are praised by many. I'm still learning about all that it can do. Apparently it can be quite powerful.


I just feel like I should point out that I got a bit confused in this portion of the conversation. That's my fault. I assumed your first comment on LiveType was directed at me for saying that "the FCE titler can bite me." Upon thinking about it, I realized that LiveType and the built-in FCE titler that I was using in 3.5 are two very different things. The built-in titler was rather limiting which is why I moved over to Photoshop to make my lower thirds. LiveType, on the other hand, is a whole different beast. I've never used it, but you are right - it's a very powerful tool.

I still stand by my original comment, however. The built-in titler (if they haven't changed it to automatically use LiveType) is quite limiting if you want to do something fancy.

But I think I'm trailing off here . . . sorry about that TC. FCE is likely enough for what you're after. It sure beats out iMovie in a large way. At any rate, if you are a student, try to get a student discount on whatever you do buy. Apple does offer those. It's only $20 on FCE, I believe, but it's still something. (Unless you find it cheaper somewhere else, of course. I'm just the kind of person that tends to buy from the people making the software.)

And this has been a rousing conversation. I have enjoyed it. Hope I never came off mean at any point. If I did, them I'm sorry. =\
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