Final Cut Pro vs Final Cut Express question

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Postby NightMistress85 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:54 pm

Wow. Thanks so much for all the information everyone! I definitely want something that won't take me all day to render. I tested out FCP and noticed that's what it does for my video formats. For the record, I will be purchasing whatever products I decide to buy and discovered that I could get a student discount on FCS, saving me hundreds, but it wouldn't be upgradeable and if I'm spending all of that money, that's what I would want. I may go the route of Adobe Premiere. Also, it's hard to convert my videos to DV while maintaining the same quality. I could handle a 6gb file for one ep for instance, but not one that looks slightly grainy.
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Postby mahler » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:08 am

I'm not sure what you're talking about "all day to render." Final Cut Pro will accept a number of codecs, including uncompressed types, which would not require rendering (unless you add heavy filters). I also hear that ProRes 422 is a very good codec, and you'd get that with Final Cut Studio.

If you use Adobe Premiere, won't you have to render as well? And what codec would Premiere use that Final Cut can't? Unless you're planning on using the Windows version of Premiere or something . . .

Nothing against Adobe Premiere, though. I hear it's very good. But I'm confused about all this rendering talk. I believe all of us (on Windows and Mac) have to convert our footage to some other format before editing.
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Postby LivingFlame » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:22 am

NightMistress85 wrote:Also, it's hard to convert my videos to DV while maintaining the same quality. I could handle a 6gb file for one ep for instance, but not one that looks slightly grainy.


DV is a lossy codec, so you'll have quality loss no matter the program (though it's always pretty slight, as DV is light for lossy compression). The only lossless codec that I personally know of for Mac is Sheer.
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Postby NightMistress85 » Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:53 am

mahler wrote:I'm not sure what you're talking about "all day to render." Final Cut Pro will accept a number of codecs, including uncompressed types, which would not require rendering (unless you add heavy filters). I also hear that ProRes 422 is a very good codec, and you'd get that with Final Cut Studio.

If you use Adobe Premiere, won't you have to render as well? And what codec would Premiere use that Final Cut can't? Unless you're planning on using the Windows version of Premiere or something . . .

Nothing against Adobe Premiere, though. I hear it's very good. But I'm confused about all this rendering talk. I believe all of us (on Windows and Mac) have to convert our footage to some other format before editing.


For FCP I imported the file types fine without needing conversion, but if I make any change to the video or the effects, it makes me have to render it every time. Just didn't feel very productive for me. And they say dv was the best quality to convert it to to cut down on that. Also, whenever I exported the file, it loss a little quality every time in every format I tried. I tried out Adobe's trial version and it allows me to add a clip to the time sequence without having to render to see it. With Adobe, I did have to convert my file in order to be added into program (converted to mov, but may be able to try others); However when I did, it imported no problem, lost no quality, and plays fine when I put the clip on the timeline without the "unrendered" message due to any little change I make. Looks like FCP and Adobe have the same codecs, but for some reason exporting with Adobe doesn't give me issue in terms of quality loss.

Also, I'm getting an excellent deal on the software and won't be solely constricted to DV format like with FCE. Its price is closer to FCE than it is to FCP. It'll be cheaper than the Academic FCP and it'll be upgradeable.


LivingFlame wrote:DV is a lossy codec, so you'll have quality loss no matter the program (though it's always pretty slight, as DV is light for lossy compression). The only lossless codec that I personally know of for Mac is Sheer.


My loss was pretty noticeable though no matter what I used so it got a little frustrating. Thanks for this info though! Definitely explains a lot.

I'm obviously pretty new to all of this, but definitely up for learning you've all been a big help. :)
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Postby Athena » Fri Jul 04, 2008 4:45 pm

LivingFlame wrote:The only lossless codec that I personally know of for Mac is Sheer.


Huffyuv has a port for mac. That's what I use.
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Postby LivingFlame » Fri Jul 04, 2008 6:17 pm

Kionon wrote:
LivingFlame wrote:The only lossless codec that I personally know of for Mac is Sheer.


Huffyuv has a port for mac. That's what I use.

Hmm, I never knew that. I'll have to go find that now. Thanks. :)
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Postby LantisEscudo » Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:13 pm

I'm not aware of any Huffy encoders for Macs. There's the excellent decoder that's part of Perian, but that's decode-only, I thought.
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Postby mahler » Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:30 pm

NightMistress85 wrote:For FCP I imported the file types fine without needing conversion, but if I make any change to the video or the effects, it makes me have to render it every time.

I have only used Premiere Elements, but I have to render when I apply filters to it too. I think rendering comes with the territory with any editor. Sooner or later, you must render. It's just a matter of when.

Also, whenever I exported the file, it loss a little quality every time in every format I tried.

Did you export out of FCP as uncompressed?

I am confused. I'm not having these same experiences with Final Cut. I'm able to keep good quality (won't say the best possible evar!!1!, but pretty good) and I don't notice this loss of quality when I export. I've experimented with Premiere Elements, and it's the same way. I export out as uncompressed, and the quality is good. I'm not noticing some huge vast difference between the two. I can't imagine that Final Cut would have the status it does in professional editing if it had such severe quality issues.
. Looks like FCP and Adobe have the same codecs, but for some reason exporting with Adobe doesn't give me issue in terms of quality loss.

I think you're probably just not setting up Final Cut right or something. Have you read the tutorials on this site? http://ishtori.net/

Also, I'm getting an excellent deal on the software and won't be solely constricted to DV format like with FCE. Its price is closer to FCE than it is to FCP. It'll be cheaper than the Academic FCP and it'll be upgradeable.

Now, THAT might be a good reason to choose it, I agree.
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Postby NightMistress85 » Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:14 pm

mahler wrote:I have only used Premiere Elements, but I have to render when I apply filters to it too. I think rendering comes with the territory with any editor. Sooner or later, you must render. It's just a matter of when.

I idea that I need to render it isn't the issue. But if I can see my video in the timeline with the effects and filters before I HAVE to, then I'm a happier camper and Premiere Pro lets me do that. With FCP it doesn't let me see anything in the program on the timeline without it being rendered first.


Did you export out of FCP as uncompressed?

I am confused. I'm not having these same experiences with Final Cut. I'm able to keep good quality (won't say the best possible evar!!1!, but pretty good) and I don't notice this loss of quality when I export. I've experimented with Premiere Elements, and it's the same way. I export out as uncompressed, and the quality is good. I'm not noticing some huge vast difference between the two. I can't imagine that Final Cut would have the status it does in professional editing if it had such severe quality issues.

Yeah it was uncompressed. The file size was gargantuan (no surprise). Thing is, the quality when I exported from Premiere beats what I get when I export from FCP. It came out a little more pixelated for me with FCP than the original footage. Premiere Pro didn't do that. I of course understand that FCP is a top notch piece of software, but it wasn't handling my videos like I needed. I hear it works better for raw footage anyway and not something that's already been compressed. Now, I do have DVDs, but I also have RAW files that I also use to try to maintain good video quality.

I think you're probably just not setting up Final Cut right or something. Have you read the tutorials on this site? http://ishtori.net/

I didn't get to read that tutorial, but thanks! I'll fave it. But since I've already purchased premiere pro so I think I won't really have to worry so much now.

Also, I'm getting an excellent deal on the software and won't be solely constricted to DV format like with FCE. Its price is closer to FCE than it is to FCP. It'll be cheaper than the Academic FCP and it'll be upgradeable.
Now, THAT might be a good reason to choose it, I agree.


Oh yeah. It's done and done. Just waiting for it to arrive. Thanks though!
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Postby iEditor00 » Tue Jul 08, 2008 8:40 am

NightMistress85 wrote:Yeah it was uncompressed. The file size was gargantuan (no surprise). Thing is, the quality when I exported from Premiere beats what I get when I export from FCP. It came out a little more pixelated for me with FCP than the original footage. Premiere Pro didn't do that. I of course understand that FCP is a top notch piece of software, but it wasn't handling my videos like I needed. I hear it works better for raw footage anyway and not something that's already been compressed. Now, I do have DVDs, but I also have RAW files that I also use to try to maintain good video quality.

Just a bit of advice I Use Final Cut Express and my AMVs (Well Betas Really) Have always Had Great quality What i do is INstead Of Exporting the file normally I just Export using Quicktime Conversion (Quicktime Pro only though) and Mine have the Same Quality as they came into Final Cut Express. But they are big files so i just use some settings to reconvert it to something smaller at the loss of some quality so i can send it to my friend for his advice and criticism on it.
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Postby NightMistress85 » Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:31 am

iEditor00 wrote:
NightMistress85 wrote:Yeah it was uncompressed. The file size was gargantuan (no surprise). Thing is, the quality when I exported from Premiere beats what I get when I export from FCP. It came out a little more pixelated for me with FCP than the original footage. Premiere Pro didn't do that. I of course understand that FCP is a top notch piece of software, but it wasn't handling my videos like I needed. I hear it works better for raw footage anyway and not something that's already been compressed. Now, I do have DVDs, but I also have RAW files that I also use to try to maintain good video quality.

Just a bit of advice I Use Final Cut Express and my AMVs (Well Betas Really) Have always Had Great quality What i do is INstead Of Exporting the file normally I just Export using Quicktime Conversion (Quicktime Pro only though) and Mine have the Same Quality as they came into Final Cut Express. But they are big files so i just use some settings to reconvert it to something smaller at the loss of some quality so i can send it to my friend for his advice and criticism on it.


I've done that myself and the only way it turns out looking excellent is if it is in m4v format. Unfortunately, that format distorts the screen because it was meant to be seen on a television. m4v isn't very big, but the rest of them are gargantuan. Thanks though. I cracked open my adobe last night. It's got this 577 page user manual. Guess it will be good for some "light reading" on the train when I head in to and from work everyday :P.
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Postby mahler » Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:17 pm

I also get good quality by basically following the tutorials on ishtori.net. (I probably get a few details wrong, but I try to follow it to the best of my understanding.) I export as uncompressed (10 bit 4:2:2, Apple Animation, one of those codecs) at a larger frame size, then I convert the uncompressed file to Divx by following Ishtori.net's recommendations. (More or less.)

I rip my DVD to to DV with MPEG Streamclip, and I have my setup in Final Cut done correctly so there is no red bar in the timeline (meaning that I must render the imported clips). All of this seems to come together pretty well, so the quality is very good. I won't say it's as gorgeous as some of the most dedicated amv members here, but quite respectable, especially when the source DVDs look good.

All I can say is that I have never noticed any huge quality hit while editing in Final Cut (either Pro or Express) and I strongly suspect that there was something different that you did along the way which caused this noticeable lowering of quality. I've seen some gorgeous quality videos come from Final Cut users, so obviously it's capable of producing good results.

However, that's neither here nor there now, since you have Premiere, and Premiere is an excellent product and you'll get good quality from it as well.
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Postby NightMistress85 » Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:47 pm

Yeah, maybe it's something I was doing, but the quality I noticed a quality difference and it was definitely enough to irk me for how large the file itself was. Sliighty more pixelated in every form I exported to, except m4v. I'll try to find a screen cap for comparison.
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Postby NightMistress85 » Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:20 pm

Okay, here are some screencaps. The first one is how it looks in m4v:
http://i37.tinypic.com/jtq7it.png - as you can see, it's clear but stretched. It's supposed to be 4:3.

And here is what my scenes looked like in any other form I exported it under:http://i34.tinypic.com/yi6tx.png

More pixelated looking and definitely a noticeable difference for me.
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Postby mahler » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:47 pm

If you're able to export it out of Final Cut looking clear (like in the M4V file) then obviously it's possible to get the file out of Final Cut looking clear, if you use the right export settings. I always customize my exports, picking the codec, quality setting, bitrate (when applicable), choose a custom frame size (so there isn't any stretching) and so forth, and have always been happy with the quality.

ishtori.net doesn't have a tutorial for exporting out as uncompressed, but it does have this tutorial for exporting using the DivX codec: http://ishtori.net/index.php?id=27

Final Cut Studio also comes with Compressor, which can allow for a lot of fine-tuning of export settings. I find personally that it's usually necessary to fine tune—sticking with the software pre-sets when exporting don't always give you the best results. This seems to hold true with any video software, for Mac or PC.
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