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Thread: Final Cut Pro

  1. #1

    Default Final Cut Pro

    Hi,

    It's wonderful to see a section here dedicated to mac users. I LOVE MAC!!!

    I'm about to leap forwards into the world of Final Cut Pro (after only ever having used imovie)...

    Does anyone have any tips, hints or suggestions before I launch myself into buying it? Especially if you've used both imovie and final cut before and can appreciate the differences.

    I am expecting to have to dedicate a lot of time to getting my head around it. imovie is so intuitive - but I've reached a point where I feel very limited with it. I can't wait to expand my horizons

    Trinity
    x

  2. #2

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    Tip #1 - Check out the tutorials on Lynda.com. For $25 you get to learn all the Final Cut Studio apps.

    Tip #2 - FCP is probably going to be updated shortly, so you may want to hold off buying it for a couple of months.

    Tip #3 - Make sure you also check out Adobe Production Premium (for Premiere Pro) also. (I'm not biased - we use both!).

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default

    I can certainly second the suggestion on Lynda.com I have used them and they are excellent value. Don't be put off by the membership fee, they operate a system where you can start and stop at will. I re-enable my account whenever there are new things to learn.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Partington View Post
    Tip #1 - Check out the tutorials on Lynda.com. For $25 you get to learn all the Final Cut Studio apps.

    Tip #2 - FCP is probably going to be updated shortly, so you may want to hold off buying it for a couple of months.

    Tip #3 - Make sure you also check out Adobe Production Premium (for Premiere Pro) also. (I'm not biased - we use both!).
    Thank you David. I remember someone I crossed paths with a few months ago (a freelance editor) telling me about Lynda. Yesterday I found 300 minutes of free Final Cut tutorials on there and had just decided to enroll with them as soon as I get the software. Thanks for the confirmation.

    I am not sure if I can hold off buying for a couple of months. I am having to restrain myself as it is!!! I wonder if they release a new version if I could just update it?

    It hadn't even entered my consciousness that there were other decent options for the mac. I've only heard people mention Final Cut. I'll definitely have to look into Adobe Production Premium.... As someone who uses both would you be able to give me a quick comparison between the two.

    Many thanks for your reply.
    Trinity
    x

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shrimpfarmer View Post
    I can certainly second the suggestion on Lynda.com I have used them and they are excellent value. Don't be put off by the membership fee, they operate a system where you can start and stop at will. I re-enable my account whenever there are new things to learn.
    Thank you! I've been looking at their free tutorials and I am really impressed. It seems really good value for what they offer. It's nice to hear that they operate in a friendly 'start/stop' your membership when you want to kinda way.
    x

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Trinity Bourne View Post
    It hadn't even entered my consciousness that there were other decent options for the mac. I've only heard people mention Final Cut. I'll definitely have to look into Adobe Production Premium.... As someone who uses both would you be able to give me a quick comparison between the two.
    Well... err... that could take a while. There are lots of things to think about. Firstly, what camera are you going to be shooting with? With that in mind I can probably hone in on the important stuff.

  7. #7

    Default

    I'm upgrading my camcorder and looking at the panasonic hmc151 camera as my primary vehicle (to upgrade from my old Sony dsr pd150) and also using a Canon Vixia HFS200 HD consumer camcorder for GV's (which to cofuse matters is actually an Amercian NTSC camera!). Not sure if that helps.

    I've been scouring the web today looking at the differences between FCP and PP (after you kindly brought it to my attention) - and am none the wiser as opinions and experience is so varied. It's like chasing my tail

    Trinity
    x

  8. #8

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    Perhaps a 'niave' question... but why does which camera I use determine which editing software would be best?
    x

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Trinity Bourne View Post
    Perhaps a 'niave' question... but why does which camera I use determine which editing software would be best?
    x
    I've been shooting HMC151 since 2009 and more recently DSLR as well. When I've come home from a day's shoot (usually a wedding) and had maybe 120GB of footage to ingest, it's taken many hours for Final Cut Pro to transcode the footage to Prores 422 / Prores LT ready for editing. The options are to dump all the footage in the L&T window and go to bed (which is what I've usually done), sorting the footage out next day within the FCP browser window, or I can sit entering my data in to the L&T window while FCP transcodes and my footage will be sorted (by the metadata I enter) and ready to go. Either way, it takes a long time, typically 8-12 hours (!!!) for a day's shooting (for me). Shooting with DSLR is no different.

    Enter Adobe Premiere Pro, which can edit the 'native' footage without any transcoding at all, provided you have a powerful computer (quad core or better recommended) and enough RAM (12GB or more recommended). Our systems satisfy those criteria, so lately we've been editing native footage and saving the transcode time. On a 40-60 hour edit, we can save in the region of 10-11 hours by using Premiere Pro instead of FCP. That's a big time difference.

    Now, there are two camps out there. The first camp will scream all day long that you shouldn't be editing in a 'delivery codec' like AVCHD / H.264, and before I got Premiere Pro CS5 I would have agreed with them. They also tell you how color correction can't be done with AVCHD/H.264 native footage. The second camp is actually doing all these things that camp 1 says can't (or shouldn't) be done. Once upon a time I was in the first camp, now I'm in the second. We're editing native AVCHD and H.264 files quite happily, and color correcting them, and applying effects etc etc, on both an iMac and a MacPro.

    There is nothing to stop you transcoding with Premiere Pro as well. Go ahead and convert to any codec you want. With FCP you are limited to ProRes (which is a great editing codec, and we use ProRes with FCP all the time) within the Panasonic AVCHD converter in the Log & Transfer window. Premiere Pro has lots of options.

    So, that's the first thing - transcoding. Do you want to have the 'option' of editing native AVCHD / H.264 footage (and have the choice to transcode to other codecs if you want) or do you want to put up with having to transcode before you can even look at your footage properly? Does your computer have enough power to handle it without transcoding. Once FCP has transcoded the footage you can edit with a much lower powered machine.

    After that, FCP and Premiere Pro provide similar features with only minor variations here and there. Since they both have a common heritage it's not surprising. FCP was originally a Macromedia product before Apple bought it and renamed it FCP. Adobe later bought Macromedia.

    Both of them can take great numbers of plugins, so third party support is pretty much equal.

    FCP teams up with Motion, Color, Compressor, Soundtrack Pro and DVD Studio Pro. There is only very limited Blu-ray authoring in FCP/Compressor, not good enough for commercial releases. If you want good quality Blu-ray authoring the only real choice is Adobe Encore (which comes with Premiere Pro!), so you could end up having to buy Premiere Pro with Encore even if you bought FCP. This is sort of how we came to it.

    Premiere Pro (PPro) can be bought in a few different ways. The first is just PPro + Encore as a bundle. The second is as part of the Adobe Production Premium which also includes apps like After Effects, Soundbooth (for tuning your audio), Media Encoder, Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash, Bridge, OnLocation and more, in addition to PPro and Encore. If you can spring for the extra cost it's well worth it over just the PPro/Encore option, even if you don't think you'll even need the extra apps.... one day you probably will.

    To give you an idea, this is how the suites compare:

    FCP --> Premiere Pro
    DVD Studio Pro --> Encore (but Encore can author Flash and Blu-ray in addition to DVDs)
    Compresor --> Adobe Media Encoder
    Soundtrack Pro --> Soundbooth (though Soundbooth also comes with lots of free music and sound effects)
    Motion ---> After Effects (they are not really the same - After Effects is generally regarded as more powerful, though there is the odd thing Motion can do that AE can't)
    Color --> After Effects? Many people use After Effects for color grading, or some other Plug-In. The FCP-->Color roundtrip workflow is not for the faint of heart. If you learn how to use it and can work around it's idiosyncrasies then Color does an excellent job.
    [ nothing ] --> Flash
    [ nothing ] --> Photoshop
    [ nothing ] --> Illustrator
    [ nothing ] --> Bridge
    [ nothing ] --> OnLocation (which is where you could connect your HMC via HDMI to the computer and this will record live 4:2:2 to the hard disk)

    On the face of it you get much more with the Production Premium. There is another package from Adobe called Master Collection that adds things like Fireworks and Dreamweaver, but unless you are in to web design, these are not really needed.

    In terms of editing, FCP has some really nice features that are not present in PPro. Being able to select a clip on the sequence timeline and move it up or down with the cursor keys is nice. In PPro you have to drag with your mouse and make sure you didn't move it sideways. FCP also has a feature called 'Join Through Edit' which I do miss in PPRo. This is where if the two clips either side of a cut are adjacent frames you can join them back in to one clip. PPRo can't do this.

    On the flip side, there are lots of nice advanced features in PPRo that don't exist in FCP, like automating lots of clips from a bin to a sequence aligned (and cut) to sequence markers. This is good for dropping lots of clips timed to coincide with the beat of the music (as just one example). I really like the title software in PPRo compared to FCP. I like that I can bring Photoshop docs in and maintain the layers, choose individual layers or flatten it. The same goes for Illustrator files. Round tripping with Photoshop, After Effects and Encore is really nice.

    PPro and Media Encoder are full 64 bit apps and truly multicore aware. FCP is a 32 bit app and struggles to make use of all the computer's power.

    FCP has some nasty quirks that mean if you change anything, you need to render the sequence before you can view it. This could take several seconds to several minutes. You then make another tiny change and you have to render all over again. PPro is much more forgiving of this stuff and will play almost anything without needing to render. Having to render over and over gets really frustrating!

    I could go on and on and on. I don't want to over load you.

    Rest assured that BOTH will do an admirable job. I still like FCP a LOT and I hope that Apple can update it to 64 bit and iron out many of the short comings that exist today. Generally we are finding that Premiere Pro is giving us a much faster and more integrated workflow, with the main caveat being you really need a quad core 64 bit CPU and 8GB min (12GB+ preferred) to run.

    If you have specific questions, feel free to ask, but really, I don't want to over load you and I don't want to start a PPRo vs FCP or ProRes vs Native thread. There are enough out there already.

    Some reading you may want to consider :


    --- Premiere Pro ---
    In Praise of Dissent: Adobe CS5 Paves The Way | Hurlbut Visuals

    AdobeTV | Learn Premiere Pro CS5

    Adobe TV | Search | FCP to Premiere

    Chris Fenwick's Custom Tutorials - Home - X2PPro 002 -*Navigating (lots of FCP vs Premiere Pro comparisons)

    Apple are still telling people that the BBC chose Final Cut Pro as part of their digital workflow. What they are not telling you is that the BBC have since chosen to standardise on Premiere Pro, partly because of the transcoding time that FCP needs and PPRo doesn't. If the BBC can edit natively, why shouldn't we?

    --- Apple FCP ---

    Apple - Final Cut Studio

    It's fair to say that currently, more full scale feature films are produced using FCP than Premiere Pro (party due to inertia within the movie industry), but then even more are produced on Avid than FCP, so what does it all mean anyway?

    Honestly, I know this mostly sounds like a plug for PPro over FCP. It's not, or is certainly not intended to be. FCP is a fine program and I'm sure we will continue to use it along side Premiere Pro on a project by project basis.
    Last edited by David Partington; 02-20-2011 at 09:22 PM.

  10. #10

    Default

    That's incredibly informative and helpful David. Thank you!!! You've highlighted some important points well worthy of consideration. I very much appreciate your first hand experience with both systems.
    I'll follow the links you've posted today and do more investigating and then we'll see where I end up.

    I have a Macbook Pro with OSX 10.6.6 I'll guess I should first find out whether it is powerful enough for PP - otherwise that may be my limiting factor here.

    Trinity
    x
    Last edited by Trinity Bourne; 02-21-2011 at 07:54 AM.

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