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What video editing/effects software should I get when my hands are tied?
August 1, 2012 9:51 AM   Subscribe

What video editing/effects software should I get when my hands are tied?

I work in an in-house creative department and increasingly I'm called on to create quick little videos and even fast commercials using nothing more than my mac and imovie. (Yeah, I know.) Often I use full fledged production companies and do things the right way but there are more and more of these smaller jobs that just don't warrant the expenditure of using pros like that. I've manipulated still photography and photoshop and illustrator and garageband to make imovie as creative as it can be but man, it's tough. (I've written and directed scores of commercials but this is a little bit like Mitch Hebderg's old line "You can cook; then you can farm, right?")

So I've convinced the powers that be to take it up a step and load me up with either Final Cut or After Effects. And frankly, I'm excited about brushing up my skills on either or both. But now the weirdness begins.

Because of the way our macs are integrated into a server system that is itself aging, our Systems folks say I can't upgrade my Mac OS from where it is now. Where is it now? Oh, 10.5.8.

Okay, so do I buy an old box copy of After Effects CS4 or an old Final Cut if I can even find one?

Does anybody have any creative ideas on this? Or should I just say, "This is madness" and it can't be done?

Thanks.
posted by lpsguy to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Whether you go with Final Cut or After Effects really depends on what you're trying to do with the software. Either would be a huge upgrade from iMovie.

After Effects gives you a lot more control over manipulating video and stills in certain ways. It makes it easier to perform basic transformations with precision (scaling, moving, rotating, fading, etc.). It has a ton of effects built in and plugins that you can buy. The 3D camera makes it easy to do '2.5 D' stuff (to create a multi-plane type effect without using specific 3D software).

I don't use Final Cut that much but it is more of an editing software... The editing workflow is definitely superior in Final Cut, though I do use After Effects to edit if I don't have Final Cut available. You don't have as much flexibility, though, as far as transforming the media you are using.

If you could be a little more specific about what exactly you are typically doing with the software it might better help people answer the question; for now I would say After Effects would be the better choice, just because you *can* use it for editing, much more than you can use Final Cut for transforming/ adding effects to media.

As far as how you'd get your hands on a copy, I'm not sure, but hopefully that's something Adobe/Apple could help you with.
posted by matcha action at 10:12 AM on August 1, 2012


You do not want to be editing in After Effects on a regular basis. It's not made for that and it is very tedious to try to do any serious amount of editing in it.

Get Final Cut Studio (2009, Final Cut Pro v7). Minimum requirement is an Intel Mac and 10.5.6... it'll come packaged with Motion. If you need more power in the way of motion graphics than that, then you can start looking at AE.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:19 AM on August 1, 2012


You definitely want Final Cut, with Motion if possible. AE is amazing and versatile, but not so versatile that it serves as a functional day to day editing system.
posted by FeralHat at 11:49 AM on August 1, 2012


You could also look at Premiere, if you haven't already. It's the long-form editing version of After Effects, just as After Effects is the motion graphics version of Premiere. If you can't get an old copy of Final Cut it would do the trick. I've been using it for years for longer video projects.

The decision between the two comes down to: are you assembling video that you've acquired from mostly other sources? You want Premiere (or Final Cut). Are you making video from scratch with a bunch of separate pieces, like still photos and titles and 3D objects? You want After Effects.
posted by echo target at 12:06 PM on August 1, 2012


Just my input, older Final Cut is considerably better than older Premiere. And that's from a person who has made the professional jump to Adobe CS. Anything before 5.5 in Premiere I wouldn't recommend.

FCS 7 is still a solid program. Won't be the fastest, but with your system I don't think that's an issue anyway.
posted by shinynewnick at 1:10 PM on August 1, 2012


Gang ... I found an old copy of After Effects CS4 and it's working great and I'm lovin' it. Still learning it, but lovin' it. I just bought a new MacBook Pro and I'm going to upgrade iMovie to FinalCutX there so I think I'll be covered. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
posted by lpsguy at 7:43 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


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