Any tips for going from Adobe Premiere Pro to Final Cut Pro?
February 12, 2010 8:02 PM   Subscribe

Any tips for going from Adobe Premiere Pro to Final Cut Pro?

Hi everyone,

I recently got hired as a contractor for a busy firm that deals with training videos and dvd production for hospitals and pharmacies.

Their dpt is all Final Cut Pro based and since I am PC based, I've been editing on Premiere for the past 5 years. I am wondering if anyone has any tips in regards to a transmission from Premiere to FCP.

The manager assured me that I will not have an issue jumping from Premiere to FCP. Is this true?

posted by bostonhill to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (transition)*
posted by bostonhill at 8:03 PM on February 12, 2010

The interface will be a little different, but the concepts behind non-linear editing are pretty constant across all platforms, which makes the learning curve pretty easy for switching from Premiere to Final Cut Pro, or Avid, or whatever else may come along. Some of the most important aspects of the process really happen outside of the software, in the way you organize your footage and setup your workflow. If you know how to keep your files organized you'll always be way ahead.
posted by wabbittwax at 8:16 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

As with so many aspects of the production business, an editor knowing why to do something is infinitely more important than an editor knowing how. But Final Cut is a complex program that has gotten more intricate and (I don't know how else to put this) self-referencing over time -- there are little techniques that only make sense if you know that they started doing it that way five versions of FCP ago.

I made the same transition from Premiere to FCP without too much trouble, although I still get confused about how to do some specific thing or another. Final Cut does a LOT of things better, so it's absolutely worth being inculcated.
posted by Shotgun Shakespeare at 9:07 PM on February 12, 2010

I would recommend signing up to and take a few of the courses on FCP. It's good to see other people work a program and you'll get a quite a bit from them. The bonus is you can cancel after a month once your up to speed. I'm in no way have any interest in the company other than having subscribing for a few months and learning.
posted by jade east at 10:08 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I haven't used Premiere since it was a truly, mindblowingly awful product (back in the Premiere 3.0-5.0 days), so I can't give specific feature tips to transition from Premiere Pro to FCP. But as someone who has transitioned between at least 5 different NLEs in my editing career (Premiere–>Speed Razor–>Avid–>Discreet edit*–>FCP), here's what has helped me:

1. Customize your keyboard shortcuts so that the shortcuts that you use most frequently on Premiere Pro are mapped to their FCP counterparts.. Final Cut has a keyboard shortcut for literally everything, and every function can be remapped to your own preferences.

You can also save your customized keyboard prefs to a file that can be stored on a USB key or on your webserver, which you can load up on any FCP system you happen to be editing on, so you can quickly get up and running wherever you are.

I save my FCP keyboard prefs on one of these insanely small Verbatim USB sticks, which I keep in my wallet for when I need to edit on a client's system.

2. Other than your keyboard layout, don't frustrate yourself by trying to get FCP to do things the way PPro does. There are features in PPro that FCP lacks (or does less efficiently–working with native P2, XDCAM and RED files in particular), and there are things that FCP does better than PPro. As annoyingly faux-Zen as this sounds, you need to just let go, and accept the fact that there is an "FCP way" of doing things that may not make sense to you, coming from another editing package. The less you fight it, the quicker the FCP paradigm starts making sense.

This tendency is especially common with Avid editors making the FCP switch. I was responsible for switching my current editing facility from Avid to FCP, and found that our editors took a long time to feel comfortable with FCP, simply because they had become so ingrained with the "Avid way" (i.e. modal editing states) and tried to shoehorn that mentality into FCP, which has a completely different workflow/UI philosophy. However, after a few weeks, many features of FCP that they once found annoying or quirky became respected and beloved features, once they got used to the "FCP way".

3. That said, there are a few completely braindead preference defaults in FCP that you want to change immediately. Most notably, the sequence/clip selection rendering options. The default state is setup so that if you want to force-render a selected portion of the timeline using the default "Command+R" keyboard shortcut, FCP often wont do it because the "Render Selection" options are set to not render realtime "green bar" effects. FCP, by default, wants to try and play everything in realtime as much as possible, even if it has to degrade the picture quality or framerate in order to do so. But the realtime playback quality can get so awful sometimes that you need to force-render in order to get good quality playback. You want to enable ALL the checkboxes in the "Render Selection" (and "Render All") menu. This will let you select a timeline selection, then render it with the Command+R keyboard shortcut.
posted by melorama at 10:16 PM on February 12, 2010

Certain things are weird. When working in the timeline, simply selecting the video without the audio requires holding down the option key the whole time while you make your changes to the video. In Premiere it only requires one tap. Also, if you set your in and out points in the display window and want to drag part of a clip from there to the timeline without audio, you have to make adjustments to the left-hand side of the timeline (unlike in premiere, where the option is in the display window itself).
posted by Beardman at 11:47 PM on February 12, 2010

Biggest item I can think of? In FCP you have to 2x click (or press enter) to open a clip on your timeline to make adjustments. In PP, just click on the clip.
posted by filmgeek at 4:48 AM on February 13, 2010

Whoa melorama's answer. Anecdotal, a few years ago, I was in the opposite situation (I did fcp and got hired at a company on the worst premiere system that I quickly needed to learn). If I remember correctly, I was good to go within an afternoon (ie, finishing work that day) and I'm no particular genius. I was worried about it, but it was a lot easier than I expected.
posted by history is a weapon at 5:19 AM on February 13, 2010

When working in the timeline, simply selecting the video without the audio requires holding down the option key the whole time

Or hitting the "linked selection" toggle once. (on the top right of the timeline, looks like a little linked chain, keystroke is shift-L)

I do agree that certain things are weird about the interface. It's one of those rare programs where actually reading the manual, even if you already know what you're doing, is probably a good idea; the basics will look pretty familiar to you, but I've been using FCP for quite a while and I still routinely discover new features or better workflows.
posted by ook at 6:49 AM on February 13, 2010

To follow up with ook, yeah, there's no reason to be holding the option button. Linked selection and snap to edit are the two toggles that you ought to be turning on and off constantly. If you don't learn them as toggles, you'll find Final Cut frustrating to navigate.

Also learn to use the select all tracks to the right button (defaults to t-t-t-t [yes, that's hitting t 4 times]). Remap it to just one t. It makes opening up a complex edit point (say, where you have multiple overlapping picture and audio clips, and you want to choose which ones go to the right and which ones go to the left) shockingly easy.

But, yeah, read the manual. The Visual Quickpro Guide is really quite good.
posted by MythMaker at 4:36 AM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

n'thing the RTFM suggestions.

Apple's ProApps manuals are absolutely brilliant, and unlike most software products, are highly readable documents written by actual users of the product (in the case of the Shake, Color and FCP manuals, Alexis Van Hurkman), and not heartless, uncaring software engineers.

I've often said that the Shake 4.0 manual is one of the first product manuals that I read for sheer entertainment value. The FCP manual is less "entertaining", but just as readable.
posted by melorama at 8:27 AM on February 14, 2010

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