Final Cut or Premiere? Need advice..
May 4, 2011 10:27 AM   Subscribe

I've outgrown iMovie and have set aside some time to get acquainted with a more advanced video editing suite. I'm a mac user, and can't decide between Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere. I need advice.

Money isn't an issue, and I don't want to waste my time with Premiere Elements or Final Cut Express. This question is really about the pros/cons Final Cut Pro vs Premiere. ...I have both installed. Right off the bat, I'm noticing a bothersome necessity for Final Cut to "render" clips, which interrupts my creative flow. ...Regardless, I'm standing at the precipice, give me a reason to jump one way or the other, never to look back.
posted by thisisdrew to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What are your goals? Are you just editing personal stuff for fun? Do you want to edit professionally? What kind of video formats do you work with? What types of projects are you doing (e.g. commercials, feature-length movies, etc.? Online distribution, DVD/BluRay, broadcast, just playing on the computer for your family)?

Not to make things more complicated, but Avid Media Composer is another option, and I'm pretty sure they still have a free demo available.
posted by sharding at 10:32 AM on May 4, 2011

Premiere Elements actually isn't bad at all, especially if you're coming in from iMovie. I think it would be helpful to know something about the video projects you're working on--running time, types of assets, etc. Unless you're making feature-length, pro quality films, Premiere Pro may be overkill. Are there specific features in Premiere Pro that are making you dismiss Elements?

...And I could very well be wrong, but I have yet to find a video editing program that didn't have to render clips from time to time (esp. if you're adding any effects).
posted by smirkette at 10:32 AM on May 4, 2011

Short answer: Go for Premiere. It's on Mac and Windows which means when you one day have to switch platforms or guide a Windows user through some steps, it'll be easy.

I think you're wise to go for the Pro programs especially if you want to get real. There's little reason to move from iMovie to Elements except maybe for access to more video formats. The two programs are similar enough, that learning one is more-or-less learning the other.

I don't enjoy using Avid, though I have friends in television who say it's the standard. I've only seen Premiere and Final Cut whenever I've done video work for an organization.
posted by jander03 at 10:41 AM on May 4, 2011

You can minimize rendering in FCP by editing in an editing codec (e.g. ProRes) rather than a shooting code (e.g. H.264). You'll still need to occasionally render stuff, but it shouldn't be bad.
posted by sharding at 10:41 AM on May 4, 2011

Supposedly the new Final Cut Pro uses the GPU to render the video, making renders much, much faster. I would look into that.

Have you used Adobe and Final Cut from start to finish? I would make a short movie using both (loaded with simple effects you intend to use) and see which one crashes more. I've heard bad stories of Adobe products being very unstable, but I have no quantitative evidence.
posted by 47triple2 at 10:55 AM on May 4, 2011

47triple2: Supposedly the new Final Cut Pro uses the GPU to render the video, making renders much, much faster. I would look into that.

Source. Final Cut X (the next version) won't be available until June, but will cost $300 and will support GPU rendering.
posted by 47triple2 at 10:58 AM on May 4, 2011

Response by poster: To answer your questions, my projects are mostly documentary nature. Short things. 5 minutes max. Lots of cutaways, interviews, etc. This is in relation to my job at a University Communications Office. I've been using iMovie forever. The old imovie, and the new imovie versions. I've stretched them to their limit.
posted by thisisdrew at 11:41 AM on May 4, 2011

In your position, I'd probably try to learn Final Cut Pro, just because it's more of an industry standard than Premiere. However, FCP is about to undergo what sounds like a pretty radical re-thinking, so right now might be the wrong time to start learning it.

That said, I think Premiere is great and very easy to use/learn. It's a fine solution if you want to dabble in After Effects, too, since they're both part of the same product suite. As far as crashes, CS4 was always pretty buggy on my (64-bit Windows 7) system, but CS5 and 5.5 are stable like rocks. If money isn't an issue, go ahead and get a supported NVIDIA/CUDA card and let Adobe's Mercury Playback Engine GPU acceleration rock your socks.
posted by Joey Bagels at 11:57 AM on May 4, 2011

FCP X in June
posted by Murray M at 12:27 PM on May 4, 2011

FCP X - simply because it's the industry standard the way Premiere is not. If it's a question of platform, then the other standard, especially at the high pro end is Avid. Since you already have a mac platform, logically, I'd go for FCP, though perhaps wait until FCP X comes out.
posted by VikingSword at 12:31 PM on May 4, 2011

As referenced above, FCPX is a month out from release and will be radically different from whichever FC version you're currently testing. It is a complete rebuild and modernisation of the program and, perhaps most importantly to you, clearly intended to be the next step for iMovie power users like yourself. Have a look at this comparison, for example.
posted by timshel at 1:27 PM on May 4, 2011

Response by poster: good god, final cut pro X ..looks like imovie on steroids..
posted by thisisdrew at 2:25 PM on May 4, 2011

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