iMovie -VS- Final Cut Express

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by aswitcher, May 28, 2004.

  1. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Canberra OZ
    #1
    I am havign trouble figuring out if FCE is really worth it.

    I want to get a dv camera (Likely Canon Elura 70 / MVX 250i) and do interviews and the usual tourism stuff. Also nice to have for A/V Chat.

    First up this new camera doesn't seem to be supported...hopefully soon as it is a Canon.

    Now my real question is what extra does FCE do that makes it worth buying?

    I checked out the litterture but not being DV savvy or a mac user yet (see my sig at this time) I am not sure what I would be able to do in FCE that iMovie doesn't do.

    Anyone got a link to a comparison table/review or their own thoughts?
     
  2. JOD8FY macrumors 6502a

    JOD8FY

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    Mar 22, 2004
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    United States
    #2
    Here are my thoughts: I am getting Final Cut Express myself, actually, hopefully in the near future. I have however tested it out at the Apple Store and many other smilar programs. One big difference is the number of tools. For example, my favorite editing tool is the "razor" - doesn't that sound spiffy! Basically, you select the razor tool, go to the beginning of what you want to edit out and click. It make a break in the timeline and then you click the end of what you want to edit out, select the segment and hit delete. It's a lot easier than pressing command-t in iMovie.

    Another thing that is weird about iMovie is that whole "Trash" thing. You edit out a segment and it goes to the trash (in iMovie, not the Finder). Alright, so maybe that doesn't bother me as much as the next one. When you import video it breaks it into segments, that's ok, but I'm not used to it. But the thing that really bugs me is that when you drag the clip into the timeline, it gets rid of it in the little box that it was in so that you can't use it anymore!

    Lastly, in FCE, you can crop the picture (if you have a shaky hand), adjust color and do all sorts of other neat things that make your movie look professional, that you can't do in iMovie.

    Hopefully this helps :). Hope your PB arrives soon :( , it'll be well worth the wait! :)

    Best wishes,
    JOD8FY
     
  3. Flowbee macrumors 68030

    Flowbee

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    Alameda, CA
    #3
    My advice would be to learn to use iMovie first. Get familiar with some of the basic concepts of non-linear editing, and make sure it's something you're interested in and enjoy before laying down several hundred dollars on FCE. Sure, FCE is more flexible and has a lot more features, but editing is only one piece of making a good video project. Using iMovie to start out with will let you focus more on the other components of your project. You'll know when you're ready to step up to more robust editing software.

    My 2 cents (U.S.) :D
     
  4. aswitcher thread starter macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    #4
    Thanks guys.

    I guess I will hold off...but there are some tempting specials on at the moment...

    Can either iMovie or FCE allow you to put picture in picture or picture in still image?
     
  5. Flowbee macrumors 68030

    Flowbee

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    #5
    I believe iMovie only allows 1 video track at a time... so no picture in picture (unless there's a work-around that I'm not aware of). FCE does let you do picture in picture (up to 99 video tracks).
     
  6. aswitcher thread starter macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    #6

    Yeah, I found this plug in but I wonder if that after i buy this and other plugs ins

    a) will they work properly
    b) will they continue to be supported
    c) will I end up collecting them for different things and the price adds up to a point where FCE looks attractive as an alternative
    d) I will waste my money if I need to upgrade to FCE anytime soon if I buy plug ins...

    http://www.partnersinrhyme.com/osx_software/PictureinPicture/PictureinPicture.html
     
  7. walkingmac macrumors 6502

    walkingmac

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    Mar 30, 2003
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    Greater Cincinnati
    #7
    ok here is my thoughts... I started and did several video projects on iMovie. It does a good job for the most part and once you master it and find all the work arounds to use it more efficiently, you can do a lot. That being said there are also limitations which become a real hassle once you get past the basic type projects.
    1) only 1 video channel (yes there is plug-ins, but as one would imagine, rather annoying)
    2) only 2 audio channels - for the most part, not a problem. However, if you try to get fancy and want something complicated, it gets hard as hell to work with.

    ok... then I got FCE. A slight learning curve, however, the way I was trying to make iMovie work with my workflow was how FCE/FCP operates, so it was a beautiful curve for me.

    All in all, yes, basic iMovie skills would be great. However, the difference in operation and interface might be such that you could be better off just jumping into FCE if you can afford it. Reasons:

    99 video layers - full transparency, easier to clip and crop lengths, size and positions of segments
    99 audio layers - ya, thats right 99! MUCH EASIER TO WORK WITH IN COMPARISON!
    Import many file formats
    Many more tools
    WAY MORE STABLE (lets face it, if I had a blank check for every time iMovie crashed on me in mid project, Bill Gates would be court jester)

    Lots more, but I am sure you realize the advantages of FCE. Of course I recommend FCE atleast. So ya...
     
  8. grneyedjay macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2004
    #8
    I find iMovie incredibly dumb. And by 'dumb,' I mean 'great for amateurs!' This may be b/c I first learned FCP (among other nonlinear video editing software), and for me, trying to do iMovie is like working backwards. FCE (or FCP for that matter) is more robust, there are more options, however, it probably does have a higher learning curve. If you're willing to put in the time and effort to learn the program, I think you will find FCE much more rewarding and useful than iMovie. Besides, if you don't impress your friends, who will?
     
  9. aswitcher thread starter macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    #9

    Frequent crashing is a real concern for me. That would be no fun...
     
  10. James L macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 14, 2004
    #10

    If iMovie gives you 10% of the video editing tools out there, FCE gives you 70%.

    My jump was because I became extremely frusterated with limited amount of tracks in iMovie (one video, two audio) as mentioned above.

    Going to FCE, with 99 and 99, was awesome. It is more than that though... you can animate movie clips. For example, you can have a movie clip play as it flies in from the top left corner of the screen into the full screen. Ya know that old Brady Bunch intro with the 9 actors, all on the screen at the same time, each in 1 box of the screen (3 rows, 3 columns)... that is VERY easy to do with FCE.

    You can import photoshop PSD files to have images, logos, etc fade in, or stay constant, during the video.

    It is just a huge toolbox, but with an associative learning curve. I agree with starting in iMovie, then jumping up to FCE. It is WELL worth the money!
     
  11. aswitcher thread starter macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    Oct 8, 2003
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    #11

    Thanks.

    One of the things I want to do is go from full screen DV shot and push it down into a corner of 25% of the screen, leaving the remaining 75% showing another video and/or a still, with audio from an interview with music in the background. Sounds like iMovie wont cut it for that?

    As fort he brady bunch thing, sounds pretty cool.

    Another thing I would like to do is to fade one peice of footage into another, pretty standard stuff but does iMovie cope with that easily?

    Oh and what books do people recommend for the latest release of FCE?
     
  12. Kingsnapped macrumors 6502a

    Kingsnapped

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    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #12
    There is no reason to buy photoshop if all you need is paint.

    Stick to iMovie and wait for the novelty to wear off. Then look at your usage. If you feel the need for things that you can't do in iMovie (chroma keys and keyframes, etc.) move on to FC. Just remember the novelty factor. I was so pumped when Garageband came out, I bought a midi converter for my keyboard. I haven't used GB in at least a month. Give yourself some time to learn the program and reconsider in two months.
     
  13. jermsmingy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2002
    Location:
    Houston
    #13
    Learn iMovie first

    If you are not familiar with video editing learn iMovie first. I pushed iMovie to its limits for a long time simply because FCE didn't exist and i didn't have a thousand dollars to shell out for FCP. iMovie will be great to work with even if a month later you decide you need FCE. In iMovie you will learn how a timeline works, how to do transitions, and how to work with audio and titles. I pushed iMovie to its limits, and because of its limitations I learned how to shoot videos better. I couldn't rely on a color corrector and other things. I had to shoot the video right the first time. Second, once you get familiar with iMovie, you can watch the tutorial that comes with FCE and begin working immediatley and understand 90% of everything you will use on a regular basis. My 2 cents, for what it's worth.
     
  14. ExoticFish macrumors 6502a

    ExoticFish

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    Dec 3, 2002
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    #14
    so FCE as tutorials? i hope it has something cause what little i've messed with it at the Apple store i had a hard time figuring it out. i just assumed that since nothing else "Apple" i've gotten so far has had a manual that FCE wouldn't either. i've been thinking about getting it but documentation has been a concern for me.
     
  15. evil_santa macrumors 6502a

    evil_santa

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    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #15
    Final Cut Express 1 has a 27mb pdf, final cut pro comes with a pile of books! you can always look on amazon for a 3rd part book.

    aswitcher i would suggest you start with imovie then get fce if you find imovie limiting, I think you can import imovie projectis into final cut.
     

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  16. 748s macrumors 6502a

    748s

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    #16
    sounds like your ideas have already gone beyond iMovie. iMovie is free. FCE will cost $$$. if the money is not an issue, jump in the deep end, you're heading that way anyway.
     
  17. jemeinc macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    South Jersey
    #17

    When I bought my copy of FCE it came with a training DVD... Would have been lost without it... Also check the local Apple store (if you have one), they offer free FCE workshops once a week... The free workshops are a good thing that not many people seem to take advantage of... Often times I go there and there's only 2 or 3 other people there- lots of individual attention...
     
  18. Macdantheman07 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    #18
    I used to use iMovie and i've done a lot of cool stuff with it. I imagine it is the best free video editing software out there, but it is just extremely limited in features, crashes from time to time, and is not as responsive as you would expect it to be. With FCE 2.02 you can do realtime rendering, keyframes, multiple video, and audio layers + you have access to 2 to three times more effects and transitions. With FCE you can even do a bit of compositing. I would also suggest that you start with imovie until you see what you need and what you don't. Start yourself on a random test project that you feel may tell you of your needs. A project like, a trailer for your movie, or a small clip that you might want to stick infront of all your video projects.
     
  19. aswitcher thread starter macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    #19

    That definetly looks like the way to go.

    I guess with FCE I wonder if I should get a cheaper DV camera and FCE rather than a more expensive dv camera and only have iMovie...
     
  20. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030

    johnnyjibbs

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    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #20
    I have FCE and I think it's superb. I only have version one but 2 would be even better (obviously). It's much better than iMovie. My only gripe is the lack of a manual (there's a good pdf as someone else stated but I'd like there to be a help menu!)

    That said, FCE is actually very easy to pick up, despite what I've read in some magazines. Once you get the concept of the tracks (like layers) it's easy. Doing picture on picture etc is a piece of cake, and I'm just an ameteaur starting out.

    You can get plug-ins for iMovie such as picture in picture, etc, but I worry that these may still be limiting. I've never tried them though. And after several plug-in purchases, you could have just bought FCE. Still, it might be worth dabbling in iMovie to begin with - you'll quickly reach its limitations, but you can still make cool and professsional looking movies on the thing and in no time at all.
     
  21. JOD8FY macrumors 6502a

    JOD8FY

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    Mar 22, 2004
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    United States
    #21
    Yes, that is the other thing I did not like about iMovie.

    Someone else said that you can import your iMovie projects into FCE. That is true. However, I don't think you can import them into FCP. I've been doing Non-Linear Editing for some time now using Adobe Premiere. I've went to the Apple Store to see how FCE looks compared to Premiere and it looks a lot simpler :).

    Does anyone have any experience with using Premeire and then using FCE? Also, will FCE be updated soon?

    Thanks,
    JOD8FY
     
  22. Macdantheman07 macrumors member

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    Jan 24, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    #22
    I believe FCE was recently updated to 2.0 so I don't think we can expect another version unless Apple finds something else really innovative or performance improving to put in it. FCE is already very speedy on most Macs.
     
  23. Hoven macrumors regular

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    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Columbus, OH (USA)
    #23
    When I bought my new eMac, they had FCE on sale for $99. I jumped on it because of the price. I bought the machine to convert all my 8mm videos to DVD.
    In the end, I use iMovie because it's just way easier, since all I'm doing it loading and burning (adding a few titles and chapter markers). Plus, FCE expects you to understand movie editing basics. There were a lot of terms used in the manual that I didn't get... so the learning curve was steep for me.

    Mind you, I'm not sorry I bought FCE... I use it for everything other than straight analog-to-digital, but I have to admit I saw no reason to pay when the upgrade came out.

    Oh, and in the other threads I noticed comments about crashing. Interestingly, iMovie has never crashed on me, FCE does crash on occasion... but I don't know why.

    So, my 2 cents... if you can get FCE at a really good price and you know you're going to want to get a bit more advanced in your editing, go for it. Just use iMovie for some projects and FCE for others, like me. :)
     
  24. Amani macrumors member

    Amani

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    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    #24
    I started out learning iMovie about 3 years ago. Love the simplicity of it, and with Geethree plug-inswww.geethree.com (which features a great picture within picture plug--that can be done twice as fast than in FCE), I got a lot out the program. But because I now do editing for a business, I turned to FCE. The workflow is better in terms of organizing clips, sequences, and multiple tracks.

    If you're serious about learning FCE, you might check out Kyle McCabe's Final Cut Express: Make the Cut, and/ore Tom Wolksy's Final Cut Express Editing Workshop. Both come with tutorial files to help you learn the software.

    If you're going to do serious editing on a semi or professional level, and you have the hardware to support FCE or FCP, go with these higher end programs.

    But if you're just doing video editing as a hobby or for personal home use, iMovie is a time saver.
     
  25. aswitcher thread starter macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    #25
    Thanks
     

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