Adobe Premier Pro VS. FCPX $ is not a factor.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Turnpike, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. Turnpike macrumors 6502


    Oct 2, 2011
    New York City!
    There are a lot of arguments and comparisons of Premier Pro and FCPX, and I think the reason they are so varried is that everyone has different priorities.

    Mine are: I want to learn something I can use as a pro as time goes on, where my time spent learning is as much an investment along the way as possible. Initial or monthly costs are not an issue, but my time is. Also, I tend to go through a Lynda or other similar course step by step when learning a new software, so I will end up learning to use it properly, as opposed to using it a lot and picking up tricks along the way and getting familiar with it that way.

    So after a LOT of research on different boards that tend to favor either Adobe and/or Apple a little bit, it seems that when cost is not factored in, Adobe's Premier Pro comes ahead a little bit when you focus on pro use and don't care about the initial (or monthly) costs...

    Since I'm going to spend a LOT of time learning the software, here's the part I'm still thinking about...

    Since FCPX is an Apple product, and I'd mostly/only be using it on an Apple machine, as time goes on, don't you think that they would keep enhancing FCPX along with how it works on Macs? I'm thinking with this in mind, the long term bet would be favoring FCPX more...

    Anyone with experience using both have any strong opinions? Remember, cost is not an issue, but ease of use and options in the long run (for daily and pro use) are. I have no background or experience with either style of workflow, I'd be starting from scratch.
  2. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Totally personally preference. I tend to prefer the way Premiere works vs FCPX, not to mention that the Premiere workflow is more similar to most other NLEs. I do like the idea of being able to purchase FCPX outright though, and at the moment I've actually got Davinci Resolve installed on my home machine (which is free and REALLY capable).

    But they both work, both are widely supported and used, and both get the job done. Theoretically FCPX might be a bit more optimized over time, but they both run great on recent gen machines so that's not really an issue.

    And honestly, the basics of either program are pretty easy to learn.
  3. Turnpike thread starter macrumors 6502


    Oct 2, 2011
    New York City!
    Thanks! So if it's a close call for you (who are experienced with both) then FCPX seems the choice for me, as I have no preference or experience with other similar NLEs, and I too think that over the long term FCPX will be getting some good attention from Apple. Especially since they did a complete workflow re-arrainge, and aren't likely to do that again for a long time, so the version I would be learning would only be getting better as time goes on.
  4. MSastre macrumors 6502


    Aug 18, 2014
    I started with FCP6/FCP7, but have moved on to FCPX, and haven't looked back. I find I can create much quicker and easier. If you have no previous experience with other NLEs, I think it will be easy to grasp the FCPX way of doing things. All updates so far have been free, and it really is a Professional Program that keeps getting better. Pretty sure you will enjoy working with it. Good luck.
  5. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    If cost is no issue, buy and learn both. Many good pros have to use both to match their customer preference. Others use one or the other.

    They both have one advantage or another. FCPX will run better on a MAC. There you go, money being no object, buy a MAC with FCP and a windose box with Adobe and learn. :)
  6. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    This is not a one-time, life decision. Tools change over the course of a career, and you'll often have to use whatever tools your employer lays before you. Part of any professional's skill is to accomplish the task with whatever tools happen to be at hand. The brand of screwdriver you use may have an impact on your craftsmanship - less arm strain, fewer damaged screw heads, etc., but in the end, you should be able to build the same piece of furniture with either screwdriver.

    First and foremost, your goal is to produce videos that communicate effectively. You learn the tools in order to serve that goal. In the beginning you're learning both to speak a new language and to use a very complex tool. Simultaneously learning a second complex tool seems a distraction to me. Once you are sufficiently competent in the language and techniques of video to know exactly what you want and need your tools to do, you'll find it far easier to learn a second set of tools.
  7. eltoslightfoot macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2011
    This is good advice. In the pro world, tools change. Pick one and go. You will find out that it gets easier to pick up new programs the more experience you have.
  8. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
  9. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    I've used Premiere professionally since CS4 although in recent years have transitioned to FCPX. I have a subscription to Premiere CC and still use it occasionally.

    You can get the job done with either one. Each has strengths and weaknesses. By "use as a pro" if you mean Hollywood, high-end independent productions, or large-market news production, 90% of this is done in Avid. You can now get a free, mostly full-feature version of Avid, called Media Composer First:

    If you get the Adobe suite (not just Premiere) this is very full featured, however it's $50 per month. If I was still 100% Premiere I'd likely be on Windows since you have more hardware config options. Premiere is not as efficient as FCPX so you typically need more hardware for the same performance level. The Premiere UI and conceptual paradigm is track-based thus similar to most other editing software. It has a crisp, detailed, configurable interface somewhat like Photoshop. For years Premiere lacked built-in proxy support which is a big issue for 4k. Recently Adobe added that and it works well.

    Due to the richness of the Adobe suite, you can do many things without adding 3rd party plugins. The design of FCPX is intentionally leaner and leverages a robust plugin community. E.g, the color correction plugin Color Finale is widely used.

    After Effects is sort of a de-facto standard for motion graphics but if your primary needs are 2D and "info graphics", Apple Motion works well for that. Many FCPX editors also use Motion and Compressor (about $50 each). Compressor greatly expands the export options of FCPX.

    FCPX is significantly faster in some areas on the same Mac hardware than Premiere. E.g, it renders H264 about 4x faster. However it is usually not fast enough (even on a 12-core Mac Pro) to smoothly edit most 4k H264 without transcoding to proxy. After creating proxies, both Premiere and FCPX have lightning fast timelines on 4k. But FCPX is much faster at skimming and browsing content. It has much better media management and metadata features to classify and organize material. This matters less on (say) a small wedding video than a large documentary.

    Some editors (esp those with significant track-based experience) have a difficult transitioning to the different FCPX paradigm and workflow. It is designed to first skim and organize content using the database tagging and logging methods, and only then to start assembling the timeline. The magnetic timeline helps avoid A/V sync problems and editing overwrites but has it's own unique set of behaviors that must be learned. Starting with 10.3 there is robust "roles-based" audio management, but this also must be learned.

    It is often said that FCPX is easier to learn but IMO that is only true for a novice to low intermediate level. Once you progress to more complex productions both can be hard and require lots of study. For higher end multi-editor productions, both Premiere and FCPX can support concurrent collaborative work.
  10. Unami macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    i got both (and resolve), and use all of them professionally - but mostly fcpx. really, it doesn't matter much, which one you use. editing is mostly cutting and you can do that on every system. the software is just the tool you use and if you know what you want, you can get up to speed on every system within a few days, no matter if it's imovie or avid. you got to learn editing, and that's something you'll only learn from practice and experience.

    when you want to become a composer, it doesn't matter if you learn the guitar or the piano. and if you know one well, you'll be able to compose with the other one too.

    i prefer fxpc, because it's faster, got less bugs, i like the keyword-based footage organization, and it doesn't get in the way between my brain and the movie i'm working on. but on some workflows (audio-, color-grading or motion-graphics-heavy) it can be a real cumbersome pita.

    so, if you work with other people, use what they use. if you work alone, know the type of projects you're doing and your workflow and then use what suits you best. you might have to start with one software to find that out and then maybe change to the other one. but, again, the core mechanics of editing are organizing your footage, simple cutting, L- and J- cuts and some audio editing (e.g. keyframing audio levels) are more or less the same on all platforms, and everything else is just the icing on the cake you might or might not need, depending on what you're doing. as usual, it's a tradeoff between speed and complexity. imho, premiere is the jack of all trades master of none, while fcpx is very good at editing and organizing but can be assbackwards for everything else. but editing and organizing is what you'll use an NLE for in 99% of all cases. even if premiere's lumetri color is better for color-work than fcpx's built in color board... fcpx is definitely useable for basic color correction, and you'd want to use something like davinci for complex grading anyway.
  11. whitestar27 macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2012
    New Zealand
    I've used FCPX for motorbike videos (motovlogs) for about 18 months and I've just begun a transition to Resolve. I didn't like the way files would disappear inside the library, never to be seen again, and my libraries always seem to end up enormous, always seems like there's a lot of extra cache or something inside. Also what was a huge pain was the complete lack of any sort of tracker. I would have thought any professional NLE would by 2017 have some sort of tracker - Premiere does, as does Resolve. Try manually keyframing a blur onto each of a dozen moving motorbike license plates when you're shooting from a helmet cam that's also moving and it's a recipe for many bad words to be spoken. As I've developed my editing skills I'm trying to turn my hand to color grading and again FCPX is terrible for grading. Weird controls and because there's no tracker it means secondary corrections on say a face for instance are a nightmare. I bought Color Finale which is the standard answer for this, but the UI gets in the way, and the controls seem good until you try Resolve and then it seems rather lacking. For tracking, I've tried Coremelt's tracker but the documentation is terrible and I think it gets confused by lots of motion in the frame and loses the lock and wanders off. Ugghh, horrible, and I spent hours on it trying to make it work. Resolve's tracker by comparison is glorious! Premiere and Resolve both have robust trackers and grading tools, what's your excuse FCPX?

    On my 1.2 macbook I had a lot of kernel panics if you try to combine Color Finale and FilmConvert, I even wiped and reinstalled my machine from scratch and it didn't help. I'm also getting corrupted titles in my renders so it's bye bye FCPX. Unfortunately, in order to get a machine with a decent video card I had to go to PC. Sad I can't buy a Mac with a GTX 1080.

    The other thing I had with FCPX on my Mac was even though it plays anything including 4K footage beautifully, as soon as you put any effects on your clips, it bogs down horribly on playback, and I had to create proxies for everything, FCPX's transcode to optimised never worked for me, it always complained I was out of disk space, and there's no control over what flavour of ProRes it was trying to create, honestly I'd have loved to have an option to transcode to say ProRes 422 LT for my gopro footage, that would have been plenty. And before you say I should use Compressor, it doesn't recognise my XAVC-S files from my sony action cam.
  12. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    whitestar27 - it would be helpful to understand your hardware set up, to inform others who are trying to do similar things.
  13. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    You have some valid points but part of your issues may be not fully understanding FCPX media management. Files don't "disappear" inside the library, unless you have a serious system level problem.

    On my 2015 iMac I've used a single event containing 7,000 clips (160 hours) of mixed 1080p and 4k H264 material, totaling 5 terabytes, with media on a Thunderbolt 2 array. The 1080p content can be edited smoothly using camera-native H264. However the 4k material requires transcoding to proxy for smooth performance.

    I'm currently working on a documentary that's projected to have about 20 terabytes (about 200 hours) of H264 4k material in a single library. This will require using proxies for most content but thus far performance seems OK on a 2015 iMac. I've never had spontaneously missing files.

    By default your Libraries contain the edits, all media, cache render files, optical flow files, etc. If you use this default configuration they will definitely get large. However if you import with "leave files in place" the library will stay a lot smaller, but the proxies will still be inside the library. There is a procedure to place proxies outside the library but it is admittedly somewhat cumbersome. It is described in Ripple Training's 10.3 media management class:

    My documentary team is currently using that procedure and our library size is about 100 megabytes for about eight terabytes of media, including proxies for everything.

    Yes, for this type of work Resolve is much better. Color Finale is very good but it's no Resolve. You are also right the Coremelt tracker is usable but not nearly as good.

    BlackMagic is improving Resolve at warp speed, so it is a compelling choice. It does not have the media management and metadata functions of FCPX but it's obviously better at color and finishing. The editing performance has been greatly improved in version 14.

    Kernel panics are an operating system or hardware problem. On macOS and Windows, apps are in an isolated address space and in general they cannot crash the OS or each other. If you have a hardware problem, certain software can trigger that to fail, even though the software is not at fault, and even though other software doesn't cause it. E.g, consider a suspension bridge with rusted cables. A heavy truck drives across and the bridge fails. It's not the truck's fault -- it's within spec but heavier than cars, which exposes a latent problem in the bridge.

    This can also happen if you are close to running out of disk space which can destabilize the OS.

    I've never seen any editing software that can smoothly edit large H264 4k timelines -- on any hardware -- without transcoding to proxy. In general FCPX handles most effects fairly well but if you're on a smaller machine with a weak GPU it may bog down -- even if using 1080p or 4k proxies. If you think that's unique to FCPX, try that same media, effects and timeline on Premiere or Resolve on the same machine. Those are available in Mac versions so it's easy to perform an equivalent test.

    On FCPX you rarely need to transcode to optimized media for performance reasons. This is well known to consume a huge amount of space (typically 8x that of H264 camera native). Instead using proxy is often better, produces equal or better performance, takes vastly less space and transcodes a lot faster. Whether you use Resolve or Premiere you will also likely have to transcode to proxy for adequate 4k performance.

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