Adobe Production Premium or Final Cut Studio

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by portena, May 9, 2008.

  1. portena macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    #1
    Hi..

    I know this is a mac forum and therefore I expect there to be a natural bias, but what I'm after is objective advice as to whether Adobe's Production Premium suite (Photoshop Ext, After Effects, Premium Pro, Soundbooth, Encore etc) will be better than FCS for my particular needs.

    I currently use Final Cut Express and imovie/idvd, but need to go a step further. For my purposes I don't actually need a more complex set of programs per se, rather something that, together, I can work faster on. What I want to be able to do is create a bunch of templates (exactly as imovie/idvd does) that I will re-use regularly. Up until now I have been editing in FCE and using templates in idvd - but they are not perfect (most of the better ones are designed for widescreen, and I still need to work in 4:3), they often have more drop zones than I want, and I end up having to spend quite a bit of time messing around with things. I know you can customise idvd themes with some degree of hassle, but I'm not sure I want to go down that path. - I have similar problems when needing to create a disc cover from the jpeg thumbnail of the idvd project - its a poor image at best. Moreover, I don't want to always be relying on Apple themes - they are quite distinct (they're great - don't get me wrong) be they're also so automatically distinguishable as "made on a mac".

    So I want to invest some time (and a wee bit of cash) into creating my own dvd templates and themes which I can then use time and time again in a variety of programs with minimal readjustments.

    The reason I'm leaning towards Adobe is because it has photoshop (which I need to buy regardless) while Final Cut on the other hand has a whole lot of programs I will never use - compressor, colour, motion etc (seems like an awful waste of money). Production Premium also offers Flash which (i'm new to this) I think I can use on my website.

    But comparing primarily Premiere Pro and Encore with Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro - which one is going to be

    a) easier to use
    b) create better looking templates (do you get free themes/images as a base to work from on either?)
    c) Be faster in the long run

    Finally, is the Adobe suite fairly stable in Leopard?

    Thanks
     
  2. Pat H macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    #2
    I'm probably going to give you a different answer than most people that will reply to this thread and recommend Production Premium.

    I've used both suites (I use FCS at work), and Adobe was the one I ended up buying. For one, you get more flexibility with the software it offers. You get Premiere (Video Editing), Photoshop (Images), Soundbooth (Basic audio editing), Flash Studio (Flash projects), Encore (DVD and Blu-Ray creation), After Effects (visual effects and compositing) and Illustrator (artwork and drawing). Since I use photoshop heavily, this suite was a no brainer because I have an older version of PS and I have just migrated to a Mac Pro from a PC workstation.

    Though I like FCP a little more than Premiere, After Effects absolutely blows Motion out of the water, and to get the equivalent from Apple you'd have to purchase Shake separately. Also, project files from one app are usually importable into another. For example, I can create a DVD menu in photoshop and import it into Encore. The layers can now be used as buttons. I can also make a composition in After Effects and then import it right into the timeline of Premiere without having to output it as a .mov first. Also, Encore is very compatible with the template system you are trying to start. You can use one of their templates, easily modify it, and then save it as a new template. You can also create one from scratch in Photoshop and then save it as a template as well.

    So basically what it came down to for me is bang for the buck. If you're very concerned about having the industry standard on your computer, by all means go with FCS. If you want a wider range of software that will improve your workflow and allow you to do much more out of the box, go with Production Premium.

    And as a side note, I have not had any problems with Production Premium on Leopard since the last update. The only thing that's very unstable is Adobe Bridge, which crashes ever few seconds it seems like. But all Bridge is is a glorified file browser, so it's not essential and it should not stop you from getting the suite.

    So there's my 2 cents, good luck with your decision :)
     
  3. portena thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    #3

    what a thorough and helpful response - your 2 cents is much appreciated indeed; particularly because its actually the answer I was looking for... your logic is sound and exactly relevant to what I do. I'm not at all concerned with having the industry standard (ok, I'm a bit of a evango-mac so I'll probably conceal the fact that I'm running a PC preferred program over FCS) but like you say, you get more bang for your buck with Production Premium. All that background on creating themes and seamless integration across platforms is great too...

    BTW - do you know what Premiere Pro forums are like for troubleshooting help?

    CHeers!
     
  4. Pat H macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    #4
    No problem portena :) I get a little nervous about telling people I use adobe instead of Apple's software all the time, but I guess what works for you is more important then what people think of the software you're using. Plus you'll have the peace of mind that you saved some cash too ;)

    And to answer your question, I've used the adobe help forums once or twice. In fact I just asked a Premiere export question and it was answered within a few hours. Very knowledgeable people there. And as an fyi the question I asked was about video format export options. I've since learned that Premiere only exports Mpeg, Mpeg 2, Quicktime and Flash, so If you want an AVI you have to use quicktime pro ($29) to convert. I was kind of confused since FCP allows for AVI export, but then again I suppose QT if fine to work with between apps, and AVI can always be created later.

    And another FYI, Production Premium includes the extended edition of photoshop, meaning you can import video and edit each frame just as if you were editing an still image. So if I want to remove a background element in a 2 second clip for example, I can literally just erase it if I know how to use tools such as clone. If you can mess with a photo, you can mess with your video the same way. Pretty cool stuff!
     
  5. NickFalk macrumors 6502

    NickFalk

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    #5
    Well I'm going to give you the answer you probably were expecting: Buy FCS. ;)

    I agree with Pat that Final Cut is better than Premiere and also agree that After Effects is superior to Motion in <i>what</i> it can be used for. I find however that 95% of the time Motion is sufficient and further more that things can be done easier and quicker in Motion. If you put AE vs Motion+Shake the latter wins by a landslide. (Although Shake has a nightmarish interface).

    Isn't FCS cheaper as well?
    My main reason for recommending FCS is the fact that you are already used to the interface from FCE. You will also be able to use your old project-files without any problems. Unless you really consider a career in Motion Graphics I think FCS is the right choice for you.
     
  6. Pat H macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    #6
    Motion is a bit easier than AE (however I do find motion's timeline a little frustrating), but for what you get it's a bigger bang for the buck. I bought Prod Premium because I got photoshop and an actual compositing app with it, features which Motion does not offer.

    I do like FCS, but I think that the software is more about it's Mac "platform standard" status than what it actually offers you in way of features compared to Adobe.
     
  7. NickFalk macrumors 6502

    NickFalk

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    #7
    You might have a fair point Pat and in all honestly it could be my earlier experiences with Adobe that shines through. I was badly burnt by earlier versions of Premiere for Windows and Premiere 5.1 on that platform is the main reason I'm a mac-user today. (Thanks Adobe).

    As in my last post AE is certainly more powerful than Motion, but Motion has taken huge strides and my guess is that when it reaches version 4.0 it might have caught up. Bang for your buck? Well Adobe haven't really go anything as powerful (or awkward ;) ) as Color just yet when it comes to colour-grading.

    There is however a fairly major point to take into consideration. The fact is that Adobe bailed on the Mac when they couldn't compete with FCP earlier means they could do it again. This is not saying they plan such a thing, but the moment they don't see the returns they feel they need financially they are likely to pull the plug. Another thing that's always bugged me about Adobe is that despite the fact that their development is cross-platform they seem much more inclined to actually use Window-specific technology in their Windows-products but much less willing to give OSX-users the same advantage. (I'm thinking core-image, core-video). This is of course also something to keep in mind when thinking about the future...
     
  8. Pat H macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    #8
    You made good points. I'm well aware, for example, that Adobe Premiere does not include anywhere near the amount of video transitions that the Windows version does (seems as if they were too lazy to re-code them for Mac, but luckily I've found some freebie alternatives from 3rd party websites). And most of Adobe's support documentation and downloads seem to be for Windows as well. In fact I just had to follow a somewhat complicated tutorial to get a capture preset for my Canon HDV Camcorder to work with Premiere Mac because Adobe only officially released installation instructions for Windows :rolleyes:) So is Adobe a perfected work on OSX? Far from it. However for my $ I think the Production Premium Suite gives me more options, and photoshop which I really needed.

    And by the time I'm ready to upgrade software (at least 3 or 4 years), I may end up going with FCS anyway if what you predict is true with Adobe pulling the plug on Mac. Although with some of their software (ie: Photoshop and Illustrator), I don't ever see them getting off Mac because so many graphic artists use Mac over the PC.
     
  9. portena thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    #9
    Thanks for pointing out the need to look forward on this one. Actually its something I worry about for my software across the board (and in particular with some of the smaller, third party products I've found to be indispensable in what I do); you've got no guarantees a company is going to stay in business and keep updating versions so you can continue to use them indefinitely. You invest a whole lot of time learning to use a particular program, integrate it into your workflow and come to rely on it, but who's to say that in 4 years time when we get a new OS it all come with you? You could be starting again from scratch (reminds of Photoshop Elements which I lost with the evolution of Leopard; Adobe gave two hoots; not to mention the loss of support for Classic - goodbye huge collection of kids CDRoms).

    The only way I can see to logically safeguard yourself is to stick with Apple as much as you can (assuming you're on a Mac). But that's like telling your kids never to cross a road - its ultimately self-limiting. And besides, Apple isn't immune either; let us not forget how they completely replaced iMovie - sure, they let us keep 06, but no doubt just to placate us while we made the transition or found something else (like FCE 4, perhaps?!) - but will they do it again (keep 06 for the next OS)? Unlikely. I wanted to buy some cool iMovie 06 plugins from Slick - did I dare? No way - they'll probably be for an extinct system before the next term is out.

    But all this bleakness... its nothing new. A computer is like a car in a way - expensive to purchase, guzzles your money along the way, then its replaced for something better before you know it (luckily though if you have a mac your computer will probably have 6 to 10 years of life in it, whereas most PC users I know bury theirs after only 3 or 4). I'm sure it helps to protect yourself as much as you can by purchasing wisely, but how much can we really do? I think one just has to accept that they doesn't own the software in the tangible sense that they own other kinds of property.

    Anyway, I totally digress. But I'm still with Pat on this one, at least to the extent that, if I have to go FCS in 4 years time when I upgrade again, I'll have to. But hopefully by that time I'll have more money and it won't hurt as much as if I bought it now (lol!) and who knows, maybe I'll be able to get Server at the same time as well (which I could really use). I figure there's no harm in learning to use Adobe in the long run either - all you experienced Video editors out there seem to be able to work on a variety of platforms. So far I'm totally mac-based in my experience and perhaps less employable in the outside world because of it? A bit of exposure would probably do me good, and I'll just have to hope that crossing from Premiere Pro to Final Cut Pro some time in the future (including all the associated programs, motion vs AE etc), will be less daunting a prospect than it seems right now.
     
  10. mperkins37 macrumors 6502a

    mperkins37

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #10
    I have Adobe Master Collection & Just finished up a few small projects, and I am impressed with premiere's ease of use & compatibility. The last time I used Premiere was 6.5 on Mac & it was a while ago. The interaction between the apps is seamless. I also have FCP studio 1 and it's a fine collection also, but the package is a little more complicated to learn i.m.o.
     

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