Difference between Final Cut Express 4 and iMovie '09

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Luke1robb, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. Luke1robb macrumors 6502a

    Luke1robb

    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA/Smithfield, RI
    #1
    So my friends and I are putting together a proposal for my college to buy a group of iMacs and we're trying to decide whether to just have iMovie '09 on there or put Final Cut Express 4 on as well.

    1) What are the key differences? Advantages of Final Cut Express 4?
    2) If these computers are being pushed as great computers for editing video, do you think that we need something more robust the iMovie '09 (i.e. Final Cut Express 4)?

    Thanks for the help in advance,
    Luke
     
  2. kenned macrumors member

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    May 16, 2008
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    Denmark
    #2
    FCE 4 gives you alot more flexibility, you can work with multiple layers of sound and video, and there are far more effects you can add. It is also better if you want to do precision editing. iMovie is much better if you just want to quickly mix together your clips though.
     
  3. desiringGod macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #3
    The question is what will you be editing and will someone know how to run FCE?

    Also, if you buy it, it is cheaper on Amazon - $153.5 vs $179 (education price on Apple).
     
  4. themanfromvlad macrumors 6502

    themanfromvlad

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    Montreal
    #4
    We totally need to know what you will be editing, although at the college level i think FCE would be necessary.
     
  5. namethisfile macrumors 6502a

    namethisfile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #5
    1) the key differences btwn the two would be the interface and workflow. the new imovie which started w/ 08 has a totally different way of editing. watching the demos, it almost makes video editing fun and intuitive, as if one is djing. not that editing on fce or similar programs isn't fun. it is. it's just that fce probably has a bigger learning curve b/c it is a deeper program w/ more features. it also shares the same workflow and interface as fcp and other similar editing programs. so, if you are serious about editing then i would recommend fce. since it is the little brother of fcp, if you ever decide to go that route.

    2) it depends on what you mean by robust? i find imovie robust enough. although, fce is the robustest of the two. lol!
     
  6. mogzieee macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 8, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #6
    I'd get FCE. Essentially, you can do literally anything on your video with FCE.

    You cannot do this with iMovie '09 - iMovie is far less flexible.
     
  7. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #7
    What's the primary purpose of these machines? Are you proposing them for a multi-media lab, with the expectation that students will be using them for film and video production? If so, then you certainly want FCE as a minimum. Final Cut Studio might actually be preferable since it gives all the extras like Motion and Soundtrack, which would be appreciated in film and video production.

    OTOH, if they're too be general purpose machines, then iMovie is probably sufficient. If you're proposing simply to have a Mac lab, not a specific production lab, then chances are FCE would would not be strictly necessary and might be an unnecessary expense.

    Whether you include FCE on these machines would depend entirely on what their primary use is supposed to be. Also keep in mind that iMovie comes free: you can always add FCE later if it happens that students are doing lots of editing on these machines...

    But without knowing what the machines are being bought for, it's tough to make one suggestion over another.
     
  8. Luke1robb thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Luke1robb

    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA/Smithfield, RI
    #8
    The purpose, more questions, and explanations

    Alright, so everyone, rightfully so, seems to want to know exactly what these will be used for. In short, I'm not entirely sure. We are proposing for these iMacs as audio/visual expertise computers. We will be putting Cs4 Design Premium on them for mainly Web and Photo design.

    The addition of iMovie, and potentially FCE, would be to add video editing capabilities for students wishing to make movies for whatever reason (potentially class work, although I stress that we only have one set of video editing classes as of now and they use Avid).

    This brings me to another question which is seeing as we are trying to make these audio and visual editing machines, do you think we should put Aperture and/or Logic Express on these computers as well?

    Like FCE above, we are not exactly sure to what extent these computers will primarily be used for, but the proposal must include everything we want at once (it must be a "one-time, lump-sum" proposal).

    Another question we are mulling over is whether to ask for 4 or 10 iMacs (24"). We have 3200 students (60% business students (this includes marketing majors), but not as many hard-core video and audio editing-based majors. Bryant University, my school, gives every student a Lenovo T60 or T61 and there is no school-owned Mac on this campus. Part of my hopes with this proposal is to open the administration to the Mac world.

    Finally, I'm wondering if we should go with the top model iMac (currently 3.06 GHz) or the other 24" model (currently 2.8 GHz). We will be waiting for the iMac refresh to purchase, so my question is: Should we get the top model or is the second tier model sufficient?

    I know, really long post, I tried not to "block" it, but here is a run down of the questions and points I made and asked:

    Answer to the purpose of machines:

    - The propose of these computers will be to add an advanced alternative to video and audio editing for students, and potentially marketing materials or videos.
    - iMovie, and potentially FCE will provide video-editing capabilities for the students.

    Questions:

    1) As visual and audio editing machines, should these computers come with Logic Express and/or Aperture?
    2) Should I ask for 4 or 10 iMacs (for 3200 students)?
    3) Should I ask for the top tier or second tier 24" iMac? We plan on buying them after the refresh, so if anyone knows if the processors would get a bump, that would be important.

    I'd like to note that, although we can ask for whatever we want, I'd like to keep the cost down to what is absolutely important. Although all these programs are great, we need to keep the price down, so as to not scare off the committee. Also, the advantage to ordering 10 machines would be that all software would be looped under maintenance programs so they would be updating on every new software release for 3 years.

    Thanks so much for your time and help,
    Luke
     
  9. namethisfile macrumors 6502a

    namethisfile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #9
    1A) Logic Express is a niche audio editing software that probably needs a corresponding course to justify its purchase. ie, an audio class. w/o it, no one will know how to use it. and, there is already garageband, like, imovie that comes w/ every mac for laying out and recording audio.

    1B) You already mentioned of putting Cs4 in there so aperture would be reduntant. it's not the kind of software i am used to seeing in computer labs. unless, aperture has a server version or something, i don't see this program adding anything to what CS4 is already capable of doing.

    2) I would say get as many imacs as you can afford. 3200 is a lot of people.

    3) The mid-mac seems to be the most bang for your buck deal, to me. and, then use the money you save to get FCE 4. The reason why I would recommend FCE over imovie is that the interface is more or less the de-facto standard that the industry is familiar w/. ie, avid users will probably be able to pick up and familiarize themselves w/ fce a lot easier than say, imovie, and also not feel constraint.

    just my 2 cents.
     
  10. Luke1robb thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Luke1robb

    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA/Smithfield, RI
    #10
    Thanks so much for the input.

    Question: Is Garageband capable of doing the audio editing that someone might want to do to make their own beats or edit a music file?

    Also: Can you think of some good reasons/arguments for why we should be allowed to get 10 iMacs, outside of the better discounts and better student to computer ratio. Like what added value does having 10, instead of 4 bring?

    What ways do you think I could prove that there will be sufficient demand?

    Thanks again,
    Luke
     
  11. namethisfile macrumors 6502a

    namethisfile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #11
    yep. you can pretty much record, compose and edit audio files w/ garagbeband and then export it to be used w/ imovie or fce.

    3200 students was probably around the # of people in my college too and we had several computer labs. there was a multimedia lab and a general computing lab. in each lab, there were dells and power macintosh computers. anyone could use these computers. of course, the multimedia lab had more design/graphics software installed as well as the necessary peripherals such as scanners, etc available in the premise. whereas, the general computing lab just had power macintoshes and whatever programs were requested to be installed since it was also where we go as a class to learn premiere for example. my point is, the more imacs you have, the better, since it will be used in one way, shape or form. a room full of imacs is more impressive than 4lonely imacs sitting in the corner somewhere. plus, you never know if a class might need these imacs one day to learn a particular program, in which case, 10 would be more efficient for a class than say 4 computers. unless, you want 5 people huddling around one computer....
     
  12. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #12
    Given what you've said:

    Final Cut Express would be a good option. If these machines are going to be used for anything more than cutting home movies (i.e., marketing projects), then you will want decent editing software. I've edited a marketing project for some business students at my school using iMovie, and it was less than ideal.

    I would skip Aperture - CS4 is a better program for what you say the machines will be used for. Aperture is great, but not the right fit for you, I think.

    I would look to buy 10 of the entry-level 24" machine. The added processing and graphical power of the more expensive machine would go unused from the sound of it, and is certainly not worth the added expense. The better graphics would come in handy working with 3D modelling applications or Motion, but you're not talking about running anything like that. The card in the mid-range machine will handle CS4 without a hitch. Max out the RAM in your machines and you should be set.

    Ask for 10, since you've got a substantial student body (and nearly 2000 are business students from the sound of it). FWIW, we have about 400 people in my program, and about 40 machines on campus have a certain software package necessary for my program installed. Four iMacs would not be nearly enough, imo. Even 10 isn't ideal, but obviously you can't ask for the whole world. :)

    Final note: how are you planning to manage storage? Video and even images take up a lot of local space... are students expected to have their own external harddrives? Or will they be supplied? Just some little details to make sure you've addressed somewhere. :)

    Good luck with your proposal!
     
  13. Luke1robb thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Luke1robb

    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA/Smithfield, RI
    #13
    Thanks for the amazing input and great question. Our plan of now is to put DeepFreeze for mac on these computers, basically wipping the computers during reboot. As a result, we would expect students to provide their own externals. We are all provided 2 GB flash drives, although I don't know if that would hold some of the bigger stuff. Your thoughts?

    Although this isn't the most optimal way of handling storage, we can really leave everything on the computer due to potential damage to someone's file while they're not there or the general installation of software we don't want on these computers, etc. Thoughts on this? Better alternative?

    The sad thing is that we'll essentially wipe the computers clean, despite the fact that they have over 300 GB of space. I wish there was a better way of handling this. Ideas?

    Thanks again,
    Luke
     
  14. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #14
    I think that your plan is really the only viable option. Most of the public computers on my campus do the same thing. Wiping the local HDD doesn't mean people can't make use of that space... it just means they need to have their own way to save the final result.

    For example, someone working on a big Photoshop file may only need to save the final product, not the .psd file. Likewise, someone working on a video only needs to save the final export, not the timeline. If they need more time, then they'll need their own HDD.

    Maybe you could have loaner or rental externals for people working on video projects... although imo expecting people to have their own storage isn't unreasonable, either.

    About the only other alternative I can see would be to have people book the computers, in which case the administrator could create a safe account for them and their content would be protected. But that's a lot of overhead for the system administrator, so it's not an ideal solution imo...
     
  15. namethisfile macrumors 6502a

    namethisfile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #15
    bringing in an ext hdd seems too cumbersome to me. why not just have an ext hdd for each imac and secure it somehow so people won't steal it? it's the best and simplest solution i can think of. and ext hdd's are fairly inexpensive these days. people can then use these drives all semester long before it gets erased.
     

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