FCPX Capabilities vs iMovie - List?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by jblagden, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. jblagden macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2013
  2. jblagden thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2013
    I found that a week or two ago. I was really hoping for a list.

    Thanks anyway.
  3. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    For the non-pro, FCPX has far better media management/tagging. iMovie has a tendency to frustrate especially with effects and lacks many like stabilize but FCPX is overkill for most. Tons of plugins available for FCPX, but if you have no need for plugins, then its a don't care.
  4. jblagden thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2013
  5. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    Neither Premiere Elements or iMovie are professional editing applications, although they can be used by professionals. I have encountered major newspapers using iMovie for their field video journalism.

    If you are deciding between Premiere Elements and iMovie, I suggest you evaluate them. PE has an evaluation copy and iMovie is either free or $14.99.

    Collaboration between editors is often not an issue unless you are both actively working on the same timeline. I often take rendered output from editors using Premiere Pro and do finishing work using FCPX. It's not an ideal workflow but it can be done.

    If instead of iMovie and Premiere Elements you are talking about FCPX and Premiere CC, that is a bigger decision because CC is subscription only and if you ever stop paying, you lose access to your projects. However the Adobe suite is very comprehensive and you get a lot of functionality for $50 per month.

    FCPX is a lot faster on H264 4K, however Adobe realizes they have performance problems and will be updating Premiere fairly soon with proxy support.

    Premiere on Windows offers a lot more hardware flexibility -- you can pick whatever CPU and GPU you want and upgrade the PC later. You can't do that on an iMac, MacBook or nMP, so the lower performance of Premiere can be quite restrictive on the Mac side. Note this is more an issue on 4k -- on H264 1080p Premiere generally does fine on a recent iMac-class machine.
  6. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    I can speak for both in terms of 4K and up.
    After finishing off a few shorts and full features they both have their drawbacks.
    I wont go into detail since there are known articles on this all over the internet.
    But I would like to say that its false to say that FCPX is faster with h264 in 4K.
    First off h264 is a delivery file and not for edit.
    I will spare you the details, Google it please.
    Secondly Ive used Premiere Pro on the Mac since Premiere v1 on an Apple LCIII with 4MB of ram.
    Ive gone through the gamut and the most recent full feature at 4K using the nMP and cMP (classic cheese grater).
    Now of course this is in a RED eco-system so maybe your experiences are with CinemaDNGs or something else?
    It cant be ARRI/BMD ProRes since those are flawless on all types of Mac (albeit if you know what your doing).
    So honestly both run great on the Mac and yes I have a few power house PCs here for Maya/Fusion so I have some idea how fast Premiere is on Windows.
  7. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    >>>What can FCPX do that iMovie can't?
    I would characterize the difference as "more." iMovie does a lot, FCPX does a lot more. This aligns with the target market: consumers and professionals.
    Check out the User Guide (the pdf is nearly 500 pages): https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202247

    Is there a specific set of features or capabilities you're looking for?
  8. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    When scrubbing on an H264 4K timeline, the FCPX frame update rate is significantly more responsive than Premiere CC, running both on a 2015 top-spec iMac 27 with a Thunderbolt drive array. That is using 1/4 resolution playback on Premiere, GPU acceleration enabled and "Better Performance" on the iMac. Premiere's time lag to JKL input when going from FF to REV on that timeline is so sluggish it feels like the keyboard is broken.

    The less efficient Premiere playback engine saturates the CPU during simple scrubbing, causing the fans to spin up.

    Anybody can test this themselves. Just download FCPX and Premiere CC, import a H264 4K file using leave files in place on FCPX and drag the playhead back and forth, then use JKL and try going from FF to REV with each editor. On the same hardware, FCPX is generally much faster than Premiere for many common editing tasks.

    E.g, FCPX exports H264 4K about five times faster than Premiere -- 00:29 vs 02:20 to export a 1 minute clip.

    Re editing format, Adobe's long-held position is the Mercury Playback Engine is so fast that it's unnecessary to transcode to a mezzanine codec. In fact the Premiere CC induction video on Adobe web site says: "...the 64-bit optimized Mercury Playback Engine...allows editors to work at...4K and beyond...without the need for time-consuming transcoding".


    Adobe now understands that is not always viable at 4K and beyond (at least without requiring huge hardware), so they are fortunately adding proxy support in an upcoming version of Premiere. That has been an integral part of FCPX for years.

    Hollywood editor Vashi Nedomansky edits feature films using camera-native codecs in Premiere CC. He discussed his workflow in this talk:


    Premiere is a great product, I have a CC subscription and have done extensive documentary editing on Premiere since CS5. It does OK with H264 1080p on a top-spec iMac but can be quite sluggish at 4K. If you're on a Windows PC and throw a lot of hardware at it, then H264 4K is handled better. Unfortunately that's not an option with most Macs.

    The good news for Premiere users is Adobe is working to improve performance. OTOH Adobe committed to improving After Effects performance using the Metal API and demonstrated 8x improvement, but they have since backed off delivering that:

  9. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    That maybe but I would like to stress the fact that h264 should never be an editing format.
    Unless you have no choice as in you were handed only that.
    If you are given the highest most possible e.g. RED R3Ds then you have the choice of Optimize and/or Proxies.
    That is basically ProRes and would at least keep your file sizes manageable.

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