Final Cut Express 3.0 HD -- Upgrade to 3.01, 3.5 or 4.0?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Donald Eisen, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. Donald Eisen macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2008
    I'm new to the forums. I bought my Mac G5 to be largely a video and photo editor. I have family movies dating back to the mid-60's in formats from 8-mm, to super 8, hi-8, mini-video tapes and now hd tapes. I have a Canopus 300 video converter, and I plan to pay some third party to convert my old 8-mm film to dvd for future editing on my Mac. I have enough to keep me busy for the rest of my life, and having just turned 70, I'd better get started now.

    I just bought a Canon HV20, which I had hoped to use with my current version of FCE -- ver. 3.0 HD. When I began browsing the net and Apple sites about upgrades, I discovered there was a 3.01 upgrade last year which I cannot find available at Apple anymore. I also noticed while browsing through how-to books at Borders that there was a ver. 3.5 as well, which also does not seem any longer available from Apple. All I can find on the Apple site is ver. 4.0.

    Is it worthwhile to spend the $99 for the upgrade from HD 3.0 to 4.0? What does it get me? Also, will it be easier for me to import and edit tapes from my Canon HV20 on the latest version? Were either of these others (3.01 and 3.5) available as free upgrades from 3.0 HD, or were they sold as new versions, the way Apple is now marketing 4.0?

    I also have iMovie 6.03 installed on my G5, plus a copy of the full Final Cut Pro 5, which I bought as a special for $699 when I bought my G5. I haven't even installed it yet. Overall, I'm pretty much a novice at video editing, and am still more Windows savvy than Mac savvy. But I'm not entirely computer illiterate either.

    Any suggestions or advice about where I should go from here would be much appreciated.


    Don in Silver Spring
  2. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    I use iMovie '06 for video editing, so I cannot give any advice regarding FCE and such, but I think you would be far better if the third party provides you movies in DV (not DVD) format instead of compressing your analog sources to MPEG2 so that it becomes a DVD. MPEG2 is not suitable for editing, so you would need to uncompress them into DV (native format for almost all video editors), edit and re-compress to whatever the final format you desire. Each of these steps are time consuming and compressing repeatedly would degrade quality. It would be better if you avoid at least the initial compression into MPEG2.

    If you have your videos in DV format, you can always burn them to a regular DVD fairly easily if you decide not to do any editing and still watch them on a stand alone DVD player.
  3. slu macrumors 68000


    Sep 15, 2004
    Funny you posted this as I currently use Final Cut Express 3.0 and I just bought 4 today. I was looking around the web for comparisons between the two when I found your thread. So I would be interested in the major differences between the two as well.

    That being said, here is what I know:

    1. Your camera records in HDV format, so you can use FCE 3.0 or higher to import and the process is the same regardless of the version.

    2. FCE 4.0 seems to handle a mixed format timeline much better than 3.0 or 3.5. So if you are going to mix DV footage with HDV footage, you are better off with 4.0.

    3. FCE 3.0 has a known issue with Capture and any version of Quicktime higher than 7.2. I know because I had this problem. Basically Capture hangs after about 5 minutes if you have upgraded Quicktime. I had to do an Archive and Install to revert back to Quicktime 7.2. Basically, if you already have upgraded your Quicktime, I'd suggest FCE 4.0

    4. What version of OS X are you on? If you are on Panther (10.3.X), you will have to stick with FCE 3.0 as FCE 4.0 requires at least Tiger (10.4.X) or higher.

    5. FCE 3.0.1 was a free update for FCE 3.0. I think I got it in software update, but I don't remember and am not in front of my Mac at the moment. The little info I found implied that it fixed bugs on certain Macs. It does not seem to available for download from Apple anymore. FCE 3.5 was a new version that you would have to pay for. It is no longer available and has been replaced by FCE 4.0.

    6. I agree with theBB, in that if you are going to use a 3rd Party to convert your old film, get the footage transferred to a DV tape. Your life will be easier and the final video will be of higher quality.
  4. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
  5. slu macrumors 68000


    Sep 15, 2004
    I just checked and I have FCE 3.0 not 3.0.1 and I run it on an iMac G5 with Tiger. So I guess the update did not apply to me, as I would have installed it.

    So it boils down to this for me: if you are running Panther, you must stick with FCE 3.0. If you are running Tiger or Leopard, I recommend FCE 4.0, but only to avoid the bug with Quicktime versions higher then 7.2. If you are still a novice, you will not see much difference between the two version.

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