Final Cut Express 4?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Kyrahlynn, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. Kyrahlynn macrumors member

    Sep 30, 2008
    I'm interested in purchasing Final Cut Express 4 for for my Macbook Pro when I get it, and was looking at the reviews posted on the Apple site. Many of them weren't too good... the complaints about it being difficult to figure out didn't throw me off, since I'm ready and willing to teach myself/get a book on the program to learn how to use it. What I wasn't too pleased to see were the complaints about how HD was so much better, and that FCE4 was almost like a "cut down" version of HD (lost a program called "Soundtrack," for instance.)

    So, I'm curious: what do the people here that have used FCE 4 think? Should I go for it, seeing as I've never used any other FCE and most likely won't miss what I never had, or should I wait and see if they update soon (how likely is that, though?) and improve on the errors of FCE4?
  2. slu macrumors 68000


    Sep 15, 2004
    FCE 4 is great. It will take you a bit to learn, but it is not that tough. I did it without any books at all other than the documentation that it comes with.

    As far as it missing Soundtrack, let me put it this way: When I was using FCE 3, which came with Soundtrack, I never even once used Soundtrack for anything. Never even opened the program. You have decent control over audio in FCE and if I needed more control, I would use GarageBand.

    Unless you are doing professional video work, FCE 4 will be great. And for the occasions where you would like more advanced audio with your movie, GarageBand can help. I believe Apple thinks most people were like me. Never used Soundtrack, and since they added the ability to add/edit the audio on videos in GarageBand, Soundtrack was not needed anymore.

    As you can probably tell, I certainly don't miss it and I think FCE is great.
  3. Kyrahlynn thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 30, 2008
    awesome! Those are the kind of things I was hoping to hear :)

    I'm also planning to get Logic Express 8 (which had great reviews), so I'm assuming from what you said about Garage Band that I could do a lot of sound-work with LE8 as well. No need for soundtrack, then.

    Thanks for the reply, now I'm even more excited to get that notebook! :D
  4. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2008
    Slu pretty much nailed it on the head, FCE 4 is a great video editing tool.

    The learning curve is a bit rough but it's okay because once you get the hang of it, you realize how much control you have over your video. Plus the workflow is identical to Final Cut Pro so when your ready to upgrade, you will be able to hit the ground running.

    Like Slu said, you can use garage band to work with any audio if you needed it as well.

    One drawback though for me is that now that i know the program pretty well, I feel like i want even more features that are only available in Final Cut Pro such as time remap and smoothcam. So if you know your going to get serious into video, it may be a good idea just to go straight to Final Cut Studio. Since your thinking of getting Logic Express, the price for both is about $400 and if your a student you can get FCS for about $600.

    Either way though, you can't go wrong. it just depends on how serious you are about video.

    You might want to note though is that FCS2 might be updated next year too, so it would suck to drop a ton of cash just to find out that FCS3 released only a couple months later.

    I bought my copy of FCE4 for $100 (academic) through my school so I'm pretty happy with my purchase.
  5. foshizzle macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2007
    NRose8989, Where can you get FCS2 for $600 as a student? I'm really interested. Does this come as the upgrade to FCE4 or is it the full deal?

    On the first topic, FCE4 is awesome. I would highly, extremely, most definitely recommend it. I used imovie for a couple years for small things, until I started getting offered jobs shooting things at my Church. I bought FCE4 to give a better product and have not been let down. I recently purchased a Canon HF10 for personal use, and absolutely love it and its HD video (only thing is i wish i had a mac pro for encoding the footage!).

    FCE4 will satisfty your needs for sure, YouTube is full of how-to videos, apple's site has training videos that are great, and if you need to, book stores and apple stores have great books on it. You will not be disappointed.
  6. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2008
    Ya sorry, my bad. Turns out FCS2 is $699 through the apple education store and it's the same at my school's bookstore. I had a bit of a brain fart because my school has a copy of Final Cut Studio (not FCS2) for $599.
  7. heron88 macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2008
    yeah i have fce 4 and love it. whatever you do dont buy it off of the apple store. you can find it on amazon for around 130 right now for a full version not academic.

    the only downside is i have to render everything every time i edit something. even when i add effects that are supposedly supposed to be able to play bakc in real time without the need to render. i've found that unlimited rt is the only way to avoid rendering and it drops tons of frames. so as far as having to render things before you play them back premiere pro is wayyyy more efficient, especially if you have a slower computer.

    but overall fce 4 is 400 bucks cheaper then premiere so i think its worth waiting a few seconds for renders
  8. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Coming from iMovie background (from MiniDV days... now AVCHD user), I was initially put off by FCE 4's UI. I guess I was expecting Aperture-like experience, but FCE felt more like Photoshop. After following helpful video tutorials on Apple's website, and perusing several chapters from 1100-page manual, it has become second nature. I have only been using FCE for few months, so I am still learning it. But I have a wish list:
    • Better AVCHD support: Although I would most likely need a new Mac, I would like to natively edit AVCHD footage without transcoding to AIC. Ability to import MTS (instead of disk/disk image) would be great for my workflow. I would also appreciate support for PF24/25/30 (2:3/2:2 pull-down), xvYCC color space, and 5.1-channel audio.
    • Better HDV support: FCE should be able to edit HDV natively, as FCP currently does.
    • Better browser: I would like to see beefier asset management, similar to Aperture.
    • More comprehensive export filters: for online (e.g., Vimeo, YouTube) and playback devices (e.g., Apple TV, iPod, iPhone, PS3, Blu-Ray, AVCHD).
    • Tighter integration with Logic Express and GarageBand.
    • More LiveType effects.
    • More modern UI -- for instance, get rid of brush metal on the viewer.
  9. Kyrahlynn thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 30, 2008
    At the moment I'm just an amateur looking for a step up from imovie (but would get FC Pro if I end up going into an industry that would require me to have it) so this is sounding pretty good to me :D

    @nutmac: if Apple were to release a new version that were to improve on some of those things, it would be a fairly easy software to upgrade, right?

    And I'm very familiar with Photoshop, so if FCE has a similar setup, that would certainly help me figure it out :)
  10. senseless macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    I found Imovie 6 to be unreliable. Many hours were wasted after a project was corrupted. Imovie 8 is a complete departure and too dumbed down. I just gave up on it.

    FCE4 is complex compared to Imovie, especially the PDF instruction manual. A good tutorial book is a must. I got the Diana Weynand book, which was good. Give it an hour a night for 2 weeks and you'll get the hang of it. It's not like learning Illustrator.
  11. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    If you have to render everything your Sequence settings don't match your footage.

  12. slu macrumors 68000


    Sep 15, 2004
    Lethal nailed it for you. I can get realtime effects in FCE4 and I use an iMac G5.
  13. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Even without my wish list of improvements, if you follow the tutorials and manual/nice book, it's not that hard to upgrade as it is. The UI may intimidate you initially, but it becomes second nature within few days of use.

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