Final Cut Express or iMovie 06?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by GregE, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. GregE macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2007
    I'm new to Mac and I want to import my videos and edit them. I have the Canopus ADVC110 and imported 2 tapes to iMovie 06 tonight. I played a little with it to try and see what I could do. I was having trouble trimming my clips to get them to start and end right where I want them. Also, since my video I am currently working with is analog, iMovie 06 doesn't detect the scenes so I have to basically do that myself. I did change the setting to start a new clip every 10 minutes in hope that would assist me.

    I'm wondering if Final Cut Express would be a better choice for me. I worked with some video editing on my PC previously and liked the software. It did scene detection on my analog tapes and I could remove the sound from the camera and then put in music in place of it. Would I be able to do this with FCE? I didn't see how to do it in iMovie 06.

    Thanks for any help.
  2. dave@toastmedia macrumors member

    Aug 23, 2007
    trimming appears to be convoluted in imovie.

    The User Interface is overly complicated. Each of these items should be achievable in 1 action.

    Clip Trimming - Now takes 3 actions - Drag Selection/Trim/Confirm
    Clip Addition - Now takes 2 actions - Drag Selection/Add
    Audio Levels - Now takes 3 actions - Select/Amount/Confirm

    I would recommend moving to FCE or invest in FCS2.0 if you can.
    You wont regret it mate.
  3. GregE thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2007
    Final Cut Studio is a little out of my price range so I may try Express. Thanks for your comments.
  4. ErikAndre macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2007
    I would suggest FCE if at all possible for several reasons as iMovie has its limitations. Also, if you were to get FCE, you wouldn't have that much of a learning curve to move over to FCS. I must warn you however... FCE (or FCP) has a learning curve all on its own and is not as straight-forward as iMovie... but it is very rewarding to learn.
  5. GregE thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2007
    Is there a 30 day trial for FCE? Also, would I have to import my videos again or could FCE use what I imported with iMovie 06?
  6. rotlex macrumors 6502a

    May 1, 2003
    I switched to FCE just a few months ago after getting frustrated with both iMovie 06, and 08. Best thing I EVER did...especially for $199.

    I actually find FCE to be easier to use then iMovie. For me, it just seems more intuitive. Especially things like trimming, which I always found extremely annoying in iMovie as well.

    I do not believe there is a trial, but frankly, once you use it, you would wind up buying it anyway, at least IMO.
  7. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    iMovie '06 can do that fairly easily. You can set the audio level of the video clip to 0% and add your song on the audio track. Well, you can even fade in and out of the clip's own audio at any time during the clip. iMovie 06 is fairly powerful and free, I'd stick with that unless there are some features you really need in FCE. It seems like you are just not familiar with iMovie 06 interface. You are bound to struggle with any new software whether it is FCE or iMovie.
  8. GregE thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2007
    Where you able to use the video you had already imported or did you need to re-import once you switched to FCE?
  9. rotlex macrumors 6502a

    May 1, 2003
    For what I had, luckily not much from either older version, I was able to simply use the already imported files. Worked fine.
  10. bluedoggiant macrumors 68030


    Jul 13, 2007
    MD & ATL,GA
    Or you can just extract the audio by going to advanced.

    how big would a 5 minute final express movie be? i mean the actual final cut file
  11. chillywilly macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2005
    Salt Lake City
    As someone already mentioned, extracting the audio out of iMovie 06 is pretty easy. Select the clip in the timeline, click on the Advanced menu option and choose extract audio. Then once it's extracted, you can place it back in anywhere you want to in the timeline.

    You can also use the check boxes at the far right on the timeline to turn off audio for the entire track, which is what I do. Then any of the audio parts I needed from the imported movie clip I need get extracted and placed back in where I want them to go. iMovie can use two audio tracks, which is pretty flexible for an app that comes with new Macs (or for $79 for those that purchased it).

    As for FCE, I've not tried it yet, but I can tell that when I start working on my next major movie project (importing all of my older analog Hi8 tapes), I'm going to need more than what iMovie can offer. It can do the major importing without issue, but FCE or FCP/FCS will be much better at editing it all together.
  12. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    That actually depends entirely on the settings.

    For example, a 5 minute full HD clip is huge - likely over a GB. SD is a lot smaller.
  13. gabrules macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2008
    FCE is much better. iMovie is made for those just starting to edit and those who want to do really basic get to the point editing. FCE has all the basic features of iMovie plus more using a pretty simple interface which takes a little getting used to.
    Video Express
  14. eRondeau macrumors 65816


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    iMovie Answers...

    I have imported and edited hours and hours of VHS on iMovie, so I know what you're trying to do.

    1) Don't go with the new clip every 10 minutes idea. That will just confuse things. Import all your video as one long clip, use the playhead to manually locate your scene changes, then use the "Split Clip at Playhead" to break it up into scenes.

    2) Easiest way to completely mute an audio track is to simply uncheck it.

    3) Once it's imported it's digital. Yes you can Open an iMovie '06 project in FCE but you'll lose transitions, audio levels, and sound effects. All iMovie video must be re-rendered in FCE. (In other words, it's do-able but it will be PiTA.)

    4) If $$$ is a major factor, the $199 cost of FCE would get you pretty close to buying a true digital/DV camcorder that would make your life a lot easier than what you have now.

    I am not dissing FCE by any means; I own 4.0, although I haven't had much time to play with it yet. It is clearly a very powerful editing system, but the 1152 page User Manual should give you an idea about what you're up against. iMovie is itself an amazingly powerful program and it will probably do about 99% of what you need. :apple:
  15. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Having used iMovie '06, iMovie '08, and FCE 3.5 (I think that's the number...) I have to say, they all have their place.

    If you're looking for youtube-esque, throw stuff together, iMovie '08 can not be beat.

    If you're looking to make a home movie with more control, I think iMovie '06 is more intuative then '08 is.

    However, FCE picks up where iMovie '06 leaves off. Editing is non-destructive, it's smoother and has more features..

    If you're just trying to put some home movies together, iMovie can do it. Even a wedding video, iMovie could probably handle.. FCE is just taking what iMovie can do, and making it faster/more advanced.
  16. bluedoggiant macrumors 68030


    Jul 13, 2007
    MD & ATL,GA
    Or Command T
  17. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    Quick question -- are you a novice at video editing or an advanced user? I noticed your name is labeled as "long time MacForums user"

    If you are novice, and you are looking to produce very simple, family oriented like clips, then iMovie 08 is a great choice. Anything else, and you need to look at other options (though I've done some pretty advanced stuff with iMovie 08. It takes a couple of easy workarounds, but iMovie 08 combined with QuickTime Pro can do a lot for you). You can see iMovie 08 intro videos here:

    If you are an advanced video user (in which case, I wouldn't think you'd be asking this question) then FCE should do what you need, though I'll agree with others that your issues with iMovie06 may stem from a lack of familiarity/training. It's a pretty complete "basic" package.

    Final Cut won't help much, though, if you can't master the iMovie 06 interface. I would think if you cannot get your hands around iMovie, you'll fare far worse with Final Cut.

    So, in sum, I'm going to assume you are a novice, and answer thusly:

    iMovie 08 is very easy to use and more powerful than people give it credit, for use on "home" or personal kinds of clips. However, the iMovie08 interface is RADICALLY different from every other video editor. So, learning 08 doesn't help you with the other editors.

    iMovie06 is a strong basic package, and it's interface is more related to FC than iMovie08 (though FC and 06 are not alike, just more so than FC and 08). If you struggle with 06, then you're likely to struggle w/FC. However, 06 and FC are still quite different enough that, if you are convinced you need max power, then move right now to FCE and invest in some training classes.

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