Final Cut Express or iMovie HD?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ski2moro, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. ski2moro macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2007
    I have worked with iMovie 08 and want to do more.

    I saw some of the things iMovie HD can do and want to know, what can Final Cut Express do that iMovie HD can't? I need to determine if the difference is worth $200 to me.

    I would like to add transitions, special effects, text effects, and other things that imovie 08 cannot do. I would like to add music from iTunes and a voiceover here and there. In addition, I want to take some old family videos from VCR tapes and make DVDs.

    I have a 2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo MBP with 2 GB RAM if that makes a difference. A neighbor with a MacBook is also considering moving up to a more 'flashy' presentation for the home movies of their young children. His complaint is that iMovie 08 doesn't have the transitions like his Windows computer did. Does an Intel MacBook have enough power to handle FCE?

    I'm sorry if this has been asked before, but a search didn't turn up the answer I was looking for.
  2. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Well first off I'm not clear about one thing- you mention that you have seen some of the things iMovie HD can do, but have you taken advantage of the fact that it is a free download in the Apple downloads section, downloaded it and messed with it yet? You can grab it at iMovie HD if not. It can happily live alongside your iMovie 08 BTW- so no concerns about having two versions on your system.

    I ask whether you have downloaded it as I am a longtime user of iMovie, (particularly iMovie HD) and I have to say that it would address the majority of your desires quite easily. There are quite a number of built in special effects filters, transitions and text effects and of course there are hundreds of third party add-ons too, though I have rarely had a need for any beyond the built in set. Adding music is no problem whatsoever and if voiceovers are recorded as audio clips in Garageband (among other programs) they can be added easily too- there are two independent audio tracks as well as the audio in the video clips themselves, so you have a fair amount of flexibility there.

    Now when iLife 08 came out and I saw how limited the new version of iMovie was, I was glad that the new version of Final Cut Express 4 came out soon after, and even happier that it had taken a $100 cut from the previous version too. I have only called on it for one project so far, but was sure impressed with the additional capabilities though they are overkill for most of the projects I do (like your VHS to DVD projects for example which are so easy to complete nicely with iMovie HD and iDVD).

    Kind of hard to explain briefly what the main differences are beyond just saying that it is similar in function to iMovie HD- but an iMovie HD that has been on steroids for quite awhile. Among some of the additional features/capabilities of FCE4 over iMovie HD are:
    • The ability to mix clip types in the same project (i.e. HD clips, standard clips, etc.) as well as added AVHDC format support
    • Extensive audio and mixing capabilities
    • Much more complex clip editing capabilities
    • Multiple video "layers" to allow complex compositing, montage and picture in picture effects
    • Built in voiceover functions to allow for voiceovers in real time
    • Ability to do animated titling and many more text effects- includes a second program called Live Type 2 to use in conjunction with FCE

    Of course be aware that this all comes with a fairly steep learning curve to get started due to the huge number of additional capabilities, but if you need those capabilities they are there! But then again so is the $199 price vs iMovie HD's $0! ;)

    You might want to google "iMovie vs Final Cut Express 4" which turns up a lot of additional information that you might find helpful.

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