Final Cut Pro for a beginner?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by DoNoHarm, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816


    Oct 8, 2008
    Hello Everyone,

    If you were a beginner and could choose between Final Cut express and Final Cut Pro, ignoring cost which would you choose? Is Final Cut Pro significantly harder to use than Final Cut Express? Someone I know is offering me a computer with Final Cut Pro and I can either go for that or a refurbished computer and buy Final Cut Express and it comes out to the same money for the same computer, just one with final cut pro....
  2. Rhalliwell1 macrumors 6502a

    May 22, 2008
    You answered your own question "Pro for begginer?"

    start off with express and when you have learnt and understood that and feel you need the additional features in pro, upgrade.

    Having said that, i would take the computer with Pro on it just so you dont have to purchase it later on. Are you goign to be taking classes?

    I would reccomend that if you eventually plan on using Pro.

    Good luck :)
  3. chiefroastbeef macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2008
    Dallas, Texas/ Hong Kong
    Have you used imovie? Definitely start with Final Cut Express first, Pro is too much for a beginner, making the learning curve even steeper. Upgrade to Pro when you are comfortable with FCE. Hope it works out for ya!
  4. MrLatte23 macrumors regular

    Jul 18, 2007
    Same interface for FCE and FCP

    Both Final Cut Pro and Express share the same interface and basic functions. It's not like the vast difference between iMovie and either Final Cut. Express has less features and bells and whistles, but their look and feel are identical. So might as well start with Final Cut Pro. If you have the full suite of programs, you can learn more as you feel comfortable.

    Hopefully you get the FCP disks with the computer, otherwise one bad crash could bring everything to a screeching stop.
  5. Gymnut macrumors 68000


    Apr 18, 2003
    Is this friend also giving you the Final Cut Suite 2 Install discs as well? Are the specs between the computers fairly close? If you're a novice editor, I'd suggest you opt for the refurb with FCE.

    If your friend isn't including the install discs, ignoring the fact that it violates the End Users License Agreement, it's a particularly shady way of sellers, both on eBay and Craigslist to pump up the appeal and pricing of older computer equipment with software that's "pre-installed". I've already had to re-install several of the applications from the suite twice due to technical problems, so I cannot recommend enough having the install discs.
  6. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    I was the same as you half a year ago.

    Unfortunately for me cost was an option so I had to stick with FCE but now I really want Studio!

    Also Studio is barely any different from FCE in Final Cut as there are only a few effects extra that you can use (plus the open format timeline and a couple of other features that wouldn't really make a difference to non-movie production) however it allows you to learn the other programs and aspect of film such as colour grading and special effects!

    I'd recommend going for studio and not having to kick yourself in the foot in 6 months time when you want more!
  7. matteusclement macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    I say PRO

    There is nothing worse than becoming really good with the lesser tool then hitting the ceiling as opposed to having the really great tool and not being able to use 100% of it right away.

    As far as the "if you haven't used imovie, then go to FCE first" comment, I have to say crap to that. I have taught several people how to use FC and their number one comment after the first lesson : This makes WAY more sense than imovie.

    PLus all the options that come with STUDIO are freaking amazing. If you want to learn how to use FCP ASAP, go to and get the tutorials. Completely worth the money.
  8. xIGmanIx macrumors 6502a

    Dec 21, 2008
    i would say make sure you have iLife 09 and then if you want to purchase software, buy the pro. Do your projects in iLife 09 and then when you want to take your projects to the next level import them into FCP
  9. Mac In School macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2007
    If cost isn't an issue, I say go Pro all the way.

    The learning curve in Pro, to do everything you can do in Express, is exactly the same, imo. I hope that made sense.

    Pro has extras, but you have to dig for them a little bit. Without looking at the menu, some wouldn't be able to tell the difference. I mean that in a positive way toward Pro.
  10. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Don't buy Final Cut Studio!! It's a dog on rendering. The code is bloated and doesn't fully recognize the power of multi processors or extra ram. If that's not an issue for what you plan to do, then just realize that Apple is over-due for a new release and you might get stuck with an upgrade fee if you buy too soon. Not a good time to invest in their software.

    FWIW, I just tried Adobe Premiere CS 4 on my MacPro and it renders faster than Final Cut Pro. In many ways, Adobe has surpassed Apple in the video market. Apple has been busy with iPhone and consumer products and left their pro line to languish. Not Adobe. The Adobe CS4 video products are really nice. Premiere, After Effects, Flash, Soundbooth, etc. Check it out.
  11. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    A statement of the truly misinformed...

    FCP is a solid platform that has enjoyed nearly a decade of consistent industry support. There's tons of third party plugins, hardware, etc. engineered for FCP integration. You can't always say the same thing about Premiere. In fact, Premiere didn't truly start getting good until CS3.

    1. A dog on rendering? A lot of rendering operations in FCP are multiprocessor aware to varying degrees. Many plug-ins are as well. Example of my CPU load while rendering a long credit roll sequence with the CHV Credits v4.1 plugin in FCP:


    Somehow, I think an average 80% load across all CPUs would qualify as multiprocessor aware.

    In Compressor, rendering a batch with a virtual cluster set up in QMaster brings my 8-core Mac Pro down to its knees (95-98% CPU utilization across all cores).

    So, I call BS on this one.

    2. Tackling the subject of RAM, the Mac version of Premiere CS4 is still 32-bit. It's 64-bit on Windows Vista 64 only. So here, you have the same 4GB memory window that holds back FCP. I don't expect either application to become 64-bit until Snow Leopard and that's when we can really start making comparisons...

    3. Yes, we've been waiting a while for FCS3. Everyone knows that. But that still doesn't make FCS2 a poor value. For example, FCS2 comes with Color, which was once a standalone application known as Final Touch that sold for $20k. There is no such application in CS4 Production Suite. There's trade-offs to both suites, really. For example, CS4 Production has After Effects, a $1,000 application purchased separately. Other than those differences, I'd say the playing field is starting to level. Adobe isn't surpassing Apple on the Mac platform per say - it's merely trying to stay competitive. This should get more interesting as time progresses.

    But getting back to the OP's original question, I would venture to say that Final Cut Express is a good starting point. Its editing interface is identical to FCP, but has fewer features, lacks support for professional codecs and doesn't come with as much bundled software. But for $200, you WILL NOT find a better NLE on the Mac. Period.
  12. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    But for actually development and production of films Premiere just fails miserably. Sure it may be a bit faster but out of the whole bunch only after effects is industry recognised unlike the whole of studio!
  13. deej999 macrumors regular

    Apr 1, 2009
    I agree. Jump up to Final Cut Pro. Mostly the same functions present as Final Cut Express. When you are ready u can explore Color, Sound Track Pro2 and Motion3!

  14. akdj macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    I started on FCP. Couldn't even tell you how to use iMovie:)

    If money is NOT an object, there is no decision. FCP is your choice. Don't worry about the learning curve. Just get after it. Check out for an 8 hour tutorial and spend as much time as you can editing anything and everything you (or the cameraman) shoot. No substitute for experience, but as others have mentioned....better to have it and not need it than the other way around.

    FCE is a phenomenal program, but you will find it's limits quickly (and lack of plug-ins comparatively speaking).

    Good luck

  15. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I got Final Cut Pro as a newbie, and I felt quite overwhelmed at first. However, I was glad I had it once I figured it out.
  16. Photomax macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2007
    Go with the better computer and any situation that gives you the actual discs for the software...
  17. PhixionFilms macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2008
    Deployed atm
    I started on FCP and at first like many others, i had no idea what i was doing. But after about 2 months - 6 months you get everything down. Im soo glad i choose final cut pro.
  18. deej999 macrumors regular

    Apr 1, 2009
  19. Chris7 macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2008
    Lost in Thought

    Do you plan to shoot and edit in 24P?
  20. poematik14 macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2009
    Master imovie 06 (the best one) then move up to FCE, then FCP.
  21. Shawn F. macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2009
    North Carolina
    Everyone will have their opinions but here is mine... I like to do things as few times as possible so I would opt for the Final Cut Pro. That's just me. I started with Express but learned on a friends computer with his and then got the Final Cut Studio 2 and am very happy with it. Sure there is a bit more to learn but as long as your willing to learn then I do not see a problem. Just don't get overwhelmed with it and your fine.
    Now here is also another question to ask yourself after you figure out which one is cheaper... Do you plan to do professional video work such as music videos, short films, etc for a career or for a hobby? What kind of video work do you plan on doing? If it's something small then I do not see a reason going the more expensive route.
    First I say tell us what your wanting to do, which way is going to be the cheaper route and if the one your friend gives you (Pro) comes with the install discs.

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