Final Cut Pro - worth it for newbie?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by wiseguy27, Apr 30, 2005.

  1. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502


    Apr 30, 2005
    [This is one more in the series of questions I have to help me decide which Power Mac to go for and what I should include in my buying decision]

    On the Apple online store, there always has been an option of adding the "pre-installed" version of Final Cut (Pro HD after the recent product updates - the previous Final Cut Express for $99 is no longer available as a pre-installed option).

    Now, I'm not into any pro stuff - in fact, I just plan to start off with creating/editing video/movies. With this background, does it make sense to go for Final Cut Pro HD for $299 (the retail "non-pre-installed" version costs $999)? :rolleyes: Or would iMovie be more than enough for "non-professional" users? I would definitely like to learn more about video creation/editing - could iMovie prove to be "deficient" in the future? :confused:

    I do realize these are subjective questions, but I would appreciate opinions and facts from users who're both media professionals and users who're not media professionals. Those of you who do video creation/editing, which application do you use and why?

    Thanks in advance! :)
  2. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    iMovie only has one track of video and paradoxically, I find using iMovie harder than FCP. You may want to try out Final Cut Express and then as your needs grow, you can take advantage of Apple's upgrade pricing to upgrade to Final Cut Pro 5.
  3. johnnowak macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2003
    New York, New York
    If you are serious about learning movie editing, iMovie isn't sufficient for much of anything. If you just want to make little movies and stick audio on top, iMovie works (or HyperEngine-AV for that matter).
  4. Nugget macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    Houston Texas USA
    Final Cut Pro comes with about fifty pounds of documentation. It's horrifyingly intimidating to new users. Expect several hours of confusion and frustration just trying to effectively pull video off your camcorder and into the application.

    iMovie, on the other hand, is almost instantly usable with no reading and quite competent if all you want to do is trim out the boring parts, stitch together what's left with some interesting wipes or fades, and then maybe add some text or music to the video.

    iMovie doesn't ever grow past that stage though, so if you want to do anything more complicated then you should consider Final Cut (Pro or Express) as a solution.

    The two apps are almost completely beyond comparison, they do such different things. iMovie is trivial to outgrow, but it's painless. You've got to *WANT* to learn Final Cut Pro, but the app will reward you for the effort.
  5. chameeeleon macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2004
    I just checked the Apple store, and it's Express HD (not Pro) that's being sold pre-installed for $299. Not nearly as great a deal as it was to get Express for $99.
    That being said, Final Cut (Express) is a superb application if you're willing to put some time into learning it. The app's setup just makes a lot of sense and gets out of your way. I agree with the person who said iMovie is more complicated than Final Cut - I have troubles with chopping clips in iMovie now with it's wierd non-linear habits. Don't let that throw you off though - iMovie is probably one of the easiest movie editing apps out there. Final Cut (even Express - there aren't too many features cut that you'd miss) is probably one of the most powerful. It's up to you what you want.
  6. dotdotdot macrumors 68020

    Jan 23, 2005
    But wouldnt you want the Final Cut Pro HD box for $1000??? :p
  7. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    As Chameeeloen said it is express and not pro for $299. I use both. I use iMovie for quick and simple editing to create DVD's of stuff I record off the telly, or for upload to my website of the family. Even Express has a huge learning curve, and only would recommend if you are prepared to spend the time learning, however it is not far removed from the Pro App for most home users requirements, and for the price is prob. the best video editing program on any platform.
  8. Voiteur macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2004
    chicago, il

    My previous job was teaching students how to use FCP... This usually took about 20 minutes of teaching, then they could work on their own and ask questions.
    iMovie is way more trouble than its worth. I can't figure the darn thing out because its too simple.
    Go with Final Cut and find someone to teach you the basics so you can skip the manual. It is as intuitive as the best software out there and generally people with that sorta brain pick it up very quickly.
  9. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
    I would make the gradual switch to FC Studio, from iMovie --> FCexpress --> FCP. You truly learn and grow and get experienced this way.

    Jumping from no experience in DV to FCP is a steep learning curve. Though its well worth the trial and error IMO. :)

    Hardware req is a downside since FCP doesn't req a lot of cpu power however you find yourself restrictive to a degree in your work and workflow. :(
  10. amac4me macrumors 65816


    Apr 26, 2005
    Jump in to FCP

    I'd say take the plunge and start with FCP. I've always found that it's best to start sooner rather than later with any software .... you'll have to learn it eventually and if you're interested in video editing, FCP is the way to go.

    I'd say that the plunge ... that's exactly what I did. I bought my first Apple last year and bought Production Suite to do my video editing ... it's been great and although it takes time to learn and you'll probably have to invest some money in a few books, I think it's well worth it.

    Have fun!
  11. Whigga Spitta macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2004
    Can you say Chi-City??
    I have always found the Final Cut (either Express or Pro) timeline and ways of editing more intuitve, undoubtedly more powerful, and worth it to learn. My vote would go to FCE pre-installed. You'll get to use iMovie if you *have* to, but I think FCE will be sufficient.
  12. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
    Not really an option for one who works full-time, studies part-time (full-time on the weekends) and helps during social events in they community.

    Though I must say it must have taken you monthS with the Production Suite. :)
  13. wiseguy27 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Apr 30, 2005
    Thanks a lot!

    Thanks a lot for your inputs everybody! I highly appreciate it! :)

    The reason I asked this question was to decide whether I should dump FCE while buying a Mac and save $299 - but from your suggestions I feel I'd be much better off with FCE to start with.

    Note: It was an error to have written Pro instead of Express. I guess I got mixed up for a while, having seen "FCE pre-installed" on the Apple Store all along for more than a year and seeing "HD" in the title I just missed it - while typing the initial question I did wonder how they could give Pro for $299 pre-installed while the retail version was $999! :D Felt pretty dumb after I went to the Apple website again to try different Power Mac configurations and saw that it was Express... :p

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