Is Final Cut Express 4 Really For Me?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by txhockey9404, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. txhockey9404 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    I am contemplating buying Final Cut Express 4, and would like some advice on if it would really be worth the money for me. I currently have an iMac Aluminum 20" 2.0ghz with 1gb of ram (if I purchase FCE4 I will purchase a 2gb stick to add to it from Cruical (advice on that would be appreciated as well)). Right now, I do a project about every 2-3 months in iMovie 08 as well as iMovie HD. I am feeling a bit limited by their capabilities. Since I do not yet have an AVCHD camcorder, I can use iMovie HD with no problems, so that is what I use most of the time. I have found the themes that Apple has included as well as titles and transitions to be a bit limiting. I usually make videos lasting from 5 minutes (picture slideshow with custom transitions and music) to about 1 hour (hockey games cut up, titled, and music added).

    I really want to know if this is for me because I am using almost 100% of iMovie's capabilities, and feel like I have hit the roof. I would also like to know if you feel it is worth the money. It would also be helpful if you could give me some advice on Crucial or other memory suppliers as I will probably upgrade anyway and I feel Apple's prices are a bit outrageous.
  2. Chandler Adaway macrumors 6502a

    Chandler Adaway

    Jun 29, 2008
    Beaumont, TX
    If you really feel that you could make better movies on FCE4, than go for it.
    It's to expensive for my blood though, hah. :p

    Though, your really only making 3-4 movies a year.
    Seems like it would be a waste of money in my eyes.

    And if your going to upgrade the RAM, I would just stick 4gb's in there.

    Why not... Right?
  3. txhockey9404 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    I looked at a site that compared the upgrades between gigs and it showed that the upgrade from 2-3 was about 2-3 times greater than the upgrade from 3-4, let alone 1-3. I figured that for a 10% speed bonus is not worth another $50 dollars when I can get 60% for the first $50. I also would have to get rid of the stick it came with, which I also do not want to do.
  4. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD
    Same situation here, basically.....

    I actually own a Mac Pro, not an iMac, but I work with video/movies with about the same frequency (maybe a few per year).

    I've always used iMovie, up through the HD version, but have only tinkered with iMovie '08. I've also played around with Final Cut Express a little bit.

    Honestly, I'm still of the opinion that for more flexibility, the occasional movie-maker would be best off buying some (all?) of the volumes of plug-ins made by GeeThree for iMovie - and playing with those, rather than forking out the money for Final Cut.

    If you go back a few years in time, it was a situation where older versions of iMovie tended to crash often, causing you to lose some of your editing work, and even the companion iDVD software had a number of weird bugs and limitations. (EG. Lots of issues making DVDs over 60 minutes in length.) Back then, Final Cut Express (or Pro) seemed like a more solid, "professional grade" alternative for anyone willing to undertake the learning curve.

    But right now, we're at a stage where iMovie HD and the corresponding version of iDVD work pretty well. Only problem is, AVCHD came along and changed the rules of the game, since iMovie wasn't designed in a manner that could work with that format. Rather than do a bunch of re-working of it, Apple just released iMovie '08, which also lost the ability for 3rd. party plug-ins to work with it at all.

    So *now*, I think some people are buying Final Cut mainly for the fact it handles plug-ins and add-ons, but really, you've got all that without spending the $'s, if you go back to iMovie HD and a camcorder that works with it.

  5. txhockey9404 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    Thanks for that bit of info...I knew that FCE could handle plugins and add-ons but I did not know about iMovie HD. As money is not an issue right now for me (I just got a bunch of gifts for graduation and am not sure what to do with it), I might get those plug ins or just go the FCE route. Thanks for the help, but I will wait until I can hear a bit more from the FCE owners.
  6. loganmania macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2008
    Get Final Cut

    I own a video company called LOGANMANIA MULTIMEDIA and I have made videos for many years in iMovie HD, but when I got my macbook for my bar mitzvah, I got FCE on it. It was worth the $200, I got it in the end of June, and have made like 15 videos already. The one thing I say you need to do, once you get it and have time, go on YOUTUBE and just watch the FCE videos. That is how I learned how to do EVERYTHING in FCE. The nice thing about Final Cut Express is that it comes with LIVE TYPE. FCE is hard to use at the start, but once you have used it, it is so easy. It works strait with iMovie 08. The main thing I use with iMovie for, is to use the Kens Burn effect on any movies with pictures because it is automatic in iMovie, but you have to do it one by one in FCE, and it is a pain. I think that you should get it if you have the money. If you have any questions email me at
  7. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    Final Cut is fantastic software. I've never used Express, but from my experience with FCP you will not be disappointed with FCE.
  8. Much Ado macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

    Sep 7, 2006
    It's awesome software (and the learning curve wasn't half as bad as I expected, based on what people told me when I made the jump).

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