Is Final Cut Express for me?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Kelska, May 17, 2009.

  1. Kelska macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #1
    I'm an amateur movie editor and so far I've editted 6 videos with iMovie '06 (because it doesn't have THAT many effects, but later versions have none!) It's not something I want to do professionally, it's just a fun hobby. Never the less, I see other BRILLIANT vids on youtube (many made with sony vegas) that do amazing things with masking, layering, and textures, and other things that iMovie just can't. I get frustrated because I know if I invested the time in learning how to do those things with a program I could probably do it. I've been considering switching to FCE, but have heard that it has terrible masking capabilities and not much specifics on the kind of effects I'm thinking of. (It doesn't help that I don't know what all the terms mean, but I'm learning)

    Along with masking, layering, and textures, I'd also want to be able to pan video clips and such. Also, I'd mainly be making videos using files (in the past I've used mpeg files).

    Here are two examples of the types of videos (which I did not make because they are too awesome) I'd even HOPE to make using FCE (without a million expensive plugins):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQHBZkOT6KQ&NR=1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SzLkj_0ij4

    Sorry if there's a thread similar to this, but I didn't find it specific enough to cover my questions. I'd really appreciate any help! Thanks in advance!
     
  2. arjen92 macrumors 65816

    arjen92

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    Sep 9, 2008
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    Below sea level
    #2
    Yep, it's possible with fce. I suggest you get the 50 points bezier matte too (it's free). with that you can more easily make those lovely stars and such. For the rest, these are all layers, which you can move by keyframes. and some "motion" effects (in the motion tab of the viewer, you'll know what I mean when you get fce). But FCE will do the things you want. I would suggest you get photoshop or gimp with it. (photoshop=expensive, gimp=free).
     
  3. slu macrumors 68000

    slu

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Buffalo
    #3
    The reply was spot on. You can make video like that with FCE, but you will also need something to design the graphics that are layered over the video. You can't just use FCE. Photoshop and GIMP are both good recommendations. Live Type, which comes with FCE also does some cool things with titles and text.

    There is a bit of a learning curve going from iMovie '06 to FCE (I did it myself), but the documentation is good and there are tons of tutorials out there that can help.
     
  4. Kelska thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #4
    Thank you very much for all your help!

    I was under the impression that PhotoShop and Gimp only deal with still images? How does that work?
     
  5. slu macrumors 68000

    slu

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Buffalo
    #5
    You design the still image in Photoshop/GIMP, then overlay as a another video track in FCE. Then you can use "Motion" to make the images move in FCE or you can use keyframes. Key frames will give more control, but Motion will be easier to use. In effect, FCE allows you to "animate" a still image.
     
  6. Kelska thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #6
    I see... that's really very cool! (Though I don't personally understand HOW it could work, I am continually blown away by technology)

    Also, just to clarify, FCE -can- pan clips to zoom in and out as an effect? (and I've read about a few textures that they have so I know about those, now - yay!)

    Thanks for helping me with all of this - I imagine it feels like you're repeating yourself a bit!

    About how long did it take you to adjust to the learning curve, if I may ask?
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #7
    Yes, as others have said, FCE will do what you want.

    But if you do professional editing then 99% of what you do are just plain cuts. Watch any Hollywood film and every few seconds there is a cut. If ythese are done well you almost don't notice them. "Editing" is mostly learning how to decide on how to arrange there cuts. The best way to learn is just buy a book on film editing, hopefully one that covers editing and not how to work some software. A typical asignment might be to make an (exactly) 60 second video of two people washing a car. Sounds easy but (1) it takes longer than 60 seconds to wash a car you you will need to apply so tricks to compress the time. and (2) viewers et bored easy so you wil need too keep it moving.

    Those kinds of anamated effets are fun and you should try it, but it's not good prep for "real world" editing. "real" editing is "telling a story with moving pictures." Not knowing how to use editing software or FX.
     
  8. Kelska thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #8
    Thank you, these are all very good points. But I have no desire to do "real world" editing - though if you have a different name for what I do than that's fine. I'm just having fun and trying to get the final products that will please me the most. As I said, I'm not looking to do professional editing (at any point in my life, really). You'll notice in my example videos that rarely the same event is happening for any long stretch of time - it's a totally different style that I'm looking at.

    Are you a professional editor? You sound very invested in it. :)
     
  9. slu macrumors 68000

    slu

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Buffalo
    #9
    FCE can definitely pan clips and zoom in and out as an effect. It can do this with still images or video.

    This is not the most exciting video as I had to do it for work, but on this video I was going for a "newscast" look so I put a still of the first frame of the video in the upper right corner as an overlay of the video track of the guy sitting at the desk. Then I used the zoom feature (don't remember exactly where it is as I am not on my Mac at the moment) of FCE to bring it into full frame and start playing the video track. Hopefully this gives you a basic idea of how you can layer video and stills and then move them around the screen. I used a blue screen as well on this video, so there are several layers of video/stills in this clip. The only thing that was done outside of FCE was the intro graphic which was done in After Effects. And I am not the guy at the desk in this video, but I am in the video...

    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJKIZ3bhvhk

    As far as the learning curve goes, I didn't think it was that bad, but I try to learn only one or two new things per project. I first tried to figure out Capturing and basic cuts and transitions like ChrisA said. But to be fair, that is all my first project required. Then I wanted to do a spot shadow, so I learned keyframes. I wanted to learn how to use a blue/green screen, so I learned chromakey, etc. It can be overwhelming, but if you start small and keep building on your skills, it should be no problem. And you can always keep adding on to your project. So you could edit some clips together in an order you like, then start overlaying clips of different sizes onto that clip, then move them, etc. The hardest part is getting started. And if you are anything like me, once you get started and get on a roll, it is hard to stop!

    Good luck and remember, Google and this forum can be quite helpful, but the documentation included with FCE as well as the tutorials on Apple's site can be helpful as well.

    And I am by no means an expert, just a home user who does this type of stuff for fun. But I have been pretty successful getting FCE to do what I want it to do.
     

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