Should I use Final Cut or iMovie?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Itogator, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. Itogator macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2008
    First of all, I want to thank everyone on this board. I am getting ready to switch from a pc to a mac and these boards have been a great source of information. Here is my question:

    I just received Final Cut Studio 5 for free from a friend who had an extra license for it. One of the things I am going to do with my new mac when it arrives this week is transfer about 30 hours of family movies from my mini-dv camera and put it on DVD. Once I do that large initial transfer, I will then transfer my home movies as soon as the tape fills up. Is Final Cut very difficult to learn? Since I am mainly going to be making home movies with minimal editing, should I just use iMovie? I am pretty good at learning new software and want to use the best software I have. Is the DVD burning portion of final cut much better than iDVD? What do you guys think I should do?

    By the way, I will be receiving a MacBook 2.4 and will put a 4gig ram kit in it. I have read many threads on final cut and the MacBook and I know I can run most of final cut with the exception of motion and colour.

  2. atlanticza macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2008
    Cape Town
    There is a huge difference between iMovie and Final Cut. iMovie is by far the simplest, and for home movies, you should cut your teeth on that first as you'll be able to produce a movie in no time at all. Unless you know a lot about editing (and its software), you'll be incredibly frustrated with FC as the learning curve is long and tough as it is, after all, a suite used by professionals. Even the "lite" version, Final Cut Express is not for the feint-hearted either as it employs the same engine as its professional counterpart. However, if you really want to take the leap, I suggest you buy a "Guide to..." or buy tutorials on DVD.
    Good luck.
  3. soberbrain macrumors 65816


    May 9, 2008
    Since it's just personal use. I suggest using iMovie. It's simple to use and will probably have all the features you need for your project.

    So you'll be making videos faster instead of having to learn a more complex app with pro features you may not need.
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    OSX is not windows, installing additional apps won't slow down your system like it does on windows. =)

    So, if you have the license already, then install Final Cut and try them both. Of course, read / watch the tutorials that comes with iMovie and Final Cut.

    But seems like iMovie would be perfect for you.
  5. Gymnut macrumors 68000


    Apr 18, 2003
    Yes DVD Studio Pro is leaps and bounds better than iDVD. Like others have mentioned, I'd recommend editing in iMovie because 30 hours is nothing to sneeze at and while FCP is fairly intuitive, if you've worked with other NLEs, it can be daunting for someone who's never used it.
  6. brn2ski00 macrumors 68020


    Aug 16, 2007
    For the best of both worlds (almost), I suggest downloading iMovie HD. It has way more features than the current version of iMovie. iMovie '08 is basically a dumbed-down version of iMovie HD and is really targeted at beginner users.

    Of course, if you wanted to do some power editing and production quality material, then opt for FCP.

    The free download for iMovie HD can be found at:
  7. Itogator thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2008
    Thanks for the quick replies!

    It seems like the best thing I should do is start out using iMovie to do the bulk transfer more quickly and easily. This will get me used to doing some basic video editing. Once that is done, I think I will transfer future individual tapes (about 60 min) using FCP. I think it will be easier to learn FCP while working with just one tape.

    I am going to install FCP anyway since someone mentioned that, unlike windows, having additional programs installed wont slow me down.

    Someone also mentioned that DVD Studio Pro is much better than iDVD. What is better about it? Can you tell me some of the things I can do with DVD Studio that I cant do with iDVD? Also, is it possible to use DVD Studio Pro to burn DVDs that I made with iMovie.

    Thanks again. This is a great community :)
  8. Itogator thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2008
    I'd hate to bump my own thread, but I'd really appreciate it if someone could answer my last questions.

  9. P-Worm macrumors 68020


    Jul 16, 2002
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I find that the DVDs made with DVD Studio Pro produce a better looking picture, especially if you know what you are doing. If you export a movie using Compressor, you can tweak the settings to get the best picture you can. However, unless you have some background in compression, it is very daunting. DVD Studio Pro is probably the easiest app to pick up in the Studio suite, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to do much without some reading.

    The biggest advantage that DVD Studio Pro has is that you can make the menus any way you want them. iDVD has pre built menus where you can't change much other than some places to drop a looping video or some text. With DVD Studio Pro, if you can design/animate it, you can make it.

    With all that said, iDVD is a wonderful application and you might find one of the pre built templates to be just what you are looking for. iDVD can produce some incredible results.

  10. CMD is me macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2006
    Having used iMovie from its beginning, its very easy to learn and great for teaching how to improve your video taking. I'm sure you can do FAR FAR more with FCP if you want to get yourself in deep.
  11. chiefroastbeef macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2008
    Dallas, Texas/ Hong Kong
    I've done a couple videos using iMovie as well, it is easy to use and it'll look good/decent no matter how much you suck.

    I had a copy of Final Cut Express, and thought I was ready for it. Man was I wrong... After four hours of messing around I finally gave up and used iMovie again. I do hope to learn FCE one day, but it ain't the time yet.

    Like everyone else is saying, you are much better with iMovie, unless someone is by your side walking you through Final Cut, you'll waste time and gain frustration.
  12. slomo86 macrumors member


    Jul 30, 2008
    DVD Studio is a much better then iDVD it takes a little bit to get use. I find that with iDVD when i had moving backgrounds in menu screens it was a lot more jumpier then when I did it with DVD Studio.

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