Total noob desperate for advice iMovie HD vs. FCE

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by DaveFP56, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. DaveFP56 macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2010
    I have begun to put together the information and equipment necessary to transfer a collection of home video (VHS, Hi8, and MiniDV) to my Mac Book Pro.

    My goal at this point is simply to get the info off the tapes and onto the hard drive in the most archival manner possible.

    I am not concerned about burning them to DVD but do intend to learn how to lightly edit them.
    I am not sure whether I will ever have an interest in doing advanced editing other then titles and cutting boring sections.

    I read all about the quality and interface advantages of iMovie HD 6 and found a copy online. I bought a reference book and enrolled in to learn how to use this software.

    Now that I am about to begin the project I am hesitant to use iMovie HD 6 for the following reasons:

    1. I learned that FCE imports DV in a manner that is different than iMovie; that the FCE import gives you more control later.
    2. I learned that iMovie HD 6 supports source resolutions only up to 1440x1080 (HDV). That might be OK for my tapes but I have started to record video with a Canon T2i and those files are 1920x1080.
    3. IMovie HD 6 is no longer supported.
    4. I am worried about putting many hours into software that is “ancient history”.

    From what I can see the only alternative is to jump up to FCE. I don’t mind paying for it. I am worried that it will be overwhelmingly difficult for a total beginner to learn. I am 55 years old and while I am reasonably bright the days of my mind being “a sponge” are somewhat over. I want the project to be reasonably fun too!

    As stated above my main goal is to get these memories into the digital realm ASAP. I can play with learning to edit later.

    Any and all opinions, advice, insights very appreciatively welcomed.

    Thanks in advance- Dave
  2. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.
    For the kind of light editing you are talking about, iMovie would be the best choice I think. Two alternative basic editors I'm aware of are Norrkross Movie and SimpleMovieX. I haven't used them.

    As for iMovie, iMovie HD would also be the best choice for your old interlaced material since the newer iMovies (08/09/11) have issues with such interlaced source. There are work-a-rounds.

    For your new Canon, I think the new iMovie would be fine. At least if you record in progressive mode. That would be the P in 24p, 25p, or 30p. Hopefully someone with experience with that setup can enlighten us further. For iMovie 11, only the Canon EOS 5D Mark II is mentioned, but I believe the video is the same on your camera too.

    Final Cut isn't too difficult to learn for your purpose, but where iMovie has baked one step solutions, FC requires the user to do work for a similar result. Still, since you talk about putting many hours into software, I think you'd do find. There are many many tutorials online at places like Youtube and education sites such as Lynda.

    Some expect that Final Cut Studio will finally have an update sometime later this year. Since Final Cut Express is the little brother to Final Cut Pro which is in that package, one would think a new version of Express will also be released. Thing is, there is no good rumors of an expected date. My personal guess is that Apple may make it dependent on the next version of OS X, Lion, which you may see released around the end of summer time.

    Regarded your points...

    1. As far as I know, the difference is in how the audio is encoded. Can't remember the details.

    2. I believe that is a codec issue. The Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC) maxes out at 1440 width when importing HD.

    3. That is a big deal. It will break on some new version of OS X at some point. Since it creates Quicktime files, you will be able to use those in other editing packages, although currently, I think you have to render the audio when importing them into Final Cut.

    4. I agree that isn't advisable.
  3. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    For your older movies, use iMovie 6. For your clips coming from your camera, go with iMovie 11. I just learned iMovie 11 has the one long timeline like iMovie 6. You just have to change to that mode. I have used iMovie 6HD with my sony sr11 and my panasonic hmc150. The output looked great going to DVD. Wouldn't use it if going to blu ray though. I did use FCE 3.5 for a bit. Didn't like it a went back to iMovie 6. Still a bit of a learning curve in FCE. Both FCE and iMovie import to AIC. Suggest you research AIC to insure this is what you want to edit it. Adobe makes premiere elements for the Mac that you might want to check out. Might be a better solution (I don't have this yet). There is a free trial to check it out.
  4. jayeskreezy macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2005
    How do you change it to timeline mode? The non-timeline mode is annoying. As of right now I hate imovie 11 and usually end up importing imovie projects into FC anyway.
  5. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
    Under the "iMovie" in the top window bar, click on the icon with 3 small squares.
  6. turbobass macrumors 6502

    May 25, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Depends on the project, but yeah if you can get FC it's actually something worth learning.

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