Which editing software?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by JSchwartz15, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. JSchwartz15 macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2012
    I am an ameture video editor and I plan on majoring in film production in university. I trained myself to use FCE 4 using Tom Wolsky's training book, and when FCP X came out, I upgraded to it and got Motion 5 as well. I got the Ripple Training book for Motion and learned how to use it. I know in the beginning, a lot of people in the industry were hesitant to use FCP X. But now, after updates, more features have been added such as multicam editing. Are more professionals switching over, or should I start looking into Premier & AfterEffects CS6, or another program? What are the pros and cons of all of them?
  2. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Honestly, I think this question is moot. For two reasons:

    1. Right now, which editing software is "better" almost exclusively depends on your personal taste and what you want to do with it. FCPX will work faster for some projects, Premiere for others. If you just want to learn "editing" in general, it doesn't matter.

    2. Learning editing has hardly anything to do with the software you use. The main concepts are the same, and you can do almost everything you can do with either software with the other as well. Later on down the road, worst case scenario you are forced to use one specific software (you still don't know which, could be Avid, or something completely different), it will take you 1-2 weeks to learn the tweaks of said specific software and become fast in using it. What you've learned about editing will not be lost.

    That being said: If you want to dive deeper into visual effects and compositing, After Effects is awesome and a must-have. But for mostly editing, I'd say stick with what you already have. Or wait until you know what your course is using.
  3. daybreak macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    Firstly learn the art of making good videos'. Regards software? You seem to understand what is what.
    Just work with what you are comfortable with. Never mind what professionals use.
  4. Thuc5dides macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2012
    It depends if you want to keep the cutting and GFX work as a hobby or take it professional. Without critiquing the capabilities of FCPX, it's set up quite differently from most other NLEs and you may find it difficult to walk into a studio and pick up something like Avid or Premiere if you invest all your learning time in FCPX.

    That wouldn't matter if it was an industry standard, but it's not, and I doubt it will ever attain the penetration FCP7 had.

    In my opinion the most compelling NLE choice is currently Premiere, particularly if you do any GFX work with your editing.
  5. Randy McKown macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Kansas City
    Personally, I've always found that after mastering one "type" of software .. the learning curve involved in switching to another is kinda of like a weekend project. It's pretty much never a big deal. You already know the exact technical functions you want to perform so it's just a matter of .. Ok how do I oh nevermind here it is. This is of course if you're a serious users .. casual users often have more trouble and are afraid to switch. Just grab one of the major apps and master it inside and out.
  6. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    I use FCP X and it is very easy to use and can be very powerful with the right plugins. Out of the box it doesn't have that many great transitions or effects, special titles but they are out there most of them you have to pay for them.
  7. noshjewman macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2008
    You say you are hoping to major in film production - so it sounds as if an actual professional career is a few years off. I would suggest sticking with what you have right now: learning the key story-telling skills, understanding layering audio and compositing.
    The actual software you use for this won't make a huge difference.

    If you do want to invest in another system, I would wait until you find out what they use at your college, as interoperability with the school's systems will certainly help in your school work. As you move towards a professional career, the choice of software in which to become proficient will become more apparent. Especially as right now - with AVID, Premiere, FCP 7 - the options are many, and the future a bit unclear!
  8. Siderz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    I'm sure the other replies have pointed this out, but I wish people would consider the following:

    In the past, when people used to splice and join film, they didn't worry about the equipment. Maybe a blunt blade, bad [join] tape, bad [splice] 'cement' etc.

    A better editor is one who doesn't whine about the given tools, and thinks solely on their creativity in the editing process. Granted, 'a blunt knife is going to give a good chef a hard time', so I think we should care about how well the applications work, but as long as you can do simple cuts, transitions, and layer audio/video, then those are all the tools you need to actually make something.

    When I was in high school, we had to use Windows Movie Maker. You couldn't really layer audio properly, but it was feasible; add an audio layer, export that section, import it again, add another audio layer (Since there was the video's audio, and one other track). Once we made a small project and I took the clips home, someone complained that I was able to make it on Final Cut Express, while they were using WMM, so I recut the whole thing on WMM again to prove it's not about the software.

    (I hate the way I'm writing this, I feel like I'm trying to be an iconic video editor - I'm still actually in College, and have no professional experience)

    Anyway, point being, and perhaps you do actually understand this since you've read some books, it's not about the equipment, as long as you have the toolset. 'Toolset' being what every video editing software should have; cutting, transitions, and layering (I'd say at least 3 layers). If you don't have this, it's not a proper editing application...much like if you're missing the tape from the film days; you don't have the tools don't you?

    Just pick the software that you like, if it works for you, then use it. Don't feel let down if the industry starts saying it's a bad piece of software or if they move over to something else.

    You might want to read these guidelines - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_editing#Editing_techniques - they would have been made before computers were involved, and they should still be applied today.

    (Not my video, but it gives you an idea on how it worked before the digital age)

    (My personal application would be Premiere Pro right now - Thelma Shoonmaker uses LightWorks, which my dad used in the 90s; she [Thelma, not my dad] doesn't care how old it is, but it has been updated since then)
  9. maplelegend macrumors newbie


    Jun 12, 2012
    I use Premier, it kind of a junior learner's choice because I still have a lot of problem practicing this program.
  10. boch82 macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2008
    I'm well versed in a bunch of editing software since I bounce around from show to show and post house to post house.

    At the present time my go to is Avid as its what I originally learned on and was the industry standard for years.

    Since the release of FCPX I have seen very little transition in the professional market. FCP7 is much more widely used still.

    Premiere Pro is now making a huge jump in the market and is a very solid program especially for tight deadlines and graphics intensive projects (direct compatibility between photoshop and after effects).

    With all that I just said. Its not the software that makes a good product its the creativity and storytelling of the editor. Software is just a tool and will continue to change but the basics will always stay the same.
  11. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    These are all good points. Good editors aren't judged by the software they're running. In the end, it really doesn't matter, as long as the end result is achieved.

    HOWEVER... When and if you start doing this professionally, it helps immensely to be well-versed in software packages that are accepted industry standards. I still cut in FCP 7 and sometimes, in Avid MC. In my field (post production for corporate video and narrative film), a lot of production companies and post houses still live on those platforms and interoperability with the various trades in the post world is key. Premiere has gained quite a bit of traction over the last couple of years, but it still doesn't have the market penetration that FCP 7 and Avid do.

    But again, everybody's needs are different. I know quite a few one-man shop types that love FCP X for its ease of use and speed. I also have colleagues that swear by the newer versions of Premiere. They're great editing applications in their own rights, but I simply don't use them because they don't fully satisfy my current requirements.
  12. daybreak macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    Looking back at Siderz i6mm film. Boy did we have fun. No person on your back seeing what you were doing. Hoping that the editing bulb would not go and there were spares around.
    Mind you a lot of time was spent fiddling editing and a whiff of the good old cement before tape came in.
    Would i like to go back too those day.........NO.
    I just laugh when people writ on these forums that they cant do this or that. If the learned the art of film making and filmed the product correct no editing software should be a block regards editing.
    Today we a spoiled. I love the simplicity but i hate when people look at my screen when editing.
    The fun should be when the light go out and the magic comes alive on the screen.:)
  13. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    Pretty much this. First and foremost learn the craft, with whatever software you have at your disposal. That is ultimately the most important thing. I recall looking into a job at Pixar years ago and they were mostly interested in the content of your reel/work samples. They flat out said that they could teach anyone the software, but it was the ability to craft a story that was key.

    Now having said that, you really should do your best to get versed in as many applications as possible. We're no longer living in the age where the industry standards only run on prohibitively expensive hardware and that the perks of interning at a studio somewhere was that you could get a few hours on the Avid when time allowed. Most of this software can be run fairly smoothly on many modern computers and most companies offer free trials and student discounts. And there is a ton of cheap/free reference material out there.

    I've been a Final Cut editor exclusively for a while now, but I'm moving on to an Avid editor position in the near future. Having familiarity with the software got me the interview, but it was my reel that got me the job.
  14. Siderz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    Just want to add something, and I'm not sure if I already mentioned this, but I often compare video editing with cooking.

    Maybe people won't agree, maybe people will think I'm repeating stuff said a million times.

    But, cooking, do you ask the chef what oven they used? What saucepan they used? What knife they used?* Not really.

    The chef doesn't ask his colleagues the same questions either. As long as the kitchen has the tools, it can bake the cake. As long as the software has the tools, it can cut the video.

    Yet...what if the knife he's using is blunt? He has the tools, but the tools are bad. Therefore, the video editing software should still definitely be considered.

    I'd compare the blunt knife to a slow program. When FCPX came out, performance was pretty damn bad! It was a 'blunt knife'; it still had the tools to cut a programme, but it would take the editor time to cut and would be frustrating to get the cut precise. Same applies to the chef; it's still the tool for the job, but it will take the chef time to cut the meat and would be frustrating to get the cuts precise.

    I hope this makes sense to other people and not just me, and adds more light to the subject. I'm not trying to contradict what I said earlier, just trying to add more. I personally feel that it's down to 90% skill and 10% software.

    Just pick the software that feels right to you. Maybe a chef has a specific knife because he likes the feel of the handle.

    *Another one is 'Do you ask the author what pen they used?'. While a pen is so much more simple compared to video editing software...and the pen they use won't end up as the final ink used in the book, it still correlates to asking a video editor what software they used.
  15. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    I don't want to start a flamewar (please don't! Please!), but I wanted to shortly clarify:

    That is not true. When FCPX came out, it was an unholy mess. You couldn't open your old FCP files, lots of essential features were missing and there were lots of crashes. But (and that's what I can't just let go), it was never slow. It was quite responsive even in the very first, terrible version.

    I don't want to defend this version, Apple made a big mistake releasing it back then, but I wanted to clarify that statement.
  16. Siderz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    Maybe I'm wrong with the performance, I can't actually remember all the flaws that FCPX had integrated. I remember it ending up using 28GB RAM and stuff yet going slow (Not me, I remember seeing it from someone with a Mac Pro on the Apple forums).

    Performance on Motion 5 however, that was definitely terrible. Very very terrible.

    But, you kinda get the idea; if the software is slow, yet it allows multiple audio/video layers and cutting, then it's still a tool for the job, you're just going to have a tough time.

    A personal experience would be a couple of years back at high school when they installed Serif MoviePlus X5 on all the PCs. Most of the computers had only 1GB RAM, I can't remember the rest of the specs, and we didn't have access to the local storage. It was a huge pain to use and render stuff, but I still managed to get a few things done with it considering it was essentially a copy of Windows Movie Maker but with layering and compositing.
  17. daybreak macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    You know we had some wonderful comments with this thread and funny how most of us remember the first software we edited on.
    I think we have reached the stage of what you want you editing programme for.
    The professionals need the best,
    The non professional look at the prods software and would like one.
    With all editing software most people are fast picking up the work method, some are not.
    So I say! Ask yourself what do I want the software for? This will give you a platform regards decision time.:rolleyes:
  18. Siderz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    Let me add mine.

    Going back, really far, to whenever my parents first had one of those Sony Ericsson phones. They had a sort of tiny video editing program called 'VideoDJ', it was slow, difficult to use, and obviously tools were very scarce, but, that didn't stop me from making some random things. Me and a couple of friends made a video on our kick scooters, racing through the street, then one crashes and the one winning goes backs and saves him. Then there was something whereby one was playing with a ball on his own, and someone decided to approach and challenge him to a dance off...

    Moving on. Then, I got a PSP for Christmas, and Sony made a camera called 'Go!Cam' and an editing software with it called 'Go!Edit'. The software was very limiting, only letting you record 15 second clips, but I think you could rearrange the clips and add other clips, but the timeline was limited to 15 seconds. What was most impressive though was that it came with some effects that you could composite over the video, add text, some soundtracks, and some sound effects. I made loads of random things with it, it was really fun, too bad about the 15 second limit.

    Later, my brother got a camera for his birthday and started making videos using Windows Movie Maker. I wasn't exactly the one into making videos and stuff, my brother was much better at it. Either he was a natural at doing it or my dad showed him. I was impressed at what he made, but it didn't exactly make me all that interested.

    At the end of each school year (They stopped this after the first year I joined...) there'd be a week where we didn't do work, we'd go to places like museums, theme parks, swimming pools etc., my arm was bork, so I couldn't go to very many places. I picked one of the movie making things and my brother happened to have been there as well, so I worked with him. I managed to persuade him to let me hold the camera, he was directing, and he got me to move about getting several angles. I was there believing you'd either have multiple cameras or you'd stop the camera, move about, and continue with the action. Then we went back to class and he edited it on iMovie '06 or something, showing me how it worked. I was really amazed and got more interested in it.

    A few years later, I finally got a Mac and iMovie, and started making stuff. I was also taking Media at school and we were using Windows Movie Maker, which was about just as capable as iMovie (If anything, the timeline is miles better). Then, I got FCE4, I didn't use it for a few months...kinda like a cat not using the cat basket for a while. I learnt so much more in FCE4; keyframing, better workflows, using more I/O, masking, layering etc.

    Then I moved up to Premiere Pro and still use it to this date. My brother on the other hand isn't interested in media anymore, he wants to be a businessman now. He was a big inspiration for where I got today. Did you know Tony Hawk's brother originally wanted to be the famous skater, taught Tony how to skate, and then Tony was the one that took the medal? Kind of like that.

    (I hope somebody's reading this!)
  19. daybreak macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    Very good the last post. I had a 8 mm cine camera with 16 mm film and after 25feet you had to find a dark place to turn the film around. I filmed everything that moved.
    Shooting in video and editing in video i'm grateful were we are today in the editing technology. In those days our editing was in our head.
    To me Apple bought out some wonderful editing format. But i feel the editing software is going out of control for the non-professional person. By introducing FCP-X was a clever ploy by Apple.
    Enjoyed all the posts on this subject.:p
  20. Byrnes3969 macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Apple doesn't need us anymore

    I'm a first year film student who cut his teeth on iMovie. Tried the FCP X demo for 30 days, tried Premiere Elements, bought Premiere Elements, love premiere Elements, and will soon upgrade to Premiere Pro.

    I never thought I would go this route but If I'm going to invest the time to learn and be proficient with a pro level app I want to know its going to be around for a while.

    Right now, Adobe seems to be more committed to its film editing software than Apple. I base that on the condition of iMovie and FCP Express. Both are outdated and obsolete. I think FCP X is a temporary program and will also see a slow death.

    ADOBE has a GREAT student discount on the cloud suite - its like $20 per month for the suite. My time with Premiere Elements, the gateway program, has been excellent. Adobe isn't distracted with iPads and Phones all they do is software.

    And I can still use it on my Mac Mini. I just can't burn any DVD's or Blu Ray because Johnny doesn't like slots in his artwork. I'm a student and I'm switching to Adobe software.

    I'm sorry if that sounds like a commercial.
  21. daybreak macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    Has any person on this forum the power to let Apple have a look at these posts?.
  22. Siderz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    I'd suggest waiting until Premiere Pro CS6.5.

    I think it's coming out soon, and judging by some Tweets from people I follow, it's going to be a huge update, probably above par of FCP7.

    I'm still using CS5.5, I might get CS6.5. I think the 0.5 updates are worth more than the 1.0 updates.


    It wouldn't surprise me if there are people at Apple lurking the forums. Probably not this one, but the ones regarding iOS and stuff.
  23. Byrnes3969 macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
  24. Siderz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    The Terms in the Adobe Cloud state that software updates and new programs are included with the monthly membership.

    I have to decide soon because the $20 per month offer to students expires on April 7th - after that who knows?

    Been reading posts though and I thinks its totally worth the commitment. What do you think of this offer: https://creative.adobe.com/plans[/QUOTE]

    Good catch, I never noticed that.

    I'm quite tempted to get Creative Cloud now. I'll leave it a bit longer though.

    And yes, since you'll be getting updates in Creative Cloud, it's totally worth it.

    But, maybe you ought to play with the trial of Premiere Pro CS6, just in case you find that it's not quite what you were expecting.

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