Final Cut Pro vs. iMovie

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
What are the top three features you use in Final Cut Pro which are not available in iMovie or any of iMovie's third party plug-ins? And what type of projects do you use FCP for?



Just curious, as I have been using iMovie quite successfully for about a year now in a side venture of videoing wedding days for clients. I bought Final Cut Pro with the idea that if I ever want to do serious video work, I will want to learn it. However, the interface is pretty intimidating and I'm thinking now: "Why force myself to learn it if I really don't need to?"



Any thoughts and input you have will be greatly appreciated!
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    Log and Capture



    EDL Lists



    Realtime Effects.



    Robust support for formats ie HiDef, DVCAM, Uncompressed



    and many, many, many, many more.
  • Reply 2 of 22
    Multiple tracks! This one can't be underscored enough. It's the most basic feature that sets Final Cut apart from iMovie.



    Other features iMovie lacks that I can't live without include the advanced filter controls, motion controls, key frames for both of the previous, custom output and rendering controls, color correction tools, real-time effects... and an interface that isn't painfully slow.



    If you're looking at just starting out with video, though, you should probably consider Final Cut Express at a fraction of the price. It's basically Final Cut Pro 3 minus a few of its "Pro" features. There's a good side-by-side comparison of the features at Princeton's New Media Center.



    The big ones I would personally miss by downgrading from Pro to Express are the three-way color correction tools and filter keyframing, the same two features the comparison from Princeton points out.



    edit: oops, I didn't see that you'd already bough FCP. Well, this can be some advice for other people who visit this thread, I suppose.
  • Reply 3 of 22
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Brad

    If you're looking at just starting out with video, though, you should probably consider Final Cut Express at a fraction of the price. It's basically Final Cut Pro 3 minus a few of its "Pro" features.



    when i bought my new mac, i was wondering if i would regret not getting final cut express for $99 alongside the mac pruchase, but since my wife is a teacher, they are now selling express at the teacher disount of $50 TOTAL.



    sweet.
  • Reply 4 of 22
    i'm "just" using FCE?



    multiple tracks

    easy handling of very tricky blendings, disolves, compositing



    access to photoshop layers

    make titles in photoshop (elements), import them to FCE, handle every single layer to animate them in FCE for impressing title effects



    don't laugh: build-in slow motion effect!

    for my purposes VERY good
  • Reply 5 of 22
    After mastering iMovie, I yearned for more power, more control.



    So I got Final Cut Pro 4, and got completely, freaked out. It was too powerful. Just seeing a menu drop down made me realize I have to learn 22 more things to learn.



    So I got Final Cut Express, because I thought it would be closer to iMovie, and I wouldn't be so intimidated by it.



    Wrong.



    Final Cut Express is very powerful! Again, I was freaked out by the complexity. But then I realized it you have to hang with the big squirrels, you have to get bigger nuts.



    By the way, Final Cut Express comes with an instructional DVD that is just awesome!! Very well done. It was done by Digital Film Tree.



    Best of luck!
  • Reply 6 of 22
    I'm running FCP 3 and it rocks. iMovie is a great program for beginners, but if you feel like you are ready to move on to bigger and much better things, learn FCP. You'll have a stack of manuals and tutorials about a foot high to read through, but learn all you can and you'll be making the best movies of your life.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    Thanks for all of the responses! I will try to go ahead and "force" myself to learn FCP. I know it will be to my benefit in the long run.



    Thanks again, and if anyone has any additional thoughts or input, please add your posts!
  • Reply 8 of 22
    as mentioned above, multiple tracks is very nice. also, the way it edits, you can extend any clip out to its orginal length without slowing down your computer like imovie does (at least for me)... i was in your exact position until his past summer. learn final cut express (or pro).. i think you'll find it useful
  • Reply 9 of 22
    there easiest way to play with FCp is to just do something. take a project that you did in imovie and duplicate it in fcp. start at step 1 log n capture, then learn how to cut etc. thats how i learned. I didnt even have a manual, stupid theatre dept lost it when they gave us the machine. But that was back in 1.0 dayz. 4 friggin rocks.
  • Reply 10 of 22
    Thanks for all the input!



    My situation is that I am using iMovie + plugings from Gee Three in my wedding videography side-business. I am making very good money at it and am almost busier than I care to be. I bought FCP and want to learn it. After reading all of your comments, I know that it is something I need to do due to the sheer power, etc. of FCP. And also, if I'd like to pursue more of a full-time career in the field of video (not planning on it, but one never knows....), I surely must learn it.



    The thing that I love about iMovie is the simplicity and speed with which I can edit and burn a wedding project. Being creative is so simple, a monkey could do it. I have the feeling that even after I learn FCP, I might still want to use iMovie for my wedding videos simply as it does everything I need it to do and it is so damned easy. (Though I'm sure many of you will say that once I learn FPC it will be just as simple and easy to use and a million times more powerful.) Seems though, that I've read that some videographers who know FCP still use iMovie for simple projects. I guess I consider the weddings to be pretty simple.



    Any additional thoughts?



    Thanks!



  • Reply 11 of 22
    If you know iMovie well, and it's working for you, then stick with it. No need to learn a complex new program if you don't even need it. Especially with your comment about your peers still using iMovie while they know FCP.



    When you feel limited by iMovie, that's the day you upgrade. And then, Final Cut Express is extremely powerful, and can save you a buck or two.



    Just my two cents.
  • Reply 12 of 22
    Final cut pro to me at times is limiting to me... but then I use it 24x7... but still once every week I'll figure out something I didn't know I could do.



    I just finished this... well almost finished HELP ME THINK OF SOME GOOD MUSIC. and any pointers as well. I only have had 2 hours to work on it so far.

    http://homepage.mac.com/kraig911/ice...eralmarket.mp4
  • Reply 13 of 22
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kraig911

    I just finished this... well almost finished HELP ME THINK OF SOME GOOD MUSIC. and any pointers as well. I only have had 2 hours to work on it so far.

    http://homepage.mac.com/kraig911/ice...eralmarket.mp4




    No music, just sound effects. Skates, clashing sticks, crowd noise.
  • Reply 14 of 22
    Call me crazy, but the first song that came to my mind is that hip one that comes on when I load Splinter Cell in the Xbox and wait too long to start playing and the demo mode kicks in. It would go really well with that video of yours.
  • Reply 15 of 22
    hrmm good ideas... I kind of did a cross inbetween the 2... crowd effects and some techno. I'll post it tomorrow when I'm at work. Also I should show you guys this other one I'm working on.



    Whats cool over final cut pro I really think is above all the interface. its like what would happen if premiere and after effects got married and had a baby. uh yeah something like that (sorry I just worked 13 hours straight)



    in final cut pro I love importing my stuff in advanced 24 p mode without the drop frames, and then going back to video with them now cuz now they include cinema tools.



    And I don't know if any of you messed with live type, (it still needs lots of work) its pretty neat. I hope they don't add too much to it tho, to keep adobe commited to os X with after effects. I still use after fx too much.

    plus imovie sucks if you work on the same file over and over. I hear it tends to start to corrupt. that and the Dv files are compressed higher I hear, but that may be a rumor.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    Slakula...I was in the same boat that you are in. I loved the simplicity of iMovie, but was ready for something better. I learned the basics in a method similar to myahmac. You just have to get in there and get your hands dirty. I think you will find that once you get used to the interface, it's much easier to work in. I haven't used iMovie since I got comfortable with FCP. Oh, I used some training CD's from dvcreators.net to learn some of the more advanced features. Check out the link below.

    dvcreators.net
  • Reply 17 of 22
    FCP4 with Livetype, Soundtrack, and many new features is awesome but there is a learning curve. FCP4 is an enormous improvement over v3 but you'll need a fast G4 system and better yet, G5 which FCP4 is now optimized for (FCP4.1 is 2x faster over 4 on renders).



    If you are a hobbiest, stay with iMovie but FCE is a good next step and FCP just rocks. Learn from DVD from sources apple's site (forget books, you need to see how things are performed and learn techniques, split edits, compositing, output, editing, etc etc).



    Its fun but frustrating at first.
  • Reply 18 of 22
    While the feature set of Final Cut Pro is very impressive, use of real-time effects and all sorts of fades you can only do with multiple tracks more often make videos worse than better. My advice is to stick to what's important: Good Photography (lighting, contast, composition) and use whatever software is the most efficient for creating quality video. Especially with documentary/portrait video, such as weddings, simpler is always better. Until you find iMovie ihibiting your creativity or production quality, keep using it!
  • Reply 19 of 22
    o-maco-mac Posts: 777member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kraig911

    Final cut pro to me at times is limiting to me... but then I use it 24x7... but still once every week I'll figure out something I didn't know I could do.



    I just finished this... well almost finished HELP ME THINK OF SOME GOOD MUSIC. and any pointers as well. I only have had 2 hours to work on it so far.

    http://homepage.mac.com/kraig911/ice...eralmarket.mp4




    What kind of a job do you have that you use Final Cut Pro 24x7?? I'd like to switch careers and use final cut al lthe time...
  • Reply 20 of 22
    Final cut pro 4 has some serious bugs for me though at the moment. In my workflow I have about 70 spots I've had to make for this one client, now with existing 5 commercials (different tags) and well its audio support is lacking as is its bugginess with pre-comping and I wish they'd make some things more after effects like.



    Just the other day I had to screw with this one spot for like 4 hours because for some reason for 5 seconds in the middle of an ad my music bed would just cut out out and only the VO would come in. god it was incredibly aggravating. I just so wish DV was frame accurate too
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