Final Cut Express vs. Final Cut Pro?

in Mac Software edited January 2014
What features does Final Cut Pro have over Final Cut Express? Also, is Final Cut Express that much better than iMovie?


  • Reply 1 of 10
    Final Cut Express beats the pants off of iMovie. It allows for layers (the biggest missing feature in iMovie, IMO) and gives you lots and lots more control over the various effects.

    Here's a recent thread discussing iMovie, FCE, and FCP:

    Final Cut Pro vs. iMovie

    Also, from


    final cut express overview

    Found this list of differences between Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express, Apple's new cheaper version of FCP. It was on the message boards at 2-pop and apparently was posted by an Apple staff member. Essentially DV only and no timecode, no media management and the keyframe and scripting are weakened, still looks like value for money for 250.

    Final Cut Express is the perfect solution for DV enthusiasts that are looking for a powerful, affordable DV editing application. Final Cut Pro is the solution for professional editors and advanced videographers/filmmakers.

    Some key differences between FCP and FCE:

    1. Final Cut Express is DV only (NTSC and PAL frame rates only, no 24fps support).

    2. Final Cut Pro supports 3rd party capture cards.

    3. Final Cut Pro supports timecode, Final Cut Express does not present timecode information to the user.

    4. Final Cut Pro allows you to LOG and capture.

    5. Final Cut Pro includes support for RS-422 control.

    6. Pro users can use OfflineRT, Express can not.

    7. Pro includes three-way color correction and other advanced tools that Express does not.

    8. The keyframing model is substantially different in Express. Only Motion tab items can be keyframed. Filters cannot.

    9. Final Cut Pro has a Media Manager, Express does not.

    10. Final Cut Pro supports EDL I/O.

    11. Final Cut Pro can be extended with Cinema Tools.

    12. Final Cut Pro includes Audio OMF export.

    13. Pro supports Edit To Tape and Insert editing.

    14. Pro can do a Batch Export.

    15. FXScript is not in Express.

    16. AE plug-ins are not in Express.

    17. Undo: FCP = 99, FCE = 32.

  • Reply 2 of 10
    cooopcooop Posts: 390member
    Pro also comes with Soundtrack ($299 value), LiveType, Compressor, and Cinema Tools. Basically, if you're a DV-using hobbyist who wants to play around with something a bit more powerful/versatile than iMovie, Express is the way to go. Pro is awesome but costly.
  • Reply 3 of 10

    Originally posted by cooop

    Pro also comes with Soundtrack ($299 value), LiveType, Compressor, and Cinema Tools. Basically, if you're a DV-using hobbyist who wants to play around with something a bit more powerful/versatile than iMovie, Express is the way to go. Pro is awesome but costly.

    hmmm, "?something a bit more powerful?"?

    no, it is MUCH better!

    iMovie has one layer of video, which is ok, to "clean" your homemovies. a voice-over, some titles, thank you.

    pic-in-pic? animated titles? effects? compositing?

    FCE is the smaller brother of FC, which is a pro tool.

    you can buy soundtrack seperatly.

    compressor (or cleaner) is ? not yet available ;-).

    if you want to make homemovies - iMovie (we all hope, 3.5. is getting more stable, and much faster!)

    if want to make movies - FC(E).

    that easy
  • Reply 4 of 10
    If you have never used FCE or FCP you don't know what your missing. Moving from iMovie to FCP was like night and day for me. There are no words to describe how much more powerful FCP is than iMovie. If you are a "beginner" at movie making (you've been using iMovie for a while) I would recommend FCE, not pro. FCP may be too powerful for what you need to do, and as everyone else has said is very costly. Not something you want to get unless you need it.
  • Reply 5 of 10
    I do video editing for a living, and I have to say that FCE can't cut it. No batch capture-forget it. There's no way a $300 video editing app shouldn't have batch capture.

    Anyway, if you want to play around with video go with iMovie. if you're a "hobbyist" who has $300 to throw away on a lark, you may as well throw away $999 and get the real damn deal. Or maybe look for FCP3 and try to get a bargain on that.

    FCE doesn't have a market. It's a huge step above iMovie, but it's still very limited compared to Final Cut Pro. Pros will want the real deal, tinkerers will probably be loath to drop $300. Maybe if it was $99.
  • Reply 6 of 10
    A big difference between FCP and FCE is FCE does not support key-framing of effects etc. I am bummed, I didn't realize this till I got it in the mail. waaaa
  • Reply 7 of 10
    ps5533ps5533 Posts: 476member
    personally i use pro and i think it works alot better than Express
  • Reply 8 of 10
    What I dislike about FCE is that is essentially stripped down FCP3. So it's Carbon and doesn't take advantage of a lot of things and has some inconsistencies in the GUI that make the Carbon nature apparent. OK, more Carbon than FCP4.

    It would be nice if you could take advantage of Soundtrack in your DV movies in an easier way. (I'm unfamiliar with Soundtrack, but i know FCE doesn't support it directly).

    I bought FCE with my laptop when it was discounted ($99) and am hoping for some update that will bring it on par with a Stripped down FCP4.

    Of course correct me on the Carbon and such, but that is my understanding.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    Feh! This again. \ I'll try to be brief.


    Originally posted by macserverX

    So it's Carbon and...

    Of course correct me on the Carbon and such, but that is my understanding.

    Like FCP4. Like iTunes. Like QuickTime (not *just* the player). Like Finder. Like BBEdit (I'm not a fan, but many praise it). Like so many games. Like all of Ambrosia Software's titles. Like all of Adobe's software. Like so many other titles that work fantastically.

    There are practically no surface differences between Carbon and Cocoa any longer. Everything that Cocoa used to have as an advantage over Carbon like toolbars, services, Quartz integration, et cetera are all currently available to any Carbon developer.

    Cocoa is not inherently better than Carbon. Anyone who thinks so needs to fire up iPhoto. What a pathetically, disgracefully slow app.

    The line between Carbon and Cocoa blurred long ago for the users' perspective. There are fantastic Carbon apps and there are fantastic Cocoa apps. There are terrible Carbon apps and there are terrible Cocoa apps. It's the developer's responsibility to make an app look and feel right. The line has blurred so much recently that even I often can't tell what's what at first, second, or third glance.


    OK, more Carbon than FCP4

  • Reply 10 of 10

    if you do editing for living, you should know, that a prg that supports only dv, cannot be meant as a pro tool

    concerning batching: "record" the whole tape,then fce CAN auto-detect single scenes and cut the whole piece into single clips?


    as mentioned above: if you "just" use dv-cams, you cannot be a pro! fce is not mentioned for the high potential, but for the engaged, the "film student", the crazy hobbiest. therefore it is the best advertising apple can do for FC.

    no keyframes for effects - in a "hobby" project you can splice your clip into many with the razorblade, here are your keyframes (well, not the real deal, but enough for the enthusiast film maker beginner)

    so what are the main differences?

    the package: FC has soundtrack, and much more important for a pro, compressor! (we will see later, what will happen to Dscreets Cleaner), and some other bargains mentioned before.

    the formats: FC supports pro (!) formats and give the tools to handle them, fce just dv?-

    the tools inside: color correction (which is just important for pro, who want e.g. broadcast their stuff), keyframes for effects etc, and some goodies more.


    you work with dv cams? which are mostly used from hobbiest, ok, ok, some 4000$ 3ccd chip camcorders are also usefull for pros, all that "shakey mtv/xtremegames/sportchannel" stuff is done with this tiny,cheapie camcorders?- use FC Express, it is the best you can get for that price.-

    you work with digi-beta, scanned 16mm, IMAX? - give FC a chance.-

    my five ? cents?
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