Final Cut Pro X increases temptation to switch from Adobe Premiere Pro

Some of the new features I've been reading about give me pause: advanced people and shot detection, automatic audio cleanup, automatic color matching between clips (nice!), a "magnetic" timeline (for sync), background rendering, among many other technical whiz-bang goodies.

Final Cut Pro X ($299) receives a ground-up makeover.
Final Cut Pro X ($299) receives a ground-up makeover.
Final Cut Pro X ($299) receives a ground-up makeover.
Final Cut Pro X ($299) receives a ground-up makeover.

Earlier this week I wrote about the new Adobe Premiere Pro 5.5. Mostly a bug fix and stability improvement release (with some minor new features), I wondered if it was worth the upgrade. In the end, for me at least, it’s a definite yes, as anything that reduces the occasional crash, and speeds performance is always a good thing when it comes to getting videos through the hopper.

But then along comes Final Cut Pro X — with that very cool new name — just announced at NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) in Las Vegas. It’s a complete re-write of the twelve-year old video editing software that has made Apple and the Mac famous within Hollywood circles. Granted X is not the full-blown package (Final Cut Studio, $999), but at $299 (available in June) it’s competitively priced for those not cutting $40 million features, and likely includes enough for what we do on Stark Insider.

Some of the new features I’ve been reading about give me pause: advanced people and shot detection, automatic audio cleanup, automatic color matching between clips (nice!), a “magnetic” timeline (for sync), background rendering, among many other technical whiz-bang goodies (64-bit, can utilize 8 cores, over 4GB of RAM, etc.).

So: Is it time to make the switch from Adobe Premiere Pro (on a PC) to Final Cut (running on a Mac)?

Hard to say. It is tempting. Perhaps, though, the grass  is grener on the other side, and I should continue to ride the ADBE train. Last year, I made the switch, at least on my laptop. I bought a MacBook Pro to replace my aging but rock solid (and heavy) Lenovo ThinkPad. While I did miss the small red nub (trackpointe) I absolutely love the MBP, especially the display which has stunning levels of contrast which results in far less eye fatigue through the work day. Running Final Cut on it, and then upgrading the studio PC to a Mac seems very doable. One concern, of course, is learning all over again… I wonder how hard it is to learn the edits, the timeline, and the general interface on Final Cut when moving from Premiere Pro?

From time to time I also use After Effects which is included as part of the CS5 Master Collection. Occasionally I use Soundbooth too. Having those modules integrated with Premiere is convenient. I also read on the ADBE web site about the “Warp Stabilizer” feature in AE 5.5 which automatically removes camera shake. That I’m anxious to try.

Meanwhile my research continues… to switch or not to switch…?

Photo: Courtesy The Loop.

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  • Art_vandelay84

    Editing is editing. It’ll probably take you a week to switch. It’s also good to know more than one platform. And you can still use AE like most editors do.

    • That’s what I’m thinking too – how different can timelines and editing functions be? Will require small up-front learning curve, but will be worth it if all these new automated features save time, and improve quality too!

  • Mike Frezzo

    Hey Clint, We’ll see as more details start to filter out, particularly about the rest of the bundle – some of which most people never use, even “professionals”.

    It looke like some of the functionality of Color and much of soundtrack have been incorporated into Final Cut Pro. Non destructive color matching/correction and optional automatic audio clean up on import, those are big pluses. image stabliization and selective color correction are good too.

    Things like full use of multiple cores and 64bit code are long overdue. Background rendering and no more endless transcoding different sources before editing are huge timesavers.

    This was just Final Cut Pro…(and as noted possibly color and soundtrack pro) we still have no idea what they’re doing with Compressor, Motion, DVD Studio Pro and possibly shake (which was rumored to be somehow still be alive)

    Compressor is important to most users, the rest have smaller audiences. it seems like they will either be a seperate items or maybe another bundle annouced later.

    Which brings up pricing. People actually complain its “too cheap” for professional use. They apparently don’t have budgets to keep to and like overpaying for things.
    I like spending less money for more capabilities – Even when its not my money I’m spending.

    It appears that its $299 for Final Cut Pro, and probably a few hundred more for whatever the other pro-apps end up looking like – that’s probably not much different than the current $999 when its all done.

    Look at Black Magic Design – they bought a very high end color correction company Davinci and slashed the price of the software to $995. its still professional just cheaper, and if you want all the control surfaces, its still fairly expensive. but what did they announce at NAB??

    “Resolve lite” with some really good capabilities for what price???? FREE. download it in the near future and get started on learning color correction and “grading” if you feel like it.

    Its also time for those people to wake up and look at the entire industry. I’m an engineer who spends most of my life these days designing, building, and maintaining broadcast facilities and production gear (and worrying about budgeting upgrades and ongoing maintenance) In my spare time I’m still a producer and editor so how these apps work is important to me as well.

    A/V routers that cost 200K a few years ago are now 60K. Cameras that were 40K a few years ago are blown away in all aspects by cameras costing 10K (or less) now. Switchers that were 40K SIX MONTHS AGO are now 15K… advances in technology have changed the game. Price does not determine quality or ensure functionality.

    Why should software have artificially inflated pricing? Apple wants volume. More people using Final Cut = More people buying apple hardware. they make money everywhere.

    • Mike, great comments and points! Now I know who to go to for advice. it will be interesting to see how they handle the add-ons you mention (Color, Soundtrack, Motion, etc.). It’s amazing what they can offer for $299. And since it will be available on the App store in June I’m guessing it will be a download. No way Stark Insider would be possible without the DSLRs, reasonably priced video production suites/hardware. Since our studio PCs are due for upgrade I’m looking at Mac h/w + Final Cut Pro X as an option (versus Windows h/w + Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5).

  • Haddon Givens Kime

    The interface also now looks like “iMovie PRO.” Which is wonderful for me, but I’m guessing will piss off a bunch of my more hardcore editing peeps.

    • I like the dark background/look too. Good pt. that the hardcore will not like any semblance of dumbing down which could be akin to suggesting their work is readily duplicated by the masses- which, of course, it isn’t, but there’s that thing called perception…

  • MARSupial_possum

    You’re the first blog I read considering a move from Premiere Pro to FCPX. For two years or so, the migration was from FCP to Premiere, after FCP failed to immediately and effectively address Canon’s DSLR format, then was late on 64-bit and native editing. FCPX rectifies all those concerns, and perhaps does further damage by killing PluralEyes.

    • I’m guessing with FCPX more than a few will be looking to make the switch back from Premiere. In 2010 Adobe innovated with CS5 and definitely moved out front in some areas (AVCHD files like you mention, which was great for us), but I think some of that came at the expense of stability – I get crashes often still. Now in 2011 seems like Apple has leap frogged them (if the features work as advertised) and CS5.5 is now the one lacking. Decisions, decisions…!