With Final Cut Pro taking care of the upper echelon of the market and iMovie catering to everyone else, there seemed to be little reason for the 'bridging' upgrade's existence. Simply put, if you wanted semi-professional results at a reasonable price, iMovie could get the job done with flying colours. However, in a move that can only be described as 'a bit sneaky', Apple has substantially stripped down iMovie 08 in an attempt to make Final Cut Express more appealing to mid-level users.
In other words, if you want to use advanced editing techniques without shilling out for the full professional suite, Final Cut Express 4 is now the only option you've got. Poor iMovie -- we hardly knew ye'.
For those unaccustomed to digital video, Final Cut is the premiere non-linear editing application for Macintosh computers. Since its inception in , the software has swiftly grown in popularity in both the professional and consumer markets, until its sales now rival established suites such as Avid and Premiere Pro.
The user interface follows the usual template; comprising of a timeline where separate clips are assembled , viewing window for previewing footage and media bin for storing data , as well as a 'canvas' where edits in the timeline can be viewed. Unlike the full 'Pro' version, Final Cut Express does not offer certain features designed for professional filmmakers, such as film database or time code options, but otherwise the interface remains the same.
Being Mac-only, it is naturally only suitable for Apple users, which says a lot for its phenomenal success -- no doubt if it were available on PC, its sales would be even greater. Being more or less identical to previous versions, we found the interface to be incredibly intuitive to use. Clips can either be dragged straight into the timeline, or dropped into the canvas to perform edit overlays.
Adding real-time effects which can be instantly previewed at the click of a button and animated titles is a relatively pain-free process that most people will grasp in short order. While not quite as user-friendly as other editing applications we've looked at -- including the aforementioned iMovie HD -- your experience should remain fairly cruisy and textbook-free. So what does this fourth iteration offer over its seemingly identical forbearers? In addition to its vastly expanded range of editing options, including 50 brand new filters, Final Cut Express 4 also supports the latest range of video formats and codecs, including AVCHD.
This is basically essential in today's digital world, particularly for those who own non-tape-based cameras; such as HDD or DVD. Without getting too technical, the memory demands made by high-definition video means that data needs to be highly compressed. Unfortunately, a lot of editing software cannot read or capture these compressed files. Selecting which data to capture off your camera couldn't be simpler; with a Log and Transfer window supplying a list of available clips.
Each clip can then be previewed and assigned an In and Out point to ensure you only capture the footage you need. Handily, you can continue to search through clips during data transfers. By now, high-definition compatibility is old news, with Final Cut Express being HD compliant since , but this is the first version to allow different formats to seamlessly co-exist in the same project.
Otherwise, this remains the same well-crafted product it was in the past -- and thanks to the demise of iMovie, we now have a better reason to buy it.
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Mar 17, · UNTIL very recently, Final Cut Express has always felt like a superfluous addition to Apple's video editing family. With Final Cut Pro taking care of the upper echelon of the market and iMovie Author: Chris Jager. Apple Final Cut Express video editing software provides the tools you need to create pro-quality results. Final Cut Express lets you work with DV, HDV, or AVCHD footage, with precise, easy-to-use editing tools and a range of features that allow you to create a truly stellar finished product/5(2). Take your filmmaking to the next stage with Final Cut Express HD. Along with powerful DV editing tools, Final Cut Express HD now offers high-definition video (HDV) capability to beginners and Subcategory: Audio Production & Recording Software.
Aimed at small business, education, and power users who want to editvideo on a budget, Final Cut Express is a piece of software thatMac-based editors will want to have.
Apple has come up with a programthat is well-balanced in terms of price and features. I worked with Final Cut Express 1. The older two machines had to be upgraded to Mac OS X My project was to create a 3- to 5-minute promotional video for aregional entertainer.
The final masterpiece needed to have slick titlesand incorporate various to second highlight clips culled fromfootage shot worldwide in a variety of video formats and withwide-ranging quality. There was also a ton of still pictures.
You can see the results on my website at www. Final Cut Express offers a lesscluttered interface and faster performance for processing clips andfiles that are ultimately compatible with FCP version 3 or 4. Keep in mind that it shares many hot keys,video-editing tools, and much of its workflow with FCP 3. Final CutExpress offers a great balance between the simplistic drag-and-dropediting of iMovie which is great for some jobs and the advancedtoolset of FCP.
Even though I keptthe signal path as clean as possible with short cable runs, etc. But when you get lemons, make lemonade! I then took that image intoAdobe Photoshop 7. The results were effective, andwith a flashback sequence to some older footage it all proved quitestylish.
Once I had used the Clip Trim function to get rid of the fat, I hadabout realtime transitions to choose from and smooth playback ofsharp-looking footage — a nice change from other applications. Everything was realtime except some of the filters and effects, inwhich case the background rendering was unobtrusive.
In the plus column, you can edit any which way you want: When I got into trouble,the level Undo was handy. But you can create extruded 3D textand do credit rolls. Audio is always important. I had to do some audio tweaking, as someof my footage was too loud or soft and some had too much treble. Theaudio tools, though not as sophisticated as those in FCP, are more thanadequate. You can mix up to 99 tracks of audio, with eight in realtime.
While the skimpy three-band equalizer is way too limited, you can usecrossfades, reverb, echo, and a noise gate to enhance the sound of yourvideo. But with the included tutorial,I was able to get up and running fairly quickly. Once I was done andready for output, recording my first DVD was also just a few clicksaway, as you can encode an iDVD file automatically from the Outputmenu.
The process was simply foolproof, and as finished products DVDsimpress prospective clients and save on postage. The video also looksand sounds better. A Balancing Act I really enjoyed this software. But one of the nice things is that FCE is compatible withiMovie version 3 only and its more advanced cousin Final Cut Pro version 3 or 4.
You can conceivably take a project from Final CutExpress and then output it through the FCP version to the format ofyour choice, even high-definition video. Final Cut Express does not have any tape logging features atall, so if you want to do those three-hour documentaries, FCP is abetter way to go.
Nor is there keyframing for animation or customtransitions. Afinal complaint: One could argue that more work could have gone into creating moreinnovative, user-friendly computability. At first I ran the application with the minimum MB of RAM and hadtrouble getting some of the transitions to work, but then I upgraded toMB and solved that problem.
It really was that simple. The PowerBook at1GHz was truly a dream to work with. No waiting for rendering, withsmooth and sharp footage playback — this really helped thecreative process. FCE isfast on both the older machines and the new G4s.
FCE is somewhat of a polarizing piece of software. On the other side, there are those who say Apple is justtrying to help democratize video creation by putting affordable toolsin the hands of thousands. Count me in the second camp. The one thing you have to admit —even those who are die-hard Windows fans — is that Apple hastruly made pro-quality visual media production idiot-proof. Final CutExpress software offers professional-level tools at a low cost.
Now therest of us are invited to the party! Tom Patrick McAuliffe is a journalist and entertainer living onMaui. Reach him at reelcom1 comcast. Apple Cupertino, Calif. Final Cut Express 1. Steep learning curve; limited number of realtimeeffects. Mac editors who have pushed the limits of iMovieand need more functionality.