Final Cut Pro vs. Final Cut Express

If you have explored the limits of iMovie, you will probably graduate to Apple's Final Cut Express or Final Cut Pro. Both programs offer many more advanced editing features than iMovie and allow you to create high quality HD videos that are much more refined and professional. However, before you make a decision as to which version of Final Cut to purchase, you should consider the differences between the two programs and then decide which one is best for your budget and editing needs.

Final Cut Express

While Apple's iMovie is geared toward first-time or novice video editors, Final Cut Express is a major step forward for serious editors. Final Cut Express offers people wanting to learn more advanced video editing techniques an affordable software solution that has most of the features and power of video editors that cost much more.

In terms of what you can do with a video editor, Final Cut Express is miles ahead of iMovie and other editors in its price range. Final Cut Express is a standalone video editing program that offers almost every feature a serious video editor would need. With Final Cut Express, you don't have to worry about creative options or a lack of supported formats.

The program supports conversions to many industry standard video formats, allows you to customize frame rates and makes conversions easy via its open format timeline. Final Cut Express also comes with "LiveType", which allows you to make cool animated titles for your videos.

Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro is the big brother of Final Cut Express. In addition to the easy-to-use editing tools that are available in Final Cut Express, Final Cut Pro offers heavyweight editing tools that the editing professional can use to create commercial video projects.

For instance, Final Cut Pro offers the professional editor the following enhanced editing tools:

  • Cinema Tools - Final Cut Pro allows professional editors to create EDL's; use Reverse Telecine to deinterlace video; and create other advanced frame rate conversion pulldowns.
  • Multicam Editing - With Final Cut Pro, you can automatically sync footage from multiple cameras. Therefore, if you're filming a live event, such as a concert or play, you'll easily be able to sync the footage and creates sequences using different clip angles from different cameras.
  • Batch Capturing - Batch capturing allows you to capture segments of a tape or reel. If you know the time codes of the sequences you want to capture, simply enter them into Final Cut Pro, and only those sequences will be captured. This can save you a lot of time by removing the need to capture an entire tape and then having to edit out the portions you don't want to use.
  • Other Enhanced Tools - In addition to the major enhancements listed above, Final Cut Pro also offers advanced tools like updating time codes in real time and an included soundtrack program.

Which Is Right for You?

If you're trying to decide between Final Cut Express and Final Cut Pro, your budget will probably be your primary decision factor. Final Cut Express costs around $200 and Final Cut Pro will run you about $1500. Therefore, unless you really need the added pro features of Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express will suffice in about 90% of all applications.

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