From iMovie to Final Cut: Understanding Rendering

If you have been using iMovie for editing your movies and videos and now want to move on to the more powerful Final Cut Pro for your editing needs, you will need to re-learn a few things in order to be able to use Final Cut effectively. You will also need to learn about the primary differences in the two programs. Because, while the two programs both are used for video editing, there are several fundamental differences in the way the programs work.

Nowhere are the differences more apparent than in the way he the two programs approach rendering. Therefore, this article will provide a step-by-step guide on learning how rendering is different in both programs.

What You Will Need

  • A computer with Final Cut Pro installed
  • A video file to edit

Step 1: Know the Fundamental Differences in the Two Programs

First off, you should understand the way the two programs approach video editing. iMovie is a destructive video editing program that works by manipulating video files on your hard drive. When editing with iMovie, you cut out pieces of the media, and make changes and other edits that are applied directly to the video file.

On the other hand, Final Cut Pro is a nonlinear video editing program that does not change or manipulate the media on your hard drive. With Final Cut Pro, the program simply instructs the computer how to play the media, how to make changes on the fly, and how to affect it. Final Cut Pro makes no permanent changes to the media itself. With iMovie, you need to copy the media file into the editor; however, working with Final Cut Pro doesn't involve the actual copying and pasting of the file into the project viewer.

Step 2: Understand the Rendering Process

In order to understand the differences between iMovie and Final Cut Pro, when it comes to video rendering, it is important to understand what rendering involves. In simple terms, video rendering is a process where various compiled and edited video elements or animations became a finalized video. Whenever you use a program like Final Cut Pro to create a video file, it produces a file by a using various elements of other video clips, audio files and different transitions and effects.

The more effects, layers of video or other transitions that you apply to a video file, the longer the file will take to render. Depending on the amount of information contained in the video file, rendering can take a few minutes or may take several days.

Step 3: Understand the Differences in Rendering in Final Cut Pro and iMovie

Because iMovie only offers a limited number of effects, layers or transitions that can be applied to a video clip, rendering is usually performed fairly fast. In fact, in iMovie '08 or '09, rendering is almost instant with a high-performance computer. On the other hand, Final Cut Pro allows you to perform many more types of edits that can add to the already complex data contained in the video file. In some cases, Final Cut Pro may not be able to provide live playback of the edited file, until it has been completely exported into a format container and rendered.

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