Ryan E. Walters, Cinematographer

Cinematic Excellence at 24 Frames a Second

Final Cut Pro Is Dead (Or Why I'm Stuck With Premiere)


When iMove Pro, Final Cut X was launched, I saw the writing on the wall- my beloved editing and grading programs (FCP 7 & Color) were on the way out... to be replaced by this fancy, simple, new, wiz-bang, all-in-one program. Granted, I loved the idea and concepts they were touting with their "revolutionary" new product (technology should be simple). It would ideally empower me to create quickly and effortlessly, like paint on paper. However, at the time, it failed in its execution. At its release, FCX was really a 1.0 program, not a 10.0 program. I was too hamstrung by it to work effectively, so I had to jump ship to Premiere. And now, two years later, I find myself re-evaluating the landscape, coming to the same conclusion. For me, Final Cut Pro is dead, and I'm stuck with Premiere.


I'm An Apple Junkie, No Really...
Before you get your panties in a bunch, know that I have used Final Cut Pro since version 1.0, when I made the first switch from Premiere 5.1. I have been exclusively using Mac ever since, and in my house I have 14 Apple products, with at least one product from each category. I live it and breathe it.

I also agree with the direction that Apple is headed in. As a creative, I firmly believe that content creation should be about CREATION, not complexity and frustration. I want tools that enable me to get to work right way, to experiment, change things around, and see my results instantaneously. I don't want to have to load, render, and move files around from program to program. But yet, I want high quality results. These are the needs that I believe that Apple is trying to address. And I applaud them for that.


Unfortunately It Is Too Little, Too Late...
Recently, after taking another look at FCX with an open mind, hoping that I could come back to my beloved editor of choice, it appeared that a lot of my initial hang ups with the program have been resolved. This excited me! I want to make the jump back. But, after digging deeper, and getting more input from people actually using the program, it looks like I'm stuck firmly in the Adobe camp for the foreseeable future for the following reasons...

The Two Reasons Why I'm Stuck With Adobe...
While Apple was getting their act together with FCX, I was becoming ordained in all things Adobe thanks to their Creative Suite. The most eye opening and enlightening experience I had with the new suite was being able to create complex graphics in Photoshop with layers, effects, and masks, and being able to import them directly into my premiere projects. I could manipulate them as much as I wanted within the program, and even go back and make changes to the original photoshop file and have it auto update.



The auto update ability was HUGE for me. I oftentimes want to play around with formatting and styling. And, with Final Cut Pro 7, it meant that I had to create two Photoshop files: one that was the original with all of the effects, and the second that was flattened so that the effects could be read by Final Cut. Not an elegant or time efficient thing to do- I want to create and modify quickly. From what I continue to hear, this is just a reality of Final Cut- it does not handle Photoshop files as easily as Premiere does.

The second reason I'm stuck with Adobe is After Effects, specifically its 3D tracker. In recent months I have been getting up to speed on AE, and while I loathe the steep learning curve, I continue to be impressed with how it can manipulate 2D objects on top of a 2D image, and make it feel as if it was part of the original image. Motion just doesn't come close to the power that After Effects has under the hood. I wish it did...

(You might also like: A Second Chance For Final Cut Pro X?)

The Last Nail In The Coffin...
With the release of Creative Cloud, Adobe has ensured that I am not going to transition back to Final Cut anytime soon. Why? It is a simple financial decision. I have to have Photoshop- pure and simple. I have yet to see any Apple product that comes close to allowing me the ability to create intricate high quality graphics. Sure, I've heard of other programs like GIMP, but that adds another layer of complexity and complication to the equation, which I don't want.

And, since I cannot buy and own only Photoshop, I have to subscribe to a service that comes with the one program I need, and others that seamlessly integrate with it. Why am I going to shell out even more money for a separate editor? It just does not make financial sense to pay twice for the same thing... Yes, I do have concerns about the subscription service. I wish I had a box copy of CS6 that I could use, but I upgraded from CS5 to Creative Cloud, and now Adobe has me- hook, line, and sinker...

Have you made the switch to Adobe? What has your experience been like? Will you be jumping back now that FCX is coming into its own? If so, what are you doing about having to subscribe to Creative Cloud?

Until Next Time - Get Out There And Shoot!
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