Well, I was an Adobe Premiere fan for years and thought it was the best thing in the world when it was released for Apple computers; I was wrong! After finally realizing how many literal hours I had wasted either waiting for timelines to render, trying to solve the nature of a software bug, or dealing with consumer-friendly setting options I came to the painful conclusion that it was time to teach myself how to work more efficiently in Final Cut Pro 7.
First of all, the most important difference I have seen so far is that Final Cut gives an advanced editor much more detailed options when setting up a session. For example, choosing the codec method in the timeline and color space are even options from step one. Furthermore, the program runs much more smoothly than its competitor, virtually eliminating the need to render 90% of the types of cuts I’m doing. For example, the color correction filters (which seem to work in a much more precise manner than Premiere CS4) can be used on uncompressed 1920 x 1080 XDCAM EX footage shot at 35mbs without any need to render in order to view the results in real-time playback; this saves hours of editing time! Actually, I had become painfully accustom to editing first and color correcting last in Premiere to use time more efficiently.
Additionally, Final Cut 7 has the ability to work with up to nine separate camera views that are switchable in real-time! Our recent Snarky Puppy DVD release was edited with Premiere CS4 and was a daily embarrassment for me as a had to explain to my client why the video was so sticky during multi-cam mode in Premiere. Final Cut was able to handle the exact same footage in a real-time situation with no problems with motion in the playback. However, I was worried when working in the “Four Up” (four angles at once in the viewer) when a slight rolling-shift from green to red could be seen while editing in multi-cam mode. The problem was not sent to the final cut, no pun intended there, but was scary at first. Oddly enough, when in two-up or 9-up viewing mode the problem went away. Nonetheless, motion is incredibly important when deciding where to place exact cuts, so it wasn’t a big deal.
All in all, it was incredibly exhausting to waste an entire weekend and part of a week to relearn new short-cuts, basic functions (I couldn’t even figure out how to automate audio fades for a while!), and to simply get used to a new workflow (took me an hour or so to fully understand how to get XDCAM EX footage into FCP 7!), but I’ll never look back. Programs that weren’t designed to work on Macs are much too unstable when you have people relying on you to create a film quickly and professionally. Not only does my Apple Care extend into FCP 7, but my 17″ MacBook Pro is obviously much happier with this new direction as well.
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