FCPX vs. Premiere Pro CS5.5 for Final Cut Pro 7 Editors

EventDV by Jan Ozer

If you're an event videographer who uses Final Cut Pro 7, you've probably been pretty comfortable that you chose the right tool for the job. Final Cut Pro 7 is highly functional, flexible, and it has great third-party hardware and software support. Beyond notable feature gaps such as full-featured Blu-ray authoring, it pretty much does what that you need it to do.

That said, it's been four years since the last significant upgrade, and Final Cut Pro 7 is a 32-bit tool in a 64-bit world. Log and transfer conversion to ProRes is a foreground operation and can take hours, complicating same-day edits and other quick-turn operations. As of a few weeks ago, Apple has taken Final Cut Pro 7 off the market, so if you're expanding operations and need to add seats to your operation, you're out of luck. Looking forward, while Apple has stated that Final Cut Pro 7 will run on Lion, they've made no similar assurances for DVD Studio Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Color, and legacy versions of Motion and Compressor. Simply stated, sooner or later you're going to have to move to a new editor. If you're a DSLR shooter, it's probably sooner than later.

Obviously, Apple's preference is that you switch to Final Cut Pro X (FCPX). For many Mac enthusiasts, that would be the knee-jerk reaction. After all, you've upgraded religiously since your first purchase of Final Cut Pro years ago.

However, even a quick analysis of FCPX reveals that it's not an upgrade in the true sense, at least not from Final Cut Pro 7. While there is no precise definition of an upgrade, you would assume that the new software would share a similar look and feel with the older version, use the same plug-ins, and load legacy projects. By two of these three markers, FCPX is more of an upgrade to iMovie than to Final Cut Pro 7.

In fact, calling FCPX "Final Cut Pro X" is putting sheep's clothing over a wolf. It's not an upgrade, it's a completely different editor, and Apple is asking you to switch editors. Switching editors is about as much fun as a root canal, since you have to relearn all the workflows and idiosyncrasies necessary to efficiently produce a polished project from hours of raw content. Six months ago, if someone recommended that you switch to a different editor-any editor-you could argue for days as to why Final Cut Pro 7 was the best choice. read more...

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