Final Cut Pro X versus Premiere Pro CS6

digitalfilms by Oliver Peters

The struggle within most shops that invested in Apple’s Final Cut Pro is whether to stay put a while longer, adopt Final Cut Pro X or cut the cord and move on. For many this means shifting to the Adobe Production Premium bundle – part of Creative Suite. Most of the editors and facilities in my sphere are doing just that. I’m one of only two local editors that I know of, who is actually using FCP X professionally. The rest are in the process of shifting to Premiere Pro, while maintaining some continued use of FCP “legacy”. This post is not intended as a “shoot out” or to say one is better than the other. Both are good tools and much of the choice gets down to personal preference. Instead, my goal is to lay out some random considerations in making the move.

Cross-platform / performance

Premiere Pro runs on Mac OS X and Windows workstations and laptops, while Final Cut Pro X is a Mac-only product. The biggest consideration is that by having the tool available to Windows, you open your access to the fastest machines and GPU cards. Premiere on a PC can tap into the faster NVIDIA CUDA-enabled cards, which is not an option for either Premiere or FCP X on the Mac. Although Premiere runs with both CUDA and non-CUDA cards on Macs, the selection is limited.

Adobe’s standalone software must be purchased with either a Mac or Windows license and switching platforms requires cross-grading the license. Unlike Avid, you cannot simply go from a PC workstation at a facility to a MacBook Pro at home with a simple de-activation/re-activation process. The exception is the Creative Cloud subscription, with permits access to both Mac and Windows licenses on up to two machines, as long as they aren’t used at the same time.

Naturally, if you opt for Final Cut Pro X, you have software that has been tweaked for the most current Apple hardware. We can argue the merits of CUDA, OpenGL and OpenCL acceleration, but it’s pretty clear that FCP X running on a decked-out iMac outperforms the application on a Mac Pro tower. read more...

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