Why Would You Switch to Final Cut?

Why Would You Switch to Final Cut?

There are reasons to stay with the editor we know, the one that comes with our monthly subscriptions. But, could you be convinced to reconsider your decision? Here are 5 reasons I believe are strong enough to make you do just that.

In order to compare apples with apples, I will assume you use Photoshop, Lightroom, and then Premiere Pro for either a side-hustle, hobby, or as part of your service offering. You might also use After Effects, but it’s not something you’re specialized in.

Reason 1: You’ll Own the Software

Since 2011, you could buy Final Cut Pro, and it’s yours for $300 still today. That’s a very low price for an NLE, especially if you compare it to a subscription like that of Adobe’s Creative Cloud. Let’s do that with the $299.99 for Final Cut with Photoshop and Lightroom, and a year’s subscription of Creative Cloud. Adobe also offers a Photography subscription, which includes Photoshop and Lightroom for desktop and iPad and a 20GB cloud storage space on their Creative Cloud. It costs just $9.99 per month.

Premiere Pro User

FInal Cut User

Creative Cloud (pm)

US$52.99

Final Cut Pro

US$299.00

Apple Motion

US$50.00

Lightroom + Photoshop  (pm)

US$9.99

Over Time

1 Year (12 x $50)

US$635.88

12 X $11,99 + Final Cut and Motion Cost

US$468.88

2 Years (24 x $50)

US$1271.76

LR+ PS Sub ($11,99 X 12 x 2)

US$239.76

5 Years (5 x 12 x $50)

US$3179.40

LR+ PS Sub ($11,99 X 12 x 5)

US$599.40

10 Years (120 x $50)

US$6358.80

LR+ PS Sub ($11,99 X 12 x 10)

US$1198.80

So if we do the calculation, for the first year, you would save $167 if you switched to FC. In fact, you can even add a 2TB iCloud or Google Cloud subscription for $9.99 and you’ll still pay less than the Creative Cloud option. So it’s not really saving you much, but it’s giving you more bang for your buck during the first year for sure. And, because you don’t have to rent the software or buy it again, it gets really interesting in the second year. You would save $1032, which is the price of a great lens.

At the end of the fifth year, you would save $2580. We’re talking about a whole new camera body’s cost over here. Or, you could pay off your fully speced-out Macbook Pro if you’re switching to Mac from PC.

Ok, So It’s Cheaper, But That Doesn’t Mean It’s Better

Sure, dynamic linking to After Effects and the way to get good sound for the dialogue with Audition is really simple and works great. But, I would say Final Cut, Apple Motion, and Logic has even better quality media coming out of it, and the file management, the magnetic timeline and the way to tag certain cuts make editing much quicker and much more fun than in Premiere Pro.

Reason 2: File Management

With Premiere Pro, you have an in (shortcut 'i') and out (shortcut 'o') which you use to select the certain part of the footage in the clip you want to use. With Final Cut, you can have several ins and outs per clip, so if there is one long piece of footage, you don't have to go drag it in, cut it up, and Ripple Delete as you do in Premiere Pro. You can set your multiple ins and outs, and you can add to the tags or let it create automatic tags so It's all done and ready to be added to the timeline by just dragging it in.

For the project I was testing, during the import, it was working in the background and created smart filters with tags for single person shots and close-ups. So it's already giving me filters to work with, so I can get the usable footage ready to take it into the timeline. The ones framed in red were done automatically, and the ones framed in green are the ones I made.

Reason 3: Editing

You can scrub through footage, without any delay or dropped frames, and find certain shots in long clips and tag them with keywords, which you can then use when moving into the cutting process. So it’s as though they’ve changed the idea of editing, which I always considered to be when working in the timeline. Now, the pre-cutting phase would be to keyword and tag clips and parts of clips to make the editing easier and quicker.

You can also use the Audition feature. This feature lets you select several clips that you think will work well in a certain spot in the sequence, and exchange them with a click to preview which one suits the story best. Premiere Pro doesn’t have anything like this.

The Magnetic Timeline got a lot of flack since 2011, but I would recommend that if you’re really interested, you watch this video that was filmed by the audience and edited together after the event. It gives you a great overview of why certain things work the way they do in Final Cut.

I like the Magnetic Timeline. It makes me feel at ease and not like I’m going to break the sequence if I move something around. The Final Cut Timeline isn’t as frail as that of Premiere Pro. And, if you’ve used Logic, Apple’s music production app, the magnetic timeline is rather familiar, and not having it seems primitive.

Finally, these tags will make life much easier and interesting in the long run. You’ll be able to create a showreel for the year by just using the tags you’ve created during the year. I always wondered how Casey Neistat found the footage of his past so conveniently, to use in his daily vlogs. He’s an avid Final Cut user. Go figure.

Ok, But It’s Not the Industry Standard

Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but it’s hard to say which NLE really dominates. According to some, Avid is the most-used NLE in the TV, broadcast, and the film industry. Premiere Pro dominates the creative motion graphic orientated video market and perhaps the YouTube video space, but Final Cut is used across both of these industries. It’s made to facilitate telling visual stories, and it does that very well in any shape or form.

Reason 4: It’s Built For Mac

The same company that builds the hardware builds the software, and with the new M1 chips, it’s going to be very hard for you to find a dropped frame or any lag. It’s going to be stable, and faster than any other NLE on the market.

Reason 5: They’re Giving Us a 3 Month Trial

That’s right, you can download a trial version and learn how to use it for free. That way, you can continue with Premiere Pro if you like, and compare what works the best is for you.

What I Don’t Like

The naming of the file structure is confusing. Apple is supposed to make things as intuitive as the home button used to be on an iPhone, but I think calling it Library, Event, and Project can put some people off the process of actually learning how to use the software. So my advice is to watch this video, and follow the steps.

With Apple, there is an eco-system. And, they build complete solutions, and don’t make it easy to move your projects to other NLEs like DaVinci Resolve for colorists to work with. So the collaboration is possible, but not done as easily as with Adobe’s new Teams functionality. Creativity is collaborative, and it should be something they focus on next. 

What I Like

I liked the three month free trial so I could try it out. I liked the ease of scrubbing and the application running in the background doing its tagging, stabilization (which can be deactivated in the preferences) of all the clips you've imported. I liked the fact that I could scrub over effects and see what it would look like on the actual footage I wanted to use it on, all live and in the playback monitor. It was a different experience of editing, and made me think about the story I wanted to tell instead of going straight into the edit like I used to do with Premiere Pro. It's almost as if it was guiding me to think in a more creative way while removing any distractions and technical settings and letting me get going with plotting it all out. 

Conclusion

If you’re going to be producing video with music from stock libraries like Epidemic Sound or Artlist, or if you’re going to be making the music and modifying the audio yourself, Final Cut Pro is going to be a great NLE to work with. If you're thinking about changing to Final Cut Pro, check this video to understand even more. 

What NLE is your preference, and if it’s Premiere, can you tell us why, other than it being included in the Creative Cloud subscription? Please let us know in the comments.

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15 Comments

ad ventureous's picture

Perfect timing, thanks for posting this.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

What about DaVinci Resolve?

Robert Teague's picture

I've been learning to use DaVinci Resolve. It's a nice program which I quite like. It's similar in cost but runs on both PC and Mac.

Captain Jack R's picture

For $300 bucks I get DR and an editing keyboard included. I moved to DV because I was tired of PP crashing or freezing up on me. PCPX didn't have all the tools I needed. DR checked all the boxes for me. It's even fun to edit projects on an old Mac Mini from 2012 w/ eGPU at its side.
Any author that says DR is only for coloring, hasn't used DR recently, or just lives under a rock. DR is like having three programs in one app. The effects I've been able to do in DR just blows my mind. I have the keyboard on backorder but from what I've seen, it's going to speed up my editing workflow wicked fast. I'll be able to get my work done faster so I can get down to the pub before they sing out last call! :)

Alexander Petrenko's picture

#meetoo

I dreamt of jog wheel since my childhood and finally I have no dream any more :)

Martin Moore's picture

If you’re a single editor there is absolutely no reason to not be using FCPX. I can literally cut a 4K commercial or YouTube video in half the time it takes me in Premier, and because it renders in real time export times are a fraction of Premier. There is very little Premier does better than FCPX and for more FCPX does better than Premier. Unless you’re making Star Wars or working with multiple editors, an astonishing amount of TV studios, Broadcast Networks & brands that cut on Final Cut. Just make the switch, you’ll never look back.

microteck's picture

Final Cut Pro has been used in the making of really big movies. It's as professional as it gets. I have been using it for making TV Commercials for years. But I just want to repeat one important aspect about Adobe Premiere Pro which has already been mentioned. They "RIP" you off big time. I had Final Cut Pro for years with free upgrades ever since. But if you're set in stone and like Adobe Premiere Pro I'm happy for you. But if you are open to trying something different and saving a ton of money try their 10 day trial. Chances are you will never look back.

Lee Christiansen's picture

DaVinci Resolve for me - currently on Vs16

I was long term user of FCP-7 and its previous incarnations. This was software that even film editors used for features and it was amazing. If it had been developed until today it would have been immensely powerful.

An award winning documentary friend Caroline Richards here in the UK still uses FCP-7 and has no intentions of switching. She says it is the perfect tool for what she does, which are long form, high budget documentaries which are seen around the world and win countless awards. (Director Julien Temple). She remarked that for pure editing and data management, it has an elegance that no other software offers - and given the speed she works and the insane complexity of the edits, I'd agree. (Grading and post production sound is always done by separate post houses, so think of FCP-7 as the Steinbeck of editing).

When FCP-X came out, many of us were dismayed by the change in workflow. Last time I looked, editors weren't screaming for a better way or a radical new set of terminology. I'm confident that if Apple had just developed the FCP-7 model until today, they'd have a world dominating edit package for pros and amateurs.

I dare say X has probably come a long way, but I didn't make a move. And just at that time, Adobe came up with their real model which put people off. They should have secured the FCP-7 market first but they didn't and they lost an opportunity. The reason why so many didn't want to move to X was the crazy difference in workflow and interface. It wasn't a learning curve, it was a whole new way of working, and it was clumsy. It assumed we wanted to organise our tracks and material differently (typical, arrogant Apple), and claimed to eliminate the chaos. Except we liked our "chaos" because we knew where everything was and we liked the flexibility it offered. I gather X has allowed some of that flexibility back, but too late for many of us.

So Premiere took up the slack, even by those who hated the rental model - whilst others stuck valiantly to FCP-7

DaVinci was around the corner but it didn't offer stability or features or speed or... But it grew, and it got better, and certainly faster and more stable.

Now I use DaVinci vs16, and whilst it has a few quirks, (I wish that undo / redo operated differently), it offers the legendary grading together with integrated audio and editing panels, so no round tripping. (Although still waiting for the audio interface to work seamlessly with a fader controller).

I made the move because it works like a conventional editor, so moving from FCP-7 or Premiere is a doddle. (The Avid guys will still cope, but a little bit more work on the overall workflow pattern).

I have the Studio version which is dirt cheap anyway and offers free upgrades, and it has features like NR and other stuff which are amazing. But with a free option - yes FREE, that is almost identical, we've got an insane gift from the Black Magic team.

Finally the world is waking up to DR and I'm guessing it could well be the editing platform of choice in the future.

Robert Teague's picture

I've thought about it, but Final Cut only runs on Mac. I use both Windows and Mac in my office.

microteck's picture

I don't know about the PC version of Adobe Premier but it runs slow on a Mac. Final Cut Pro is so much faster it's a dream.

Percy Ortiz's picture

Mate go and try DaVinci Resolve and then we'll talk

Captain Jack R's picture

Yea! I'm really liking DR! Work now feels more like playing a video game.

Michael Steinbach's picture

Every reason you stated plus its fast rendering speed and incredible battery life with the latest M1 MacBook Pro make it a no brainer for nearly anyone that has to rely mobile work.

Robert Teague's picture

I'm going to get the M1 Mac Mini, when the 16GB is in stock, but will keep with my HP laptop for on the road needs.

Anthony Cayetano's picture

Left Premiere years ago (2017, to be exact) when it kept crashing left and right. Am an extremely happy FCP and DaVinci Resolve Studio user and both have shown to excel at performing using the M1. Hoping to upgrade my hardware this year with Apple Silicon! =)