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Movies and Video For people making movies and editing video with their Mac.

Final Cut Studio learning curve


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maconvert

 
Member Since: Aug 03, 2008
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How hard is it to learn Final cut studio? I'm about to install it soon. Is the learning curve as steep as a program like Photoshop? I got photoshop a while ago and it is hard and I wasn't expecting that...
Just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the matter.
I currently use imovie for video editing purposes and I do okay with it.
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Nethfel

 
Member Since: Feb 25, 2009
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Which iMovie? iMovie '06 that still used a timeline from what I understand, or iMovie 08 / 09?

Final Cut Studio is a collection of multiple apps that make up the entire package. What's hard for one person may not be hard for another...

For example:

To me:

Final Cut Pro - easy
DVD Studio Pro - medium lean easy
Compressor - easy lean medium
Motion - medium lean hard
Soundtrack - only used once, I'd probably say medium
Color - hard

If you have experience editing with a timeline based editor (ie: Adobe Premiere, Pinnacle/Avid Liquid Edition, etc.) then Final Cut Pro will be fairly easy for you. If you have no timeline experience, it may take getting used to the terminology, location of controls, etc.

DVD Studio Pro - if you have ever authored a DVD before with an advanced authoring tool, you will have a good basis to work with for building your DVD output. If you have only used a simplistic tool like iDVD, you'll have a more steep learning curve to really use it to its potential

Compressor - well, it's basically an advanced transcoder. If you've worked with transcoding video from one format to another you have the startings of understanding of what you are doing - from there it's understanding the settings you need, what you want the file for (ie: for DVD, for computer playback, for HD, for web streaming, etc.)

Motion - closest to motion is Adobe After Effects. It's probably going to be a challenge to use.

Color - complex unless you have an understanding of manipulating colors for video purposes.

etc.

Every person learns differently. There are many great videos out there to get you started and really - just start with FCP and work your way thru the other packages working on a simple project. I'm sure you'll pick it all up, some things will just be more complicated then others. Plus also know you won't need every tool for every project. The vast majority of what I work on these days I only use FCP, Compressor and DVD Studio Pro.

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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maconvert

 
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Thanks for your response Nethfel, are you a professional video editor? I'm glad to hear that Final Cut pro isn't that bad. I actually use imovie 08, so no timeline. The only timeline based editor I've used is-don't laugh- windows movie maker back in my windows days. lol
I'm excited to dip my foot in into all the other apps. I'm probably mostly going to be using fcp, It has to be better than imovie I hope!!!!
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Oneironaut

 
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FCP is actually more similar to Windows Movie Maker than iMovie. It's generally easy to learn but there are many ways of doing the same things depending on the situation, so it's good to learn all the shortcut keys. I would highly recommend the Apple training book for FCP by Diana Weyland. I used it to get my Level 1 Apple pro certification and I'm now on the second book.

Motion and Color seem complicated to me, but I'm going to get those training books too. Soundtrack Pro and Compressor are things I use a lot and they are relatively simple to grasp.
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maconvert

 
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thank you; I'll check out the book
I wish I would have done more research before getting FCP
I didn't realize FCE was better for macbook
and it needs more than 50 gigs wow!!!
oh well I have to empty out my comp a bit before I install...
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Nethfel

 
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Just also know on a Black Macbook, you either have a GMA950 or a X3100 - both intel integrated GPU's - there will be some functionality lost when using Final Cut...

Quote:
Some FxPlug filters are not compatible with integrated Intel graphics processors.
That's for FCE, FCS2 I think had the same disclosure; FCS3 claims they are not supported at all.

Keep in mind you'll also really want to get an external firewire hard drive (in your case, I'm pretty sure a FW400 drive, I don't know of any Macbooks short the pro line to have FW800) to use for your scratch/media drive as you don't want to use your OS drive to edit with (there are many important reasons to this, including system stability, hard drive longevity, hard drive space requirements (video editing takes a lot of space), potential hiccups during periods of time where the OS tries to access the HD while the video editor is attempting to use the HD, etc.)

Yeah, Final Cut does take a lot of space - this may also be the time for you to consider upgrading your hard drive.

I know FCE would have probably been an easier package for you, but you wouldn't have many options when it comes to DVD authoring as FCE doesn't come with any tools to handle that. You would need to use iDVD or find some other third party package, and there just aren't many out there (granted, this may not be important to you).

The reason I had actually asked if you used iMovie '06 or '08 or '09 was actually because iMovie '06 was the last iMovie (AFAIK) to have a timeline for editing - that feature was removed in '08 and '09 where (as Oneironaut noted) MovieMaker is now much more similar due to its' continued use of timeline based editing.

To answer your other question, no I'm not a pro video editor, (well, I guess technically one could say I am since I have and do get paid to do video editing, but I don't consider myself a pro compared to many other people out there; if I were to describe myself, I'd put me more in the "prosumer" area ) - professionally, I'm the IT/network administrator for a technical school; but I fill multiple roles there, including handling editing and DVD production for the graduation videos and whatever other videos they need edited/titled/dvd produced/video for web/etc. I had done other video work in the past for a small video company, but my bread and butter money comes from IT. I'd have more to learn and need much more advanced experience before I feel I could enter the video production world as my sole source of income - but that's ok - I like where I'm at and what I do - plus when it comes to here, I can help with the easier questions and leave the more complex / advanced questions for those that understand that level of the programs.

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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maconvert

 
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Ughhh I wrote a really long post and I lost it....now I'm ready again.

Why a firewire hard drive instead of a regular usb hard drive? I've always wondered this, people always say you should do firewire.
So I should install the fcs on the external hard drive and only use it through that?

I actually started a thread awhile back about upgrading my hard drive here but I never got around to it, partly because I was intimidated by the process. I do need more space.

I also want more RAM. I don't know if the macbook can have 8GB Ram can it?

Thanks for telling me your line of work that's cool. Video editing probably stays fun for you as more of a hobby anyway. I'm flirting with the idea of doing something "techie" for my masters degree.
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Nethfel

 
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No, install FCS on your internal boot/OS/app drive, but, when you launch FCS, you will set the location of your scratch/media drive to the external drive.

The black macbook AFAIK can't do 8 gig.

Firewire is more designed for sustained throughput where as USB is more designed for burst output (ie: in a hard drive sense - if transferring a lot of small files, USB tends to outperform Firewire, but if dealing with an extremely large file, like a video source file (and make no mistake, video files are huge, especially if you work with HD), Firewires sustained throughput outperforms USB). Modern day USB will work for editing, but it definitely won't be as enjoyable. This may change when USB 3.0 spec devices start appearing and new computers support USB 3.

Here's a little comparison of the two:

FireWire - USB Comparison

here's another little blurb on firewire for digital video:

HowStuffWorks "FireWire and Digital Video"

Here's an older article, but with some interesting graphs:

USB 2.0 vs. FireWire

Here's an interesting tidbit about usb 3.0:

USB 3.0 Finally Arrives - PCWorld

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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