Switching from Final Cut to Premiere

My thoughts on the FCPX brouhaha
Matthew Jeppsen
By Matthew Jeppsen 07.06.11

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Since Final Cut X was released a few weeks ago, there have been a large number of Final Cut Pro post-production professionals looking into other NLE options. Final Cut Pro X is a very different animal, and lacks specific FCP7 features that certain users require or demand. It also changes up existing post-production workflows and is in general a disruptive release. I've observed that whether this disruption is a good or a bad thing for you really depends on how you use the software. Anecdotally speaking, I know professionals that are perfectly happy with FCPX. And I know an even larger number of professionals who are not at all happy with the new release...

Volumes have been written on various blogs and sites about the pros and cons of FCPX, and I'll spare you a re-write of those feature lists. The response has often been emotional, which is understandable for those who championed the unproven underdog FCP in pro environments in it's early days. But the bottom line is, the features offered by FCPX don't serve the needs of some current FCP users, and so those users are looking into other options. Generally, Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro are at the top of the list.

I've been a Final Cut Pro user since version 4. I had been using Premiere since version 6.5, and had upgraded to Premiere Pro when it came out. Premiere Pro was early in their app rewrite from the 6.5 days, and it was still somewhat buggy, but functional. When I moved to Final Cut Pro 4, I did so mainly because I was working with a company that was FCP-based. It was a big change for me, a new NLE and new hardware/OS. I found Final Cut Pro to work well for my needs, and in particular I preferred moving away from PC's in general (I've never regretted that decision, and will remain a Mac user). I've used FCP since then, and built my business around the software.

In recent years I have been lusting over Premiere and Media Composer's new feature additions and 64-bit speed bump, but was not willing to invest the time to switch platforms and re-learn my NLE. FCP 7 was stable and working fine for what I was doing, and so I've been patiently waiting years for Apple to rewrite FCP as a 64-bit app to take advantage of today's powerful hardware. And along the way, I knew that Apple would deliver some amazing new features in the app.

It has been a long wait, but as anticipated, Apple finally delivered 64-bit capability and amazing new features. Unfortunately, they cut a number of key features and functionality that I use on a regular basis, and totally changed the way that Final Cut Pro works. After reading countless reviews and watching tutorials on the new software, I've determined that I cannot run my business effectively with what Final Cut Pro X offers. Furthermore, the EOL'ing of Final Cut 7, Color, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, and Final Cut Server without warning or comment indicates to me that Apple no longer has a Pro focus, and concerns me about the direction of future software development. Some people say they intend to use FCPX on a limited basis, but I just don't have the time and resources to straddle the fence and work with two NLE's on a regular basis. I have to make a decision and run with it.

After reading a number of reviews and tutorials, I've determined that Media Composer and Premiere Pro both offer the functionality I need. I've since settled on Premiere Pro as my choice, as it is very FCP-like in it's layout and operation, is affordable, offers tons of tools in the Creative Suite package, and also plays well with Adobe apps and other NLEs. Not wanting to waste any more time with an outdated and outmoded NLE, I'll be transitioning my new editing projects to Premiere immediately, and weaning myself off Final Cut Studio as quickly as possible. I still want to learn the basic operation of Avid Media Composer at some point, as it will only make me more marketable to know multiple pro NLE's. But I intend to center my bread and butter, my daily work, around Adobe Creative Suite. Sure, I expect some pain and suffering along the way, but I believe that this is the right decision for me at this time.

Goodbye, Bruce the Wonder Yak. I'm moving on to greener pastures.