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-   -   iMovie questions (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/final-cut-suite/4257-imovie-questions.html)

Boyd Ostroff July 23rd, 2005 06:00 PM

Hi Jonathan. It's certainly appropriate, although I don't think we have very many members using iMovie... so thanks for your input Nathan!

One of the best places to get more feedback on iMovie would be Apple's own support forum which you will find here:


Note that upgrading to 10.4 creates issues with Apple's "Pro Apps" like Final Cut Pro and Motion, but if you aren't running these you will probably be fine.

Gilbert Labossiere July 26th, 2005 07:44 PM

Final Cut Express vs iMovie vs FCP Pro studio
The final cut express for 299 purchased with an imac seems pretty powerful.

1) what makes it different from iMovie and can I get by with it without getting Final Cut Pro studio? I am new to this game and can't afford the studio right now.

2) Would i be better served saving up for the whole studio set or getting express?

3) Also, could I simply upgrade from FC express to pro later on? I couldn't see that info on Apple's site.

Thanks for any info!


Tom Wills July 26th, 2005 07:53 PM

I cut on FCP alone for about a year and a half. Don't bother to get Final Cut Pro now, you'll be too swamped with the interface alone to cut anything that FCE can't handle. The studio package is good, but as you said, you don't have the money yet, so why bother waiting? You can upgrade when you've made/saved enough money.

Nathan Chaszeyka July 26th, 2005 09:23 PM


From reading your other posts and reading this one, your experience is similar to the progression I have gone through.

I started cutting last fall on my powerbook with imovie. I hit the limits of imovie really fast because I wanted to do things that just weren't possible in that program (there are still a number of things i really like it for. if you need to do something quick and have it be very simple imovie is great), so I moved on to FCE. I have a very good understanding of FCE which correlates directly into FCP, but FCP has many more capabilities.

I know you are considering purchasing a computer with the program so your decisions are bigger than mine were at the time. I would ask myself this question and answer very honestly. "How committed am I to making this go all the way?" If the answer is that you are 100% committed, then do not pass go, purchase a Powermac G5 dual and Final Cut Studio and pour yourself into it. I just read a post from Chris Hurd in another topic that made it clear "If you're waiting you aren't creating." I really agree with him on this one.

If this is something you just want to dabble in, and hope that you get lucky and one day find out you can do it professionally, than I say buy the imac you are considering, and get FCE. With this you will have two great programs (imovie comes with the imac)

The ending to my story went like this....I'm an addict. A fixator as my parents always called it. I can't get enough, and as soon as I figured my way around FCE, I wanted to begin learning Motion while I perfected final cut. With some financial luck, I purchased Final Cut Studio, and a Dual G5 and haven't regretted it for one second. I am still in the very early stages of my development as an editor but I am never going to be limited by the tools at hand. That is a very good feeling for me.

I wish you the best of luck.

Gilbert Labossiere July 27th, 2005 06:51 AM

Thanks a lot to both of you! I think I will get started with FCE and iMac so I can start creating!


Boyd Ostroff July 27th, 2005 07:16 AM


Originally Posted by Gilbert Labossiere

2) Would i be better served saving up for the whole studio set or getting express?

3) Also, could I simply upgrade from FC express to pro later on? I couldn't see that info on Apple's site.

The upgrade from FCE to FCP is $700, not cheap. However I suppose there's little downside since FCP costs $1000 new while FCE plus the FCP upgrade also costs $1000.

But you might just ponder this a bit more. I don't think it will be any harder to learn how to use FCP than FCE, and if you're serious you will someday want to upgrade I suspect. It's annoying - Apple used to have a chart which showed the differences on their website, but now it's gone. The link is still there, but it's broken.

Just off the top of my head I can think of a couple nice things that FCP offers over FCE. For one thing, FCE doesn't have the 3 way color corrector which is something I personally use a lot (it has the 2 way corrector). It also lacks the batch capture feature which I also find extremely useful. Using this, you set the in/out points for all the clips you want to capture as you play through your tape. Then you start the batch and only those segments you've chosen will be captured. AFAIK, in FCE you would have to individually capture each clip, or capture the whole tape. FCE also doesn't support DVCPRO, in case you think there's a Panasonic P2 cam in your future ;-)

I'm sure there are other differences as well. None of these prevents you from doing good work certainly, but if you're serious about editing and if you can afford it then I can't see any reason not to dive directly into the full version of FCP.

Meryem Ersoz July 27th, 2005 07:40 AM

for $79 (or freely installed on some machines), i would highly recommend imovie to get started. it has a ton of features for the price.

i would also ask, what is your intention in learning to edit. if you're editing home movies, imovie is more than sufficient. i still use it to edit home movies--instead of FCP, which is considerably more time-consuming to operate, for my own family and as presents for friends with no editing skill, because i can get the job done more quickly and efficiently than with more complicated editors. my friends who do not edit are usually thrilled to get edited footage of their kids. if that is the limit of what you want to do, imovie is perfect.

if you are editing with an eye towards a professional or semi-professional goal, then skip FCE and make the jump to FCP. you can always upgrade to Studio from FCP. but FCP is a pretty substantial universe of learning in itself.

FCE is more for the seriously addicted hobbyist or professional on a budget. it allows you to do complex compositing and motion effects. but unless you have a lot of free time as a hobbyist, it may be more than you need. to answer your question directly, imovie lets you work with only one layer of images, FCE lets you pile on dozens of layers and composite those images into one apparent image, which is fun, but do you need this feature? would you use it? that's the main distinction, i think, in jumping from imovie to FCE. i don't add compositing or motion effects to home movies. i could, and some folks probably do, but it's overkill, in terms of how i want to budget my time.

so to figure out which of these fine NLEs is best for you, just figure out which category best describes your needs....

Jonathan Jones July 27th, 2005 09:48 AM

Thanks Nathan, and Boyd. Exactly the info was looking for...much appreciated.

Riley Harmon July 28th, 2005 06:24 PM

I started out on videowave 3...hehe...then premiere, then premiere pro, now I work on various non-linear editors...premiere pro, vegas, fcp, whatever I have access to...luckily i have a powerbook coming with FCStudio

Duane Smith July 31st, 2005 07:29 AM


Originally Posted by Gilbert Labossiere
Thanks a lot to both of you! I think I will get started with FCE and iMac so I can start creating!


Gilbert, it seems you are making the same decision that I did a few months ago. Believe me, if you're new to this game (as I was) you are going to be completely overwhelmed by the complexity of FCE. As Boyd pointed out, FCE and FCP have practically the same interface and learning curve, with the primary difference being a few major/pro features stripped out. So far, I haven't been bothered by the lack of those features enough to desire upgrading to FCP....although I must admit I did sling a few of curse words towards the general direction of Cupertino while manually capturing and logging a stack of ten DVCAM tapes. ;-)

Personally, I bought a 20" iMac G5 (2GHz) and FCE...my total out-of-pocket was around $2,000. Sure, I wanted a Dual G5 tower and FCP, but by the time I bought a monitor and everything, I was looking at a minimum of $4,000 which was just WAY too far out of my budget range. Maybe someday, if I'm making money off this venture, I'll upgrade to FCP...but for now I'm 95% satisfied with FCE.


Jonathan Jones August 1st, 2005 01:15 PM

H.264 and iMovie on iBook
A buddy from a Mac User Group has posted a dilemma that confuses him regarding his first attempt to compress an iMovie project into H.264 to post to his .mac site. He is finding it considerably longer than he ever expected, even with an older, less robust system.

Here is what he is experiencing. He has a 15 minute project done in iMovie. He is trying to compress using the Quicktime Expert settings for H.264 video and AAC audio - both codecs in default settings. He is using an iBook G3 700 MHz with 640 MB of RAM and the project itself on an external FW hard drive through Firewire 400. He hasn't found that the disk is needing to spin up regularly, so he does not suspect that scratch disk or virtual memory are coming into play.

He posted his dilemma a few days ago after it had been encoding for 5 hours, and he stated that the ETA was still rising. Even though we batted back and forth that these ETA's are rarely accurate in such conditions, so far it not only continues to rise, but after 48 hours, it is still encoding, and indicates that at this point it is only 1/3 finished.

As I have not yet worked with H.264, and I do have faster hardware than he does, I cannot speculate on whether or not his situation is supposed to be normal.

I figured I would post his situation here to see if anyone can offer input from experience. Thanks in advance.

Mark Sloan August 1st, 2005 02:27 PM

48 hours seems extreme, but H.264 is very processor intensive. It takes a really long time on my Dual G4 800MHz, so on a G3 it might take even longer because it doesn't have alti-vec. Try a much shorter segment, like 10 seconds, and see how long it takes.

Boyd Ostroff August 1st, 2005 03:45 PM

I haven't played with QT 7 yet so I don't have specific answers, but others have noted how slow the H.264 compression is. I know we all need to work with the tools we're given, but a G3 iBook is really showing its age these days (I know because we have several of them at work, and they seem maddeningly slow after you get used to even an entry level G4).

A search for "H.264" turns up some interesting things which might help:


Kevin Calumpit August 1st, 2005 05:14 PM

Yeah i am running Dual 2.7(havent tried it since i upped the ram to 3GB) and the process does take a long time to compress one recommendation would be to do a single pass of it which comes out okay but when you do the multi pass the final looks like it wasnt even compressed.

Just try and picture what this compression process is doing on a multi-pass and you can see why it takes so long especially when you see what finally comes out of it. Yeah one minute of footage for me took about 2 hours to compress multi-pass H.264. Also the file size is greatly reduced and still looks good. So i can see why your friend wants to use the H.264

If you have the time to wait then its worth it but if you dont find another method i really feel its good for shorter clips 6-8 mins is really pushing the time threshold.(for me atleast)

Dan Euritt August 2nd, 2005 02:07 PM

those compression times are absurd! nero will create killer h.264 using two-pass encoding, from dv source, with minimal delay... the sorenson encoder may be slower than that, but nothing like what you guys are talking about here.

there must be something seriously wrong with that quicktime encoder... has anyone talked to apple support about it?

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