If Apple’s iMovie doesn’t cut it, try Final Cut Express

“To some, it was the unkindest cut of all,” John O’Brien reports for The Courier-Mail.

“Apple revamped its iMovie video-editing software last year, removing some professional level tools such as the timeline and audio effects, in favour of ‘quick and dirty’ editing and YouTube integration,” O’Brien reports.

“Users cried foul, with the more cynical types suggesting Apple was deliberately crippling the cheap (and sometimes free) iMovie to drive customers to the more expensive Final Cut Express (US$199) package,” O’Brien reports.

“Apple does nothing to dispel their suspicions with its new Final Cut Express 4 – talking up version 4’s ability to take existing iMovie ’08 projects and make them even better,” O’Brien reports.

“There was always a big leap in interface complexity from iMovie to Final Cut Express, but Express’ layout is still logical, with the familiar dragging and dropping of clips to the timeline,” O’Brien reports. “Final Cut Express also boasts 50 new FxPlug filters, which let you add various effects to your video including soft focus, vignette and light rays. And users can tap into the rapidly expanding library of third-party FxPlug filters.”

O’Brien reports, “On the high-definition side, both 1080i and 720p resolutions are supported, with Final Cut Express 4 automatically scaling, cropping and adjusting frame rates as required.”

Full article here.


  1. I bought a new Panasonic HDC-SD9 movie camera and upgraded FC Express two to version four. Then I discovered the interface between the movie camera, USB, doesn’t work with FC Express which is firewire-based, so I sent in a note to the FC Express team. Then I took the camera back, as I will use my Panasonic DV camera which does do firewire. The very competent saleslady at Henrys told me that the camera would not work with Apple’s software which does not yet support the highest resolution the camera does. To transfer data from the (8 gig) flash card, I had to use Parallels and Windows to support the conversion software that Panasonic supplies (Windows only) and then convert the data to the Mac side using Quicktime MPEG, another $30 upgrade. I decided it was too much hassle, and that firewire was not supported by the manufacturers, including Canon, Sony, except on previous versions that do DV. For now, stick with firewire and DV if you want to use FC4 and save yourself the grief.

  2. I did this last year and have never looked back. It took a couple of days to learn how to use well but FCE ROCKS!!!!

    I don’t think Apple is “cheap” for pushing people to FCE. Seems to me that the cheap bastards are those that are complaining about something that they get for free anyway!

    Not posted from my iPhone

  3. MadMac, iMovie is no more free than a Mac’s keyboard or mouse are free. True, iMovie is part of iLife, which is bundled with new Macs, but it is not free. A new unbundled copy of iLife (or an upgrade of an existing copy) costs $79.

  4. Hmm … I thought it was quite obvious that Apple expected some number of iMovie users to step up to Final Cut. And GarageBand users to step up to Logic. Wasn’t that the deal? “We’ll sell you a somewhat limited demo version to get you interested and ‘trained’.” Most folks can’t justify a couple hundred dollars for software for what might be a “whim”, but can manage it if they’ve proven to themselves and/or their folks that they are both really interested and at least a little talented. The FireWire limitation is a bit frustrating, possibly even cruel. 🙁

  5. For all of iMovie 08’s supposed simplicity, IMHO it is obtuse and unnecessarily complicated to do even simple tasks. I have yet to figure out to use it. It is not intuitive. Despite the flaws, I still find previous versions of iMovie much easier to use.

  6. @ Some Young Guy

    You are obviously one of the cheap whiners to whom I was referring.

    You get that for which you pay. To expect a world class video editor, audio editor, photo app and DVD authoring app free with a Mac (or, as you point out, $79 stand alone), smacks of being a cheap bastard.

    Bet you also complain about Dell not giving you a real Mac Pro competitor in that $300 peecee they peddle.

    I’m just sayin’.

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