REVIEW JUNE 13, 2001
Final Cut Pro 2.0
First off, by way of introduction, I should note that I'm not a Mac guy. I'm not prejudiced against the Mac, but I'm not going to praise a piece of software just because it runs only on the Macintosh. I've edited on the Mac and Windows in the past, and I've experienced systems ranging from Avid and DPS to Media 100 and Adobe Premiere in a professional capacity.
Currently I edit DMNTV, our weekly video magazine series here at Digital Media Net. Our studio's editing equipment consisted of four Media 100 i systems (Macintosh) and one Media 100 iFinish (Windows). But when Final Cut Pro 2.0 was released, we decided to give it a shot.
What I found from the very beginning was a system that included all of the best features of the highest-end NLEs on the market and that coupled these features with astonishing ease of use at a price point that's difficult to ignoreabout $1,000. But don't let the low price fool you: This software package is easily powerful enough to hold its own against any other NLE out there.
I've been using Final Cut Pro 2.0 for about two months nowbasically since the time of its releaseand have found that it's fast, intuitive and easy to use. What's more, it does everything I want it to do. Every time I use Final Cut Pro 2.0 in an edit session, I ask, "I wonder if FCP can do this?" Invariably a few moments later I find myself saying, "Wow, it can do this too!" I know this may sound like I am overly enthusiastic about Final Cut Pro, but this seems to be the norm with this program; every time you think you've reached the limit, you discover something new that expands the abilities of the program. To date, I've never had to export my video to accomplish something I couldn't do in Final Cut Pro.
What I like about
In terms of the software's features, one exceptional capability that stand's out is Final Cut Pro 2.0's media management, especially the ability to nest sequences, which is a particular benefit to those who are working on episodic productions. You can open a sequence from an old project, add new video or audio and then add this modified sequence into a new program. When editing DMNTV, I start a new sequence; open a default show that contains all of the graphics, sequences and titles; and drag and drop those folders into the new program. The only thing I need to do is add new material and place the sequences in the correct order. If I did not have the ability to copy these folders and projects (and have Final Cut Pro keep the links to the media), editing would take five to 10 times longer than necessary.
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Stephen Schleicher is the producer of DMNTV, Video Systems, Millimeter and Digital WebCast and is the host of the Video Systems, Millimeter and Digital WebCast forums at the World Wide User Groups. He has taught at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, and at the American InterContinental University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he also ran his own animation company, Thunderhead Productions. Stephen also freelanced in the Atlanta area as a producer/editor for five years working on everything from training videos to live shows.