MARCH 23, 2004
Final Cut Express 2
DV- only system for everyone?
Stephen Schleicher
Page 2 of 3

  iMovie Horrible?

  *I really shouldnít say that iMovie is horrible.  In fact, for the target audience iMovie is probably a great way to get your home movies made.  Hereís how I see where the three Apple editing systems fit:

Target Audience:
  Grade Schoolers and parents.
Comments:  I wouldnít consider this a prosumer application.  For those grade schoolers who have their own CCTV system or have access to an Educational Access Channel, this is a great, simple tool to help them understand the NLE process

Final Cut Express 2
Target Audience:
  DV Editors
Comments:  If you are doing event videography, indie videos that donít need a lot of flash bang, or even simple news editing, then this is the product for you.  It is definitely not the toy that iMovie is, and it is powerful enough for you to get the product edited and out the door with very little hassle.  It also prepares you when you are ready to migrate to the Big Gun.

Final Cut Pro
Target Audience:  Power Editor
Comments:  This is the product that is for everyone.  It has aAll the major features you need for every project you might work on.  More complex for than the other two, it is an application that is for the power editor.

One of the other major differences between Express and Pro is the missing filters.  For the most part Final Cut Express 2 has a limited number of effects and transitions that can be applied to clips.  While most that who use this system will never need some of the more powerful effects, things like dip to color, dissolves, page peels, etc. are there.  And because Final Cut Express 2 supports RT Extreme, most of these will be viewable in real- time.  Real- time in this case means viewing on your desktop and not on your video monitor via FireWire.  Again, itís not that big of a deal, but something that should be noted.

Final Cut Express 2 does have Color Correction capabilities.  The two-way color corrector is by no means the three-way color corrector powerhouse found in the Pro application, but it does give you the ability to adjust the angle of hue and overall balance of an image.  It does an exceptional job, and if you need to do color correction on your DV footage, you will be pleased with it.

One feature not found in Final Cut Express is the ability to preview those areas of your video that are exceeding chroma or video levels.  Final Cut Express also does not include any vectorscope tools.  The only way to ensure your video is broadcast safe is to apply the Broadcast Safe filter to the clips in the Timeline.

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In addition to not being able to see excess levels, you also donít have the ability to superimpose your clip/Timeline information over the video in the Canvas window.

One bonus is that Final Cut Express does support importing of iMovie projects (something Final Cut Pro does not do), so if you are following the migration path (see Sidebar), Final Cut Express 2 fits perfectly.

If you need to add titles to your project, Final Cut Express does include the awful Final Cut titling tools found in the Pro version (which I donít recommend anyone using), and it also includes the excellent Boris Calligraphy titling plug-in.

Most Pro users are probably using LiveType for most of the title and motion graphic needs, and are probably not using Boris Calligraphy that much any more.  LiveType is currently not available as a stand- alone package, so Final Cut Express users will have to settle for the great titles that are created with Calligraphy.  Final Cut Express 2 users should not feel left out here as those Pro users who are still on version 3 are in the same boat.

Source: Digital Media Online, Inc
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