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Final Cut Pro Diary: A video novice takes the step up from iMovie
I've been a photographer since I was 14, but am very much a novice when it comes to video. I've used bicycle-mounted action cams to put together some basic cycling videos, but these were nothing more sophisticated than taking clips straight from the camera, importing them into iMovie and adding cross-dissolves.
In an age when tech writers are increasingly expected to be videographers too, I decided it was time to take the plunge into the world of moving images. Although iMovie is a remarkably capable piece of software, I reckoned I was inevitably going to want to take the step up to Final Cut Pro at some stage, so I might as well make the transition now, rather than have to learn everything twice.
If you're also a basic iMovie user with ambitions of getting to grips with more professional video production, you may enjoy sharing the journey with me. And if you're an accomplished FCP X user, I'm sure that I and others in my position would love to hear your top tips …
There's good news and bad news for anyone making the transition from iMovie. The bad news is that it isn't cheap: you'll be swapping a free app for one costing $299.99. In an era when we're used to paying as little as a dollar for an app, this is undeniably painful – and I must admit I winced when I pressed the button.
The good news is that, while iMovie is the consumer app and Final Cut Pro X the professional one, their user interfaces are actually remarkably similar. This isn't surprising as Apple developed iMovie essentially as a cut-down version of FCP, and it wanted to provide a tempting upgrade path for those who get more seriously into video.
So while FCP can do significantly more than iMovie, I was pleased to find that the basic layout is much the same, and the process of creating very simple videos likewise. I was able to create my first Final Cut Pro X video right away, without delving into user guides or tutorials.
Here's a look at the two – iMovie: