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188 of 191 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Upgrading from iMovie? Read this
Final Cut Express is a very powerful video editing package. If you are thinking about making the step up from iMovie (as I did), you need to understand that the level of sophistication and power in this package is exponentially greater than that of iMovie. If your video editng experience is limited to iMovie, don't expect to be able to install FCE and be off and running...
Published on April 15, 2008 by mregisterga

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111 of 117 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Apple Removed Good Features
Apple removed from Final Cut Express 4 some of important features contained in the previous version, Final Cut Express HD 3.5. Macworld identified "a pair of significant omissions." The most significant one for me is removal of Soundtrack, a program for scoring movies with music. Apple may want us to make do with GarageBand, but Soundtrack is better geared toward the job...
Published on March 1, 2008 by K. Hughes


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188 of 191 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Upgrading from iMovie? Read this, April 15, 2008
By 
mregisterga (Alpharetta, GA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Final Cut Express 4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
Final Cut Express is a very powerful video editing package. If you are thinking about making the step up from iMovie (as I did), you need to understand that the level of sophistication and power in this package is exponentially greater than that of iMovie. If your video editng experience is limited to iMovie, don't expect to be able to install FCE and be off and running in an hour or two. You'll need to plan on investing some real time to learn the program.

This is in no way a criticism of FCE - it is as advertised, a "light" version of Final Cut Pro, which is used by professionals everywhere. I just want your expectations to be set properly. You'll need to invest in a third-party manual, as only soft copies of documentation are included, and they are for reference only, not for training. Just be CERTAIN that the manual you get is for the FCE 4 - there aren't many available as of this writing.

FCE is a very expansive and powerful program; just don't expect the type of plug-n-play results you got from iMovie. You'll need to spend time to understand the numerous differences in how iMovie and FCE operate.
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90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product, April 10, 2008
This review is from: Final Cut Express 4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
This is a great product for the money. I have used a few editing programs on Windows and also iMovie extensively ('08 and older). While I like iMovie, I was looking for just a little more control. So i bought this program.

At first, the interface seemed a bit dated (in comparison to Aperture, itunes, imovie, etc). However, after using it for a few hours I cam to realize the interface is very functionality and componetized based on task. I actually grew to appreciate the logic of the interface with use. So don't be scared away by this simple thing.

Second, I hate having to learn new editing software. Personally, I don't think any of my iMovie knowledge transferred between programs. They are not in any way the same. However, I was able to compose a 2 hour DVD (with about 5 unique segments) in about 4 hours. I also spent an additional 2 hours familiarizing myself with the concepts and features of the program. So this isn't bad. In a few hours I had good video, edited, with nice transitions. I exported everything and created the DVD in iDVD. All this worked wonderfully together.

I highly recommend this program to those who plan to do a lot of video editing. iMovie is great if you want to create a few simple one-off movies. However, if you have larger projects and want to be guaranteed you have control, go with this program.

The only thing I wish is that the DVD came with a video tutorial. I think the idea of EXPRESS means it does appeal to newer users and possibly those new to video editing. Some tutorials would go a long way. [...]
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111 of 117 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Apple Removed Good Features, March 1, 2008
By 
K. Hughes (Arlington, VA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Final Cut Express 4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
Apple removed from Final Cut Express 4 some of important features contained in the previous version, Final Cut Express HD 3.5. Macworld identified "a pair of significant omissions." The most significant one for me is removal of Soundtrack, a program for scoring movies with music. Apple may want us to make do with GarageBand, but Soundtrack is better geared toward the job of creating a (you see it coming) soundtrack. Compared to GarageBand, Soundtrack "offered more options and better performance" (Macworld). Is it unreasonable for a consumer to assume that Apple would design version 4 of a program to be better than version 3.5, rather than stripped of valuable capabilities? (The other significant loss is a reduction in the number of animated LiveType fonts.)
Final Cut Express is a good program, just not as good, in a couple of very important ways, as it used to be.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EASILY the best editing software in its price range, June 17, 2009
This review is from: Final Cut Express 4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
I recently graduated from film school and am certified by Apple as an FCP 6 "Pro."

After graduating, like many a film student, I found myself in a tricky sitaution. I was broke (in debt) and had no equipment to practice my newly mastered craft on. I didnt have any interest in working crew in hollywood. I didnt have any interest in taking an internship (hey, i went to art school becuase i DON'T want a 9-5 gopher job!) I wanted to self sustain on my skills until the "right chance" came up, and if it never did, i wanted to at least be able to pay my bills doing what i love.

But a decent HD camera runs at least $3,000. A decent audio package, $1,000. And Final Cut Pro? $1,500. I knew i just didnt have all that money yet, and likely wouldnt until I had a job and could save it all up.

There were cheap options. iMovie was included free on my mac...why not give it a try?

Allow me to say that once you have used Final Cut, iMovie is unusable and will never "Do" again. iMovie didnt give me the editing control I really wanted and too many of the controls just seemed counter intuitive.

Then I decided to buy FCE 4, and it changed everything. I started it up, and it FELT very very familiar. I uploaded some of my old footage that i wanted to re-cut and got right to work!

granted, there are quite a few tools and features on FCP that you won't find anywhere on FCE, but i think in the realm of pro quality consumer use FCE proves MORE than adequate.

Today, I am an "indie filmmaker" who pays his bills doing various types of freelance work (Weddings and the like)with the occasional narrative or documentary project and FCE is still 100% adequate for my uses.

i WILL be upgrading to FCP6 this year, but make no mistake, FCE was a lifesaver. If you want to get into making your own movies, and want to teach yourself in a way that you WILL actually use if you ever get into the professional world, FCE is the perfect tool.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Final Cut Express is for budding professionals - Pro level editor!, March 31, 2009
This review is from: Final Cut Express 4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
Prior to purchasing Final Cut Express 4, I have worked as a freelance editor and filmmaker of sorts for over 5 years. Most of my work has been done for my own productions, though I have been hired to shoot, cut, and produce video productions as well. I have typically worked in SD (Standard Definition) in the past, and it was always a challenge to swap between video file extensions and codecs without losing quality, as I also do 3d graphics/animation and sound engineering. Using other software such as Ulead products (their multi track non-linear editors), and Adobe Premier Pro CS3, I did ample research before purchasing Final Cut Express. Having gotten to sit behind the wheel of Final Cut Pro Studio 2, however briefly, Express is simply the same powerful engine and most of its powerful filters simply toned down in the sense of importing and exporting options regarding endless versatility. Now my main concern, that was not answered by any of the many reviews I read online was; can express easily import and export the following: uncompressed avi, dv avi, h264, mpeg 4 mov, hdv, etc. The answer is yes. The only thing I have found "lacking" is the unpredictability of foreign renders. See, I, going for the most professional look and feel both in SD and HD applications, do not typically use HDV, AVCHD, or DV codecs. Rather, I prefer H264 compressed within a *.mov* file extension. Working with this in the timeline is perfectly easy, and exporting it is fine, though the progress meter is really useless when doing so. If you render to H264, and the progress meter suddenly vanishes, you may have to render again, though this is never a problem if you stick to the native DV, and HDV (apple interchangeable format), which renders like a charm with great speed. eh - minor gripe with great software.

All in all - if you are trying to get off on the right foot as a budding professional-freelance editor/video producer, don't have the budget for $1,300 editing software and want the most professional results for your buck, get Final Cut Express! I would HIGHlY recommend it over Adobe Premiere Pro (which costs $800 and sucks compared to Final Cut Express, in my seasoned opinion). Learning Final Cut Express, you will be right at home when you have extra cash to dish out on Final cut Pro - just more options ;)
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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is the WORST program for High Def AVCHD Video editing, February 16, 2009
By 
James M. Koury (Winchester, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Final Cut Express 4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
This program is the WORST for editing Sony or Panasonic AVCHD. I feel like I was sold a bill of goods based on a lot of false representations in the product description regarding how easy it was supposed to be to work with High Def AVCHD files. I am going to try to return it to Amazon immedietly.

What they DONT tell you is that:

1) There is no native Codecs for editing AVCHD in FCE 4, so that the video file has to be converted into Apples proprietary Codec for editing

2) This conversion increases the size of the file 10 times from the already large original AVCHD file

3) The codecs conversion also converts the 5.1 audio down to 2.0 stereo.

4) There is no support for transfering back to the Sony codec and burning to Blue Ray

5) While FCE 4 will convert Video files not yet transfered from your camcorder to your hard drive, it will will NOT open or convert any M2TS files already on your hard drive !!! You need to get a seperate program to convert them to the Apple Codecs.

6) For editing, they recommend that the video files should be accessed from a second INTERNAL ATA hard drive, seperate from the hard drive that the FCE 4 software is installed on, requiring two internal hard drives. They state that an external firewire connected hard drive is too slow for editing AVCHD video files

The following are excerpts directly from the FCE 4 manual:

- Final Cut Express does not have native editing support for AVCHD footage.

- AVCHD footage is not captured natively but is transcoded to Apple Intermediate Codec

- When you choose to transfer AVCHD audio in the Logging area, audio is
automatically mixed down to stereo.

- It is not possible to delete clips on an AVCHD volume, even if read-and-write permissions on the volume are set to allow file deletion

- Before ingesting AVCHD footage, keep in mind that the disk space required is about ten times greater than the size of the native AVCHD file. Transcoded AVCHD Files Require Significantly More Disk Space Than Native AVCHD Files. When ingesting AVCHD files in the Log and Transfer window, video is transcoded to the Apple Intermediate Codec. The final ingested files are significantly larger than the original files. Final Cut Express does not estimate the size of a transcoded AVCHD file before ingesting, so it is possible to exceed the available space on your capture disk during transfer.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive. Time to learn., April 27, 2008
By 
This review is from: Final Cut Express 4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
(Note that when I compare "iMovie" with FCE-4 below, I am referring to timeline-editing versions of iMovie).

I've used timeline versions of iMovie for years - to quickly create movies at home, and video presentations for work. I sometimes wanted more power than iMovie had and I wanted to stay with timeline-based editing. So, I gave FCE-4 a try.

FCE-4 has an impressive professional feel with a UI that is an extension of iMovie's. FCE-4 has a longer learning curve compared to iMovie, though this is not a criticism - it has more features. But be ready for that. Having never used any prior version of FCE, the tutorial book "Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Express 4" by Diana Weynand, was key in ramping-up.

I am still learning it, but am impressed at FCE-4's technical capabilities. I've taken some side-tracks to learn more about "movie-making" generally (lighting, sound, story, etc). This is all part of it and is fun and educational overall.

Compared with iMovie, FCE-4 is a significant step in capabilities, and also in terms of time investment to learn it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Final Cut Express, February 18, 2009
By 
This review is from: Final Cut Express 4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
A little more complicated than i expected. I am pretty much a novice and have used imovie 08 for a little over a year. I felt like i had outgrown that application and many of my videos started to have the same look/feel so i decided to move up to FCE. I signed up for the one to one at the apple store for instruction. in 2 x 1 hour sessions i have a pretty decent understanding about how the application works. If i did not sign up for one to one, i'm not sure i would have gotten anywhere. If you don't have access to a apple store/ one to one for training class i'm not sure i would get this product.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great NLE!, June 16, 2008
By 
C. Stembridge (The Middle West) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Final Cut Express 4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
Before purchasing FCE 4, I had 3.5; the new version has some really great new features and plugins that make it well worth buying or upgrading. Given, it's not Final Cut Pro, but it's a good starting point for those of us getting into the advanced stuff of video and film without having to pay big money for the pro version.

Delivery was very fast (it arrived a day or two early!), which I was thankful for.

The only thing I was slightly disappointed about was that the open-frame-rate timeline doesn't support SD 24p, which I was hoping it would (it does support HD 24 frame rates, however). But I'm still giving FCE 4 five stars because it's a great product, I love working with it, and it gets the job done.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great For Music Video Production, February 15, 2010
By 
Manabu Tokunaga (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Final Cut Express 4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
The reason why I had to go to FCE 4 is because I had to make a music video. As you may know, most music videos requires "lip syncing." Where I have broadcast ready soundtracks from Logic Pro and a bunch of separately taken AVCHD segments of a vocalist singing (we took a boombox playing the soundtrack on every shooting.)

When we tried to sync the soundtrack with the video clips with iMovie '09 it was almost impossible to do that with multiple clips coming in and out, but with FCE 4, just create maekrs markers (and use them!) at the same spots of the song and align those with the soundtracks and it is just a snap to do a perfectly synced up result.

So if you are contemplating of making your own music videos, I'd skip iMovie altogether and go straight to Final Cut.

Especially this is a great product for those who already have Logic Express or Pro since both products use similar U.I. and workflow and as a bonus, if you have those you do get to use SoundTrack Pro with it.

A good investment of about 4-hours of your time is to take a complete introductory video tutorial from reputable producers. This will significantly save your time on the ramp-up time. This is definitely a professional level applications requiring you to understand the workflow of non-linear video editing.
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Final Cut Express 4 - Old Version
Final Cut Express 4 - Old Version by Apple (Mac, Mac OS X, PowerMac)
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