No Regrets About Switching From Final Cut To Premiere Pro

I recently received this question:

I hear Premiere is great, but what is the learning curve on that program? Besides accepting more formats, is there any other perk Premiere has over FCP?

Before I answer this question, let me mention that I was a DEDICATED Final Cut Pro user for over a decade. From 2000 to 2010, I bought all the updates, defended FCP against fans of other editing platforms, and used it for many hours per week. Starting around 2010, when Apple’s consumer-gadgets business started to become its main area of focus, I started to get a little uncomfortable with the lack of support for FCP. But, I had faith in Apple.

Until “FCP X” came out. That was the last straw. Was I really expected to upgrade my software to a version that would not allow me to access my previous 10 years of work? One that had a totally different interface, with LESS functionality, and was clearly designed for the consumer market? And was I supposed to do all that when Adobe Premiere Pro WOULD allow me to import my old Final Cut projects, and DID offer professional features, PLUS a host of benefits that FCP didn’t?

Now, to answer the question at hand: Premiere Pro is SO much better than FCP! Here are just a few of the main reasons:

1) No need to render on the timeline. You can apply effects, change things, stack layers of video, and watch everything in realtime. Whenever I have to open an old FCP project to make a minor change for a client, and I have to sit and wait for the timeline to render before I can review or export the video, it’s like revisiting an abusive relationship.

2) Quick exports. FCP and/or Compressor takes FOREVER to export files. Premiere and Adobe Media Encoder take probably 1/4 of the time for the same thing.

3) The ability to bring in unconverted AVCHD, H264 and R3D files is HUGE. Not only does it save time, it saves hard drive space, since you don’t need to make another copy of all the footage.

4) There is a FUTURE with Premiere Pro. Adobe is dedicated 100% to helping people to professional creative work. Apple has made it very clear that they are NOT interested in pro video customers. Their products are now tailored to the consumer/prosumer market. Yes, it is theoretically possible to use FCP X to do real work, but why would you want to struggle with it? Especially when Apple could decide tomorrow that it doesn’t want to support the software anymore?

5) Premiere integrates seamlessly with After Effects, Photoshop, and the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite. Apple Motion is okay, but it doesn’t compare to After Effects. And, again, there is zero reason to believe that Apple will keep supporting it.

It was an easy choice, and a surprisingly easy transition. I bought Adobe Creative Suite 6, and I recently upgraded to Adobe Creative Cloud. I have absolutely no regrets.

Well, that isn’t strictly true. I regret not switching sooner! I had too much faith in Apple. I still use Apple machines, but only because Adobe products don’t run on Linux, and I have 15 years of work on Apple-formatted harddrives. If Adobe CC were available for Linux, I would never buy another Apple (or Windows) computer again.

2 Replies to “No Regrets About Switching From Final Cut To Premiere Pro”

  1. Ouch. Granted, the launch of FCPX was a fiasco and version 10.0 was missing key features, but I have to ask – have you even used it since the first round of updates? It does everything you list here quite capably (with the exception of After Effects integration). So to say “Premiere does all this stuff and FCP doesn’t” is untrue. It didn’t support these features in 2009, and neither did Adobe. Today they both do. And while they are philosophically quite different products, they both have strengths and weaknesses. One thing FCPX has that no other NLE has is the extensive third party plug-in ecosystem thanks to the it’s integration with Motion. It allows you to do more from within one app than anywhere else, if that is what you prefer as an editor. Tools like Mocha for FCPX just can’t be touched by other platforms. So to ignore the full advancement of FCP (X) and compare 2009 software to its present competition because you don’t like the look of the interface is kida silly. Okay, I’m done. End of rant. Great blog. Keep it up.

    1. Thanks for taking the counterpoint, Jay! I’m glad to hear that FCPX has improved. I’m not sure about the third-party plug-in functionality you’ve described, since – as you rightly suspect – I have not touched FCPX since its introduction. The plug-ins that I used in FCP (Colorista, etc.) work perfectly with Premiere.

      Fundamentally, the reason I jettisoned FCP was my #4 above. In short, I lost all confidence in Apple as a software manufacturer. The way they force adoption of technology and then abandon it when they deem it to be obsolete (not just FCP “legacy” projects … How about Firewire 400 and Firewire 800?), as well as the way that they are single-minded about locking users into their own ecosystem is a huge turn-off for me. I want freedom and flexibility, and I want it from a company that is more interested in developing software than in selling cel phones. At this point, even if Apple came out with software that was unbelievably better than Adobe CC, I wouldn’t switch back.

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