Final Cut Express 4

Final Cut Express 4

 

What’s the point of starting a project with iMovie in the first place if so much of your work is lost when it’s moved to Express? It only makes sense if you want to use iMovie’s simple interface to create a very rough cut of your movie before fine-tuning it with Express. Most people who bother to buy and learn Express will be comfortable enough to work with it from start to finish.

 

Express’s other new features may come in handy—or not. You can now mix video in different formats all on the same timeline, without having to render any of the clips before playing them (for example, mixing standard-definition DV video, high-definition HDV video from a tape-based camera, and AVCHD video from a flash-based camera in the same project). It’s a surprisingly sophisticated feature for a $199 editor.

 

If you like to apply effects to your videos, you’ll welcome Express’s 50 new filters. Some, like Light Rays, could come in handy for a number of projects, depending on your editing style. Others, like Insect Eye, may never see the light of day. Still, Express can now work with third-party filters in the FxPlug format, so filter packages made for Final Cut Pro or Apple’s Motion will also work.

 

Except for the strong AVCHD video support, we would actually trade all of Express’s other additions (the format-blind timeline, the extra effects filters, and the iMovie compatibility) for one feature that Apple didn’t include this time around: a project archival system. Express lets you capture a ton of video to your hard drive and edit it into an impressive show, but there’s no easy way to keep only the actual media that your final edit used and clear your hard drive of all the space-hogging video that you don’t need. You could always export your entire edit to a new QuickTime file and then erase all the raw media from the project, but then you can’t go back and re-edit the project later.

 

HD video can fill up a roomy hard drive in a hurry, so it’s important to let editors get rid of the video they don’t need, while still letting them edit their project down the road. Final Cut Pro can do this with a couple of clicks, and so can other affordable editing software. It’s time for Express to join the club.

 

The bottom line. Other than the well-designed support for AVCHD cameras, Express 4’s other new features may strike you as a tad underwhelming. We tend to agree, but Express has already built up such a fantastic and unrivaled lineup of editing and effects features. With its new low price, Express is still the best editing value around.

 

COMPANY: Apple

CONTACT: www.Apple.com

PRICE: $199, $99 upgrade

REQUIREMENTS: 1.25GHz G4 or later or Intel processor; Mac OS 10.4.10 or later; AGP or PCI Express graphics card compatible with Quartz Extreme or Intel GMA integrated graphics processor; 1GB RAM; 500MB hard drive space for apps, 500MB for LiveType content.

 

Works with new AVCHD cameras. $100 cheaper than previous version. Includes major features found in Final Cut Pro. Universal binary.

Intel Mac required for AVCHD. No way to archive projects. No longer includes Soundtrack.

 


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Frank

Since it no longer includes Soundtrack, what are the audio editing options? It doesn't seem that taking out capabilities is an "upgrade".

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The Hague

...all we see are HARDWARE ads, mentions of software, delayed updates, BUGGY RELEASES...

What. Has. Happened. To. The. State. Of. Apple. Software.

QuickTime used to be a given. Now, each point one brings different actions to certain window draws, Full screens, etc.

Not to mention the absolute arrogance of releasing a QT update that breaks After Effects in any way shape or form. They either: didn't test it properly on a real world machine OR - like the RAM business a few years ago - KNEW IT WOULD BREAK AFTER EFFECTS just to show up Adobe on some of their latent bugs. Come on. THIS IS BUSINESS.

We (at the huge media company) upgraded to your Intel Macs, Apple. Now start focusing on the professionals that use your products, large and small. Jobs has said many times he could care less about the software side of equation now. It's all Ives, phones and "the less". Cool beans. That's great! I LOVE MY iPhone. I also miss OS 8.6. Go figure.

Get it together, guys. Let's start with iTunes, maybe? Geesh. It's crap.

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Anonymous

Apple makes software? Who knew . . .

avatar

Anonymous

Yeah, for a long time a matter of fact.
I hope you're joking.

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