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Is FPC Basics for me ?

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Chris Dodge
Is FPC Basics for me ?
on Aug 30, 2011 at 2:11:41 pm

I'm hoping that someone can help me answer this most fundamental question ! I've been editing on a PC for 10 years now, and this has involved a love/hate relationship with various iterations of Pinnacle's Studio software, where progress generally takes the form of 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. Last year I had a new screamer of a PC built to handle AVCHD output from what has proved to be a brilliant Sony camcorder, but Studio can barely stagger along, crashing regularly. The output, when I get it, is excellent, but the amount of frustration, hair-tearing and cursing along the way means it's barely worth it. I'm now considering what for me is the 'nuclear option' of getting a Mac purely for my editing. So - is this the answer, and if so will FCP Basics serve my needs ?

I need the following:
Support for AVCHD files, 5.1 sound, Bluray Disc creation.
Adding music and or extra sound
Varying speed of video,

Any guidance will be most gratefully received !

Thanx in anticipation,


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Beth Nilsson
Re: Is FPC Basics for me ?
on Aug 30, 2011 at 2:52:12 pm

Hi Chris. My short, quick answer is NO! I'm probably going to make some Mac people mad but I hope to save you some headaches and lots of money...

I also went from editing on a PC to FCP. I wish I had known what I know now. I work with only HD footage. My camera is a Panasonic HMC 150. I edited with Sony Vegas and it was a dream compared to FCP.

So far, I haven't found anything that FCP does better than Vegas. I strongly recommend that you download a trial version of Sony Vegas Platinum Suite 10 and try it out before switching to a Mac. If you like it, it will cost you $120 or less, and if you love it, you can get the Pro version down the road for about $500. There are TONS of youtube tutorials to help with any problem you may encounter or any special thing you want to do with Vegas.

One of the many great things about Vegas is that is handles different footage with no issues. Vegas is a drag and drop dream. FCP has all kinds of formatting issues and complicated settings you'll need to learn just to start. And good luck importing footage from something simple like a little Flip cam. Mac won't read the files and it's a conversion nightmare.

The other BIG nightmare with FCP is RENDERING. No, not rendering your whole project, just rendering little tiny adjustments. If you add an effect, many of them require that you take a minute or two to render the effect before you can view it. If you make any changes...yay, rendering again! To be frank, there is a lot about FCP that SUCKS. I am actually baffled as to why everyone thinks it's so awesome. Maybe they haven't tried anything else.

The other thing you need to consider is this whole FCPX thing that is making even the most avid FCP lovers crazy. A lot of people hate the new FCP. There are a lot issues with it. Now is definitely not the time to make the switch to FCP. It would be best to let things settle before making that expensive purchase.

Coming from a PC based editing program, I think you will like Sony Vegas much better. I don't know much about Pinnacle but I tried it briefly and found it very clunky and hard to use. So, I think you should give Vegas a try. Or maybe try Lightworks. I know nothing about it but I have heard it's good and it's totally free.

The only thing I'm not too sure about is your BluRay question. But call Sony. That's another thing - Apple will not help with you any FCP questions you have unless you pay for it. Sony, on the other hand, I have found to be quite accommodating.
Good luck!!!

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Chris Dodge
Re: Is FPC Basics for me ?
on Aug 30, 2011 at 5:18:05 pm

Many thanks Beth. That's certainly not the answer that I was expecting ! FYI I tried Vegas a few years back, and found it so un-intuitive that I gave up on it. Again conversely to your experience I find Studio quite easy to use, if only it were less flaky. I suspect that it does not make best use of the PC's resources - I constantly keep Task Manager running if only to reassure myself that it hasn't just ground to a complete halt again, and out of 4gb of RAM on th machine, it hardly ever uses more than about 1.25, even when set to 'High priority'. Can you tell me what hardware you have ? I have an Athlon 2.9 gb quad core chip, and the 4gb of RAM is about to be doubled.

If you like either canal-boating or aviation videos, check me out on Youtube:

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Beth Nilsson
Re: Is FPC Basics for me ?
on Aug 30, 2011 at 6:01:55 pm

I guess editing software preference varies from person to person. I came from a radio production background, so the switch to Vegas was very easy and natural.

The one thing I should tell you is that I don't really edit big, lengthy projects. Most of my pieces are three to five minutes. There could be something about a Mac that is better for long pieces but I have even found FCP to be slower to render out a project than Vegas.

Check out Lightworks. Again, I haven't used it, but the King's Speech was edited on it and I have read some good reviews. And, of course, it's free.

Do you keep your work files on an external hard drive? One thing I always try to do is keep raw footage and so forth on an external drive so it doesn't bog down my computer.

I am currently editing on my new Mac with Final Cut Pro 7. Someone else in my office has the PC I was working on with Vegas. It was a Dell desktop and it was about a year old. It was more than adequate to handle Vegas 10 I could get you the specs on it if you want but it might take a day or two to contact the guy in my office. When I was deciding between a Mac and PC, the IT guy in our department was going to order a Lenovo laptop for me. I put the specs below.

I think there are good things about all the editing options out there. But, I think, when switching from a PC to a Mac, there is a learning curve not only on FCP but on the computer itself. Macs can be really frustrating for PC users.

I am glad I have had the opportunity to use FCP and learn a new system but, after using it for 7 months, I don't see much benefit over using a PC based program.

Here is the computer we were going to order if we had gone with a PC.

Lenovo ThinkPad T510
Intel Core i7-620M Processor (2.66GHz, 4MB L3, 1066MHz FSB)
Genuine Windows 7 Professional 64
Genuine Windows 7 Professional 64 US English
Microsoft Windows 7 XP Mode - English
15.6" HD Anti-Glare Display with LED Backlight and WWAN Antenna
NVIDIA NVS 3100m Optimus Graphics with 512MB DDR3 Memory
8 GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz SODIMM Memory (2 DIMM)
Keyboard US English
UltraNav (TrackPoint and TouchPad) with Fingerprint Reader
500 GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm

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