Broadcasting Forum
Your advice on choosing between Premiere Pro and Final Cut please
Your advice on choosing between Premiere Pro and Final Cut please
by Gavin Stokes on Mar 29, 2010 at 2:06:36 am

Hi everyone,

The aim of this post is not to start a flame war for those loyal to either camp, but I need some feedback to help guide our upgrade purchase. If you would prefer to drop me an email or respond via a short survey that would be also be fine.

In case you haven't heard of Natcoll, we're a small, enthusiastic design, video and animation school in New Zealand ( for more info).

We're looking at our options for upgrading our Video Editing software and are approaching a decision point. If you have a couple of minutes to help us choose the right tools, it'll mean that our graduates will be as ready to step into work as possible.

Currently our students learn Final Cut Studio (Final Cut Pro, Color, DVD Studio Pro and Soundtrack Pro). For motion graphics, they learn Adobe After Effects. For compositing they learn Shake, although we are looking at moving to Nuke.

We've reached a point where we need to decide whether to upgrade our Final Cut Studio or change to Adobe's offering for video and audio editing: Premiere Pro, Encore and Soundbooth.

We would really appreciate your guidance in making the right decision between these two, similar looking packages:

Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro.

If you'd prefer to contact me off-list you can reach me at or via a short survey here:

Many thanks!

Re: Your advice on choosing between Premiere Pro and Final Cut please
by Gary Hazen on Mar 29, 2010 at 12:47:35 pm

Upprade FCS and have a look at Adobe's Production Premium bundle. It will give you AE, PS, AI and a bunch of other handy apps for the edit suite.

Re: Your advice on choosing between Premiere Pro and Final Cut please
by Jason Jenkins on Mar 29, 2010 at 5:09:22 pm

As far as editing, Final Cut seems to be in professional use more than Premiere. Not that it is better, just more popular. I use Final Cut Studio and Adobe Production Premium. Gotta have After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator.

Jason Jenkins

Flowmotion Media

Video production... with style!

Re: Your advice on choosing between Premiere Pro and Final Cut please
by Mark Suszko on Mar 29, 2010 at 6:54:16 pm

These things go thru cycles and I would have to say that An all-Adobe suite would be very tempting to me if I was starting completely from scratch, *today* and I say that as a big fan and user of Final Cut. Why then do I suggest Adobe over Apple? I suggest it *at this moment* for someone *with no legacy FCP investment* because their latest version has some advances FCS does not, plus the Photoshop and AE and BluRay integration. And stuff about to come out from Adobe, teased in places like Gizmodo, looks even more advanced.

Will Apple catch up and overtake Adobe? Possibly, possibly not, and it could happen relatively soon or not. If I had to guess, I would predict the next phase of leap-frog in 2 years, then Apple would again be in the lead. But that's just a complete guess unfounded by any inside knowledge, just my perceptions of which outfit is more aggressively developing *at the moment*.

Besides the question of which is more advanced at any one moment, I have a stronger issue when picking a system. I say pick the system that handles the way that works best for YOU, that is most comfortable FOR YOU. Sure, it has to have the key tech that yourshop requires, whatever that nay be. But. You are going to spend a lot of time with it; best to have a creative partner you can live with. Because when you work fun and happy, you learn faster, you get mastery faster, your work gets better.

Re: Your advice on choosing between Premiere Pro and Final Cut please
by Shane Ross on Mar 29, 2010 at 9:33:18 pm

Adobe Premiere is GREAT when you need to integrate with AE and PS. And it is great with short form work. So if you are doing ONLY short form stuff, like commercials or very short corporate spots, then Premiere might be the ticket.

But Premiere is not a good solution for long form work, IMHO. Half-hour or hour long TV shows, feature films...episodic TV. The media management just isn't there. I come from the Avid/FCP world, and when I looked at CS3, I saw many great things, but not the stuff that I as a broadcast TV editor rely on daily. Native support for formats...great. OK...but organization of media and being able to find footage is more key to me than that. I can transcode to a format I need to work with and move on.

So, it just depends on what kind of work you will be doing, or what kind of work you are teaching.


Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

Re: Your advice on choosing between Premiere Pro and Final Cut please
by David Chai on Mar 31, 2010 at 4:20:02 pm

Also having dealt with both systems. HD format editing is much slower on Adobe Premiere, and that includes Mpeg2 not just H264. I cannot get realtime playback fullscreen on the same machine (macpro 8 core) in Premiere Pro with the same files as I can on FCP which is smooth like butter.

SD is not such a problem. But definitely agree with Shane, stay away from Long Form on Premiere.


David Chai
Director . Camera . Editor
212 363 0159

Re: Your advice on choosing between Premiere Pro and Final Cut please
by Gavin Stokes on Mar 31, 2010 at 9:47:12 pm

Thanks David, for sharing your comparative performance experiences between FCP and Premiere Pro. This is really important to us as learning lab machines are typically 2 or 4 core.

Re: Your advice on choosing between Premiere Pro and Final Cut please
by Gavin Stokes on Mar 31, 2010 at 10:04:13 pm

Thanks Gary, Jason, Mark - our dilemma is in part because we already have an Adobe collection, specifically for AE, PS and AI. It's difficult to justify spending to upgrade FC Studio when for a much smaller cost we can add Premiere Pro, Soundbooth and Encore.
It sounds like the Adobe suite has come a long way in the last 2-3 years and is quite attractive given an either/or decision (for short-form work at least). But at the same time our graduates will be going out into an industry that's mostly Final Cut and Avid.
Would it be right to assume that if you were looking to hire for a junior editor or related position, and two applicants made it to your short list - one with Final Cut skills and one with Premiere Pro skills, considering all other things were equal you may be more likely to employ the graduate with Final Cut skills?

Re: Your advice on choosing between Premiere Pro and Final Cut please
by Mark Suszko on Apr 1, 2010 at 1:55:01 am

Well, I'd like to think any enlightened boss hiring an editor would care first of all about the actual editing skill, i.e. the discernment and taste in knowing how to sequence shots for maximum effect, versus which platform the editor was using. They would look at the demo reel and list of awards first, and worry about platforms second.

Most NLE's I can think of are relatively the same in that they all have timelines, bins, keyframing, etc. and when you know how to make effective edits, the actual platform shouldn't matter. 95 percent of what we do are cuts and dissolves. Nobody watching a film or TV show can point to a cut or dissolve and say: "oooh, that was definitely cut on an Avid", versus Premiere or FCP. Walter Murch was still Walter Murch when he used an Avid, now he's on FCP, what will he use next year? Who knows? And when you really have honed your skills on one platform, migrating to another is not that huge of a deal. I have changed editing platforms three times so far, if you only count NLE systems, seven times, if you count linear systems as well. I admire those who can keep more than one system's different quirks in their head at one time, and stay proficient. Me, I start to lose the platform-specific skills and shortcuts if I don't keep up practicing them. I have forgotten a bunch about how to edit a checkerboard assembly on the Grass 141. What I retain is the ability to discern where to make a cut, how to time a cut, how to sequence and pace shots with a rhythm. Really, THAT skill is what they pay me for. The craftsman is not his tools. There is NO shortcut in FCP called "make this program not suck". If there is, Biscardi is hiding it from us:-)

The shops that are more keen to get someone with a platform-specific skill set may not have the patience and budget to give a new hire training time, then again, such a place is likely to want to emphasize throughput over quality, IMO. It is dangerous to assume that if a guy knows which button does what, he also knows when and WHY to push that button, If they care first about the platform, likely they are not looking for creative editors so much as technicians to operate equipment. What kind of work would such people churn out? You would want to ask yourself what the long-term prospects are for staying with such an outfit and advancing a career there.

Yes, FCP is very popular *right now*. But frankly, If I was hiring an editor, I'd be more impressed if he or she had a lot of compositing skills and audio and photoshop skills, and DVD authoring and color correction and compressionist skills; if they are good at all of that, I know they can learn FCP in a couple of days. Hell, I went from Discreet Edit to FCP in about 72 hours, and while I'm still learning the deeper parts of FCP as I go, I am already plenty productive as-is.

Don't make long-term career decisions around fleetingly temporary technical mastery of ANY software that is going to be entirely revised or more likely replaced in just a handful of years. The future is a moving target. In five years we may be editing 3-d data bubbles in quantum foam for all you know. No way any school can afford to keep up as fast as progress. Train your students to be agile and adaptable, to master the underlying concepts, which stay relevant, even as the specific platforms mutate and change. That's the survival skill set.

Re: Your advice on choosing between Premiere Pro and Final Cut please
by Gavin Stokes on Apr 1, 2010 at 2:48:41 am

Thanks Mark,
I couldn't agree more. I hope by asking about software I haven't given the impression that we're only teaching software!

How, when, what to cut in an appropriate manner for different genres and formats - all a big part of what we do.
I also agree that transferable skills and the skill of transferring them are essential. I guess I'm just looking for any experiences with Premiere and to gauge how important it is for graduates to hit the ground running with their editing skills honed in a particular application these days.

As an institution we've made the transitions over the years too - Media 100 to Premiere to EditDV / Cinestream to Final Cut. The core of the curriculum hasn't changed that much but it's good to be training students using the right tools if possible. :-)

Re: Your advice on choosing between Premiere Pro and Final Cut please
by Mark Suszko on Apr 1, 2010 at 3:07:55 pm

"Right" meaning "popular". :-)

Certainly for marketing purposes teaching FCP right now will get you students and students who know FCP might find more work than those trained on, say, Lightworks. But a student who knows the top 3, ( Avid, FCP, Premiere) by extension of that logic, would be the MOST immediately employable. There's always going to be something you don't know, that's why you don't stop learning.

Maybe what your school needs is to offer additional courses that add-on to the basic mastery course; up-sell the students on taking a concentrated summer "post-grad" seminar on any particular system, at a premium cost markup. "You have learned the essence of cutting in our foundation curriculum; now we'll train you on the specific platforms you want to master" This is what outfits like Fullsail, Lightspeed, and their kind are making money on. Your advantage over them is that those places only offer the button-pushing tutelage, and not the proper foundation skills that underpin the how and why you make a cut. You have a value-added proposition here.

Re: Your advice on choosing between Premiere Pro and Final Cut please
by Carly Smith on Apr 2, 2010 at 12:56:21 pm

I'm going to chime in because we hire those right out of school graduates, being a small company.

I can't tell you the number of nasty emails we get when we specify Adobe-only. Lots of "get a life, you must be old, you don't know anything about production" (and obviously those applicants go in the trash)
I had a kid argue with me *in the interview* that FCP was industry standard, and he had no job experience, it was just that his teacher told him that, so he accepted it as gospel.

Adobe for us is preferred because we have always been a PC shop. Thats it. We sold off our old AVID system and moved to APP, and outside of a recent snafu involving Quick Time, we have been pretty happy.

We keep one Mac in the studio to run Pro Tools for audio.

I'll take an editor who can setup a multi-camera workflow and knows some strong After Effects. I want to hire the person who loves to edit, and who would go home and research the answer to an issue and bring it in the next morning.

My point is that any student with a strong demo that shows a range of skills and isn't one long scene from his buddys indie film ALWAYS gets an interview around here.

ok, end of babble.

Re: Your advice on choosing between Premiere Pro and Final Cut please
by Tim Kolb on Apr 3, 2010 at 2:41:13 am

I think you've gotten it pretty much like it is...

A school has the responsibility to teach students skills they can I suppose that needs to be front and center. What is more likely to get a student a job?

The world does seem pretty focused on FCP at the moment. I've done some pretty long form stuff in PPro (2 hours...3 hours...), so that's a bit of a myth. There have been some odd issues over the last several versions with some large footprint project files, but I've found that to be based on factors other than sheer length of timeline or number of assets.

Premiere has had timeline markers since a version that I can't even recall...FCP just got them. It's all in what you need and what you're used to...and no app is flawless.

I would say that adding Adobe with an updated FCP would likely be a better route than switching from FCP altogether... I'm an Adobe user and I use FCP very little, but the current trends are self-evident.

Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,