Final Cut Express 4

Ah… Apple released today Final Cut Express 4 ($199), with AVCHD support. What they don’t tell you on their spec list and left many people wondering in the forums is the actual maximum resolution and frame rates they support. So, I gave Apple’s tech support a call today. Apparently, FCE4 still does not support 24p timelines, and it doesn’t do 1080p (it only goes up to 1440x1080i).

This is pretty sad. Today there are *consumer* AVCHD camcorders in the market that shoot in full 1080/30p, while other consumer HDV cameras, like all the Canon HD and few Sony ones, support 24p (after removing pulldown). And the market is going that direction anyway, and FCE does not get updated all too often, which means that in a year from now FCE will be obsolete (if it’s not already for prosumer users).

So, let me get this straight: I buy a $750 HD camera (e.g. HV20), and then I need to buy software for $1200 (e.g. FCP) in order to fully use my camera in 1080/24p?!? This is ridiculous. And it wouldn’t have been ridiculous if there were other video editing solutions on the Mac platform that support 1080/24p, but they are not. Avid and After Effects cost even more than FCP’s $1200. There are no other video editors for the Mac.

My friends, this is a case where buying Sony Vegas 8 Platinum ($130, supports 24p), and a brand new DELL PC with 2 GB of RAM ($800), makes more sense than being forced to buy FCP for your Mac for only these two added features over FCE. Hell, if you already have a PC, use that as your video station and get Vegas 8 Pro ($550). Keep your Mac for other stuff (yes, I have two Macs myself, I use them for “other” stuff too).


Jeff wrote on November 15th, 2007 at 8:43 PM PST:

I think you totally correct! Apple has been doing some really weird stuff lately. What’s up with the fondling of EDU pricing, too? Heh, fondling and EDU shouldn’t be in the same sentence, but it makes me mad!

We need a FCE for 24fps/1080i and decent pricing, so we don’t have to move to the dark side again!

Dave wrote on November 16th, 2007 at 9:05 AM PST:

I wish that in Apple had also added multiple tracks (timelines) for video ( I think there on one video track in FCE). I don’t see how you could do chroma-key without it. I guess Apple is just doing what is popular right now ( in consumer level videography) and not what right for for a semi- professional app.

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Eugenia wrote on November 16th, 2007 at 9:21 AM PST:

I am not sure 1 video track is popular. The two consumer versions of Vegas support 4.

Joe wrote on November 18th, 2007 at 4:23 PM PST:

If I try to capture video from my HV20 into the new Final Cut Express at 30 frames per second will it capture and work? Is it that it will not work at 24 frames per second. If you could give me an answer (which Apple couldn’t) I would be most grateful. Thank you.


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Eugenia wrote on November 18th, 2007 at 5:21 PM PST:

Yes, when you record in 60i it will capture correctly. It will also work if you record in 24p, because HV20’s 24p is not “true” 24p, it is 24-in-60i stream. The problem only arises if you remove pulldown to that 24-in-60i stream and you create a true 24p fully progressive file. When you do that, then FCE can’t deal with it (or for any other true 24p stream).

Joe wrote on November 20th, 2007 at 8:53 AM PST:

FCE supports up to 99 video tracks.

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