Pros It's Cheap compared with Professional systems
Cons It simply doesn't work
Summary I'm not often compelled to write a review, but I'm infuriated by the shockingly poor quality of the products under the umbrella of 'Final Cut Studio 2'.
I have been a professional online editor / colourist for over 10 years using Avid products - mostly Symphony and now Symphony Nitris.
Many of my clients are moving over to FCP as a result of low cost compared with Avid products which is why I'm being forced to learn FCP.
In my professional opinion, FCP and it's associated applications, DO NOT WORK. It's as simple as that. I've tried to reproduce my day to day work-flow with the products available. This will either take about four times longer than the Avid route or is impossible.
FCP, Motion and Livetype may be capable of high end, gimmicks which will never be used by a broadcast editor but is simply incapable of doing simple things quickly and elegantly.
If this is the future, I'm getting out.
"Stable but Clunky"on by nikiacree
Pros Cheap and Solid
Cons Non-integrated and Non-functional
Summary I use Final Cut Studio 2 nearly every day. I like that it doesn't crash much and that it is fairly inexpensive. Seems to handle HD quite well.
Final Cut has a couple problems- snap to doesn't work well, so clips will often be off by one frame or so. Bins are problematic too because you can't organize thumbnails except by drag and dropping and the list mode doesn't have thumbnails.
Apple Color looks nice, but integration with FC is not fun. It's difficult to go back and re-adjust clips without exporting the whole project again.
Apple Motion's presets get in the way. I've found that many tools are tedious or unintuitive while others just don't work.
Pros Full featured production suite. Not much you can't accomplish.
Cons I'd like to see a full media management tool.
Summary With each revision, Final Cut Pro sets the bar higher for features in a production studio suite.
I should start by saying I'm an Avid user. There are things that drive me CRAZY in Final Cut. I don't blame Apple for these issues, it's just what happens when you're raised on a certain set of tools. I wind up hacking my way through the manuals looking for something that was "so easy to do!" on the Avid. Final Cut isn't worse, just different.
That bit of business out of the way, this package really rocks. Editing is snappy, the programs are all rock solid. It really does everything you'd want in an editing package. Apple is to be commended for the wealth of features it debuts with each release. Avid's industry standard Media Composer application has had very little development in the software over the past five years, and has fallen behind in the feature department. Apple continues to forge ahead, giving users more options and tools with each release. What's missing is a quality paint tool. Motion is supposed to be the answer for paint, but editors could use a good paint tool within Final Cut in their arsenal.
Soundtrack Pro is an application that started out as a nice supplement to Final Cut, but it's developed into an essential part of my workflow. With the new release, Apple has beefed up surround sound mixing and given users a massive library of sound effects for mixing. It's become my second most used application in this suite.
DVD Studio is probably the weak link here. Mostly because it's not as elegant as Final Cut or Soundtrack. It's in need of a serious overhaul, simplifying some of the tasks like returning to the home menu after playing. Today's DVD software should be smarter, intuiting where I'm going with a design, and auto-completing the mudane settings. Still, it's a powerhouse DVD design tool and I still use it a lot.
Motion is an app that many designers swear by. I can't get my head around it. I've used Adobe's After Effects program for so many years now, it's just impractical for me to change applications. So I can't give a fair review of this module.
Color is the freshman entry. I haven't done any serious grading on it, but I did pull some footage over and I've got to say, my days of using Synthetic Aperature's Color Finesse for grading and correction are over. Color fits the bill, it's snappy, and it's got a ton of secondaries, which are key to doing serious color work. The only downside is learning curve. It bears no graphic similarities to the other programs as far as interface, and operating it with good results takes practice.
LiveType is an app I wore out when it first came out. But the promise of LiveType has never panned out. There needs to be a huge aftermarket library of LiveType fonts, and it's just never developed. After a few years, the font animations seem dated. Still, for quick animated text, it does the job adequately, and the volume of presets makes it really useful for producing quality titles in a hurry.
The only real sticking point with Final Cut is the media manager. They desperately need to dissect what Avid is doing with regard to tracking assets and adopt their own version.
But in the end, these are just niggles. I rate the program a 9, because it really is nearly perfect editing platform. The biggest advantage to choosing Final Cut Pro is its hardware independence. You can put virtually any capture card on the system and it will work, and work well. Purchasing a capture card won't set you back the cost of a new car any more, and this makes Final Cut a wise choice.
Pros Final Touch added at no cost, Ability to handle high end files
Cons Workflow limited to Mac workstations
Summary CNET - Please stop overreaching. You have no business reviewing professional products. Please leave this to trade publications with the experience and knowledge to properly cover the subjects.
Pros Great interface, easy integration of software. Easy enough to move from program to program to get what you need done.
Cons Motion and color is a little difficult to learn.
Summary Excellent. No better way to make a professional looking video.