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FCP X vs Adobe Premiere Pro, Part 2: Editing
David Smith on Mon, September 19th 4 comments
Much has been said about the radical new version of Final Cut Pro. So how does it compare to Adobe's Premiere Pro ? David Smith contrasts how both NLEs deal with the editing process.

Let's continue to compare and contrast the workflows of Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5. This time we'll have a look at the editing workflow. That is a big subject area I grant you, so I'll narrow that down a bit to comparing basic editing to the timeline workflows. 

Step 1 - Mark in and out points

Premiere Pro: Premiere sticks hard and fast with the more traditional method or Marking in the Source window, using routine playback controls such as Space, JKL or the on-screen controls. If you're in a real hurry you can also scrub through the footage by dragging the Source Window's playhead back and forth, though this is less accurate. 

The preview window

The preview window.

Marking in and out points can be done using either the Mark In and Mark Out on-screen buttons or by press in the I and O keys for In and Out respectively.

Premier marked clip

A marked clip in Premiere.

FCP X: Final Cut also depends on the traditional methods such as Space, JKL and the on screen controls. FCP X also offers a new method of navigation called skimming. It's similar to scrubbing however it's done by sliding the cursor along the clip in the Event Browser, so there is no selecting or dragging involved. 

Event Browser

FCP X's Event Browser.

Marking In and Out points in FCPX is also a little different. The I and O keys still function the same, however there are no buttons available. Instead, when you click and drag as you Skim through footage a Yellow Range selector appears indicating your marked areas.    

FCP Marked Clip

FCP Marked Clip.

Step 2 - Selecting a Destination Track

Premiere Pro: An edit point should be set in the Sequence. If no edit point is set, then the playhead's position will be used as an In point. 

Tip: This can be a timesaver if combined with pressing W (Go to Out Point) keyboard shortcut during a rough edit.  

Premier Sequence in point

Premiere Sequence in point.

You must stipulate which tracks you intend the media (Video, Audio or both) to be edited to. This must be done by activating the tracks and setting the source icon to those tracks. Not doing this will prevent the clip from actually arriving at its destination (though Premiere will still go through the actions of performing the edit).

Premiere Source/Destination Tracks

Premiere Source/Destination Tracks.

FCP X: There are no track options in FCP X, it creates them as they are required. Instead the edit will begin to form on the project's Primary Storyline automatically. 

Premiere Inserted Clip

FCP's storyline starts with the first clip.

Step 3 - Editing a Clip to the Timeline

Premiere Pro: Premiere has two methods of Targeted Editing, these are Insert Editing (press ,) and Overlay Editing (press .). 

Performing an Insert Edit will place the media on the desired track at the desired position and result in any media in place already shifting up to make space (not unlike someone pushing into a queue, but less objectionable).

Premiere Overlaid Clip

Premiere Inserted Clip.

Performing an Overlay Edit will also place the media on the desired track in the desired position. However, any media that occupies that position on that track will have been replaced by this usurping media. 

FCP Insert/Append buttons

Premiere Overlaid Clip.

FCP X: This is one area where FCP X performs very differently from traditional editing software as there are in fact 4 methods of targeted editing available. These are Insert, Overwrite, Append and Connect. I'm not going to cover Overwrite as an option as it's not really part of the primary editing toolset anymore though it is still available. I'm also going to miss out Connect, which is a great tool and works amongst other things as an FCP X replacement for track-based editing. We will cover these in a future article. So this article doesn't turn into a short novel lets stick to Insert Editing (press W) and Append Editing (press E).

FCP Appended Edit

FCP Insert/Append buttons.

Using the Append Edit method each clip marked in the Event Browser is placed directly at the end of the sequence appending itself to the current storyline. 

Note: Unlike Premiere, the Video and Audio are shown as part of the same clip in the project's timeline. 

The Insert Edit method is used to insert marked clips from the Event Browser into the Storyline by pushing existing media along to make space just in the same way as it does in Premiere Pro. However, FCP X uses only the playhead or skimmer position to set an in point. 

Tip: If both the skimmer and the playhead are set at different time codes, the skimmer's position is used for the edit. 

FCP Inserted Edit

FCP Inserted Edit.

As you can see both applications use similar tools but sometimes in very different ways. Whether you're a fan of FCP X's editing revolution or a hard-line traditionalist supporter of Adobe Premiere Pro, (or like me, enjoy both) the end result is the same and the most important thing is after all the edit itself. 

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Comments (4)

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  • BenB
    It is VERY wrong to not include Connected clips, as that is the alternative to tracks. It is also wrong to state there is no overwrite, as ther very much is, and it is very flexible and easy.
    • 9 years ago
    • By: BenB
  • David Smith
    I'm glad your a fan of FCPX Ben, but like I said at the start, it's a big subject and a limited space to write in. I'll be covering Connections in another article don't worry. As for Overwrite, I did mention it but I didn't go into detail as its not a primary editing function anymore in my opinion. Though it is very simple I agree.
    • 9 years ago
    • By: David Smith
  • ProPhotog
    After editing with FCPX for 3 months now I can tell you that not having tracks that I can control has become very time consuming because this timeline has elements jumping all over the place. There are times when I can drag a transition across the timeline and randomly another element will snag it, copy it and paste it to itself. I have list 3 pages long of weird stuff that happens when editing in FCPX. The Magnetic Timeline will not last among any editors who really want to speed up the the workflow! Deleting one element can delete more if not all of the project at Times.
    • 9 years ago
    • By: ProPhotog
  • David Smith
    If you're using a lot of storylines you might find consolidating them useful (similar to nesting). As for your other issues I havent heard of those before. Sounds like yours might be a bit buggy. Remember this is only version 1. With only the first update done, so like most apps it's not 100% fixed yet I doubt. Have you reported the issues to Apple? Maybe Ben has heard of some of them?
    • 9 years ago
    • By: David Smith
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