There are many polarizing debates in the world of technology and video editing, and software is no exception. Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro are some of the most popular tools for the job and therefore both have their diehard fans. But if you want to make an objective decision about which to use yourself, what are some factors you should consider?
Render time is often something that people will bring up when it comes to video editing features – after all, it’s often the biggest time sink when it comes to making online video. However, while optimizations make Final Cut Pro X the likely choice for those who want the least amount of downtime, it’s not the only feature worth considering.
Adobe Premiere Pro is a much more open piece of software. It runs on a variety of hardware and is available for those running Windows and Mac machines. Because of that, collaboration is far easier, as you can send files to others to edit without checking if they’re running Apple hardware first. It also has Team Project files, which make the entire process of co-developing a video far simpler.
While Final Cut Pro X doesn’t have quite such a team-focus to its editing suite, its user interface is arguably easier to use, reducing multiple-click commands to fewer or even single clicks. It’s cleaner, more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and, thanks to its optimizations for Apple hardware, it’s a little kinder on battery life, too.
In terms of its usability, you’re going to find people who like it, and those who really don’t. Final Cut Pro X uses a magnetic, single-track timeline. When combined with some of the software’s additional features, like auditions, it’s pretty neat, but a lot of people prefer the classic, multi-track timeline.
That’s something Adobe Premiere Pro has, and it makes it feel more familiar to anyone who’s used other video editing tools, and arguably gives it deeper functionality through a more overt layering system. You can have various video clips on their own tracks, with sound effects and music in their own sections. It’s more organized, and gives you plenty of visual cues, so that you know where everything is at all times.
Premiere’s wider compatibility may mean that it loses out in the rendering race, but it also leads to it supporting more formats. It works with all sorts of different audio and video filetypes and a variety of codecs. It can export to a number of different formats too, which makes it a little more versatile than its Apple-produced counterpart.
That compatibility extends to other software, letting editors easily pull clips into other Adobe software – such as After Effects – to add something to the video that just isn’t possible within the editing software. Better yet, if you update the clips that you’re using within another program that’s also part of Adobe’s suite, it will automatically update that in your video’s timeline.
Final Cut Pro X does a pretty good job of letting you tweak things like color from within the software through plugins, but it’s hard to beat the options offered by Premiere in that respect. It has a number of color grading choices built right into the base software.
Even in the world of video editing tools, there is a lot to consider when it comes to which one will be right for you. But that’s perhaps the most important takeaway here: pick the one that’s best for the job you want it to do.
It’s unlikely that there will ever be a definitive editing tool that is the best option for everyone, as there is no way the developers can account for every nuanced difference between users. However, it seems safe to say that while Final Cut Pro X does have a better UI and faster rendering times, it loses out on some of the compatibility and support offered by Premiere.
The long and short of it is that working in large, collaborative groups on any hardware will likely steer you towards Adobe’s software suite, while solo projects for those with existing Apple hardware, may be better on Final Cut Pro X.
David Cogen, a regular contributor here at DigitalTrends, runs a popular tech blog TheUnlockr.com that focuses on tech news, tips and tricks, and the latest tech. You can also find him over at Twitter discussing the latest tech trends.