Final Cut Express basics

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Final Cut is a comprehensive audio and video editing software developed by Apple that is widely used to make and edit videos. One of the core features of Final Cut is the ability to make non-linear edits. This essentially means you have the ability to jump to different parts of the video and make multiple edits simultaneously. It is a break from linear editing process that was much more rigid in structure and provided very little flexibility. An added consideration is the fact that Final Cut only works on Macs and depending on the version of Final Cut, some are optimized for use only with the latest intel processors.

Final Cut is sold in two different forms

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Final Cut Studio ($999)
This is the full version of Final Cut and is mostly used for high end professional film and video editing. Media Composer and Final Cut Studio are the primary software tools used to edit and create professional movies and music videos. Almost 50% of all major video production (movies, documentaries and music videos) is done by Final Cut Studio.

Final Cut Express ($199)
And finally Express is the consumer version of Final Cut so to speak. It is practically the bare bones version of Final Cut that performs the basic functions of Final Cut with a few extras. It retains multiple video tracks, viewer and canvas viewer format and most customizing tools from cropping images to adding special effects. In short, it is a very capable software that can fulfill most general consumer needs for basic video projects. The major omittances are related to specific format issues that are mostly only needed for major film production and complex editing.

The limitations of Final Cut Express are highlighted below:

Limited Video Support
Final Cut Express will only support HDV video. Final Cut Pro on the other hand will support all HD formats. If you are shooting on a HDV camera at 1080i or 720p, MiniDV, DVCAM, or DVCPRO camcorder then you will be supported under Final Cut Express. DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO50, SD and HD card camcorder users as well as those shooting at 24fps will have to use Final Cut Pro HD.

In Final Cut Express HD you can only keyframe motion effects, not filters. Among video editors this is one of the most complained about disadvantages of Final Cut Express over Final Cut Pro.

Video Capture and Timecode
Final Cut Express HD will not display your timecode, nor allow you to batch capture or export video. Professional video editors will often want to batch record all of their clips at once onto the computer, with Final Cut Express each clip will have to be imported separately which can be time consuming for someone doing a large volume of video work.

Color Correction
In Final Cut Express you can not correct color using the three way color corrector. You can also not adjust the luminance or chrominance of your video or thin or soften your colors using Final Cut pro Express.

After Effects
One main draw of Final Cut Pro is its ability to work with Adobe After Effects Plug-Ins, Final Cut Express HD does not support After Effects plug-ins.

Mapping Keyboard Shortcuts
With Final Cut Express you can not custom map your keyboard 

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