If you teach video, then you may eventually want to move beyond iMovie or MovieMaker. I want to move our program beyond iMovie and the next logical step is Final Cut Express. The price is pretty good. iMovie is free, but $99 a copy isn’t bad. To get the $99 price to to the Apple Store for Education and login via your school’s zip code.
I’ve only been playing around with my FCE 2.0 copy for a couple of days. So far I’ve found that FCE is a great tool with lots of great options. It is very flexible and not as hard to learn as I thought, once you understand how it is different from iMovie.
Now, I don’t have FCE HD yet. I noticed that Apple has shrewdly found a way to get you to cough up some cash for FCE HD training. But I like to play and learn on my own. You may not be like that. But I imagine that FCE HD will be similar to FCE 2.o, and I found these old tutorial files on Apples web site. The image files are broken, but the Quicktime movies work. I would download them and burn them to a disk for safe keeping.
The biggest differences between iMovie and FCE is the complexity and the concept of rendering. iMovie renders on the fly. The little red lines at the tops of transitions and effects when added. This may slow down your work flow, but for most students it is a good reminder to save NOW! And it is simple. FCE takes forever to render! It is a resource hog. Ouch. If you are going to use it get a lot of memory. So, that by itself could be an issue if you want to use it on more than 1 or 2 computers.
But it can do a lot of really cool things with titles, graphics and video effects that you just can’t do in iMovie. It can do brilliant lower thirds created in Photoshop and imported. It can chroma key using a green or blue screen. And you can add multiple layers of audio for multi layered effects.
I would not suggest trying to teach this to beginners. It will also slow down your work flow if you are on a deadline. iMovie is fast and easy. It may be limited, but you don’t have the learning curve of FCE.
All that being said, I do plan to purchase FCE for my classroom this year. It will be worth it in the long run. I have noticed that after two years of iMovie, most students need a challenge. This year, third year students will be expected to learn and use FCE for most, if not all of their projects.
I also want to start using FCE in our studio for green screen effects and to add Photoshop style titles to our daily announcement show. This will be worth the $1800 investment in the software.
I have run across a couple of video podcasts on iTunes that promise to be good resources and I will report back when I know more.
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