Should I learn Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro?

I’m not a big fan of Quora, but occasionally the questions and answers are relevant. I saw this one today:

Question: I want to gain hireable, professional-level experience and perhaps work in documentary filmmaking one day.

Here’s a portion of the response from Chris Keath, Broadcast Engineer:

Well, FCP 7 is still extremely common, but FCP X is not common at all, so… well, there ain’t just one FCP anymore. Note that FCP7 is no longer for sale by Apple, only X. FCP X is not very enterprise friendly (you can’t set the path to store your media for example, only the volume) and behind the scenes Adobe is scooping up the enterprise clients Apple stabbed in the back. Avid is still a player, even if they can only afford to play defense.

I was at a broadcast post production round table 2 weeks ago in NYC w/ guys from many big media companies in the city. None had deployed a single seat of FCP X into production, all the Avid shops were staying put, all the FCP 7 shops were heading to Premiere. Premiere is FCP 8 was the joke. It’s funny cuz it’s true – CS6 can open FCP7 projects, but FCP X really can’t – for many big houses, there was no where else to go.

CNN has standardized on Premiere, many seats use a scaled down version that looks a lot like Avid’s Newscutter, as have all the Hearst Stations. I know CBS Sports Network is also moving to Premiere, and that big parts of BBC are moving that way too. WGBH and many of the big PBS houses are Avid, as is HBO. Reuters is going over to Premiere.

Gary-Bettan, Owner of Videoguys.com, added:

If you intend to become a professional video content producer, you need to be learning Avid and Adobe. While Apple had a very large professional user base with FCP7, when they went to the radical new FCPX they lost major market share in the pro segment. FCPX is a fine program and Apple has been steadily improving it. That said it simply does not fit in or support many professional post and broadcast workflows.

Adobe is making a big push into the pro market. Premiere CS6 is a really good NLE, and many long time FCP users refer to it tongue in cheek as FCP8. Any pro video editor knows and uses Photoshop and After Effects. What makes Adobe really strong is how their titles interact adn work together. With Adobe it’s not just a bunch of titles marketed together as a suite. With Adobe CS6 you get an unprecedented level of integrations and inter-operability. Adobe sells student versions as well.

You can read more responses, here.

I’m not claiming to be totally neutral on the topic; here are my published thoughts on FCPX.

“I recently reviewed the new features in Final Cut Pro 10.0.3 and found them impressive. Overall, though, I abhor the program. When I run FCPX, my reaction is visceral; I feel the walls pressing in and my blood pressure rising. I adore the clean slate of Adobe Premiere Pro and its doppelganger Final Cut Pro 7. FCPX has so much structure, so many completely foreign concepts, that it feels like my 31″ monitor has shrunk to 17″.”

So, while I didn’t answer the question on Quora, I think you know which program gets my vote.

About Jan Ozer

I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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