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From Final Cut to Premiere Pro

From Final Cut to Premiere Pro


I've been editing video professionally for nearly 8 years now. The key thing that I've learned is that imagination and creativity are essential, but without the tools to bring those ideas to your work in an efficient way, you will find yourself compromising on your ideas in order to stay on budget and meet your deadlines. Since 2006, I've been editing with Apple's Final Cut Pro. This choice was not so much my decision, but rather a choice that was made for me by the studio that hired me as well as it being known as the top choice in video editing on the mac platform at that time. And at the time, it was great, but I quickly found myself looking for features and methods to accomplish certain tasks that simply didn't exists in Final Cut Pro. After using FCP for 7 years, the software was feeling increasingly tired, I was itching for a change, and other options were available.

The main players on the market for video editing are Final Cut, Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer. The decision process didn't take long for me. Avid is priced at $999 Canadian, and I had no experience with it in any way, and neither did any of my colleagues, and so I ruled it out immediately.

And then there were 2 choices. Final Cut X with an attractive price tag of $300, or Adobe Creative Cloud.

Final Cut Pro X entered the market to immense criticism. It lacked a plethora of important features as well as backwards compatibility to previous versions of Final Cut. Over the next couple of years, Apple addressed many of the problems, so it did remain a contender for me, but it was up against Adobe's Creative Suite.

Adobe now offers its complete Creative Suite package on subscription basis. They call it Creative Cloud. A fee of $50 per month gives you access to the entire suite with updates and future versions as well as a chunk of cloud storage. Of course, it wouldn't take long for this monthly fee to add up and cost well beyond the price of Final Cut X, however, for that price you are getting the entire Creative Suite. My day to day projects generally have me working in video editing software, as well as image editing, motion graphics and compositing, vector illustration and often page layout as well. Creative Cloud offers all of this, and it is offered in a streamlined package where all the different software components are designed to play well with each other.

Adobe Creative Cloud was the easy winner for me. I purchased, downloaded and installed fairly quickly and began exploring.

This article will be most useful for people who are currently using Final Cut Pro and are thinking about making the switch!

Workflow and integration

I'll being with basic workflow. Adobe Premiere Pro plays very well with After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator. FCP 7 didn't have a clue what After Effects and Illustrator were, though it understood Photoshop files, but always in a cumbersome way. This alone makes life much simpler for me. Adobe uses a feature called dynamic linking which allows Adobe Premiere Pro to interact with After Effects dynamically. Dynamic linking also extends to Adobe Encore, the DVD authoring component of Creative Suite. Here is how it works; if you are editing a sequence in Adobe Premiere Pro and find that you need to add some effects that are beyond the capabilities of the software, simply select the clips you need to edit in After Effects, and choose to replace with After Effects composition. This will launch After Effects and open a composition with your selected clips from Adobe Premiere Pro laid in the way you had them edited. Meanwhile in Adobe Premiere Pro, your selected clips have been replaced by the After Effects composition that has launched. Do all you need to in After Effects, then save your project, and dynamically, your Adobe Premiere Pro sequence will reflect the changes you made in After Effects. No need to render out a movie from After Effects every time you make a change and import back into Adobe Premiere Pro. For the work I do, this feature can save me hours of rendering time every day. Amazing!

Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 4.34.54 PM

An other bonus with dynamic linking is its integration with Adobe Media Encoder.  I often find myself in situations where I need to render out multiple sequences from within one project.  With dynamic linking, I can simply import my Premiere Pro project into Media Encoder, and I will be given the option of which (if not all) sequences from within that project I want to render out.  This is a great way to quickly setup a batch render and then go about other business.  This applies to After Effects compositions as well!


Footage Handling

Next up, let's address native camera footage. Nowadays, nearly all footage I work with comes from a RED, a C300 or a Canon DSLR. All these formats can be natively imported into Adobe Premiere Pro. No need for transcoding! I am often filming trips, where I shoot all day and edit in the evenings to upload videos overnight. The ability to backup my footage and then edit immediately saves me hours of transcoding, and on days when I only return to my hotel at 9:00pm or 10:00pm, the time saved is invaluable! With respect to RED footage, R3D files can be imported into Adobe Premiere Pro allowing base level colour correction and editing without having to use REDCine. A very nice touch.

Aside from the way Premiere can effortlessly import media from a variety of sources, it reads memory cards from cameras very well. Adobe Premiere Pro has a panel called the media browser, not to be confused with the project panel which houses all the media that has been imported in to your project. On the surface this appears to present itself as something similar to a finder window embedded into Adobe Premiere Pro, however it it much more helpful than that. Most digital footage sources on memory cards are nested within a series of folders. The Media Browser cuts through the clutter and gets you right to your footage. Rather than having to sift through multiple layers of folders to find your clips, once you select the memory card root folder, all your clips are present for browsing. This is particularly helpful with RED and C300/500 footage. A big time saver (and an annoyance saver). As an added bonus, the media browser has a drop down where you can select a particular type of file to find the content on your hard drive that you are looking for quickly, be it .r3d files, .png files, or many others.

Media Bin

An other nice feature of Adobe Premiere Pro is the Media Bin.  When viewing clips in the thumbnail view, you can scale up the size of the thumbnails to about 650 pixels wide.  When scaling down, they reach about 100 pixels wide.  This is a giant leap from FCP, where there are only 3 size options, with the largest being under 100 pixels wide.

When moving your mouse over a clip, you can see how it progresses, with the left hand side of the clip being the start and the right being the end.  You can also click a clip and press the space bar to play the clip directly in the thumbnail.  Of course, you have the option to open the clip in the source window (known as viewer in FCP) as well.

My criticism of Adobe Premiere Pro's Media Bin is as follows;  When in the thumbnail view, sorting is done manually as if you were creating a storyboard from all your clips.  It lacks the ability to 'sort' clips by name, date, etc.  I think this is a big miss by Adobe.


Timeline Panel

Adobe Premiere Pro's timeline panel offer a number of features I find very helpful. Tracks, both audio and video, can be given custom names to keep things organized. The height of each track on the timeline can also be adjusted, so that way you can focus on the tracks you are currently working on and make all others smaller, or toggle them down all together. One small criticism that I have to Adobe Adobe Premiere Pro is snapping on the timeline. Clips snap nicely at some times, but it seems inconsistent. The snapping functionality, in my experience doesn't always work the way you would expect.

timeline panel


One of the things that upset me the most about FCP7 was working with titles. Final Cut lacked flexibility and control. It blocked out font subsets and wasn't able to allow for multiple styles within one title. To achieve anything more than a very basic title, a third party plug was needed. Adobe Premiere handles all this beautifully and adds to ability to add shapes within the native titler. The main functional difference in Adobe Premiere Pro is that every title you create is stored in your project as a different file, so you have to be careful not to make changes to one because it will change your original. You will need to duplicate the title first before making changes. This is an extra step however it is a small price to pay for all the added features and functionality that comes with Adobe Adobe Premiere Pro titler.


Keyboard Shortcuts

I use After Effects in equal proportions to my video editing software. Within After Effects, I am very comfortable with using keyboard shortcuts to speed up my workflow. Having Adobe Premiere Pro using mostly the same shortcuts makes things much quicker. Final Cut used its own set of shortcuts and switching between the two always led to me hitting the wrong shortcut. If however, you are comfortable with the Final Cut shortcuts, or even Avid for that matter, Adobe Premiere Pro has an option to configure the shortcuts to act as they would in FCP or Avid Media Composer.


For all the above reasons amongst other, I am very satisfied with my decision to make the switch from Apple's Final Cut Studio to Adobe Creative Suite.

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with me by email or on Facebook.

DSLR Gear doesn't need to break the bank!


DSLR Gear doesn't need to break the bank!


Cameras are expensive. So are lenses. But there is lots of very useful gear that you can buy at a very affordable price, and will help you out in your day to day filming. I shoot with a Canon 60D, so the gear I'm referring to is made for that camera, but most of it can apply to many other cameras. This article is targeted at beginners trying to get started on a limited budget, or more advanced users who are looking to spend less money than they have been spending.

Living in Canada, we are faced with a far smaller selection of items than our friends to the south, but the items we have access to are generally more expensive. Of course, if price is not an issue, then you can find anything you need in Canada, both in store and online, but for the budget conscious folks like myself, price is the main issue.

Before we begin, one great tool that will make any 'less expensive' camera, like the t2i perform at a muchh higher level is Magic Lantern... And it's free! To read more on that click here.

Don't get me wrong... most things aren't free, but my goal in this post is to lessen the financial burden while still getting the gear you need. Let's start with the basics.


Something we all need. The 60D takes LP-E6 batteries, as does the 7D and the 5D. will charge you $129 for this battery. will charge you $50 for an aftermarket battery. I bought 2 Opteka batteries including a wall and car charger for $29.99. I bought 2 packs of these, for a total of 4 extra batteries and 2 sets of chargers. for $60. Half the price of what Futureshop is charing for 1 battery.

In my experience so far, the batteries are working great. Their power usage reads accurately on the camera and they last just as long the original Canon battery that came with the camera. The one downside of these, is that when registering them on the camera, they all register with the same serial number and so you cannot track which is which within the camera. A small compromise in my opinion for the price. Click here to see this on

Battery Grip

Staying on the subject of batteries, the BG-E9 is Canon's battery grip for the 60D. Vistek and Lozeau sell this item for $329. While, a battery grip is helpful as it can store 2 batteries simultaneously, doubling your power, as well as ease vertical shooting and and make the camera easier to hold for some, at that price I'd consider it overkill for my needs. Unless I would be able to buy an aftermarket version of the BG-E9 for $33.

This grip from appears to be identical to the Canon model and has worked great for my purposes so far. It attaches to the camera very snugly, and does everything it is supposed to do. It can also take AA batteries if you are out of LP-E6s. There are lots of version of this grip available, so make sure to buy one that is well ranked by other users. Once

LED Light

When shooting video, light is essential. Natural light is great... and cheap! But it is often not available, or inadequate.

LED lights have become very common and very practical these days, with their low power consumption and small sizes. I picked up a light from Cowboy Studios on for under $50. It gets pretty bright and attaches to your cameras hot shoe. It also comes with a white filter to soften the light and a yellow filter to reduce colour temperature. A very handy tool to have in your kit, and depending on the type of shooting you do, you may want to pick up a couple of these, and attach them together, or place them in different areas.

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Viewfinder / Loupe

Focusing on a subject on a sunny day can be very tricky. With the bright light of the sun, it is very difficult to see an lcd screen and make out the finer details.

I picked up an LCD viewfinder/loupe from Cowboy Studios on Amazon for $28. There certainly are more involved versions of this technology, that will run you $200 or more, but for my purposes, this does a fantastic job! Not only does it block out light from glaring on your LCD screen, it also magnifies your liveview by about 2x to 2.5x, making focusing and seeing detail so much easier.

The viewfinder I bought comes with a magnetic backing so it can snap to your lcd screen for convenient placement and removal. The problem, however, is that if you shoot with a 60D like myself, or any camera with a articulating lcd screen, the magnetic mount will prevent you from closing your lcd screen inwards. I decided to come up with a strapping system to attach my viewfinder without having to glue anything or prevent any of the cameras functionality. I'll explain more about this in a future post.

[singlepic id=33 w=300 h=240] [singlepic id=34 w=300 h=240] Click here to see this on


I won't spend much time or this section, only because this is an area where I chose to spend some money. I use a Rode Videomic Pro. It does a great job, it's compact and it attaches conveniently to your cameras hot shoe mount. I payed about $280 for this mic and the accompanying dead cat to reduce wind noise.

[singlepic id=35 w=300 h=240] [singlepic id=36 w=300 h=240] Rode VideoMic Pro


You may be thinking, if I have a light and microphone, and I want to attach them both at one time to my hot shoe mount, I'm going to have a problem. Not true. There are tons of brackets available that allow you to do just that. Brackets can add 1 or many extra hot shoe mounts to your camera. I chose a 'Y' attachment because it is inexpensive and compact, but there are many models to choose from. Just pick the one that suits your needs. The one I chose was the VB-20 from Opteka and it cost me $15 on


This is an other area where I was willing to spend some money. Because I do a lot of run and gun shooting, I wanted to find a tripod that can double as a monopod. I did lots of research of it seemed that I was going to be paying about $280 for an aluminum model or over $400 for a carbon fiber model. (Carbon Fiber products are far lighter that their aluminum equivalents.) Through shear luck I spotted the Giottoes VBRN-8255 at Royal Photo in Montreal! This is a carbon fiber tripod/monopod that folds up very small and it super light-weight. What a great find! At the time of this article, these models are still on sale at Royal Photo for only $249.99! An amazing deal for a carbon fiber tripod!

[singlepic id=37 w=300 h=240] [singlepic id=38 w=300 h=240]

Of course, there is a never-ending amount of camera gear that one can purchase, but these are just a few of the choice items I like, some of which are very affordable and very helpful!

Happy shopping!