Should I Learn Final Cut Pro as a Filmmaker?



01/04/2012

If you’re interested in filmmaking these days, chances are you’ve heard of Final Cut Pro.


Although there are plenty of other film editing software products on the market (such as Adobe Premiere and Media Composer), Final Cut Pro seems to be the one most talked about. As an aspiring filmmaker, how important is it that you learn Final Cut Pro?


What is Final Cut Pro, exactly? It is a digital video editing software, part of Apple’s selection of software programs and available only for the Mac platform. Unlike Apple’s consumer-friendly iMovie software, Final Cut is an expansive pro-line program with a wide range of editing features, able to process video shot in a variety of formats, including HD. Final Cut can be found in several forms; there is a “lite” version, Final Cut Express, and a “Final Cut Studio” which bundles Final Cut Pro with related Apple programs such as Soundtrack Pro, Color and Cinema Tools.


Perhaps the most compelling argument for why you should learn Final Cut Pro as a filmmaker is that this program has become so widely used that it is currently a film industry standard. The list of major motion pictures edited with Final Cut is long and growing, and includesThe Ring, Intolerable Cruelty, Napoleon Dynamite, Where the Wild Things Are, The Social Network, Cold Mountain, (500) Days of Summer, The Simpsons Movie, Zodiac, Me and You and Everyone We Know, and many others. Famed filmmakers the Coen Brothers have used Final Cut Pro to edit virtually all of their films made in the past decade, including True Grit, A Serious Man, Burn After Reading, The Ladykillers andNo Country for Old Men. The list of film credits alone should be enough to convince anyone of the importance of this program to the modern film industry.


So which version of Final Cut Pro should you use? In a perfect world, the latest version of any software should be the greatest; however, many filmmakers feel that the most recent version of Final Cut Pro (version X) was a major step backward compared to previous releases. Many felt that Final Cut Pro X was designed too much like an expanded version of iMovie, and as a result, many filmmakers went back to previous versions. New and updated versions are coming out all the time, so your best bet is to check filmmaker reviews of the various versions of Final Cut Pro to find out which is most popular.


Regardless of what version you use, if you’re a serious filmmaker, Final Cut Pro is a software program you definitely need to become familiar with.