Guide to Transitioning from iMovie to Final Cut Pro X

In life, we grow out of many things. It can be beds, clothes, shoes, you name it. However, sometimes we find ourselves growing out of software. This occurs when the features within the application or software is just too amateur for either your liking or the tasks you need to accomplish. This is best highlighted through iMovie and Final Cut Pro. While iMovie can be what most editors need, serious cinematographers feel that Final Cut Pro makes their projects a bit easier and a lot more productive to get done on Final Cut. Today, we won’t have a review, but rather a guide on how to transition.

Do You Need to Upgrade?

transition from imovie to final cut pro: do you need to upgrade?

First, let’s look at why you may want to upgrade and if that’s even necessary to do.

There are many individuals out there who may have been putting off the upgrade because they thought Final Cut Pro was too difficult to use. If this was you, then you may be in luck. Apple has made the latest version of Final Cut Pro X very easy to use, some have even called it iMovie Pro due to the ease of use for previous users. – Good idea to upgrade?: Yes!

Maybe you want to use XML in post production. You may feel that a more upgraded video editing software could support this in a snap. Sorry to tell you, but that’s just not the case with Final Cut Pro X. The software doesn’t support it. While you may want to run out and get a third party add-on, the pickings are a bit slim and if you go out and spend for an add-on, you won’t be helping the situation much. – Good Idea to upgrade?: No!

Unless you are working heavily on tape cameras or still use Final Cut Pro 7, you may still find the upgrade worth it. if this is you, then let’s continue on with the transition!

Where to Begin

transition from imovie to final cut pro: do where to begin?

So, where should you start when doing the transfer? First off, you’ll need to make your way over to the App Store to purchase Final Cut Pro X. The software is currently digital only, so there’s no need for a CD drive in this transition, however you will need to fork out $299.99.

After downloading, your first thing on the to-do list will be to transfer all of your projects from iMovie to Final Cut Pro X. This process is already long enough as it is, so it’s highly recommended to go through your iMovie projects before hand and see what truly needs to be transferred and what can either stay behind or go to the trash.

transition from imovie to final cut pro: importing files from iMovie

Importing is very easy to do. Simply go to “Import” in the top menu bar. From there, click “iMovie Project”. You can now click which projects you want to import. Yes, you can choose which ones, however, if you followed my tip aforementioned, this process will be a lot easier because you can just click to send them all over at once. Thankfully, however, you don’t have to worry about making any other adjustments. The project imports just like how it looked in iMovie.

Importing and Exporting

Let’s dig a bit into the differences between iMovie and Final Cut Pro X regarding some basic things you have to get done in editing. First off, importing and exporting will be the most important thing you’ll have to understand with both programs.

We went a little into how to import iMovie projects. However, it’s important to remember that with Final Cut Pro, certain features (for example, those convenient movie trailers included in iMovie 11) and other iMovie centred features don’t import well into Final Cut Pro X. A good thing with Final Cut Pro X is, like iMovie, your projects automatically save. This means that saving after each use isn’t needed.

transition from imovie to final cut pro: Sharing

One important note that is different in Final Cut Pro is that importing and updating of projects are done all in the background. This means that you can dive right into your project while everything is being taken care of. In terms of exporting, this is similar to that found in iMovie. You have more exporting options that you will find under the “Share” menu.

Other importing notes: You cannot import iMovie HD projects. You may wonder who in the world still uses iMovie HD? Many individuals still enjoy iMovie HD, especially those who never took up learning their way around the new iMovie This may seem like no problem now, however, if you do make the transition, you’ll have to purchase the newest iMovie, export to that version, and then export to Final Cut Pro X.

Optimizing iMovie To Save Money

Maybe you found out in this article that you don’t need to upgrade to Final Cut Pro. There may even be a possibility that you can’t even upgrade to iMovie. If this is the case for you, then there are a couple of tips out there that can help you to optimize the iMovie that you left with and make it work for your needs.

First off, the problem may lie in your camera itself. If your camera isn’t working with what you are trying to get done (for example, better colour/image enhancement options or audio), you may be able to go the cheaper route by getting a new camera. For under $300, you can get an HD video recorder or digital camera.

Secondly, the iMovie performance can lie in the performance of your whole Mac in general. This may mean that a Mac cleanse should be in order. Additionally, when importing, you may want to convert the clip to a more iMovie friendly format. This can be done within iMovie (“File -> Optimize Video”). When importing, it may be wise to move file rather than copy. Copying makes another clip, while moving will not add to your hard drive’s space taken up.

Ari Simon
Ari Simon

Ari Simon has been a writer with Make Tech Easier since August 2011. Ari loves anything related to technology and social media. When Ari isn't working, he enjoys traveling and trying out the latest tech gadget.

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