Media Composer and Final Cut Comparison — The Basics

In one way or another, most editors are facing a choice between Final Cut and Media Composer these days. Historically, Los Angeles has been very much an Avid town, but the question of a switch, if not the answer to that question, is certainly on the minds of many of us. There have been a lot of comparisons made between the two applications in the press, but they generally focus on visual effects and other glossy items from the manufacturer’s feature lists. Bread and butter tasks are rarely covered in detail.

Just because a machine can do great real-time color correction or six-layer effects, doesn’t mean that it will work best for the things we in “longform” do all day long. I don’t necessarily need a Swiss Army Knife. A really precise scalpel is much more important. But, of course, it would be nice to have both, and thus we are starting to look across the fence.

I’ve been thinking about editing software for almost two decades and though I certainly don’t know everything, I probably know as much about the comparative strengths of the two applications as anybody. So I’ve put together this post, comparing the basics.

The caveat, off course, is that my thinking comes from an Avid perspective. I helped design the Media Composer and I’ve cut lots of shows with it. I’ve only been trained on Final Cut and cut a few scenes with it. Though I’ve done my best to be fair, I’m sure I’ve gotten some things wrong. Please post your comments and let me know what you think.


Final Cut is fast and responsive on Macintosh, takes advantage of multiple processors and works smoothly on slower hardware, but Motion and Soundtrack Pro require a fast machine. The Media Composer requires fast hardware with plenty of RAM. It runs on both PC and Mac, but with unique quirks, performance issues and bugs on each platform.

The Avid is more fluid because there’s more focus on making editorial decisions based on moving video. Final Cut relies heavily on a desktop publishing metaphor and most editing takes place by moving things around in the timeline. It requires heavy use of a tool palette. FCP is probably easier to learn for computer-savvy beginners. The MC works better for experienced editors.

Final Cut is smarter when working on hardware of different kinds. Windows have magnetic edges and resize together, making it much easier to deal with a wide range of monitor sizes. The keyboard shortcut palette knows what kind of keyboard is attached and allows you to customize functions to that specific keyboard. Avid still shows its heritage as a system based on a rigid monitor configuration with a specific keyboard. It can adapt to other hardware but isn’t as slick as FCP.

Project Structure

In the MC a project consists of multiple bin files on disk. The application merges the files into a single database while you work. An FCP project consists of a single file. Bins live within the project and are a bit harder to access individually.

In the MC, projects that reside on a Unity server can be shared. Multiple editors can simultaneously look at the same bin. The system intelligently allows only one to write to it at a time. Shared projects aren’t yet possible in FCP.

Media Composer clips follow a rigid “inheritance” hierarchy, making it possible to change the data on a master clip and have that change propagate into all sequences where the clip is used. It’s also easy to step back through a clip’s “parents” and reconstruct it’s sources. Final Cut clips are mostly independent of each other. When a clip is cut into a sequence a new instance of the clip is created in the sequence. This allows sequence clips to be loaded into the viewer for modification, something that makes no sense in an Avid. Final Cut’s approach is simpler but Avid’s fits better into a typical Hollywood workflow.

Avid employs a “media database” and expects all media to live in a media folder at the root level of each drive. If you change something in that folder the MC instantly knows about it and reindexes the folder. The MC expects all media to be in its own formats. Anything you feed it gets converted and copied to the media folder. For the most part, the resulting file names are meaningless gibberish to humans. Final Cut lets you put media anywhere and any Quicktime file is fair game. The side effect is that it’s easier to lose things. Final Cut names files based on clipnames so if you do lose media, you stand a chance of finding it again. Assistants tell me that the MC’s media tool is way more capable than Final Cuts Media Manager, but I don’t have direct experience of this.


FCP allows for crude trimming via dragging in the timeline, which can be quicker for some tasks. But Avid’s trim mode is head and shoulders above FCP’s, especially when trimming complex sequences with many overlapped tracks. Trim rollers make it instantly clear what is being trimmed. Trim edge outlines move in real-time as the trim is adjusted. And it’s possible to make an asymmetrical trim and monitor any portion of the cut, a critical capability when working with dialog. For many feature and television editors Final Cut’s lack of advanced trimming capabilities is a fundamental roadblock to creativity. In addition, FCP can’t show moving video during a slip or slide, and you can’t use JKL to make those kinds of trims.


Final Cut’s timeline is in “segment mode” all the time. This means that to move the play cursor around you have to click and drag in a narrow track above the clip area. In the MC you can click anywhere and segment mode must be turned on, when you need it.

Final Cut can change the timeline magnification and scroll it while playing, a big advantage. But neither application does the simplest and most important thing, namely re-centering the timeline when you play off the edge of the visible area. The thirty dollar Amadeus audio editor does that and you get used to it very quickly. Final Cut’s timeline won’t zoom in around the cursor if a clip is selected. It also allows multiple sequences to be open in the timeline simultaneously with tabs.

Avid’s patch panel and it’s ability to show the source timeline makes it much easier to cut one sequence into another. In Final Cut, you typically use cut and paste to do this. But Final Cut allows you to select all clips to right or left in timeline, which is very useful for opening up space in the middle of a complex sequence. FCP also offers a grabber hand in the timeline, which is nice for moving the timeline around quickly.

Final Cut offers a nesting metaphor that allows one sequence to be place inside another. No Avid equivalent exists. But effects can be placed on empty tracks in a Media Composer allowing one to put a matte over an entire sequence, for example. To do that in FCP you have to nest the sequence and apply the effect to the nest.

FCP does not remember the complete state of the application when you quit and restart. In the Avid, every window that was open when you quit comes back, along with the clips that were loaded into the monitors.

In FCP, dupes are shown in the timeline whether the clip is duplicated in current track or some other track. In the MC, dupes only reference the current track.

In the MC, scrubbing and snapping can be activated quickly with modifier keys. In FCP you have to deliberately turn these features on and off. And snapping only moves from head frame to head frame. In the MC you can jump to heads with the command key down and tails with command+option.

The Mac Media Composer has improved its scrubbing performance lately, but Final Cut is still significantly faster. When dragging through the timeline Final Cut also gets more frames on the screen so you see more of the material you’re scanning past. The PC Media Composer is better and more or less comparable to Final Cut.

In FCP there’s no indication that a clip carries an effect without a timeline mode change. The MC shows effected clips by default. In FCP you can drag a clip from the viewer or a bin and let go on the space above or below the TL tracks to create and simultaneously edit into new tracks, a convenience.


Final Cut uses a linking metaphor that causes synched clips to move together in the timeline. This can be handy when dragging things around. Final Cut can also lock clips into arbitrary sync relationships in the timeline. This is useful if you want to tie sound effects to picture, for example. Final Cut can also slip or move a clip into sync with a simple contextual menu pick. An Avid timeline feature, sync locks, allows you to do a variety of editing functions without worrying about sync.

The Media Composer makes it trivially easy to resync subclips to quarter frame accuracy and the new sync relationship is inherited to all cuts made from that clip, wherever they are. In Final Cut you can resync to 1/100th of a frame accuracy, but it’s not easy or intuitive to do so.

Neither application will create head and tail leaders automatically.


The Media Composer offers a convenient undo history via a contextual menu pick. You can go back many steps at once. Final Cut offers no history, so you must undo one event at a time.

Final Cut undoes just about everything, while the MC only undoes changes to the timeline. As a result, FCP will undo the creation or deletion of a sequence or subclip, which can really save your bacon if you make a mistake. But when you’ve made an alternate version, saved it as a subclip, and then want to undo the timeline back it’s original state, you’ll be frustrated – the alternate in the bin will disappear.


In FCP, markers can be moved in the timeline, and can have durations. They are displayed in a text-view bin, so you can treat them almost like clips. But the MC allows you to see all locators in a single window and to print them, together with their text, which can be critical for visual effects turnover.

FCP uses separate shortcuts to jump to markers, marks and cuts. Avid’s simpler “Fast Forward” button will stop on events chosen in preferences.

Avid offers a “Phantom Marks” feature that can be very useful for measuring and predicting the effect of an edit.


In the MC, frame icons can be as large as you need. FCP’s are limited to postage stamp size, which is too small for some of us. When you move multiple icons around on the screen, the MC provides navigation outlines to show you where they are going. In FCP you’re dragging blind. The MC’s “fill sorted” feature allows frame view clips to be sorted into neat rows in alphabetical order in one step. It can also scroll multiple frame icons at once, allowing you to choose representative frames for a group of clips in one step.

To my mind, neither application provides enough information about clips in frame view. Data that would appear like a tool tip would be welcome. So would two lines of info below the clip.

In Final Cut, sequences are displayed with a generic icon. In the MC a sequence is displayed just like any other clip, using a frame from the sequence.

Final Cut doesn’t integrate with a script. Avid has lined script functions built in. Coming soon, Avid will allow clips to be aligned to a script via automatic voice and character recognition (and yes, it seems to work).


Final Cut will play as many audio tracks as possible with hardware. The Media Composer can only play 16 tracks at once. Final Cut offers bezier audio keyframes, which can make for smoother transitions.

When mixing, FCP can lay down sparse keyframes. In the MC, when doing live mixing, hundreds and hundreds of keyframes are created, which makes managing the mix very difficult. Final Cut can also copy and paste audio keyframes from one clip to another, a big advantage. But the MC can raise or lower multiple keyframes in one move with the mouse. Final Cut’s mixer displays as many sliders as can fit on the screen, while Avid’s defaults to four and will only show eight at a time. Final Cut will also display audio waveforms without a performance penalty. Avid’s waveforms are more detailed but they slow the system down. The MC can also enlarge waveforms vertically without enlarging the track itself, a neat trick when you’re working with audio at low volumes.

Final Cut comes out a bit ahead here, but neither application offers enough flexibility. For example, neither allows the slipping of keyframes within a clip. Neither allows multiple keyframes to be moved together in time (horizontally) and neither allows keyframes to be moved numerically. Both applications only apply keyframes and audio effects to clips, not sequences.

Soundtrack Pro offers a level of audio control unmatched on the Media Composer, but you must use two applications to do it; and Soundtrack doesn’t integrate well with Pro Tools, so the work you do there isn’t going to end up in the hands of your sound editors.

Visual Effects

Final Cut intelligently reduces video quality and/or frame rate in order to preview complex effects in real-time. In the MC, you can choose to reduce playback quality to play more effects in real-time, but the controls aren’t automatic and the resulting degradation applies to the whole sequence.

In Final Cut, transparency and other blending attributes can be directly manipulated in the timeline without going into an effect mode. And Final Cut’s fade-in-and-out effect is much smarter than the Avid equivalent. Avid’s fades can turn into dissolves if they aren’t cut against black.


The applications offer similar Multicam functionality. Final Cut allows clips to be added to a group, an advantage, but group clips that have already been cut into a sequence do not inherit the added clip.


Final Cut’s basic titles don’t need rendering, but the UI is very text oriented and unintuitive. Motion offers elaborate title effects that the Media Composer can’t approach.

Avid’s title tool is limited and badly dated. Marquee is more powerful (it makes much nicer drop shadows, for example) but it’s terribly unintuitive. Regardless of how you make a title in the Avid, it must be rendered, although render times for titles are very quick. Changing an existing title is frustrating and confusing (especially with Marquee) and render files end up in inappropriate places. And you can’t match frame on a title to get back to the original source clip.

Neither application offers robust and easy to use title capabilities within the application. Most important for longform editors, neither allows for title styles where multiple titles can be changed at once by changing the style, the way you can in MS Word, for example.


Apple copied Avid’s list functionality almost verbatim, and in the process made the software simpler, more consistent and less buggy. But entering and manipulating data means awkwardly moving back and forth between Cinema Tools and FCP. In the Media Composer all your source data is in the bin and immediately accessible.

Avid’s lists can do just about anything, but the software is really showing its age. Many bugs lurk. It’s difficult to print lists and difficult to find the data you want. Effects lists are particularly troublesome with many editors simply ignoring them and making lists by hand.

List making is rarely an isolated task and should be part of the editing application. Avid’s software originally worked this way, but the list functionality was subsequently stripped out. Neither application does everything we need.

Data Display

Final Cut shows clip data as an overlay over paused video. The Media Composer shows one or two rows of selectable data above monitors. Avid offers more available data, but getting to it can be awkward.

Final Cut now allows for navigation in feet and frames, but not all entry fields will do it. Avid offers feet and frames throughout the application.

Feature and TV editors need to apply real-time footage and timecode burnins on outputs. ABVB Avids once could do this in hardware, but since then various kludges have been necessary. I’m told that MC and FCP now both allow this, but I have yet to see it work.


The good news for editors is, of course, the horse race. As long as Avid and Final Cut compete vigorously, we win. Both applications have come a long way in the last couple of years and today are more similar than they are different. FCP’s main contribution has been its workflow model: one application does it all at a wide variety of video resolutions, works on many kinds of hardware, and does its job using the power of the host CPU. This makes our editing environment less expensive, more flexible and more mobile. In many other ways, Final Cut has copied the Media Composer, with the very big change that the timeline remains in “segment mode” all the time. Avid has been the interface leader, but it has had to scramble to compete with the fundamentally disruptive workflow change that Final Cut represents.

The winner, for me, remains the Media Composer, primarily, at this point, because of its trimming controls. It’s just a whole lot harder to cut dialog without them. Avid also wins in my book for the fluidity of the timeline, which has a lot to do with the fact that you don’t have to click in a small track to move the cursor around, you can snap to heads and tails using a modifier key, and you can turn scrubbing on and off the same way. But Final Cut does some things better than the Media Composer these days and those improvements, especially the ability to do really slick titles in Motion and sophisticated sound work in Soundtrack Pro, make it more and more interesting.

Final Cut’s advantages include:

  • more adaptable to a variety of screens and keyboards
  • better mixing controls with the ability to record sparse keyframes
  • faster scrubbing and more responsive dragging than MC Mac
  • intelligent realtime player shows as many effects as possible without much need for configuration
  • ability to scale the timeline while video continues to play
  • easier to drag clips around in the timeline
  • easy to open up space in the middle of a complex sequence
  • ability to undo the deletion of a sequence
  • tight integration with Motion and Soundtrack Pro

Avid’s advantages include:

  • much more powerful trim controls
  • ability to share a project among many editors
  • able to view a source sequence in the timeline
  • more powerful when cutting one sequence into another
  • undo history submenu
  • easier access to snapping and ability to snap to tails
  • scrubbing can be turned on and off with a modifier key
  • much easier resyncing
  • better data displays
  • superior clip inheritance
  • better media management
  • bigger clip icons in bins
Explore posts in the same categories: Avid, Avid vs. Final Cut, Final Cut

24 Comments on “Media Composer and Final Cut Comparison — The Basics”

  1. Brettedits Says:

    Great review, though I’m sure not the first on the net, your current ‘snapshot’ view of the MC vs FCP landscape is right on and addresses many questions we editors here have on our minds. We do television episodic, single camera stuff so many of the points you discussed are very pertinent to our decision making process here. Great work on the blog!


  2. Norman Says:

    There are a lot of FCP versus Avid comparisons out there on the web, but this is by far one of the most detailed and useful for working editors of longform media. You call it “The Basics” and that’s true, but only in the sense that it lists features. The features that you are talking about, however, are not basic at all.

    Great work.

    One issue that you haven’t discussed in much detail is the networking issue. At USC we’re all on LanShare. We looked into XSan and found it not robust enough for an environment with hundreds of editors. That was a year and half ago and I’d be interested if anyone has done a comparison since then.

  3. mark R Says:


    While I respect your credentials and contributions to the industry, this comparison suffers from your “twenty years vs. twenty minutes” difference of experience between systems. At least you acknowledge that from the start.

    It’s clear where your heart lies, so I won’t try to convince you otherwise. However, the things that you see as flaws or weaknesses in FCP are the exact things that have given FCP such appeal to many former avid users. Criticizing trim mode is an easy target for a “true purple” Avid user because FCP takes a different approach to the timeline. If you take the time to really become comfortable on FCP, this trimming becomes less of an issue.

    Regarding the response from Norman about networking: X-SAN not robust enough? We’ve been operating a one hundred seat FCP/X-SAN system for the past two years, creating hundreds of hours of network programming. We never could have done that with a less “robust” system. I’d suggest you take another look at what X-SAN can do.

  4. Martin Baker Says:

    As someone who edited on Avids for 8 years until 2003 (and will never touch one again), the killer feature for me is the ability to independently enable and disable every clip on the timeline. Imagine you’ve tried out a cutaway but you’re not convinced and might want to come back for another look later. Just select the clip(s) and hit Ctrl-B to disable and it won’t play.

    BTW Shift-S enables and disables audio scrubbing which makes a lot more sense than having all your typing in coming out in CAPS BECAUSE YOU’VE GOT AVID’S AUDIO SCRUBBING ON :-)

    Multicam – yes the ability to add additional angles is a brilliant feature and it is possible to add angles to clips already on the timeline by selecting “Insert New Angle Affiliates” rather than plain old “Insert New Angle”.

  5. Sean Lander Says:

    Bravo for tackling such a task. However there are so many errors in your article that it seems a bit unfair to Final Cut Pro. Saying that you can only trim in the timeline is just plain wrong. FCP has all the same features as Avid in Trim mode. Including asymmetric. I started editing with Avids back in 1991 and became a certified Avid trainer so I know the system inside out. Your right when you say that Avid has better media management, but as for project structure it is way behind FCP. Having just completed a feature film with FCP I couldn’t imagine using Avid’s antiquated system of Bins that can’t be searched unless they’re open. (I had more than 100 bins) IMHO Avid is still a Rolls Royce of straight cutting, but thats it. It’s head in the sand approach over the last 10 years means it has a lot of work to do in trying to catch up with the young apprentice. I for one will choose FCP every time.

    Sean. (24 years editing, 12 Non-Linear)

  6. Loren Miller Says:

    Steve –

    Kudos for courageous effort. I will add my comments point by point as time permits. For now:

    Generally a good take on the two systems but..

    [The Avid is more fluid because there’s more focus on making editorial decisions based on moving video.]

    That’s one of several cryptic remarks. I couldn’t judge editing points without viewing moving video. I wouldn’t use FCP if I couldn’t instantly mark or blade– and from the keyboard on the fly– cutting to the scene’s heartbeat.

    [Final Cut relies heavily on a desktop publishing metaphor and most editing takes place by moving things around in the timeline.]

    Ahem. Both Avid and FCP timelines allow the movment of segments, including the extremely valuable Mouse-drag Swap. I don’t do DTP on either system ;-) FCP doesn’t yet have Top to Tail.

    [It requires heavy use of a tool palette. FCP is probably easier to learn for computer-savvy beginners. The MC works better for experienced editors.]

    It was because of my Avid experence and value of the Avid keyboard — which came directly from your own great unpublished treatise with Basil Pappas on keyboard shortcuts and power tips for Avid– that I was able to get off the FCP Tool Palette after Month 1 seven years ago. All such controls are available on the keyboard– along with much more than Avid’s!

    Even beginners get into the FCP keyboard basic controls, because lke Avid’s, they are cool, and similar: I,O, J-K-L. Other common commands (on different keys) include Extend Edit, Loop Play, access to windows (and now TABS!), tools and function access, like VO Tool, Print to Video, etc.

    For those interested, this LAFCPUG article gives an earlier comparison between Avid and FCP and still holds up:

    With more to come here.

    Loren (36 years editing film, video, 12 non-linear)

  7. Steve Says:


    Glad to have you on board. One thing I was attempting to do with this comparison was focus on the user interface philosophy of both machines, something that I think gets short shrift in many comparisons, but which goes the heart of the way you feel and respond when working with the systems. Because you can so thoroughly configure both, the differences can be partially eliminated, but I think there’s an underlying approach that remains.

    My note about making decisions based on moving video was partly aimed at the differences in the two systems with regard to trim mode. In general, neither system is as interactive and live as I’d like and, needless to say, in many ways they are more similar than different.


  8. Mark Says:

    [Final Cut relies heavily on a desktop publishing metaphor and most editing takes place by moving things around in the timeline.]

    I don’t agree with that one. Iearned editing on FCP, and having done some things in AVID, the ability to move things from bins to timeline and moving things around in the timeline itself is a lot more fluid in FCP IMHO.

    One thing that bugged me recently about avid is the following…I have the audio targeting buttons turned off, i go to lay in a new clip and the audio suddenly (without asking) shows up in the timeline pushing everything down, when all i wanted to do is add a shot. I kept saying “when i want the *&^%# buttons activated I will activate the &^$*&^ buttons!”

    I am sure I was missing a step or something but in FCP stuff like that doesn’t happen.

    However I don’t know Avid like I should and am taking a 101 at Moviola on mon, but am not looking forwrd to it, since i know the basics of digitizing and making straight edits. They sold me on going ahead and doing 101 to learn all the basics and hopfully it will make my experience with Avid a happier one.

  9. Mark Says:

    “Shared projects aren’t yet possible in FCP.”

    I was an editor for a music channel for a year and we all had access to each others projects as long as we saved them to the server. I think at that point we each could affect the project in different ways and save the new cuts to our own folders on the desktop. the project that was sent from it’s orginator would be safe from others input. the post prod sup made sure that we all could not write to things that needed to maintan integrity.

    We started off with XSAN and moved to another server which i am forgetting (the broadcast engineer is not on IM, he would know,) at the time it was like 20 TB of storage or something, i don’t remember. all on FCP studio.

    What is the advantage multiple editors being able to use and change the same project? Or is it just a question of multiple editors having access to the same bin/media?

    I just know i would not dig people getting into my project and changing anything without creating a new seq, copy and paste mine into it and go nuts fine but dont touch my original.

  10. Steve Says:

    With shared projects under Avid’s Unity there is only ONE project. Anybody can open any bin. If two people open a bin, the first to open it has write privileges, the other can only read. You never pass bins back and forth, you never wonder who has the latest version, you never combine versions. It does require a modicum of discipline in the sense that people have to know which bins they should and shouldn’t modify. But we work in small teams and that’s rarely a problem.

  11. Mark Says:

    Gotcha, im just not sure i’m understanding your point about FCP not being to share projects. You have a lot more knowledge and experience than I do for sure.

    Trim mode: I recently asked a question on the boards at FCPUG that Loren helped me out with on this clearly important tool. Someone also told me on the boards that trimming is great for cleaning up or making an edit tighter, I just don’t know why when you are cutting you make the cut you want to begin with rather than going back and fixing things. In regards to dialog, which I have a very limited amount of work with, how does trimming help you?

    With so many ways to manipulate the basic elements of editing (photography/video, audio dialog/music and FX,) it’s hard for me to understand why you would not just cut where you want and slam things together sometimes, after all I have only be editing for 3 years now. I definately want to make things easier on myself, i have not ever been an ass’t or an apprentice of any kind. I was thrown in to the deep end essecially and made to tred water so I sound like an amateur I’m sure.

    Your blog is great, I wish my buddy (avid guy) would read it so he can see that his perception that FCP is not a professional system is unfounded.

    I think, especially after reading some of this blog, that perhaps these two are going to be specialized based on what media you are working on. Musc Videos? FCP. Film? MC. who knows!

    thanks for all the great info, i made this link a bookmark so i will be checking back!


  12. Steve Says:

    It would be nice if your first instinct on every cut was perfect, but it just doesn’t work out that way in practice. When you see the two sides of a cut juxtaposed you often perceive it in a new way. Also, when cutting dialog we generally don’t cut picture and sound in the same place and that kind of manipulation is much easier when you can precisely and quickly adjust each side of a cut and then watch it play. In the days of hot splicers, which used glue and heat to put two pieces of film together, you had to be damn sure of your idea before you made a cut and there was less trimming. But we’re dealing with more complex visual styles today and trim controls have become very important.

  13. Mark Says:

    So two days left in my Avid101 class at moviola. Trimming is not only much much easier, but has made using both apps much more fun for me. I feel i have so much more control now.

    thanks for your insight!

  14. Atilio Says:

    “(On FCP) when you’ve made an alternate version, saved it as a subclip, and then want to undo the timeline back it’s original state, you’ll be frustrated – the alternate in the bin will disappear.”

    Just copy the alternate version, undo, paste the alternate version.

    Excellent comparison of both apps by the way, by far the best I have seen. Thanks!

  15. Daniel Lansberg Says:

    While I favor Avid hands down, the above stated Avid advantage “scrubbing can be turned on and off with a modifier key” is incorrect. It’s Shift+S on FCP.


  16. Steve Says:

    Shift-S turns on scrubbing permanently, until you deliberately turn it off. In the MC you can simply hold the shift key down and move around to scrub temporarily. It may seem like a small thing but I hate leaving blip audio on all the time and yet I use it a lot and so it seems more intuitive to have it easily available — but only so long as the shift key is down.

  17. Derek Says:

    and just a brief note about trimming. You can trim in FCP using JKL keys. You just have to enable it..

  18. Steve Says:

    Yes, of course. But the trim functions are far less intuitive and flexible.

  19. schmidtsk Says:

    Thanks for this very measured and unbiased review. I do think that Avid’s vastly superior media management is worth more of a mention.
    Virtually every FCP project I have seen has “scratch disk” confusion – scratch disks within scratch disks…and why call it a disk when its a folder?

  20. Rick Says:

    Great review of both apps, as I was just curious about MC having never used it. That said, I actually do post work mostly and wanted to comment that I tried to do post for a film with Sound Track Pro and found it to be the worst DAW I have ever used. The bugs, memory handling and lack of features made me abandon it after two weeks of struggling.

    I also tried Logic Pro which was equally as worse for post projects, for music it is absolutely great.

    I ended up doing the film with Digital Performer 6 which did work relatively well. There were of course some outstanding issues that made me switch to Protools LE 8 which I am using now, and so far, very good. (minus the fact they NEED to get automatic plugin delay compensation into it ASAP).

    If Apple were to get Sound Track Pro fixed of its bugs and added more features, I could see it being a serious contender in the post world. That said, the fact that the studios I work with are using ProTools makes swapping projects so much easier. I hate to say it, but this IS a serious selling point in the end (Not to mention ProTools 8 is VERY nice).

  21. pathi Says:

    any ways AVID is GREAT Application for editing some of things may be different with others! but Avid is evergreen for Edit … all are copying the Avid and improving their applications …FCP undo s is very very bad for Television Editors ,,,and Keyboard short cuts is really kidding.. but some of the tolls is very interesting … this is my personal opinion … sorry if any body HURT now I’am currently working in FCP I’m worked in AVID for last 8 years ….

  22. Richard Halsey Says:


    Thank you for splice Here. What a great source of info. Remember knowledge is


  23. Loren Says:

    Steve –

    Just a reminder to readers– FCP has over 900 keyboard shortcuts– 450 wired by default, 450 awaiting your command. So it’s a touch richer than Avid’s ;-)

    Knowledge IS power!! There’s a fairly well-balanced and updated Avid-to FCP assistant article I put together with Martin Baker over here:

    It’s related to material (although presented differently) found in Diana Weynand’s great Peachpit book, Final Cut Pro for Avid Editors. I helped tech edit revision 2, with Susan Merzbach, Nancy Peterson, Steve Kanter, and Jamie Fowler.

    Long live both apps.


  24. Editor Franklin Says:

    99.9% Hollywood Movies Are Edited By Avid Media Composer
    So That’s The Answer

    For Example

    Iron Man I & II
    Pearl Harbor
    Black Hawk Down
    Etc Etc Etc

    I Have The Proof :

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