Whether you’re an editing pro working on a big-budget project or a hobbyist assembling together a video you and your buddies made for fun, there are a number of great video editing software options available to you. Two of the most prominent? Final Cut Pro vs Premiere Pro.
These two popular video editing software — the former from Apple, and the latter from Adobe — dominate the market for their own unique reasons. But which of the two is ultimately the best? Let’s compare and contrast the two to come up with an answer below.
Final Cut Pro vs Premiere Pro: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Final Cut Pro
|$299.99 (one-time fee)
|$20.99 (Premiere Pro only, monthly)
$54.99 (full Adobe Creative Suite, monthly)
|Motion 5, Adobe Photoshop, iMovie
|Adobe After Effects, Premiere Rush, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Story
|O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), The Social Network (2010), Parasite (2019)
|Avatar (2009), Gone Girl (2014), Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)
5 Must-Know Facts About Video Editing Software
- Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro might be the most popular video editing software on the market, but they’re far from the only ones. Some of their closest rivals include DaVinci Resolve, Lightworks, Vegas Pro, Avid Media Composer, and Camtasia.
- Windows Movie Maker, a staple on Windows computers from its introduction in 2000 to its discontinuation in 2017, was one of the most successful free video editing software. Its closest competitor, iMovie, remains part of Apple products to this day.
- Before the invention of the digital camera, editors would piece together projects using reels of film. This was mainly done on flatbed editors (like the Moviola, the Steenbeck, and the KEM) that resembled large tables with a viewing mechanism and space for film reels to be fed through and spliced together.
- The first completely digital video editing software hit the market in 1985. Dubbed the Harry, the product was only capable of recording and applying effects to as little as 80 seconds of uncompressed video.
- Bob Hoskins’ film Rainbow (1996) is widely considered the world’s first film to utilize entirely digital post-production techniques. Impressively, all post-production, special sound effects, film editing, and audio scoring were done completely digitally.
Final Cut Pro vs Premiere Pro: What’s the Difference?
With these basic specs outlined side by side, let’s take a closer look at some of the key differences between Final Cut Pro vs Premiere Pro. From the comparison of cost to the differences in ease of use to the kind of compatibility and features the two rival software can provide, these are the main things that set Final Cut Pro vs Premiere Pro apart from one another. Let’s go over each consideration below.
Firstly, there’s the price to consider. As it turns out, it’s one of the most significant ways in which the two software differ. As with most Adobe products, Premiere Pro can only be purchased as part of a monthly or annual subscription.
Today, it’s $20.99 a month for Premiere Pro alone or $54.99 a month for the entire Creative Suite. Final Cut Pro, by comparison, can be purchased for a one-time fee of $299. No need for monthly or annual payments here. Better yet, this one-time purchase still gives you access to all future updates and versions.
Ease of Use
Secondly, there’s overall ease of use to discuss. Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro are two of the most impressive and feature-heavy video editing software on the market. With that being said, one is far more simple to learn than the other.
On the whole, Final Cut Pro is far easier to learn than Premiere Pro. Once you’ve learned the basics of Premiere Pro, it’s clear the software is a lot more complicated-looking than it really is. However, on the surface, Final Cut Pro is still a lot easier to use from the get-go. Premiere Pro takes some getting used to.
With so many effects-heavy films at the forefront of the conversation these days, it’s important to know which of these two video editing software is most compatible with other special effects and editing tools.
Adobe Premiere Pro comes with a wide range of integrated software and features from Adobe, including special effects software Adobe After Effects.
Final Cut Pro, by comparison, is compatible with other Apple software such as iMovie. There’s also easy integration with Photoshop. Broadly speaking, Premiere Pro is far more compatible than Final Cut Pro.
Lastly, it’s worth comparing the number of special features in Final Cut Pro vs Premiere Pro. In recent years, Final Cut Pro has gotten a lot of flak for its sheer lack of updates. Every Final Cut Pro update brings great new features, but they’re simply too few and far between in comparison to Premiere Pro.
This Adobe software is fully loaded with special features, and they’re always releasing new and innovative options with each new update. It’s another key difference that benefits Premiere Pro over Final Cut Pro.
The History of Final Cut Pro
Back in the 1990s, Final Cut Pro originated not as Apple software but as Macromedia software. Led by a team of developers who helped build Adobe Premiere — the predecessor to Adobe Premiere Pro — the goal was to create a video editing software specially designed to work with Apple’s QuickTime framework.
But, when a conflict of interest arose with Microsoft, Macromedia realized they could no longer continue to develop Final Cut Pro as they’d planned. As such, they decided to sell the software, which was called KeyGrip at the time. When no buyer was found, Apple actually acquired the development team itself.
KeyGrip was renamed Final Cut in 1998. Apple further developed the software for the next year, ultimately re-releasing it as the new and improved Final Cut Pro in 1999. When Adobe Premiere Pro emerged in 2003, the competition became fierce.
(Driven, in large part, by the fact that Final Cut Pro could only work on macOS, but Adobe Premiere Pro could work for both Windows and Mac users.) To compete, Apple offered users $500 off Final Cut Pro if they turned in their Premiere software discs. This gave Apple a nice edge in the ongoing battle between Final Cut Pro vs Premiere Pro.
Final Cut Pro versions 4 through 7 continued to improve the already impressive video editing software, allowing it to finally be trusted by more than just independent filmmakers. Soon, real Hollywood professionals (such as legendary editor Walter Murch) began to treat Final Cut Pro like the real deal.
Alas, the massive upgrade to Final Cut Pro X in 2011 was pretty poorly received. Many abandoned Final Cut Pro at this point, and some have never returned. Nevertheless, the software continues to have its defenders — especially since they dropped “X” from the name in 2020.
How Premiere Pro Compares
While Adobe Premiere Pro didn’t come out until 2003, the original Adobe Premiere video editing software dates all the way back to 1991. In the showdown between Final Cut Pro vs Premiere Pro, Premiere is technically the older of the two.
Premiere was one of the earliest non-linear editing systems for the computer, not to mention one of the very first QuickTime video editors to hit the market at the time. It was ultimately discontinued in 2002, making room for Adobe Premiere Pro to lead the way the following year.
Adobe released Premiere Pro the following year, in 2003. Right away, users noticed that the “Pro” name added to the end of the product’s branding was not just a marketing tactic to establish authority or expertise. It truly was professional-looking software.
So much so, in fact, that some amateur users were completely overwhelmed by the complicated-looking interface. To counter this initial shock, Adobe released a simplified version for the amateur editor, dubbed Adobe Premiere Elements. This differs significantly from the generally more simplified user interface of Final Cut Pro.
One of the greatest advantages of Adobe Premiere Pro over its competitors is its sheer amount of support for other editing and effects software and services. A part of the Adobe Creative Suite, Premiere Pro can easily be integrated with After Effects for digital visual effects, Audition for audio editing, and numerous other Adobe products and software.
There’s no denying it: the software undoubtedly earns its “Pro” name. Combine this with the fact that it is updated far more frequently than Final Cut Pro, and it’s clear how seriously Adobe takes its video editing software.
Final Cut Pro vs Premiere Pro: Pros and Cons
|Pros of Final Cut Pro
|Cons of Final Cut Pro
|No need for monthly or annual subscriptions
|$300 upfront cost
|Exceptional ease of use
|Exclusive to Apple products
|Plenty of support for third-party apps
|Very few updates
|Very stable with few crashes
|Lacks the ease of cloud sharing
|Pros of Premiere Pro
|Cons of Premiere Pro
|Low monthly cost of $20.99 for Premiere Pro on its own
|Cannot be purchased outside of a monthly or annual subscription
|Available on both Mac and Windows products
|Looks more difficult to use than it actually is
|Great new features with frequent updates
|Crashes more often than Final Cut Pro
|Compatible with many Adobe software
|Takes more time to master
Final Cut Pro vs Premiere Pro: Which One Is Better?
So, the question of which software is best, Final Cut Pro vs Premiere Pro, really seems to come down to how familiar you are with video editing software, to begin with. Final Cut Pro has far fewer features and much less compatibility, but its one-time cost and its greater ease of use give it some edge.
Adobe Premiere Pro, on the other hand, has far more features and much greater compatibility at a higher cost and a more complicated interface. With this in mind, Final Cut Pro seems better for the less experienced and Adobe Premiere Pro seems better suited for professionals.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©BoxBoy/Shutterstock.com.