It seems I may be exploring video editing sooner than later.

While my skill level with video would certainly classify me as a novice, I like to invest in tools which allow me to grow. I know about Final Cut, Premier, After Effect, etc.

I am considering upgrading from one of Adobe's Premium Suites to the Master Collection to get these tools. That seems like a natural progression. But I want to ensure it's one of the better directions to follow. After all, if Final Cut is better, why bother with Adobe. Or even if both the Master Collection AND FinalCut have benefit I'm willing to go that route as well.

For the most part I'll simply be resizing, cropping, and compressing existing files to start. Eventually I will move into clipping and inserting titles, splashes, etc. I'm well versed with Photoshop and Illustrator and can easily use those as support software provided the video software will allow the integration.

I'm currently using a wide variety of the smaller shareware or freeware apps such as VisualHub (discontinued) and Handbrake along with QuickTime Pro. Also rendering via Photoshop Extended to some degree. I tried iMovie a couple times but it was far too limited in many cases and I wasn't attempting anything I'd call "advanced".

I'm assuming any high-end editing package can produce compressed .mp4 or mpeg2 files much better. And from there I can easily deal with the Adobe Media Encoder to convert for Flash/HTML5 use if needed. I'm primarily interested in using recorded footage to create digital assets which could then be multi-purposed for various physical or digital delivery.

Running Mac OS

So I'm looking for any recommendations from experience video designers on what software helps them get their job done faster/easier. It's not so much about cost as it is about product reliability and functionality.


If there are any third-party plug ins or add-ons which you find you simply "can't live without" for video editing, please share those as well.


2 Answers 2


If you move to the Master Collection, you get the industry-standard motion graphics application, After Effects, a professional grade NLE (Premiere Pro) and a highly effective audio application (Audition) along with Encore, for creating DVD/Blu-Ray discs, complete with menus, etc.. The upgrade is quite inexpensive, so I'd say that's a no-brainer. (I use the Master Collection myself.) Regardless of which NLE you use, you'd want After Effects anyway, since there really isn't a viable competitor out there. The cost of an AE license is more than the cost of an MC upgrade.

Two bonuses that come with the suite are what they call "Dynamic Link" -- the round-tripping between PPro and AE (which has to be seen to be believed -- they've done an outstanding job with that), and either of those and Photoshop or Illustrator for visuals, Audition for audio -- and the NVidia GPU synergy built into the playback and rendering engines. Both of these make the actual end-to-end workflow about 10 to 50 times faster than it was even three years ago. I've had situations where a video rendered so quickly I thought nothing had happened, and ended up doing it twice. That's life-changing for full on video folks, but great even for someone like me who only does video and motion graphics as the need arises.

Side Note about Final Cut: The video editing world got a bit shaken up recently by Apple's decision to "consumerize" Final Cut, making it unusable for a great deal of professional work. There's a worry that Apple really is moving solidly into the consumer space, where almost all their income comes from, and out of professional markets. FCP 7 is back on the market because of the storm of protest over FCP X, but it's still 32-bit and Apple has no plans to upgrade it.

  • 1
    Excellent info.. just want I was looking for. Thanks! I'm not concerned with moving to the Master Collection... I just want to buy all the ducks I need so I can get them in a row.
    – Scott
    Mar 1, 2012 at 0:39
  • Mr. Alan, what about "can't live without" plugin and third party?
    – hsawires
    Dec 18, 2014 at 14:06

Of course it depends on what exactly you're doing, but I have found After Effects to be very helpful for most of the tasks you've outlined (resizing, cropping and compressing files).

Beyond that, I primarily use it for creating user interface transition mockups and it's a very good fit for this type of use. It renders typography nicely and allows you to animate it in a variety of ways that are very intuitive if you're accustomed to Photoshop.

From what I know as a result of my Graphic/Interface Design background, I would say it's the "Photoshop" of video software, good for creating effects and short clips. Final Cut and Premiere are better suited for editing and splicing long collections of video.

All of that said, if you just need to compress and export files all of them might be overkill. Either way I wouldn't recommend getting a full video suite...After Effects would probably work fine.

  • I hadn't even considered UI mockups... good idea! Very helpful. Thanks.
    – Scott
    Mar 1, 2012 at 0:38

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