Why Mac is Great for Video Making

By Mike Jelves

The modern classroom offers plenty of challenges to overcome. With the attention of students being competed for by their peers both in the room and through their smartphones on social media, engaging with them is not easy, especially when it comes to teaching technical software with intricate functionality.

Creativity itself is not something you can necessarily teach, but it can be nurtured, encouraged and allowed to express itself. To do this, creativity requires the right tools to fulfil its potential; this is no truer than in the case of film production and video editing.

For decades, Apple has been the go-to platform choice for filmmakers, artists, musicians and writers alike. But this choice goes beyond the apparent brand cache that the famous logo offers. It’s a deeper connection to how devices should enable us to achieve more. During a launch event in 2011, Steve Jobs reminded the audience of the philosophy upon which the company was founded: "It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough - it's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing." *
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He continued, that as technology grows more advanced alongside the devices we use, the need for an intuitive understanding of how everything works grows with it. "Where the software and the hardware and the applications need to intertwine in an even more seamless way". 

In this article, we're going to explore how the Apple ecosystem is ideal for filmmakers, concerning software that embodies the seamless integration that is so important to the creative process.

Mac OS


The most persuasive case for purchasing a Mac, has always been the integration of hardware and operating system. Compared to a PC, when the physical machine itself is designed and built by the same people that design and build the software that runs it, the results are always going to be more reliable, stable and functional. 
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The perception of Apple products always used to be that the Mac was the realm of the creative individual and not something an everyday domestic user would benefit from. Since the iPhone and iPad become ubiquitous, however, so has the understanding that Apple products ‘just work.’ Especially when you combine them or sync to share data. If you can use iPhone, you already understand the basics of using a Mac. Once you understand how to use macOS, you’ve learnt the interactive foundations of all Apple software. This principle extends to Apple’s dedicated creative applications. 


iMovie

Preinstalled on every Mac as standard, is the entry video editing programme, iMovie. You’ll also find a free version made for iOS that runs on precisely the same methodology. iMovie has long prided itself on being easy to use and intuitive, with home movie makers and enthusiasts the key target audience. As far as introductions to non-linear editing go, there aren’t many that are better. Especially when you consider every student with an iPhone or iPad can start using it outside of the classroom, with footage shot on the device itself or synced across. Those students with more advanced skills or experience will appreciate what iMovie offers as a free application, but will likely require more control and advanced options when it comes to editing their films. But as a means of appreciating the workflow, interfaces and terminology of the more advanced applications, iMovie serves as a useful easy-to-use foundation learning experience. 



Final Cut Pro X

 
Since its rebirth in 2011, Final Cut Pro X has continually rewarded users who chose to stick with Apple’s flagship professional video editing software. With consistent updates to functionality and performance, FCP X has re-established itself as the choice for editors who want to work quickly and efficiently, but still want to collaborate and share with others. 

One key aspect of the creative process is knowing what your options are. To better understand the potential in your film, reviewing your rushes is essential. Something central to the workflow of FCP X, arrives at the very first stage of the edit, with importing and organising footage. FCP X encourages editors to collate and review footage using a combination of Keywords and Favouriting, where specific sections of clips can be categorised and subsequently filtered through. This is designed so all the good and usable material within a given scene can be easily identified and accessed, and the first version of an edit moved forward before any clips are added to a timeline. 

Odoo • Image and Text

When sequences are created, the Magnetic Timeline is one of the standout features on offer. Enabling items to be moved around without the worry of leaving gaps or multiple layers of items behind, the speed with which sequences can be rearranged and altered is truly liberating. 

Often, freedom in the creative process is linked to being able to move at the speed of thought, and this is just one such example where FCP X allows such efficiency. Multi-camera coverage is another key instance of FCP X, offering intuitive interactions with video material. By automatically piecing together footage from multiple sources using audio or timecode, all the hassle of syncing material with an external programme is removed. In realtime, the Multicam clips can be played with audio and video cutting available separately across up to 16 angles.   


Compressor and Motion

 
While FCP X itself comes loaded with animated titles, transitions, graphic generators and multiple sharing options, the suite of software can be extended. Compressor is Apple’s own compression and encoding application, while Motion is a tool for creating motion graphics and templates that can be used independently as well as in FCP X. Compressor allows for specific output settings across audio and video, covering domestic, online and broadcast standard requirements. Batch processing is available for producing multiple variants from a single source. Motion provides an outlet for those who want to push their creativity further into online editing, title design, and 2D and 3D compositing. Elements that are pre-loaded with FCP X can be edited within Motion, but just as exciting, is the reverse functionality. Motion projects can be shared to and edited as templates within FCP X. Unique sequences can retain their look and feel, but creators can specify which elements can be altered when utilised to personalise the experience each time. This could be simply the colour and fonts used, to variations within the animations themselves.   


Third-party plugin

 
Those editors who do not wish to explore this aspect personally, or those that want to understand the possibilities, can benefit from the vast FCP X user base that exists online. Many forums and communities are populated by creatives who share their work either for free, or nominal donations. This opens up a world of additional filters, transitions, generators and motion graphic templates that can be imported and used immediately in projects, or even taken apart, understood and back engineered within Motion. The level of support offered by third party users also means help and advice is never far away. Multiple community boards and Apple’s own website likely has the very question that needs answering already addressed and is just an internet search away.  

In conclusion, the appeal of an Apple orientated system for film and video editing is evident from a functionality perspective. Not just in terms of how the places fit together, but also how students will understand them in the same way. Creative individuals will appreciate the speed with which they can understand the Mac platforms thanks for their experiences with other Apple devices. As such, the intuitive nature of Final Cut Pro X and supporting software will allow their ideas to flourish without restrictions on functionality or performance.

* https://medium.com/swlh/the-most-ignored-advice-from-steve-jobs-and-how-it-can-be-your-secret-weapon-3995c51d54fc

If you liked this article, read how Mac is great for photographers or visit our Mac blog section for more tips.