Adobe Premiere Pro CC: Premiere Pro uses a traditional NLE (nonlinear editor) timeline, with tracks and track heads. Your timeline content is called a Sequence, and you can have Nested Sequences, Subsequences, and Subclips for organizational help. The timeline also has tabs for different sequences, which can be helpful if you’re working with nested sequences. Longtime video editors are likely more comfortable with this than with Apple’s more inventive trackless Magnetic Timeline.

Adobe’s system also fits with some pro workflows in which the track layouts are in an expected order. It works differently from a lot of video editing apps, however, because it separates a video clip’s audio track from its soundtrack. The timeline is very scalable and offers the usual ripple, roll, razor, slip, and slide tools. The UI is extremely configurable, letting you undock any and all panels. You can show or hide thumbnails, waveforms, keyframes, and FX badges. There are seven preconfigured workspaces for things like Assembly, Editing, Color, and Titles, compared with Final Cut’s mere three.

Apple Final Cut Pro X: Apple’s innovative trackless Magnetic Timeline is both easier on the eyes than the tradition timeline interface and offers several editing advantages, such as Connected Clips, Roles (descriptive labels like Video, Titles, Dialog, Music, and Effects), and Auditions. Instead of tracks, FCPX uses lanes, with a Primary Storyline that everything else attaches to. This makes keeping everything in sync easier than in Premiere. Auditions lets you designate optional clips or takes for a spot in your movie, and you can group clips into Compound Clips—roughly the equivalent of Premiere’s Nested Sequences.

The FCPX interface is less configurable than Premiere’s—you can’t split panels off into their own windows, except for the Preview window. Speaking of the Preview window, it’s very spare in the control department—there’s just a play and pause option. Premiere offers a lot more here, with buttons for Step Back, Go to In, Go to Previous Edit Point, Lift, Extract, and Export Frame. Final Cut only offers three prebuilt workspaces (Default, Organize, Color & Effects) compared with Premiere’s seven.

Winner: Tie

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