What Do You Use To Edit Real Estate Property Video?

May 21st, 2015

Charlie says:

I’ve been using Final Cut 7 for years and love it. But now that I’m upgrading my cameras and computer to handle better footage, I’m entertaining new software that can handle the footage. I would love to see an update of the poll you did in 2011 of what video editors real estate videographers are using.

The fact that Charlie is using Final Cut 7, of course means he is a Mac user. Also, at the time I did the previous poll, Apple had just released the new version of Final Cut X which was significantly different from Final Cut 7. This upgrade angered a lot of Apple users and caused many to defect to Adobe Premiere Pro.

So the underlying assumption in Charlie’s question is that for sophisticated property video editing on the Mac there are two primary choices for video editors: Final Cut X and Adobe Premiere Pro. Of course, there’s iMovie but for someone already using Final Cut 7 iMovie has less functionality.

For Windows users, the choice is pretty clear Adobe Premiere Pro is probably the best choice for sophisticated editing. And of course there are a huge number of windows alternatives for under $100.

For Mac users, there’s more to consider than just the functionality. The pricing between Premiere and Final Cut is very different. Subscription ($19.95/month) vs $299 one time.

As usual in these situations crowd-sourcing is very valuable. What video editor do you use? Please take the poll to the right, it will be interesting to compare it to the one we did in 2011.

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13 Responses to “What Do You Use To Edit Real Estate Property Video?”

  • Adobe is not clear on this so I could be wrong, but $19.99 monthly for the individual Premiere Pro could be unrealistic. Adobe doesn’t state if After Effects and Speedgrade are included with Premiere Pro, but it does list them as individually available as $19.99 each. I don’t see them packaged as a logical group like the Lightroom/Photoshop “photographers” package with special pricing. Obviously, it would be more appropriate to get the full $49.99 package if using other Adobe programs, like Illustrator, Dreamweaver, or InDesign.

  • I think the $49 Adobe cloud is the only way to go on either platform. I have found though, that my Dell tower does a better job of running Premier then my Mini Mac (which crashes when using Premier). I prefer the Mini Mac for everything else, but it’s just not robust enough for heavy duty tasks. It’s possible that Final Cut would run the same task just fine on the Mini Mac but I haven’t tested it.

    So, from that standpoint it’s that the software and the hardware need to be suited to the task or it can be miserable.

  • Like Charlie, I’ve been using FC7 for years but recent Mac OS upgrades have made FCP7 too unstable. Critically, image on playback in the timeline breaks up and judders all the time. The exported finished file is fine so we can still make films but if we have a client in the edit, it gets a bit embarrassing to be making excuses all the time.

    So, we’ve recently moved to Premiere Pro. It’s taken a good few weeks of constant editing for me to get my head around all the new commands / work flows etc but I’m now loving it. It accepts pretty much all formats of video, without prior conversion to ProRes like FCP7, which is a real bonus and I really like the big source bins with the moving thumbnails that ‘play’ when you mouse over them.

    Re costs, because we have earlier standalone versions of LR and PS, we pay c£20 per month for 2x Prem Pro CC licences which seems OK.

  • Thanks Larry for asking this question again. Another question about peoples choices – Today is one thing but as we found in FCP 7, the development stopped. FCP X was something completely new and I wonder if Apple will continue to evolve FCP in years to come? As this technology changes, the editing platform we use needs to change with it. So I also don’t want to be obsolete in the future.

  • @Charlie – Yes, the question, “what is Apple’s commitment to professional software” is something to ponder. Their abandonment of Aperture suggests that they don’t have a continuing commitment to professional level software.

  • Since I have been using iMovie 2011 for a few years for other purposes and have learned various work arounds for its limitations, I am using that. This spring was too busy to get back to my interrupted use of Photoshop’s CS6 video editing especially I am very new to using video with RE still photography. My clients seem happy but I am not yet. PS gives Photoshops visual controls to the video image which when under poor or difficult lighting leaves poor iMovie 2011 in the dust. I don’t like relying on “Cloud” software since I am often without an internet connection and have a control issue with cloud based software. Probably my age interfering with skill set advancement. If I take a step up from PS video editing, I would move over to Adobe Premiere I think. Although what is required for my clients who are not interested in broadcast quality advertising videos but short videos to start the TourBuzz visual tour, I think I can stay simple. I would rather spend the initial money, if I can get clients in my small market to fork over extra for video at all, on a gimbal based steady cam rig like the DJI product. And lacking that at the moment is a reason I use iMovie since it will add a “stabilizer” filter to the video if I shoot it not with my DSLR but with my Canon Vixia camcorder. It makes hand held video smooth as silk. OK. To sum up, I am in development as I stick my toe in the waters of video with the other foot on the dock.

  • It really depends on your workflow. When you say your upgrading image quality are you upgrading to 4K video? There’s not much reason to deliver in 4K but shooting in 4K enables you to pan and scan or zoom in significantly, effectively adding camera moves.

    if your truly concerned about image quality then you should also consider using DaVinci Resolve or Apple’s Color for color correction. Both handle 4K and output 1080P. DaVinci added a lot of editing tools to Resolve 11 and even more to the soon to be released Resolve 12 so you could do the entire project within resolve. Again it depends on your workflow. Good thing about Resolve is that if your inputing 4K and outputting HD then its free and Resolve is to 4K video what Lightroom is to stills. Also the added benefit is that FCP7x works great. I shoot a lot with the Panasonic GH4 so it outputs 4K .MOV, inport that into Resolve which outputs ProRes 1080P to FCP7.

    Regarding Apple support of professional apps that pretty much ended when they dropped “Computer” from their name. The professional apps have languished for years. FCPX is a Pro-sumer app at best.

  • @ Chuck – great comments. And yes, that is what I’m doing – 4k to HD. I have looked at DaVinci Resolve Lite a year ago but found is so foreign from FCP that I wasn’t sure I could get my head around it. I don’t live and breathe complicated editing so I’m looking for an easier tool that I can learn without watching too many tutorials. I do some color correcting and will do more now – but I’m also concerned about my workflow and time. I love the LR comparison. I get that. My final products are not high production pieces, they’re just homes. I will take another look at DaVinci again – thanks much.

  • @ Charlie – I really get that you don’t want to learn yet another application, I’m in the same boat. I want to spend more time doing and less time learning..

    Anytime people talk about workflow, profitability should be a part of the conversation. The workflow that I use is not for someone who’s model is built on quantity. If one person is trying to shoot five or more properties a week then this is not the workflow for you. That’s going to be FCPX (or similar NLE), edit and drop a color correction filter on it and be done with it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that approach.

    Me, I’m too old and slow for that model so I don’t shoot any property for less that $1000 and I take the time to utilize that workflow because it enables me to create a look that’s different enough from the competition. Notice I didn’t say better than everyone else, its just different So I can sell it.

    In order to accomplish that you need a set of tools that is flexible enough to be used together. That’s why I compared Resolve to Lightroom. We probably all use Lightroom differently and the more you use it the more you learn about it and the quicker and more creative you become with it. Its one of those tools that you don’t need to know all of it to get started and there’s lots of resources to help you figure out new things about it as you go.

    Like all NLE’s Resolve has tools that help you sort your raw footage into bins, folders, chronological order or anyway you want to organize it, an editor – which for basic editing is vey similar to FCP7 – even the same hot keys, then you move into the color correction which like Lightroom you can do as little as you want but if you need to fix something that wasn’t shot correctly or just want to make it look spectacular then you have all the tools you need to accomplish that too.

    The hardest part of making the decision to switch wasn’t which NLE to move to but having to leave FCP7. All NLE’s have a different interface and sometimes the ones that are the hardest to come up to speed are the ones that are just similar enough that drive you nuts. All NLE’s are pretty much the same. They perform the same functions in much the same way and haven’t really changed in a decade. But there’s been significant changes in the availability and functionality of quality Color Correctors, most noticeably Color, Resolve and Lustre/Flame.

    Just like most of us can’t imagine doing this work without Lightroom I’d suggest choosing an NLE/Color that will have a good shelf life and will allow you to grow. Resolve is developed by BlackMagic, they are a professional imaging company, FCPX is developed by a consumer electronics company. That doesn’t mean that they don’t develop good products but consumer need will always win out of professional user needs.

    Just like you didn’t used to get fired for buying IBM, you can’t go wrong with Adobe. OF coarse try buying an IBM today…

  • There is something in between that is not as taxing on workflow but gives you sophisticated results

  • Nail on the head Chuck. I don’t shoot that much but I’m busy with work non the less. I’m ready to re-learn a new NLE for I’ve been through a few: D-Vision / Media 100 / Avid / FCP7 and now . . . it’s looking like I’m leaning towards PP. Believe me, I see the difference in great color grading and what one can do if they take their time. I also admire those that have the skills and patience to make it right. But in the end, I need something that the streamlines the workflow and still creates a great image.

    Allan – Thanks for passing that along. Looks like a great plug-in and totally affordable.

  • Denver Riddle has one of the very best Resolve tutorials available over at Color Grading Central. He’s running a 25% off promotion for the next 3 days (use code: summer2015).

  • I’ve worked in broadcast television for over a decade and a half and have worked on most every major editing platform out there (linear, Avid, FCP and Quantel). Recently I left that sector and am now looking to concentrate on the RE video market. I’m seriously considering Lightworks ( and it’s relatively inexpensive compared to most other solutions out there. There’s a free version (outputs to YouTube only) and then a one month ($24.99), one year ($174.99) and a perpetual license ($437.99).

    It runs on Windows/Mac/Linux platforms and has been used to edit major motion pictures; there’s a decent support community, and the pro version handles almost every major video format on the market today. Well worth a look as an editing platform.

    BTW a real advantage for someone starting out is that one could spend a decent amount on hardware/memory and run a Linux operating system thereby saving on having to purchase another license for an operating system – Linux (Ubuntu is a relatively stable and popular distribution) is FREE to download and use. The only downside is that you have to become versed in another operating system, but that’s a good thing too because it adds to your skillset.

    Hope this helps the community.

    Cheers from Canada,

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