What is it like using Final Cut Pro on the iPad?

Today, the Apple iLaunch both Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for the iPad, with the former only working on M1 chips and later and the latter working on models with A12 Bionic and later. Gizmodo has gotten in some time with these apps, and while I’m not a professional video editor, I’ve put together occasional music videos, video reviews, and cat memes in the past. Since Apple sent me a fancy new M2 iPad Pro for testing (which will be back to them in a few weeks, in case anyone is curious about how this stuff works), I took the time to test out how natural it felt to cut together the videos on Tablet device. Given my level of experience, expect more hands-on than reviewing.

While I’m not sure pros will immediately transition to the “edit on a tablet” experience, it certainly seems like the power is there for that. Which is good. As more creators become independent documentarians in their own right, the ability to quickly cut together professional-grade videos while navigating a full-featured suite is becoming more and more important.

One note: Unfortunately, I haven’t spent a lot of time on Logic, because I don’t have much music production experience. But I will say that any UI or touch interface feedback I make on Final Cut pretty much applies to Logic as well.

Screenshot of Final Cut Pro on iPad

screenshot: apple

You need a subscription to use Final Cut Pro for iPad

Perhaps the biggest difference between Final Cut Pro on iPad and Mac, and what you’ll notice immediately when you open the app, is its pricing structure. while Final Cut Pro on Mac is a one-time purchase of $300The mobile app works on a subscription model – $5 for a month and $50 for a year. Subscription models for creative apps, from Adobe Creative Cloud to Microsoft 365, have become a controversial standard over the past decade, though it’s worth noting that you’ll have to use this version of Final Cut Pro for six years before it costs as much as the Mac version. For the average user, this could save them money, although professionals who intend to keep using it for longer will pay more in the long run.

Is it convenient to edit the video with your finger?

The next biggest and most obvious difference is the form factor of both the device and the app. While you can connect a keyboard and mouse to your iPad, which gives you a similar experience to what you get on a Mac, the app has been completely reworked to work with touch controls. This means that you long press and drag to click and drag, long press to enter the scan menu, and press a virtual button to undo.

Aside from that, the basics work similarly to how they do on a Mac, aside from the added benefit of being able to adjust comfortably and easily in bed, or wherever you use your tablet. The app is compatible with the Apple Pencil, though I found my finger comfortable and natural for most functions. so he said, The Apple Pencil on M2 iPad Pros can use its own “swipe” function to show you a preview of where you’re about to tap on the screen before you do so, which can be useful for trimming or stretching clips more precisely. This was mostly useful, though hovering the Apple Pencil will also cycle through the timeline even if you don’t make physical contact with the tablet, which is a little aggressive to me. For the most part, I was impressed with the level of accuracy I could get with a finger alone, which was usually enough.

If you’re someone who likes to use a dial when editing, you also have access to a virtual dial in Final Cut Pro for iPad, which will allow you to brush up the timeline more carefully than the Apple Pencil, and maybe let you even your finger.

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Live drawing in Final Cut Pro

When you launch Final Cut Pro for iPad, you have the option to start right into a Lunar New Year demo project to put yourself out there with the app, and that’s where I discovered one of my favorite new Final Cut features, exclusive to this release. By clicking the pen icon at the top of the screen, you can do a “live draw” on your selected clip, which will then play in real time during your video. While the app still has access to the usual selection of transitions, titles, backgrounds, and effects, I found that creating a title card with a drawing directly on an image gave my edits a more personal touch.

I discovered this while putting together a video of my cat, where my title card was just a picture of her highlighted by a straightforward drawing of me writing “Meow!” And draw a smiling little cat’s face. While you certainly don’t need a complex editor like Final Cut Pro to put together a quick cat video, it’s certainly up to the task. Also, due to the iPad Pro’s 10MP external camera, I was able to easily take and edit my shots on the same device, which you can do right from the app. If you’d rather use your iPhone or other camera to take footage, Final Cut Pro for iPad is also capable of accessing anything in your photo library, so you can simply sync your footage via iCloud for it.

Screenshot of the article titled What's It Like Using Apple's Final Cut Pro on the iPad?

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It is still very difficult to use multiple apps simultaneously on the iPad

With the convenience of being able to capture and edit on the same device, unfortunately, there are some inconveniences. Because Final Cut Pro for the iPad uses a tablet interface, you can’t even drag multiple free-moving windows at once while working on a project. The best thing to do is open the Stage Manager, which will allow you to easily switch between apps without going to the home screen every time. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to see a full view of, say, your notes, your Internet browser, your files, and your project at once. As a Final Cut Pro noob, I’ve found myself often exiting my project to dig for stuff, and it’s this kind of workflow resistance that I think might keep pros away from the app. That, and mouse still, is a more accurate way to make cuts.

Screenshot of the article titled What's It Like Using Apple's Final Cut Pro on the iPad?

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Is Final Cut Pro for the iPad worth it?

In most respects though, this really does look like Final Cut Pro, only on the iPad. I’m more of an Adobe user, but it’s worth noting that while Final Cut Pro for the iPad is mostly full-featured, the only version of Adobe Premiere for mobile users is “Adobe Premiere Rush.” As a former journalism school student who made us use Snapseed to aggregate Instagram Stories on our phones so we were ready for the “future,” I’m excited to see more desktop-level suites make their way to people who might need an edit on the fly. You will not see the next The Avengers They’re made on the iPad, but for young videographers putting together quick guy-in-the-street-style documentaries, or even for people who want to treat their project like a low-stress hobby and more fun than a “sitting at your desk” activity, Final Cut Pro for iPad fills a niche that has been left woefully absent so far.

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