After years of speculation, Apple has finally unveiled its professional video editing suite for iPad, Final Cut Pro. While the app boasts many impressive features, it still leaves significant gaps in professional workflows.
Testing the initial version of Final Cut Pro on a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with M2, it became evident that the device was well-suited for video editing. The smoothness and natural feel of Final Cut Pro were highly impressive.
Although Apple includes a sample project, we created our project based on a recent trip to Iceland. However, we encountered a glaring limitation in the editing process.
Lacking Full Round-Trip Support
Unlike Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro lacks comprehensive support for seamless data sharing with Mac. The absence of roundtrip functionality, which enables the smooth transfer of projects between multiple platforms, makes working on a project cumbersome.
While it is possible to export a project from the iPad and transfer it to a Mac, the reverse process is not as straightforward. If a project is initiated on a Mac, transferring and opening it on the iPad becomes challenging.
This creates workflow issues for many editors, necessitating the initiation of projects on the iPad rather than the other way around if both devices are to be utilized.
One of the critical drawbacks of Final Cut Pro on the iPad is the absence of a rich third-party plugin market, unlike its Mac counterpart. Professional plugins that offer various effects, animations, and text options are currently unavailable for the iPad version.
Apple hints at the arrival of “third-party content” from top developers in Final Cut Pro for iPad but provides limited details about the available content. While Apple has provided the app with titles, transitions, effects, backgrounds, and sounds, the absence of in-depth third-party plugins is noticeable.
Limited Transitions, Texts, and Effects
Compared to the Mac version, Final Cut Pro for iPad falls short regarding available effects, transitions, backgrounds, and objects. Although Apple offers many preset media files, such as over 40 effects for titles, the options are more limited on the iPad.
The iPad version’s current offerings are not inherently deficient, but the lack of additional options, whether from Apple or third parties, imposes limitations on users.
Other Advanced Features Restricted
While the Final Cut Pro mobile version offers specific features, they are somewhat limited compared to the Mac version. Color adjustment, for instance, allows users to modify saturation, exposure, highlights, and other settings within any video clip. However, Mac users enjoy access to a full-color whiteboard and more granular control, making basic color grading achievable on the iPad, but professional color grading requires a separate application.
Similarly, while the iPad version supports keyframe animations, object tracking remains non-functional. These limitations indicate that the iPad may not fully realize certain advanced features.
Compatibility and Exclusive iPad Features
Final Cut Pro for iPad incorporates numerous pro features, including multi-camera support, color correction, and automatic background removal with a background chroma key. However, these features require powerful silicon, limiting compatibility to iPads equipped with M1 or M2 processors. Consequently, only the latest iPad Air and 5th and 6th generation iPad Pro models can run Final Cut Pro.
Despite some notable shortcomings, Apple has provided Final Cut Pro for iPad with exclusive tablet-specific features. These include using the Apple Pencil for timeline preview, a touch-sensitive rotary switch for more straightforward operation, and the capability to write directly on videos to add handwritten titles. The app also features a professional camera mode, allowing users to capture high-quality footage within Final Cut Pro.
While Apple has made significant strides with Final Cut Pro for iPad, there are clear areas for improvement. Future updates are expected to address these gaps and enhance the app’s capabilities.