If you want to revolutionize an entire industry (in this case, non-linear editing), you gotta crack a few eggs. In the past, Apple has cracked these eggs with flair and turned them into souffle like they’re Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen. However, as the first hands-on reviews of the new iPad version of Final Cut Pro are rolling in, Apple is looking more like Tom and Greg from Succession making an omelet than any high-end TV chef.
As we’ve covered since its launch, there’s so, so much to be excited about with the new iPad Final Cut Pro. But, that being said, there’s always been a question as to whether this app is even truly meant for professional video editors at all. Or if it’s simply going to be an upgraded version of iMovie for hobbyists and casual content creators.
With the first reviews of the iPad FCP up online now, we’ve been curious to keep tabs on how people are reacting. Based on some of the earliest reviews, the results are… mixed at best.
Let’s explore some of these reviews and share some of our findings as well to see if the iPad Final Cut Pro might be of any serious interest to the professional video editing world or if it is truly missing the mark.
Still Rendering and Missing Some Key Features
Probably the loudest and most important, early hands-on review of the iPad Final Cut Pro comes from the team at The Verge. And, to put it nicely, they’re not over the moon about this new FCP version.
We can get into some of the pros below, along with how the iPad FCP might be for a different group of creators, but from the perspective of a seasoned video editor looking for specific things for a productive video editing workflow, the iPad FCP falls short in many areas.
In particular, despite its relatively affordable price point ($5 per month is really not that bad of a deal regardless of its limitations), the iPad Final Cut Pro is just lacking in terms of expected and advanced features like buggy mask removal tools, non-linear keyframe movements and limited LUTs and battery life.
The most damning thing might simply be that you can’t edit footage from an external hard drive like you can for most Mac or PC editing apps. Everything you want to touch with the iPad FCP must be uploaded to your iPad, which — no surprise — doesn’t have a lot of storage. And worse yet, there’s no full roundtrip support, so if you start a project on your Mac FCP you can’t move it to the iPad — it’s only one way at this point.
Tools Designed for Casual Creators
We’ve already covered a bit of the pros and cons of trying to edit not with a keyboard and mouse but with your fingers and an Apple Pencil, but this debate is going to be endless and is probably at the heart of anyone’s favor or disfavor of this iPad FCP. However, if you’re a content creator and editor like Jenna Ezarik, who gives her review in the video above, there might be enough intuitive design to this iPad workflow that makes everything worth it.
With Live Drawing in particular, Apple has created a very unique tool that would be hard to replicate using Final Cut Pro (or Premiere Pro, for that matter) on your laptop or desktop. Even with some features like the Scene Removal Mask being a bit buggy right now, the fact that Apple is leaning into smart tools and AI-powered features to help creators streamline their edits might be the saving grace behind this iPad FCP which could help amateur editors never really need to move over to a more powerful device or app.
Start a Project on iPad, Finish it on Mac
Ultimately though, and as you can hear from Matti Haapoja in the final thoughts from his in-depth review as well, the consensus early on seems to be that the iPad version of Final Cut Pro is fun to use and offers plenty of exciting possibilities but it’s doesn’t seem to be designed for higher-end video editing at this point. Its best use case for any seasoned video pro would be as a fun tool to try out and maybe start editing a project, but ultimately meant to be transferred to and finished on a Mac on your desktop or laptop.
Lack of full roundtrip support, no ability to edit off of an external drive, and no third-party plugins at release really knock this iPad FCP down to passing fancy than anything more serious at this point, and—well—that’s kind of disappointing. I don’t think anyone truly thought an iPad FCP would be their be-all-end-all for video editing off the bat, but this is further away from functional than I think most reviewers thought it’d be here at launch.
Still, we really can’t knock the price point of just $4.99 a month or $49 for a yearly subscription. If you currently already own one of the iPads required with an M1 or M2 processor which can run it, far be it from us not to encourage you to at least check it out. But to make purchases and investments into an iPad FCP setup for your video editing needs today would be a bit of a stretch.
Let us know your thoughts and expectations for this new iPad Final Cut Pro in the comments below.
Source: The Verge