Final Cut Pro for the iPad: incredibly fun but lacking features


One in every of my favourite methods to edit photographs is on an iPad — pinching the display to zoom feels pure, the Apple Pencil is the right method to brush in changes, and even the apps are getting higher over time. However I’ve not been in a position to replicate that setup for video modifying. LumaFusion by no means did it for me, and regardless of my YouTube suggestions being crammed with “I switched to DaVinci Resolve. Right here’s why” movies, I haven’t made that change but. 

Right here at The Verge, we’re all principally Adobe customers, however for my private work, I wish to mess around with Remaining Minimize Professional, so the information that it’s coming to the iPad was thrilling for me. Besides that I personal a 2018 iPad Professional — the one with an A12X Bionic chip. Remaining Minimize Professional received’t work on these. You’ll want an M1- or M2-powered iPad. So Apple despatched me a loaner to check out the brand new Remaining Minimize Professional.

The highest-of-the-line 12.9-inch iPad Professional with an M2 processor will set you again $2,399.

Remaining Minimize Professional for iPad is a fastidiously designed app that will get a number of the fundamentals proper. It’s an ideal adaptation of its desktop app, and FCP customers will really feel proper at dwelling. It additionally takes benefit of the iPad’s touch-first interface and makes use of equipment just like the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil properly. It’s additionally priced accessibly — Apple is selling it as a subscription at $5 per month or $50 per year, which makes it straightforward to make use of for a month or two to see if it’s one thing you need to stick to.

However when you’re hoping that it’s an entire drop-in alternative for the Mac model of Remaining Minimize Professional, you’ll doubtless come away disenchanted. There are nonetheless many options omitted from this model that I missed all through my testing of it. And when you’re the kind of editor who desires to work on each the iPad and the Mac, you’re going to must be cautious with the way you set up your tasks and which machine you begin out with.

File administration

The 12.9-inch iPad that Apple loaned me for this piece got here with a 2TB drive and 16GB of RAM paired with the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil. The whole price of this setup is $2,877. ($2,399 when you ditch the equipment.) And also you’ll need an iPad with extra storage as a result of one of many first limitations of Remaining Minimize Professional on the iPad is that you would be able to’t edit off of exterior drives. Your entire media recordsdata should stay in your iPad contained in the Information app. I do assume we’re on the level the place SSDs are quick sufficient to deal with this workload, so it’s an odd limitation. There might be extra of these as we go on.

One other small limitation comes when importing recordsdata. You possibly can’t export folders as a complete; you’ll need to open up every folder and manually choose clips you need to import. So when you’re severe about your file administration and are used to a selected folder hierarchy, you received’t have the ability to replicate that right here. 

This additionally signifies that there are not any occasions or Sensible Collections (or “bins” for Premiere customers) contained in the library. All of it lives within the media window on the top-right nook of the display. You possibly can add key phrases and add “favourite” or “rejected” labels. And you’ll type media by mentioned labels and media sort. 

Workspace format

As quickly as you launch the app, you’ll really feel proper at dwelling. The setup appears pretty much like what you’d see on a desktop Remaining Minimize Professional, only a bit smaller and a bit cramped — however not fairly claustrophobic. You possibly can resize every window and conceal some for a cleaner setup. There’s additionally a picture-in-picture view in case you want a greater take a look at your media. Preview window, the place you play again your clips, continues to be within the top-left nook, and you may select between high quality or efficiency playback. The modifying timeline runs alongside the underside edge, and just under it are a couple of new buttons — examine, quantity, animate, and multicam. That is the place you’ll go to begin making changes to your clips.

The format appears similar to the desktop model of Remaining Minimize Professional.

The examine button brings up the inspector sidebar over from the left-hand facet, and I truly actually like how that appears. It additionally makes a number of sense when you’re modifying whereas holding your iPad in each arms. You possibly can choose clips along with your proper hand, and your left hand is already in place to begin making changes in that sidebar.

On this window is the place you’d additionally hope to seek out stabilization and rolling shutter correction choices, however neither of these choices is offered. As somebody who movies quite a bit on a slider, dropping stabilization is irritating.

Keyframes and animation

Tapping on the animate button brings up this keyframe modifying graph. It’s the place you’ll add keyframes and animate motion of your clips or coloring changes. Whereas I believe the person expertise may very well be higher (for instance, tapping on the keyframe itself doesn’t choose it), the larger problem I’ve is that all the keyframed transitions you do in FCP on an iPad are linear by default and may’t be modified. There is no such thing as a method to “ease out” or “ease in” actions. 

Tapping on the quantity buttons reveals audio metering and the acquire slider on both sides of the timeline. And there are some helpful audio results you should use — together with fundamental fade-ins, fade-outs, pans, and extra bold results like EQ and Compressor. The iPad model of Remaining Minimize Professional additionally has a couple of audio results that have been not too long ago added to FCP on desktop. Voice Isolation, loudness, and noise removing are all right here and work simply as properly. 

Dwell Drawings and masking

However there are a couple of new options unique to the FCP on iPad, together with one which made my life quite a bit simpler. In case you have an Apple Pencil, you possibly can freely draw or write on high of your footage after which animate it. It’s referred to as Dwell Drawing, and it’s implausible. I believe extra artistic individuals than myself can actually reap the benefits of it, however I used to be in a position to get some good textual content and sketches animating onto my clips. But it surely’s additionally a type of issues that may get too repetitive quickly. I hope Apple provides some extra brush choices sooner or later. 

There’s additionally a brand new masking impact referred to as Auto Scene Removing, which, in After Results phrases, is named rotoscoping. It’s what you’d do to separate your topic, like an individual or pet, from the background with the intention to place textual content behind them. It, sadly, hasn’t labored properly for me in any respect. Apple’s demos present it working solely on static photographs with very clear separation between the 2, however even after I tried to duplicate them, I had little or no success, with the title flickering between the topic and background or usually simply getting misplaced. I used to be anticipating much more there.  

Apple additionally added about 40 songs that you would be able to freely use. What’s cool about these is that FCP will mechanically retime the track so it matches your timeline. Any of those songs might be 10 seconds or 10 minutes lengthy. However this solely works with these 40 songs. That is one thing I used to do in Audition, however Adobe added this particular characteristic to Premiere, and it really works with any track you need.  

Colour correction

Let’s discuss colour. For people filming in LOG profiles, I’ve some unhealthy information. There’s no means so as to add customized LUTs, however not all hope is misplaced. FCP presents you some broadly used built-in LUTs from Canon, Arri, Blackmagic, Sony, and so on. For me, which means I can’t use my Fuji footage or DJI LUTs. You can also’t add third-party plug-ins, however Apple says these are coming, so possibly LUTs might be a part of that sooner or later, although there’s no timeline on when that can occur.  

However there are some issues you may get completed with out LUTs. When opening up the colour adjustment results, all you get are sliders. There aren’t conventional curves, colour board, colour wheels, or HSL curves like on the desktop model. I used to be by no means a fan of these, however I nonetheless desire that over fundamental sliders like those you see right here. You possibly can nonetheless make a number of changes right here, however I want this interface have been extra constant. And lastly, there are scopes, vectorscopes, and histograms the place you possibly can monitor your coloring. 

Colour board and colour wheels are totally changed by sliders. You can even monitor your colour and publicity utilizing histograms, vectorscopes, and waveforms.

Some editors will need to ship this venture to DaVinci as a result of they like coloring there. However that’s not doable. FCP can also’t export or import XML recordsdata that you just normally use to repeat your timelines into different apps. In actual fact, you possibly can solely switch FCP libraries from an iPad to a Mac and never the opposite means round. Which additionally means you need to decide on which machine you’d use to begin and end the edit and hope you made the proper guess.   

Keyboard shortcuts and the Jog Wheel

Typically, I do just like the person interface throughout the app. There are some good adjustments from the desktop model that match very properly on an iPad. Apple made positive you should use FCP with simply your arms, and to make issues simpler, there’s a brand new little characteristic referred to as Jog Wheel. 

When you’ve seen or used a Loupedeck or DaVinci Resolve’s bodily wheel, it’s principally that however digital. You should utilize it in your timeline to maneuver your playhead or nudge the clip back and forth. You possibly can’t use it to fine-tune your slider when adjusting colour, simply to regulate your clips and playhead within the timeline. 

You possibly can place it anyplace alongside the edges of the display, which is useful when you’re left-handed and notably useful, possibly even obligatory, when you’re utilizing your arms to edit. I find it irresistible. 

Digital Jog Wheel is an effective way to clean via the timeline, particularly when utilizing the iPad handheld.

However I nonetheless desire modifying with the keyboard and a trackpad or mouse — principally as a result of I’m so used to utilizing keyboard shortcuts, and I’m a a lot quicker editor that means.

Virtually all the common keyboard shortcuts work — issues like I and O for out and in factors, J-Ok-L for playback, fast-forward, rewind, zoom in, zoom out, leaping across the timeline, including cross dissolves, and so on. However I’m stunned to see which of them are omitted. Right here’s a brief listing of those that I usually use on the desktop that aren’t obtainable on the iPad:

  • V for enabling and disabling the clip.
  • N for turning snapping on and off.
  • M for markers. These are simply absolutely gone. I can stay with out these.
  • Possibility-W for including clean house is gone.
  • Cmd-E — no export shortcut
  • Possibility-G for compounding clips is gone — each the shortcut and the characteristic. 
  • Tilde (~), which is kind of this magical professional tier keyboard shortcut that helps you override connecting factors on a timeline. You need to completely use it when you already don’t… however not on right here as a result of it’s gone.

Battery life and efficiency 

Unsurprisingly, there’s little to complain about in the case of efficiency in Remaining Minimize Professional on the iPad. Every thing runs easily and shortly. Even including superlong recordsdata didn’t trigger any hiccups. There’s an choice to set playback previews to prioritize efficiency or high quality, and I went with efficiency. However I did discover the battery life depleting shortly. I used to be all the way down to 43 % after about two hours of modifying with the display at a snug brightness. The conspiracy mind in me makes me surprise if the principle cause why we are able to’t edit off of exterior drives is as a result of we’ll have to preserve our iPad plugged in as an alternative.

Total, there are a number of issues I favored about modifying with Remaining Minimize Professional on the iPad. However I’m stunned at how lots of the options are lacking — the coloring choices are missing, some quite common options just like the blade instrument or potential to allow and disable clips are gone, you possibly can’t import LUTs, the stabilization is lacking… I  may go on. I wouldn’t even say these are essentially “skilled” stage instruments. And I already talked about the entire file administration facet of issues. It baffles me! 

Scrubbing the timeline whereas hovering above the display with an Apple Pencil was one among my favourite options.

However, I’m modifying 4K ProRes video in Remaining Minimize Professional on a pill with top-of-the-line HDR-enabled screens ever made. I’m utilizing an Apple Pencil to attract animations straight onto my footage. The expertise itself is remarkably good, and for $5 a month, it’s a really accessible, highly effective instrument. However finally, when it was time to edit the video I created to check out Remaining Minimize, I went again to the Mac. I may have completed it on the iPad, positive. However a few of my slider B-roll would’ve been quite a bit shakier, and I’d have been annoyed with the tip end result. 

When you’re beginning out, this might be an extremely intuitive and simple app to get going. However for somebody with a longtime workflow like myself, it’s nonetheless lacking some essential options.

Pictures by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge


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