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Final Cut Pro on iPad – give me 1 VALID reason for it!

Yesterday Apple officially announced the release of two pro apps for iPad, but I’m at a loss over it

Final Cut Pro comes to iPad

Didn’t see it coming

So, Final Cut Pro (FCP) will soon be available on your iPad and I’ll be getting into the details and my thoughts about it in just a bit, but one other thing struck me yesterday too.

For all the YouTube channels and Twitter leakers out there, how come no one saw this coming? That’s what makes me smile and only serves to confirm a point I’ve made several times – Apple will leak out what they want to help generate just enough interest and headlines. But a press release like yesterday goes to show if they want to keep something under wraps, then they can and will.

So let’s take a closer look at what was actually announced yesterday.

Jumping on the sub wagon

Only yesterday I was sitting here writing about the benefits or otherwise of subscription-based apps and services. At the time I was talking about Adobe and their Creative Cloud suite.

But yesterday, saw a first (I think) for Apple with them giving us the option to use both Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro on a month-by-month basis. Starting from Tuesday 23rd May both apps will be available from the App Store for either £4.99/month or £49 per year which includes a one-month free trial (for new subscribers only). I’ll take my hat off to them on the price point though, those prices are keen – bloody keen! If you were to pop Logic or FCP on a Mac you’re looking at £199 or £299 respectively. So the prices are hot, which makes me think that Apple is selling hard to get as many takers as possible.

Finally

Ever since Apple silicon made its way into iPad, the world and its wife had been hollering ‘why’?

If ever there was a case of a device with too much power, M1 & M2 iPad Pros were the poster boys. Until yesterday’s announcement, there were no apps for iPad that would really start to push the boundaries of what it was capable of.

“We’re excited to introduce Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for iPad, allowing creators to unleash their creativity in new ways and in even more places,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With a powerful set of intuitive tools designed for the portability, performance, and touch-first interface of iPad, Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro deliver the ultimate mobile studio.”

Final Cut will introduce a whole new set of tools which will allow creators to record, edit, export and share all directly from the tablet. As for the audio crew, with the addition of Logic to iPad, Apple feels they have created a mobile studio with a complete collection of sophisticated tools for songwriting, beat making, recording, editing, and mixing.

Final Cut Pro for iPad

By bringing Final Cut Pro to iPad Apple has created a new set of intuitive tools that fully utilise the tablet’s touchscreen. A brand new jog wheel has been developed which is aimed at making creation on the go easier and simpler.

Using the Magnetic Timeline editors can move clips, and make fast frame-accurate edits on the fly. The Pencil hover feature that was introduced last year gets utilised in Final Cut Pro for iPad as you’ll now be able to skim and preview footage without actually touching the screen – apparently, this is useful!

One slam-dunk advantage iPad Pro does have is the Liquid Retina XDR Display. Being able to view HDR content on that glorious panel will be amazing and when you apply colour grades, they should view ever so faithfully.

Possibly the biggest and most surprising reveal from yesterday’s press release was the announcement that a Pro camera mode is coming which should unlock a whole new raft of ways to create on iPad.

Clearly, the driver behind Final Cut on iPad is to make the experience as mobile and complete as possible as you’ll now be able to shoot, edit and upload all on the go. The ability to shoot ProRes comes to Final Cut Pro and iPad as does multicam editing as well. There will also now be the option to manually control settings like focus, exposure, and white balance. What are the odds these functions come to iPhone Pro later this year now, too?

Artificial Intelligence is coming to Final Cut Pro in what I’ll admit is a pretty nifty feature. With Scene Removal Masks you’ll be able to remove backgrounds from behind talent as if they were on a green screen. If that works as well as it sounds that will be one area that Premiere Pro will need to play catch-up on.

The auto-crop function allows for rapid aspect ratio changes to footage, say from horizontal to vertical – but that has been a thing in Premiere for a while at this point.

It seems as if Final Cut Pro for iPad will come loaded with a comprehensive array of professional graphics, effects, backgrounds, customisable animated patterns, professional soundtracks and plug-ins.

You’ll be able to import media directly into a Final Cut Pro project and able to export projects back over to your Mac.

Logic Pro for iPad

Again, Apple is zoning in on fully utilising the touchscreen and multi-touch gestures of the iPad experience when it comes to audio editing in Logic.

Creators will be able to intuitively play software instruments and also navigate complex projects with both pinch-to-zoom and swipe-to-scroll. Plug-in Tiles are basically a way of making visual shortcuts of your most often-used controls and effects aimed at making editing on the hoof an easier ask.

One of the more far-fetched claims that Apple made yesterday though was;

” With the built-in mics on iPad, users can capture voice or instrument recordings, and with five studio-quality mics on iPad Pro, users can turn virtually any space into a recording studio”.

I mean call me an old sceptic, but somehow I can’t quite get my head around the fact that we are expected to believe the mics in an iPad are of a pro, studio-level quality…and that’s not even touching on acoustics, sound treatment and mic-proximity.

Logic gets an all-new sound browser which displays instrument patches, audio patches, plug‑in presets, samples, and loops in a single UI. You’ll be able to preview effects before loading them too with this new feature.

Similar to Final Cut Pro, Logic too will come with pre-loaded plug-ins, compressors, rack effects, loops and beds.

Another new feature is Beat Breaker which is a new time and pitch-morphing plug-in which coupled with Quick Sampler and Step Sequencer will let you manipulate and chop samples much quicker and more accurately.

And Logic for iPad will get a full channel-strip style mixer complete with volume faders and pan controls and will even allow you to automate and move numerous sliders simultaneously.

My take

I know iPad users and many creatives have been crying out for these apps to come to iPad if only to challenge and push it. Well, yesterday their dreams came true.

But, and I’m aware I seem to be the lone voice here, I’m unimpressed.

I spend many hours a week editing audio and video. No matter how intuitive and snappy the experience is on an iPad Pro, I can think of nothing worse than editing a timeline on a 12-inch tablet.

Audio and video editing requires real estate and space – as much as you can get. If I could afford the 32-inch Pro Display XDR I’d have one in a flash in preference to my gorgeous 27-inch Studio Display.

Sitting here why would I choose to edit on say my MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, when I have a much larger panel waiting to be used? Ah but what if I was away from the studio, wouldn’t the iPad win then? Nope, I’d still rather edit on the 16-inch MacBook Pro which after you’ve added a keyboard to the iPad Pro is about the same weight and dimensions anyway.

As for touchscreen editing, I can’t think of a time in all the editing I’ve carried out, that I wished I’d been able to touch the screen to pinch or zoom – the magic trackpad I have works just fine for quickly scrubbing through timelines for me.

There is one other elephant in the room too – file size! My weekly video folder often approaches 15GB by the end of the project. Trying to get files on and off an iPad is going to be painful. It will be too slow and cumbersome even allowing for the Thunderbolt 4 connector on iPad Pro. And let’s be honest, file management has never been a strong suit for iPad either.

And no, this isn’t the bitter ramblings of an Adobe fanboi either. Sometimes just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I could edit a video on my MacBook Air, but I wouldn’t. I could edit using AirPods Max, but why would I when I have studio-grade headphones? Picking the right tools for the job is one of the first lessons you learn.

Why do you think so many editors use multiple large monitors to edit on? Because of the space you need to explore all elements when editing.

Apple yesterday ticked boxes and delivered on an overdue promise, in bringing Final Cut Pro & Logic but you won’t find me editing on an iPad anytime soon.

Apple’s full press release is available here on my website.

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