Apple’s Huge Final Cut Updates Turn the iPad Into a Mobile Production Unit

Two smartphones displaying apps: the left shows a video editing interface; the right is in camera mode capturing a man in a cowboy hat.

While today’s Apple event centered on the iPad lineup and redesigned iPad Pro, the tech company also offered some extra surprises, one being the announcement of an update for Final Cut Pro on Mac, an upgraded Final Cut Pro for iPad app, and a new Final Cut Camera app for iPhone and iPad devices.

Final Cut Pro for Mac 10.8

Before diving into Final Cut Pro on iPad news, it is worth seeing what Apple has done on the Mac side. The most significant change is bringing new artificial intelligence (AI) features to Final Cut Pro for Mac.

Final Cut Pro 10.8, available as a free update for existing users, introduces Enhance Light and Color, which promises to improve color, color balance, contrast, and brightness in just one click. This AI-powered feature works on SDR, HDR, RAW, and Log-encoded media.

A laptop screen displaying video editing software with multiple video and audio tracks, showing thumbnails of a musician playing guitar in a dimly lit room.

To help editors re-time visuals, Apple has also added Smooth Slo-Mo. This uses AI to intelligently generate and blend frames together, ensuring that the final output looks smooth even if the original capture isn’t suited to the desired timing and frame rate.

Users can now give custom names to color corrections and video effects inside the inspector for efficiency within post-production workflows. Effects can be dragged from the inspector to other clips in the timeline or viewer. The timeline index also allows users to search for clips with missing media or effects. There’s also a text-based timeline search that now shows critical info like reel, scene, camera angle, and more.

Final Cut Pro for Mac 10.8 is a free update for existing users, but it costs $300 for new users. Apple offers a free 90-day trial.

Final Cut Pro for iPad 2

Speaking of iPad, Final Cut Pro for iPad 2 — yes, the name is a bit of a mouthful — brings a bevy of new features, including some new AI tricks.

Final Cut Pro for iPad gets external project support, allowing users to create and open projects from an external storage device. This means importing media doesn’t have to take up iPad memory, and it makes swapping between iPad and Mac far easier.

An image of a tablet displaying video editing software, showing multiple video clips and editing tools on the screen. the interface is modern and intuitive, featuring a dark theme.

The app further expands its editing options with 12 new color-grading presets, eight basic text titles, 20 new soundtracks, and dynamic backgrounds to create effect overlays and title sequences. It’s still not the same as using Final Cut Pro on desktop, but it’s a step up nonetheless.

And, of course, the app is compatible with the new Apple Pencil Pro the company unveiled during the same event.

Existing Final Cut Pro for iPad 2 users will get a free update reflecting these changes. The app costs $5 a month or $50 a year, and there’s a one-month free trial.

New Final Cut Pro Camera App Turns Final Cut Pro Into a Mobile Production Studio

With Final Cut Pro for iPad 2, Apple aims to transform the iPad into a full-blown mobile production studio with content-capturing capabilities. Final Cut Pro for iPad works alongside Final Cut Camera, which is required to use Live Multicam in Final Cut Pro for iPad 2.

Final Cut Camera is free and can be used independently of Final Cut Pro for iPad 2. However, Apple envisions Final Cut Camera as part of an extensive — not free — ecosystem alongside Final Cut Pro.

The Live Multicam solution, for example, requires Final Cut Pro. One thing it doesn’t require: wires. The feature works wirelessly with up to four devices using Final Cut Camera. Within Final Cut Pro, a director’s view sees all four angles in real-time for live monitoring. The director can also independently adjust the settings on each connected camera.

Apple says that “Leveraging the incredible camera systems on iPhone and iPad,” Final Cut Camera allows users to tweak vital camera settings, such as white balance and focus, and monitor the video and audio output with zebra stripes and audio level meters. Users can also adjust ISO and shutter speed and enable focus peaking, providing new capabilities to some Apple devices, like iPad Air and iPad Pro, which typically don’t include this level of control in their camera systems.

A smartphone screen displays a camera interface focused on a stylish man wearing a cowboy hat and leather jacket, lighting a cigarette. various camera settings are visible on the screen.

Apple says each live camera feed can be adjusted from inside Final Cut Pro for iPad 2, ensuring perfect focus, exposure, and even zoom without touching the individual iPhone or iPad. Editable clips are sent directly into Final Cut Pro for iPad, while full-resolution files are processed in the background. When available, the edits made to these proxy files will be seamlessly applied to the max-quality files.

Two devices displaying video editing software with timelines and clips: a laptop editing a film scene with an officer, and a tablet showing a wild west themed video.

“Users have been loving the portability and flexibility of editing with Final Cut Pro for iPad. It was designed from the ground up to take advantage of everything iPad has to offer, and that continues with the latest advances like Apple Pencil Pro and the M4 chip,” says Brent Chiu-Watson, Apple’s senior director of Apps Worldwide Product Marketing. “Now, Final Cut Pro for iPad is getting even more powerful, transforming production workflows for creators by putting iPad at the center and allowing them to edit and share more quickly than ever, whether they’re at the studio or on the go. Final Cut Pro for Mac also continues to deliver efficiency gains for editors with new features that are smarter and faster.”

Final Cut Pro for iPad 2 and Final Cut Pro Camera will be available later this spring.

Image credits: Apple