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imovie ipad pro fcpx

New toys and new fun. We have been putting the new iPad Pro through its paces this week and we thought a quick post and a couple of videos about our first thoughts would be good. Yes we do mention 4K editing in iMovie and Duet!

It's a large iPad. In fact it is about the same size as two iPad Airs side by side or fractionally bigger than a sheet of A4 paper. Or if you prefer your comparisons in percentages, the iPad Pro has 80% more surface than the original iPad. 

imovie ipad pro 1

Original iPad on the bottom!


It is also a lot thinner than the original iPad, but that is not at the sacrifice of strength, it feels quite sturdy, there's no flexing if you try twisting it.

imovie ipad pro 2

A big difference in 5 years. Original iPad on the left, iPad Pro on the right.


Once youv'e unlocked the iPad Pro (With your fingerprint or the now six digit security code) the retina screen's 5.6 million pixels look gorgeous. We think the iPad Pro's real estate makes a real difference. Web pages look great in portrait mode, photos look great in landscape mode with stunning detail and great contrast. Well, it all looks good.

But back to the first 24 hours and we did two things that any Final Cut Pro X editor with the new iPad would do. Check out 4K editing in iMovie and then try getting FCPX's filmstrips onto the iPad by using Duet.

We have some good and bad news

Let us start off with a quick look at iMovie on the iPad Pro.

We tried to transfer over some 4K clips we found on a MacBook Pro via AirDrop as the iPad's camera only shoots video at a maximum of 1080. Apple say the iPad can handle 4K, so we were keen to stretch it!

It didn't work. Forget any flavour of ProRes, iMovie can't play the files as the codecs are unsupported. Did proxies work from FCPX? No, which is a real shame as we can see some great potential workflows if this was possible. (Export proxies for cutting on iPad) So much for doing a rough cut on the train home!

We ended up having to dig into Compressor and build a 4K H264 file format that the iPad could play. Hopefully a Compressor update will bring in a new preset to get 4K footage from a Mac over. 

You can also transfer footage over by using a Lightning to USB converter to read a camera card. You cannot however, plug a hard drive in.

iMovie on the iPad Pro will display video pixel for pixel for a 1080 video running in landscape or portrait mode. Twisting it 90 degrees whist playing don't stop the timeline.


We cannot stress how fluid the timeline feels on the iPad and yes it does scroll with beautiful smoothness when playing. Suddenly, all of Apple's redesigns of the apps makes sense. They have thought long and hard about how we will be using video in the future.

Tinkering with iMovie on the iPad you realise that it is years ahead of other NLEs and in a way FCPX too.

The iPad playback and scrolling is so smooth, with the split screens and dissolves you can have 3 streams being played at once. Ironic when some NLEs have trouble playing back a couple of streams of 4K on a beefy PC. One PC stat here, the iPad Pro has more computing power than 80% of all the PC laptops and tablets sold last year.

There will be more to come on iMovie when we have spent more than 24 hours with the new iPad.


So the burning question we can hear everyone saying is: 'Can the new iPad Pro be used with Duet as a second display?' and 'Can I run up and down the filmstrips?'

New versions of everything installed, we gave it a go as you can see in the video.


So the short answer is no. The long answer is the size glitches make it unusable and the touch points go off line on the right hand side. Same glitches happen when you put the viewer on the iPad Pro. It nearly works, so hopefully you will be able to scroll across the clips in the future. 

No time to talk about the Pencil and the Keyboard, we will save those for the next article. Which might be written with the new keyboard!



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