iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro: Which One Is Right for You?

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Whether you’re a serious hobbyist or a professional content creator, you need a trusty editor to help you polish your videos. Apple designed two user-oriented software for this purpose: the iMovie app and Final Cut Pro.

Each video editing program brings different advantages and customization features to enhance raw content. Their interactive features, reasonable pricing, and reliability make them popular choices among beginners and professionals.

So which one should you choose?

The article compares the pros and cons of using iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro to help you make an informed decision.

An Overview: The Pros, Cons & Uses

Before comparing notable differences between iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro, understand the basics. Learn what each video editing software offers and its reception in the market.

Here’s what you should know:

iMovie: Best App for Beginners

iMovie is hands down the best video editing tool for beginners. It’s pre-installed with iOS and macOS devices, making it a convenient fit for most novice content creators. You can use it to create trailers and short montages or edit videos to share on social media channels.

iMovie screenshot.

Apple introduced the app in 1999 for the consumer to “turn videos into movie magic.” It has upgraded program features to meet user demands over the years. The latest version accommodates user needs to produce professionally edited videos with different transitions and effects. According to the tech giant, iMovies 3.0 makes it easier to “create beautiful, edited videos

The new upgrades make it a simplified alternative to Final Cut Pro. iMovie has an estimated 19.64% market share, making it one of the industry’s top three most used video editing apps in the industry.

Pros of iMovie:

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Great video transition effects and movie editing features.
  • Color correction feature leads to consistent video editing and production.
  • A free service for iOS and macOS users.

Cons of iMovie:

  • Many professional video editing controls are missing.
  • Editing options are limited in terms of motion tracking, tagging, and Multicam transitions.
  • You can only work on two tracks simultaneously.

Final Cut Pro: The Top Choice for Professionals

Final Cut Pro is a tool commonly used by independent content creators and video production teams to edit videos professionally. It’s compatible with macOS and offers non-linear editing services. While Apple owns its rights, Macromedia originally developed its software.

Screenshot of Final Cut Pro.

The video editing application dominates the tech market due to its lightning-fast speed and advanced features. You can use the app for cutting and compiling videos, color correction, transitions, motion graphics, etc.

Final Cut Pro has 12.99% of the market share in the Video Editors category, allowing it to secure the fourth rank on the Slintel list In comparison to most editing apps, the web application has a significant learning curve. It’s why most amateurs prefer using iMovie.

Yet, once you master its custom features, you will become a pro at editing high-end videos.

Pros of Final Cut Pro:

  • A quick and efficient video editing tool for pros.
  • Top-notch organization specs for sorting videos, auto-analyzing faces, and scenes, and tagging.
  • Supports advanced features such as Multicam editing, 360° footage, and color correction.

Cons of Final Cut Pro:

  • It can be costly for some beginners and professional video editors working on a budget.
  • Isn’t compatible with smartphones.

iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro: Which One Should You Use?

We help you end the ongoing debate about the two video editors by comparing their advanced specs and user interface. In most cases, your choice depends on usage, individual skill level, and the purpose of post-production.

Additionally, you might consider budget constraints before committing to one editing application.

Let’s break down the distinctive features that make each app stand out from its competitor:

1. Ease of Use

If you’re still learning how to edit videos, you may find the user interface for the Final Cut Pro a challenge. The web application may take time to master as it has a complicated layout with multiple control features and editing panels. Experienced users and professionals appreciate the versatility of the software.

In contrast, iMovie simplifies video editing for beginners and hobbyists. Its user interface is functional, fun, and super engaging. It only takes a few projects for new users to excel in editing videos on the platform. That said, ease of use often means limited editing features, which is why many experienced users switch to Final Cut Pro when they want to explore advanced editing options.

Custom image of iMovie vs Final Cut Pro related to ease of use.

2. User Interface

iMovie and Final Cut Pro have more or less the same dark gray interface that allows your video to stand out. The contrast puts the focus on your video, exposing coloring, grading, and video resolution issues easily.

Both video editing software have three main panels. These include:

  • Source Panel features the main video and raw footage.
  • Program Panel allows users to view videos they are currently editing.
  • Timeline displays edited footage on a magnetic timeline.

This is where the similarity ends for these apps. Final Cut Pro has more advanced features that support multi-camera editing, 360° footage mode, and other enhancements to beautifully edit your videos.

Custom image of iMovie vs Final Cut Pro related to user interface.

3. Video Editing Features

When we discuss video editing features between iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Pro wins. It comes with unlimited customizable options that enhance the final resolution and quality of your video edits. You can access various preset texts, templates, transition effects, motion tracking, and special effects with Final Cut Pro. Automated color correction and advanced tagging features can speed up the process.

These specs enable users to edit videos efficiently based on mood, genre, or other goals envisioned for your video project.

In contrast, iMovie includes limited editing options. They do work for small-scale video productions and memorable montages/compilations made for loved ones. It does have a variety of professional editing tools for color correction, manipulation, transitions, and voiceovers.

Nevertheless, the advanced features available via Final Cut Pro are unparalleled. The app takes your editing skills to the next level by ensuring you have access to the best editing tools in the industry.

Custom image of iMovie vs Final Cut Pro related to video editing.

4. Workflow

Workflow on iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro remains more or less the same because of their similar layout. Users can access special effects through presets, and in Final Cut Pro’s case create some transitional effects independently.

However, when you use the apps, you realize iMovies don’t require extensive editing. Therefore, editing and importing your videos doesn’t take as much time as it does when you’re using Final Cut Pro. The latter features organizational tools that help users sort available raw footage and edited content.

Moreover, Final Cut Pro users can benefit from its collaborative features that allow them to transfer files to Apple Xsan storage. It simplifies coordination and creative exchange between interdisciplinary teams. Moreover, it saves your time by saving, editing, and importing videos with a few clicks.

Custom image of iMovie vs Final Cut Pro related to workflow.

5. Compatibility with Digital Devices

The iMovie application has a desktop and mobile version for iOS and macOS users. The flexibility makes it easier for users to edit videos anywhere and anytime they want. It makes accessing videos stored on the smartphone super convenient.

In contrast, Final Cut Pro users can only use the app on a Mac PC or laptop. That’s why its usage requires a slightly more professional setup for users.

Custom image of iMovie vs Final Cut Pro related to compatibility.

6. Operating Speed

iMovie and Final Cut Pro come with cutting-edge technology developed by tech giant Apple. They are available for iOS and macOS devices, which means their operating speed is superior to most editing apps.

The applications rarely lag and work efficiently from start to finish. Importing footage clips directly means that many projects require you to edit videos with large sizes effortlessly. iMovie, however, does slow down when you use the mobile app for extensive editing.

In comparison, Final Cut Pro is faster and operates seamlessly without any delays.

That means functionality and operation speed depends on storage space, file size, and the device you’re using. Smaller files take less time to edit and share on iMovie and Final Cut Pro for most experienced users.

Custom image of iMovie vs Final Cut Pro related to operating speed.

7. Price

iMovie is a pre-installed application on most Mac PCs with a free downloadable version for iPhone and iPad users. It allows you to edit videos on the go and at work without spending an extra dime on this phase of post-production.

In contrast, users choosing Final Cut Pro must pay around $300 after the app trial ends. You can access the free version for 90 days. After the trial ends, the app asks you to switch to a premium account.

If you have the budget and use the cutting-edge technology featured on this web app for professionals, you should save up to pay for its premium package. Otherwise, you may continue working with iMovie for small-scale projects and personal video editing tasks.

Custom image of iMovie vs Final Cut Pro related to price.

The Verdict

iMovie and Final Cut Pro are crowd favorites amongst professional and amateur video editors, content creators, and small marketing agencies. Most experienced users will enjoy working with Final Cut Pro. That’s because they can leverage its versatile motion graphics, preset templates, and customization options to create high-end cinematic experiences for target audiences.

Comparatively, iMovie works best for someone still exploring video editing programs and techniques. As a hobbyist or video creator for small-budget business projects, you can enhance color, compile videos, add background music, and edit files to achieve unique results.

Consider your budget and video editing goals before choosing between these apps so you make the right choice for your needs.

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Lisa Parmley

Lisa Parmley is the founder of CourseMethod.com. After gaining a Master's degree in Biology, she worked in research for about 7 years.

Lisa decided to start her own training company in 2001, helping people pass a professional exam. In that time, she created online courses as well as books, DVD's, CD's, and testing software. That course has earned multiple 7-figures throughout the years.

She created SEO and authority site building training around 2007 which went on to earn well into the 6-figure mark.

She has 21+ years of experience in the trenches doing both creating and selling online courses. Download her 7-figure Online Course Success Blueprint here.

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