As promised last month, big Final Cut Pro updates land this week for both iPadOS and macOS. That’s accompanied by an update to Apple’s free camera app that lets you gather iPhones and iPads for a multicam rig.

Apple said the new Final Cut updates for macOS and iPadOS were coming “later this spring” and they weren’t kidding – just before the solstice, iPadOS and macOS have dropped along with the update to the companion Final Cut Camera app.

Final Cut Camera, meet iPad

Final Cut Camera alone might be reason enough to spring for the subscription for Final Cut Pro on iPad, provided you have capable devices. The app already existed for capturing video, but now you can load footage directly into the iPad version. Once you load Final Cut Pro 10.8 or later on iPadOS, that iPad becomes a “director’s chair” for up to four cameras. Want a multicam shoot, and you haven’t got cameras and videographers around? (Or for that matter, you do have a talented videographer or two around, but they’re shooting tiny snippets on SLR and you want some easy reference to edit to?) This looks like a godsend.

We just had this show up on the App Store here in Europe, so I haven’t tested it yet, but you can bet I will. Apple has done a lot of work with this one: you can set shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and manual focus, customize resolution and frame rate and color space, all from the iPad, all with a mix of different mobile devices.

An iPad is in fact probably more convenient than a Mac for this job, but I do wish that Apple had baked Final Cut Camera support into the macOS version, too. That said, you should be able to use the iPad that’s running Final Cut Pro to be a camera, too, so even if you just have a recent iPad and your iPhone, that’s already a two-camera shoot. Grab a couple of friends, and you’re golden. (Time to determine who gets a round of drinks based on who upgraded to the latest iPhone more recently?) The Live Multicam feature works with wireless connected devices with preview, record, and even sync.

“Wait, where is my storage going for this one?” Well – yeah, it’s very useful that external storage is now supported.

The newer your Apple hardware, the more capable this app becomes. Focus peaking and overexposure require the A13 Bionic chip or better; you need an iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max for storage and ProRes and Log color encoding. But it looks usable so far on other devices – iOS 17.4 is the minimum requirement.

And then here’s the other big feature: “Save time in post with background media transfer that seamlessly replaces preview media with originals as you work.” That’s right – you get on-the-fly video.

If you don’t want to spring for the iPad version of Final Cut, you can still use the free app to capture footage and then sync and log later. That’s what I’ll be comparing next week; stay tuned.

Camera features:

  • Easily record in a range of resolutions, frame rates, and codecs including ProRes and Log color encoding*
  • Set your exposure with ISO and shutter speed controls
  • Adjust your white balance with common presets or set your color temperature
  • Pull focus to follow the action and keep subjects sharp
  • Precisely zoom to emphasize the most important elements of the video
  • Lock orientation to ensure your framing is consistent regardless of device position
  • Reduce shakiness and movement during capture by enabling stabilization

iPad multicam features:

  • Preview, record, and sync up to four devices with Live Multicam in Final Cut Pro for iPad
  • Quickly start a Live Multicam session by connecting your device to Final Cut Pro for iPad (with paid subscription)
  • Remotely preview, adjust pro controls, and initiate recording on all your connected devices right in Final Cut Pro
  • Instantly edit your multicam clips with preview media that is automatically synced in the Final Cut Pro browser
  • Save time in post with background media transfer that seamlessly replaces preview media with originals as you work

From there, you have monitoring, aspect ratio guides, and grid, plus available recording time and audio level, and even focus peaking and zebra indicators for exposure on the iPhone 15 Pro/Max. And you can scoop up everybody’s media: you can transfer right into the project on the iPad.

Final Cut Pro updates

If you’re not as excited about that as I am, there’s still more to these updates. In brief, Final Cur Pro for iPad 2:

  • External project support
  • New Apple Pencil Pro support (for precise Live Drawing, squeeze-to-bring-up brushes and settings)
  • M4 enhancement

And Final Cut Pro for Mac 10.8, like its Logic audio sibling, emphasizes AI-powered feaures:

  • Enhance Light and Color (AI-powered)
  • Smooth Slo-Mo (AI-powered)
  • More organizational tools and improvements
  • Search and navigate to clips with missing media or effects
  • Text-based timeline search (look for reel, scene, camera angle, etc.)

The Smooth Slo-Mo looks great:

Motion 5.8 also gets the Enhance Light and Color

Here’s Pro Video Coalition with a rundown on the desktop side:

Final Cut Pro 10.8 released — an in-depth look

I’ll be looking at both Mac and iPad versions soon. As with Logic, you’ll need Apple Silicon to run the AI stuff; Intel Macs lack the machine learning hardware that enables it. But keep in mind, your $299 purchase for Final Cut Pro – made basically at any time in recent history – still includes free updates on the desktop.

Final Cut Pro release notes

Final Cut Pro for iPad release notes

There’s a lot in that iPad release, too. What I am really missing is custom backgrounds / titles / color grading. That stops the iPad from being an end-to-end delivery device, though it’s still convenient for monitoring so – yeah, do the live multicam on iPad, then the actual delivery on Mac, fine.

Don’t forget Motion

Motion 5.8 includes a ton of stability and performance enhancements, alongside the same AI-powered Enhance Light and Color filter that’s in Final Cut. (It seems not to have the slo-mo feature for some reason, but then you can probably find a workflow for the two apps that resolves that.)

New in 5.8:

  • Automatically improve the color, color balance, contrast, and brightness of video or still images using the new Enhance Light and Color filter, powered by machine learning.
  • Improves stability when exporting a movie with an applied Analyze Motion behavior.
  • Improves stability when switching between the Filters and Properties Inspectors in a project with an applied Color Curves filter.
  • Improves stability when analyzing in reverse using Point mode tracking in the Analyze Motion behavior.
  • Fixes an issue in which Motion may become unresponsive when using a third-party FxPlug plug-in.
  • Fixes an issue in which a Keyer filter may render incorrectly when Color Processing is set to Automatic in the Project Properties Inspector.
  • Improves stability when creating a particle emitter or replicator from the Media list in a 360° project.

And there was much rejoicing for Mac motion graphics fans still following this tool. (Hey, I always loved Motion…) Seems the YouTuber crowd has not discovered this one, so – uh, secret weapon?

Here, if you forget how to use it / never tried it:

This isn’t the biggest update, but in the last generation Apple added a ton of great motion-tracking functionality and even support for the iPhone’s CInematic mode, so – Motion is generally an overlooked gem.

Watch this space.