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 What's the Difference: Final Cut Pro vs iMovie

apple imovie vs final cut pro

If you are a Mac user and you just want to create your own home multimedia projects on your Mac, you may meet a problem: which program to select, iMovie or Final Cut Pro, as both products are video editing tools developed by Apple. Or you may have been using iMovie for editing movies but now want to move on to Final Cut Pro. In the first place, you should give a brief glance to those two programs in order to figure out the major differences between Final Cut Pro and iMovie, and then decide which one is right for you. In this article, we will review iMovie, Apple's early level video editing program, and Final Cut Pro, their high-end editing program.

Apple iMovie

Price: $14.99 from AppStore

apple imovie

iMovie is part of Apple's iLife suite of multimedia projects. It is geared towards first-time or novice video editors that want to learn the basics of video editing and create their own home movies or videos. In just a few clicks, novice video editors can cut and edit their videos into their favorite films with multiple themes and effects within iMovie.

Some basic features and extras of iMovie are listed below:

• the ability to include video titles

• performs simple transitions between clips and scenes

• exports to a few other popular video formats and devices

• adds photos and edits audio

Apple Final Cut Pro

Price: $299.99 from AppStore

apple final cut pro

Final Cut Pro is Apple's flagship video editing software and is geared toward video professionals. It offers almost every imaginable feature and option when it comes to video editing software.

Some advanced features of Final Cut Pro are:

• multicam synchronization support

• batch sequence capture

• integration with Apple's other multimedia editing software included in Final Cut Studio

• allows third-party plug-ins

Final Cut Pro vs iMovie

After a brief understanding of Final Cut Pro and iMovie, let's take a look at the major differences between those two video editing programs.

video editing

Video Editing

iMovie is a destructive video editing program that works by manipulating video files on hard drive. With iMovie, the changes will be applied directly to the video files. But Final Cut Pro is a nonlinear video editing program that does not change or manipulate the media on hard drive, which means it will make no permanent changes to the media itself.

video rendering

Video Rendering

iMovie offers a limited number of effects, layers and transitions that can be applied to a video clip. So video rendering is usually performed fairly fast. Because Final Cut Pro allows you to add many effects to the already complex data of the video file. It may not be able to provide live playback of the edited file until it has been completely exported.

color manager

Color Correction

iMovie provides simple color correction for you. But if you need to do complex color matching, matching color across different cameras, etc, you'd better choose Final Cut Pro.


If you are looking for a cheaper video editing software that will create simple videos in a few minutes, you should choose iMovie. But if you would like to spend a lot of time to make professional videos and movies, Final Cut Pro is best for you.

More iMovie & FCP Tips for You:

Sometimes, you may need to import your iTunes movie collection to iMovie or Final Cut Pro for editing. But you will find that the movie files downloaded from iTunes are not supported by iMovie and FCP. In this case, you are recommended to use Tune4mac iTunes to iMovie/FCP Converter for Mac, which will help you to remove the DRM protection from iTunes movies and import the converted movies into iMovie or Final Cut Pro.

Download Mac iTunes M4V videos Converter      Purchase iTune Video Converter Platinum

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