Final Cut Pro vs iMovie

When editing videos, Apple users have two good choices available to them in Final Cut Pro and iMovie. Both offer post-production benefits that can be useful to certain users, creating professional-quality videos from the comfort and convenience of home.

As an added benefit, iMovie is often included in the base software package which comes with Apple computers and devices. It is a simplified solution for video editing, however, so those looking for a platform with more power might consider Final Cut Pro.

Here are the points of comparison to review when looking for an answer to the Final Cut Pro vs iMovie debate.

What Are the Benefits of Final Cut Pro?

Final Cut Pro should be considered a professional-level video editing tool. For those looking for a simple way to create personal videos, this platform should not be the first choice. It is a professional-quality editing solution that can be used to create consistent, high-quality results for videos that are meant for public consumption in some way.

At the time of this comparison, Final Cut Pro is available through the App Store for $299.99. Here are the benefits which come from using this platform.

1. It is a powerful video editor. Final Cut Pro is designed to be an entry-level professional-quality post-production video editor. It can meet most needs that anyone may have when working with videos, allowing for the final product to look just the way it was envisioned when the project was started. It even works with UHD 4K video.
2. It integrates easily. Final Cut Pro is designed to work with many of Apple’s editing software platforms that are available. The best compatibility comes with Final Cut Studio, since Final Cut Pro is part of that series. There are several apps available through the App Store that work with this video editing software option as well.
3. It includes several powerful features. Users have access to several organization tools when using Final Cut Pro. The magnetic timeline makes it easy to keep track of where the editing process happens to be in the middle of the project. Users can also perform background processing, tagging, and automatically analyze scenes to improve stabilization and facial recognition.

What Are the Benefits of iMovie?

For most Apple users, iMovie is included with the core software package that comes with their computer, laptop, or mobile device. The mobile app has limited functionality compared to the desktop app, but the benefits it provides are the same. If using an older Mac computer, however, an upgrade may not always be provided for free.


Since early 2017, Apple has made iMovie free to all Mac and iOS users. It is often included in the iWork and GarageBand packages. Here are the benefits to think about when looking at this platform.

1. It is very easy to learn. It takes very little technical knowledge to begin working with iMovie. You can quickly import video files and begin working with them. Users can add still photos, music, voiceovers, and transitional effects with drag-and-drop ease. This makes it easy to improve and organize videos for anyone who owns an Apple computer.
2. It offers a user-friendly interface. The dashboard design of iMovie is intuitive. Anyone who is familiar with Apple products will immediately feel comfortable using this video editing solution. Even someone moving from Windows to Apple will pick up the processes which iMovie requires in no time at all. The learning curve is minimal for most users.
3. It is easy to share completed videos. Users can share videos directly from iMovie when they’ve finished their post-production work. The videos can be shared to Vimeo, Facebook, or YouTube directly from the software. Users can also save the video in a variety of formats locally so it can be uploaded to a preferred platform at a later time.

What Are the Disadvantages of Final Cut Pro?

The primary disadvantage for Final Cut Pro is availability. It is only available to Apple users. People who are using a Windows PC or product would need to look at another video editing solution to meet their needs.

Here are some additional disadvantages to consider with Final Cut Pro.

1. There are specific formats which must be used. Although there are different file types that are possible in Final Cut Pro, the final film must be saved in a certain format. If that doesn’t happen, then the processed transitions and other images within the film can distort, refuse to display, or develop other problems during playback.
2. It is a complicated platform. Final Cut Pro isn’t a tool that can be picked up and used immediately. It has a professional interface that requires time to get to know. The user experience may be complicated, but thorough, so a time commitment must be given to it.
3. It is not available for mobile devices. Final Cut Pro is a large enough platform that it is not currently available for mobile devices. It can only be used on Mac laptops or the iMac under its current structure. Even if it were to be made available one day for a mobile device, the platform would need to be scaled down and that would cause it to lose much of its functionality.

What Are the Disadvantages of iMovie?

The primary disadvantage of iMovie is the amount of resources that it pulls from the system upon which it operates. Even with a newer Apple computer or laptop, iMovie works best when it is the only app in operation. For older Macs, iMovie may pull enough resources that it causes the computer to crash.

Here are some additional disadvantages to consider when looking at iMovie.

1. It requires high levels of HDD space. The files that are produced within iMovie can be enormous. Even basic videos can be close to 1 GB in size. That can make the platform slow down and take up plenty of storage space, especially when working on multiple projects. There is an option to compress videos to reduce their size, but that adds another step to the export process.
2. Importing MP4 files for editing is cumbersome. iMovie is not designed to work with certain MP4 files. They must be converted to an H.264 codecs for best results. Changing the codecs only takes a couple of minutes, but does add another extra step before editing that some users may find to be annoying.

Final Cut Pro vs iMovie: Which Is Better?

Although both platforms edit videos and assist with post-production, Final Cut Pro is for professional use and iMovie is for personal use. Their cost difference is proof of this difference. For everyday editing of videos to post on a personal social media page or to share with family and friends, iMovie gets the job done.

For professional marketers, videographers, and others who produce brand-related videos, Final Cut Pro will provide a better experience in most circumstances.