iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro [Comparison 2022]

Ben Jacklin Edited by Ben Jacklin

As an alternative, try Movavi Video Editor Plus:

  • Edit and enhance videos easily
  • Add stylish transitions, titles, and filters
  • Stabilize and reverse video, equalize sound, and more

Make videos. Create. Inspire.

There are a lot of programs for editing. Many users want to create various multimedia projects for their families or social media. How to understand which program is better? Let’s compare the main features of Mac video editors in this iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro review.

iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro

Comparison parameter

iMovie

Final Cut Pro

Price

Free

$299.99

Target group

Beginners

Professionals

PCMag ratings

4.5/7

4.5/7

Show more

Once you decide to create a video or movie by yourself, you may find yourself with no idea what editing program to choose. Particularly, if it comes to Final Cut Pro or iMovie. Both programs are released by Apple for Mac.

Before taking a look at the differences between iMovie and Final Cut Pro, you should understand one important fact clearly – they are for users of different levels. Therefore, the choice between the professional Final Cut Pro and iMovie for beginners depends, obviously, on your skills and goals before anything else.

To help you choose the most appropriate tool for video editing, we have compared the major features of both programs. All in all, these programs are contenders. They have their peculiarities, good qualities. So, we are going to compare Final Cut Pro vs. iMovie according to their basic features.

About iMovie

PCMag review

This program is presented by Apple Inc. for iOS and Mac. The first release was in 1997. This program is devoted to amateurs and people who do not have special knowledge in video editing. It is for people who want to do simple things. For example, capture, edit, and share a music performance. You need several clicks to understand how to edit and cut videos, add effects in iMovie. It is quite a standard app, which is a part of iLife. This program is well-known among iOS and Mac users. Its interface is user-friendly. With iMovie, every user can create family movies or clips without difficulties from various sources, which are DV-encoded files, video cameras. You just add images and use themes and effects.

Pros

  • The iMovie interface is quite easy to understand and convenient.

  • Videos can be shared across major social media platforms.

  • Lots of editing features: transitions, voice-over recording, color correction, and more.

Cons

  • Basic functionality may be easy to master, but limiting for more advanced tasks. For example, the app supports editing only two tracks.

  • The app offers a big variety of motion graphics templates, but templates themselves have very few customization options.

About Final Cut Pro

PCMag review

Some people tend to think that in the Final Cut Pro X vs. iMovie standoff the former is better.

It is a kind of mistake, as this program is made for professionals. It has more options and features for video editing for people who create high-quality videos, for example, for weddings, video advertising, and so on. This program provides more imaginable and useful features. It focuses on technical features, which helps to create professional movies and videos. The latest version of the program has a wide variety of effects, titles, themes, and animations.

Pros

  • Has a wide range of features: auto face analysis, stabilization, a magnetic timeline for editing even small details.

  • Allows using plug-ins that will take your video-editing skills to a new level and help customize your movies in the future.

Cons

  • Although reasonably priced, it still has a cost that can be off-putting. Especially with the abundance of free software.

  • There is no mobile version of the program, which makes creating videos on the go quite challenging.

iMovie vs. Final Cut

After we have had a look at the advantages of these programs, let’s compare the features and clash the simplicity and mobility of iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro’s desktop power.

Video editing

Winner: Final Cut Pro. Let’s consider video editing. Final Cut Pro does not make any changes with the files on a hard drive. It is a nonlinear editing program, that is why it will not make permanent changes to the media. In contrast, iMovie works with video files that are on the hard drive. It means that all the changes are applied to the video files.

Ease of use

Winner: iMovie. iMovie interface is quite easy due to its functional layout. If you are a new user, you will quickly understand how to edit videos, add themes, effects, and background music. It has every basic option you need for video editing. Rather complicated Final Cut Pro operation makes users spend a lot of time trying to understand it. It has professional options for editing and powerful functions not for the newbie, but professional and experienced users.

Video color correction

Winner: Final Cut Pro. As iMovie is a program for amateurs, it has quite simple tools for color correction. They are suitable for editing family videos or videos for friends or social media. And if you are a blogger or a professional video editor and need to do color matching properly, choose Final Cut.

Video rendering

Winner: tie. iMovie has a limited amount of effects, transitions, and layers that you can use while editing videos. That is why the rendering of videos does not take much time. Final Cut Pro has more various effects. Before complete edited file export, it will not be possible to provide its playback. In this regard, choosing iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro is choosing between speed and quality. In this regard, choosing iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro is choosing between speed and quality.

Video sharing

Winner: iMovie. If you have made a video for YouTube in iMovie, you can publish it directly. Sharing videos on Facebook or Vimeo is just as simple. iMovie is available for iPad and iPhone users. But Final Cut Pro is not supported by smartphones, and the sharing process will be a little bit longer.

Final thoughts

So, which is better so far in 2021, iMovie or Final Cut? Both are good in their own right, but not without downsides. For example, if you need to work in tandem with other software, they are both inferior to Adobe® Premiere® and its “family”.

If you are looking for an easy-to-understand and easy-to-use program for basic video editing, then choose iMovie. It offers everything you need to create a colorful video. It is a basic video editor which helps you to create an original video in a few steps.

But if you are a professional and want to create high-quality movies, then the answer to “do I need Final Cut Pro?” is “Yes”. It is a fast and all-around solution for video editing.

Frequently asked questions

🖥️ What is the best free video editor?

Here’s our top of free software for video editing:

💻 What is the best video-editing software for Mac?

Take a look at this review of the best video editors for Mac:

📽️ What's the easiest video-editing software?

In the article linked below, we’ve described video editors that are easy to use, even for beginners.

🎥 What video-editing software is used by professionals?

This digest will help you choose the most suitable software for professional video editing:

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