iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro 

Last Updated on 17 May 2023 by Proactive Creative

If you edit videos on a Mac computer, you might wonder whether to use iMovie versus Final Cut Pro. 

Both of these software are produced by Apple specifically for Macs. So, they meet all the technical requirements and compatibility. 

But each editing program was designed with a different target market in mind. So, you need to know a bit more about them to know which one will work best for you. 

iMovie is a simpler program that’s more for beginners video editors. Whereas Final Cut Pro is a premium software suitable for professional video editors.

But that’s quite a simplistic conclusion, and it won’t help you if you’re in between. So, let’s take a closer look at these two programs. 

We’ll dive into what iMovie and Final Cut Pro has to offer. Then, you’ll be able to decide whether to go for iMovie or Final Cut Pro. 

Introducing iMovie 

iMovie vs Final Cut Pro Comparison

iMovie isn’t a new program – it’s been around since 1997. 

Apple designed iMovie for beginners who need some basic video editing tools. So, it’s not a program for professionals or anyone who needs advanced features. 

But it is a very user-friendly app with only a small learning curve. It allows you to do basic tasks like trimming, editing, and sharing videos. 

And thanks to its intuitive, streamlined interface, it’s very easy to master iMovie. So, you can quickly start editing your videos with great results. 

iMovie also has some advanced tools like color correcting or making smoother transitions. But they are quite limited, and there aren’t many opportunities to customize your videos.

Instead, iMovie is heavily based on templates to keep things simple. So, if you need high-quality videos that look unique, iMovie probably isn’t for you. 

We’ll take a closer look at iMovie’s features below compared to Final Cut Pro. 

Introducing Final Cut Pro

 Final Cut Pro vs iMovie Comparison

While iMovie is designed for beginners, Final Cut Pro is the next level. It’s a great program for professional video editing, rather than for people just starting out. 

You’ll get the most out of Final Cut Pro if you already have some experience with advanced video editing. That’s because it offers a whole raft of powerful tools for editing your videos. 

So, you can use this program to create amazing high-quality videos for various purposes. For example, it’s ideal for editing wedding videos, commercials, short films, and more.

But although. Final Cut Pro offers more features, but it also has a much steeper learning curve. You’ll need to have a deeper understanding of all the technical aspects of video editing. 

You can access advanced tools like stabilization and automatic face analysis. But as it has so many different tools, navigating Final Cut Pro isn’t so straightforward. 

You’ll find extra menus within menus, depending on your process. That can be a bit daunting if you’re still new to video editing. 

Let’s take a closer look at what Final Cut Pro offers below. 

iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro Comparison

So, how does iMovie compare with Final Cut Pro? Here’s everything you need to know about these two video editing programs for Mac users.  

If you’ve been wondering if I need Final Cut Pro, read to find out. 

Video editing in iMovie versus Final Cut Pro

Let’s start off with a quick overview of video editing in iMovie and Final Cut Pro. 

As I mentioned above, iMovie has a smaller range of tools. They are more basic than Final Cut Pro’s wide range of advanced tools and features. 

So, Final Cut Pro gives you greater control and precision over your video editing. It’s also a lot more powerful. 

There are a few other differences between iMovie and Final Cut Pro. When you edit in Final Cut Pro, it doesn’t change the original files. So, you can always go back and access them on your hard drive. 

But iMovie does make irreversible changes to the video files when you edit them. So, you cannot get the original file back once you’ve saved your changes. 

Also, Final Cut Pro supports various third-party plugins, whereas iMovie doesn’t. These provide opportunities for even more advanced editing and customization of your videos. 

Winner: Final Cut Pro 

Learning Curve & Interface: Final Cut Pro vs. iMovie

Even though Final Cut Pro is the more advanced program, that doesn’t mean it’s right for you. 

Final Cut Pro is well-known to be much more complicated, with a steep learning curve. And if you’re a beginner, you’re unlikely to need the advanced tools anyway. 

In comparison, iMovie has a nice, user-friendly interface. It’s easy to access the tools you want, and you don’t need to spend a long time watching tutorials to get the hang of it. 

So, you can get started with iMovie much more quickly. You’ll be confident editing your videos in no time. 

While Final Cut Pro is more powerful, it can be quite daunting to wrap your head around. With menus within menus, finding the right tools isn’t easy. 

Winner: iMovie for its simplicity and beginner-friendly interface. Without a doubt, iMovie is the best video editing app for beginners. 

Video Rendering in iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro

So, how does video rendering compare in Final Cut Pro and iMovie?

As iMovie has much more basic effects and fewer layers, it greatly speeds up the rendering process. So, you’ll find iMovie is faster and more responsive in rendering. 

In contrast, rendering in Final Cut Pro takes quite a bit longer. So, you’ll need plenty of patience.

But overall, Final Cut Pro provides the best quality videos if you’re willing to wait.

Winner: It’s a tie! iMovie wins on speed, but Final Cut Pro beats it on video quality. 

Sharing Videos to Social Media

One of the main reasons people edit videos is to share them on social media. That could be for personal or professional use, especially if you’re an influencer. 

So, how easy is it to share your videos from iMovie and Final Cut Pro?

When it comes to social sharing, iMovie definitely has the advantage. That’s because you can use iMovie on your iPad or iPhone

Then, you can share your videos on social media with just a few clicks. It supports uploading to YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, among other platforms. 

So, iMovie is very streamlined and easy to use. You can edit all your videos within iMovie and then upload them quickly and simply. There’s no need to transfer them from one device to another. But you can also use AirDrop to send them to another nearby Mac device if necessary. 

On the other hand, Final Cut Pro doesn’t support iPads or iPhones. So, you’ll need to edit your videos on your computer. Then, you’ll have to transfer them to another device before uploading them.

While this process isn’t complicated, it takes more time and forwards planning. It’s not so easy to spontaneously make a few edits and share your video. 

Winner: iMovie for its multi-device support and streamlined uploading process

Adding Text to Videos

Sometimes, you may want to edit titles or subtitles to your videos. You can add some basic titles and text in iMovie, but the options are a bit limited.

But on Final Cut Pro, you get much more advanced text options. 

You can customize your text and choose a wider range of fonts and styles. The presets are also much more advanced than in iMovie. 

Winner: Final Cut Pro

Color Correction

Color correction can make all the difference to how your video looks. 

In iMovie, you can do basic color correcting to enhance your footage. 

But if you need advanced color correction tools, you should go for Final Cut Pro. It lets you get a lot more specific with the colors and create certain moods in your video. 

Winner: Final Cut Pro

Price: iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro

Finally, let’s compare the price of these two programs. 

Firstly, iMovie is available free to download on any Mac or Apple device. So, it’s a fantastic choice for anyone who wants to get started with video editing. 

You can make some great videos without spending any money at all. 

But if you need more advanced tools, iMovie won’t cut it. Then, it’s worth considering buying Final Cut Pro. It’s available for a one-time price of $299.99. 

So, is Final Cut Pro worth it? Well, at this price, Final Cut Pro is very affordable. It’s a great price for your advanced features, and it works out cheaper than an ongoing subscription. So, you’ll spend less than if you paid monthly for Adobe Premiere.

How many computers you can use FCP depends on whether it’s for personal or commercial use. You can find out more here

Winner: iMovie as it’s free – but only if it meets your needs. Otherwise, Final Cut Pro is reasonably priced for an advanced video editing app. 

 iMovie versus Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro vs iMovie: FAQ

How much is iMovie?

iMovie is free for download on any Apple or Mac device. It’s a great video editing program for beginners to get started or make some simple edits to videos. 

How much does Final Cut Pro Cost?

You can buy Final Cut Pro for a one-time cost of $299.99. It’s an excellent video editing program with advanced tools and features. So, you can use Final Cut Pro to produce high-quality videos for various uses.

What is the difference between Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Pro X?

You may have seen Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Pro X mentioned in various places. Although it’s confusing, these are actually the same video editing program. 
Apple decided to remove the X from the name in 2020 when they released FCP version 10.5. 

The Wrap Up

Final Cut Pro and iMovie are fantastic video editing programs for Mac users. But as you know now, they are designed for very different purposes.

If you just need some basic editing tools, then iMovie is the perfect app to use. It’s also completely free, so you can get started without spending any money. 

But if you’re a professional video editor (or want to be), you should go for Final Cut Pro. 

It’s much more advanced and powerful, allowing greater control and precision. So, you can create some really amazing videos within Final Cut Pro! 

Let me know if you have questions about iMovie or Final Cut Pro below. 

And make sure to follow me on Pinterest for more tips, reviews, and tutorials. I’ll keep you updated on all the best content for creative professionals (and hobbyists!). 


Outmane is the founder of Proactive Creative. He is an artist/designer.


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