iPad Pro Video Editing – Does the Apple Magic Keyboard Change the Game?
The iPad Pro has a new companion, the Apple Magic Keyboard with iPad Pro, which basically turns it into a mini iMac.
All of the hands-on reviews are out and many are touting it as the closest an iPad can now get to a computer, without being a computer.
The question still remains for us though, is the iPad Pro good for video editing? Is it worth the money? And bonus question, iPad Pro 4K video editing – is it possible?
Let’s break it down.
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Let’s look at the cheapest iPad Pro, the 11-inch, 128GB storage model retailing at £769/$799. It boasts an A12Z Bionic chip.
Compare this with the cheapest MacBook Pro 13-inch quad core i5 and we have a chip that is 1.78x faster than the Macbook Pro. With built in graphics the chip should be more than capable of video editing.
Benchmark tests show that the 12.9inch model can actually transcode a 12 minute 4K clip nearly three times faster than the 13-inch Macbook pro.
This is a big one. And it’s slightly hard to compare or deem the worthiness of the initial outlay of money here as you will probably be buying an iPad for a very different reasons than if you were buying a desktop or laptop. However, it’s still worth noting.
The cheapest iPad comes in at £769/$799. Add on to that the Apple Pencil at £119/$129 (2nd Gen) and the new Apple Magic Keyboard at £299/$299 and you’re looking at a total of £1,187/$1,227.
With that you could buy the 13-inch Macbook Pro (on offer at Amazon rel=”nofollow” at time of writing). What you intend to use either device for will undoubtedly inform your decision here.
But either way that’s a fair chunk of cash to be spending on a mobile device, something we know could be obsolete in a few years time!
This area has actually improved dramatically in the last couple of years and there are two big reasons why. We mentioned them in our article on mobile vlogging:
The first is that the iPad Pro has a USB-C port. This is important because it allows a number of things. It can now have a USB-C dongle attached that can handle, HDMI, Ethernet, power and additional USB ports.
This means it is actually capable of being set up in a multi-screen scenario with wired internet connection and peripherals attached. Making it a genuine computer alternative.
The second important factor is that since iOS13 iPads and iPhones can now access external drives (via USB-C or lightning port, check out our article on the best external storage for iPad Pro’s here) and access network attached servers. Meaning you can use the iPad Pro’s Files app as an actual file browser and edit directly from those directories (in certain editing programs).
iPad Pro 4K Video Editing
Ok, here’s the nitty gritty.
When it comes to editing on a mobile device (which the iPad still is), we are limited to apps within the App Store. This gives us only three real options for the closest experience to a fully functioning NLE.
Those are iMovie, Adobe Premiere Rush CC or LumaFusion by Lumatouch.
There are pros and cons to all but none are a fully formed, fully functional editing program.
iMovie has come a long way since it’s desktop days and having the ability to export your projects to FCPX from your iPad could be a productive way to go if you only need to make rough cuts on-the-go. However, that is about as far as you can go with iMovie and a separate desktop or laptop would be needed to complete a complex edit. That’s a lot of money to spend on an iPad Pro without being able to finish a complex edit on it.
Premiere Rush CC is still around but as far as complexity is concerned you’re not going to get much more out of it than you would in iMovie. You would still need another computer to finish your synced Rush project in Premiere Pro if you are looking to do anything more than a rough cut with simple titles and audio.
LumaFusion is the closest we are going to get at this point to an NLE on a mobile device. The software allows multiple tracks of video and audio, including 4K (so iPad Pro 4K video editing is actually possible with LumaFusion). It can handle a dual screen setup via HDMI output. It can connect to and edit from external storage. It has the most complete titling/graphics tools of the three and it has multiple export functionalities, including being able to export a FCPX xml for working in Final Cut with.
However it does still have limitations. Speed ramping in LumaFusion is not easy as it is not a native ability. Colour grading is basic unless you import a LUT you have made or bought elsewhere (check out our guide on LUTs here). And the interface takes some getting used to.
Apple Magic Keyboard with iPad Pro
Now, where does the new Magic Keyboard fit in?
Well, the keyboard changes the balance slightly in the iPad’s favour if you were looking to buy one in the first place.
The case has a tilt display feature meaning that you can use it as a main display while having a second monitor connected for dual screen setups. The case also has a USB-C power port leaving the iPad Pro’s in-built port open for other uses, such as dual screen via HDMI, ethernet connection, external storage or separate keyboard and mouse. The case also has a trackpad for being able to use the cursor available in iPadOS.
Having the ability to use keyboard shortcuts, drag and drop with a cursor and dual screen set up with the tilt function as a main display make this set up eerily close to a fully functional desktop editing set up.
For us the jury is still out. Everything is in the iPad Pro’s corner now EXCEPT the editing platform with which to edit on.
Once we have a fully fledged and fully operational NLE on iOS or iPadOS we won’t be able to use them as proper editing stations.
If you are in the market for an iPad Pro and want to do some cursory edits on-the-go then we’d highly recommend it with the Magic Keyboard. For anyone trying to decide between a laptop or iPad Pro, we would still say go with the laptop for functionality.
Here’s hoping for a full NLE this year!
Check out more iPad Pro content and workflows here: