ProCutX – Pro iPad Controller for Final Cut Pro X Review

ProCutX lets you use your iPad as a control surface for Final Cut Pro X. I’m not a hardcore user of FCPX and I don’t really know how useful using an iPad to control FCPX would be versus a keyboard and mouse, but, the app is only $1.99 and I already have an iPad, so let’s give it a shot!

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Once you grab the app for the iPad off the App Store, it will prompt you for an email address to send a link & instructions on how to install the backend software on your Mac. It’s just a regular installer that adds a system preference pane like this:

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Once you’ve got it turned on, your Mac will auto appear in the app and you’re ready to go. As long as your Mac & iPad are on the same network, it’ll be easy.

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All this app does really, is tie the keyboard shortcuts in FCPX, to button presses on your iPad. The response from when you tap a button on your iPad, to the action occuring on your Mac is surprisingly quick. I would have expected more latency, but it’s pretty snappy and not an issue.

You can see from the screenshot what the app can and can’t do, so I won’t bother explaining that. There’s also more detail on the ProCutX website, and a nice video from TechCentury (hope you like a German accent) on YouTube:

The UI on iPad is rather nice looking, but can be cluttered. If you’ve got fat fingers like me, even on a full sized iPad, it can get a little claustrophobic and unless you’re looking at the iPad, almost impossible to tap the right button first time. Unlike a regular control surface, it’s hard to rest a finger on a button and push it when you want an action. The jog dial is also not as nice as a regular one, as you need to spin your finger around – the app doesn’t let you hold it to the left or right to speed forward. It also doesn’t have any inertia, so if you hold it back all the way, it doesn’t progress through the clip faster or slower.

These ergonomic failings kinda make the app more of a hindrance than a useful tool for editing. You’re better off remembering the shortcuts on your keyboard I reckon. I can see the wireless aspect being nice, maybe for collaborative editing (one person on a keyboard, someone else with the iPad), or just for really basic playing and razor cuts whilst leaning back in your chair.

I’m not sure if it’s worth $25, but right now it’s free, with no end to this discount in sight, so I reckon snap it up and make your own judgment. You might find it more practical for your workflow than mine.