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Video editing is all about efficiency. The faster you can cut a project, the sooner you can move on to the next one – which is why editors are often on the lookout for anything that can help streamline their workflow and let them achieve the same functions, only quicker and better. With ProCutX, Pixel Film Studios aims to make its third-party iPad control panel app an invaluable asset for users of Apple's Final Cut Pro X on Mac.
ProCutX essentially talks to Final Cut Pro X (via separate free Mac software) and allows you to perform some tasks without having to look through stacks of menus or learn keyboard shortcuts. It’s divided into various sections so you can apply keywords on one side and color correction on another, with speed controls and tool selections also in the mix, plus the giant jog wheel in the center allows you to navigate through your clips or timeline one frame at a time.
The iPad-centric interface looks clean and beautiful, and some functions can indeed be accessed much faster via ProCutX than directly from Final Cut Pro X – like the color grading tools, for instance. But one of the problems with the interface is that while you may be able to select a tool like Range Selection, you can’t apply it to a clip; you then have to drag your mouse over the clip you wish to select. In order to cram so much into the interface, compromises had to be made, like only allowing you to add the first seven quick access keywords, instead of offering the usual nine. Also, why are there no In and Out point selections, nor any means to Insert, Overwrite, or Replace clips?
Without tactile feedback on a glass surface, we found ourselves looking at the interface constantly before pressing the right button. That's something that may improve over time with regular use, but it's definitely not a timesaver compared to the trusted keyboard and mouse combination, which expert users can use solely by feel while keeping their eyes on the visuals. Inserting an app into the equation may well only serve as another hurdle to cross in completing a project.
The bottom line. Many updates are planned, and ProCutX shows a lot of potential and promise, but this condensed iPad control panel app isn't necessarily an upgrade over whatever routine already works best for Final Cut Pro X veterans.
iPad running iOS 5.1 or later
Beautiful design. Connects seamlessly with Final Cut Pro X on Mac via additional free software. Setup is simple and clearly explains in online support pages. Some tools can be accessed more quickly than via conventional methods.
Frustrating tool omissions. Still forces you to rely heavily on your keyboard and mouse to perform many tasks.