Tip #1497: Edit Using 3-4 Monitors on an M1 Mac

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1497: Edit Using 3-4 Monitors on an M1 Mac

Rick Dupea

Multi-monitor editing is possible even on “low-end” M1 systems.

Rick Dupea’s Final Cut Pro four monitor setup. (Courtesy: Rick Dupea.)

Topic $TipTopic

I’ve been running my Final Cut M1 edit station for two weeks now with four monitors. No it isn’t impossible, but it is a little convoluted and there are some glitches. For me the trade offs are worth it for the extra screen real estate.

In my system I am using the HDMI port to drive a large 1080P program monitor, and one USB3 port to drive a StarTech USB to Dual Display Port converter. This feeds two 27′ 4k monitors. The fourth monitor is actually my 2020 iPad running Sidecar on USB.

I have full access to monitor arrangement, placing the menu bar, and color calibration. The iPad is responsive with no lag. The only downsides so far have been that the HDMI monitor will forget its desktop picture on login, and the StarTech sometimes needs to be disconnected and reconnected to wake the 4k monitors from sleep.

I also was able to get a 4th HDMI monitor running off Airplay on a 3rd gen Apple TV, instead of Sidecar, but this would crash FCPX. All other apps seemed to work fine.

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3 replies
  1. Cre8tvMG
    Cre8tvMG says:

    I’ll add that since writing this tip I have had two finder crashes, where the finder stops responding and has to be Force Quit. (“You have failed me for the last time…”)

    I don’t know if this is related to the Startech USB device, but since my external SSD drives are Crucial brand and generally reliable, that is the first suspect. I have not lost any edit work and just had to restart the finder to continue.


    • Andrey
      Andrey says:

      Hi Rick. I’m wondering how you can use 4th screen (iPad) in FCP environment. Or is there some other program running on it? Thanks.

      • Rick D
        Rick D says:

        Generally I use that for mail and messaging apps and a to do checklist in Evernote. But you can also throw your clip browser in there and drag the timeline across two monitors and still have the 55″ for AV output. I think you’d need an iPad Pro to fit the entire browser window in though. On my 10.5 it doesn’t quite fit.


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