UPDATED – Jan. 31, Feb. 1
Today, Apple announced the latest update to Final Cut Pro X. Following its announcement last September that the next major version of the software would include support for multicam editing and broadcast monitoring, this update delivers on that promise.
This FREE update – now available in the Mac App Store – includes:
APPLE’S RELEASE NOTES
According to the Release Notes from Apple, Final Cut Pro X version 10.0.3 adds the following features:
- Multicam editing with automatic sync and support for mixed formats, mixed frame rates, and up to 64 camera angles
- Media relink for manual reconnect of projects and Events to new media
- Ability to import and edit layered Photoshop graphics
- Advanced chroma keying with controls for color sampling, edge quality, and light wrap
- XML 1.1 with support for exporting basic primary color grades and both importing and exporting effect parameters and audio keyframes
- Multiple improvements to the Color Board, including new key commands, editable numeric fields, and adjustable parameters that act like infinite sliders when dragged
- Ability to reorder color corrections in the Inspector
- Reveal in Event Browser shows clip range in the filmstrip while in List View
- Batch offset for clip date and time
- Ability to search text added to Favorite and Reject ranges
- Automatic restore of projects and Events in case of file corruption
- Beta version of broadcast monitoring with third-party PCIe and Thunderbolt I/O devices
Final Cut Pro X version 10.0.3 also improves overall stability and performance, and addresses the following issues:
- Improves performance when editing text in titles
- Improves performance when applying an effect from the Effect Browser
- Improves key-framing behavior in the Inspector, with keyframes automatically added when moving to a new point in time and adjusting a parameter
- Modifies transition behavior so that all newly added transitions use available media and maintain project length
- Fixes an issue which affected audio solo while skimming
- Resolves issues related to using Synchronize Clips with media containing a silent audio channel
- Fixes an issue in which constant speed retiming was not properly applied when using the Paste Effects command
I had a chance to talk to Apple and spend some time with the updated app ahead of today’s release of Final Cut Pro 10.0.3. This isn’t a review – I haven’t had the time for that. Instead, let me give you my initial reactions to the new features in the upgrade.
FINALLY – WE CAN CONVERT PROJECTS!!!
First, thanks to the hard work of Philip Hodgetts and Greg Clark, Intelligent Assistance has released a utility with Apple’s blessing that supports transferring projects from Final Cut Pro 7 to Final Cut Pro X called “7toX.”
As Philip told me: “We worked very hard to offer a very high fidelity conversion, so that editors can take their Final Cut Pro 7 projects forward to Final Cut Pro X’s efficient working environment.”
With 7toX for Final Cut Pro, the high fidelity translation moves Bins and Sequences from Final Cut Pro 7 to Final Cut Pro X with Keyword Collections representing Bins and Compound Clips converted from Sequences. All Bins and Sequences are recreated with no metadata or log notes from Final Cut Pro 7 being lost.
All Motion tab settings and keyframes are translated into their equivalent in Final Cut Pro X; more than 20 Transitions and 45 Filters are matched and applied, including matching Color Correction filters from Final Cut Pro 7 mapped to the Color Board; and full support for Multicam.
7toX for Final Cut Pro fully reports any variation from the original using Final Cut Pro X’s To Do Markers and the original track numbers are applied to Clips in a Project as a Final Cut Pro X Role.
This is such a significant feature that I’ll cover it more in a separate blog later this week. Click here for more information: www.intelligentassistance.com.
Apple set the standard for multi-camera editing when it was introduced in Final Cut 5 — and totally blew past it with this latest release:
- Edit up to 64 cameras simultaneously, using 4 banks of 16 images each
- Combine any video format, frame rate, or image size into the same multicam clip
- Integrate video, audio, or stills in the same multicam clip
- Sync clips automatically using audio waveforms or manually using timecode, markers, or other options
- Reach “inside” a multicam clip and resync clips, apply filters, add or remove angles, or change the angle order at any time in the editing process
- Instantly switch between proxy and optimized media during playback to maximize hard disk throughput
This feature is amazing. Far more flexible than the multicam in FCP 7, it simplifies multicam editing using either the Viewer or the keyboard. The ability to revise multicam clips even after they are edited to the Timeline is very, very slick..
However, as HD files increase in size, this will benefit from every bit of speed your hard disk can throw at it. This is a perfect application for a Thunderbolt RAID.
I know none of your clips have ever gone off-line, but with all the files I’m juggling over here, it happens to me ALL the time.
Now, we can relink clips from either the Event Browser or the Project Timeline. Linking from the Event Browser reestablishes links to every occurrence of that clip in every Project. Linking clips from the Project Timeline simply reconnects that clip for that Project.
Relinking is as straightforward as it was in FCP 7 – with the added ability to change the links in a Project separate from changing links in the Event Browser.
IMPORT LAYERED PHOTOSHOP FILES
Importing layered Photoshop files now works the same as it did in Final Cut Pro 7. Each layer of the graphic opens as a layer inside FCP X in what is essentially a compound clip. You can animate individual layers, apply filters, scale, rotate… all the stuff we could do before in 7, we can do again.
Just a note, however, that lPhotoshop ayer effects are not supported. This means that, just as with FCP 7, you need to rasterize any layer effects in Photoshop before bringing the file over to FCP X.
OUTPUT VIDEO TO A BROADCAST MONITOR
Apple says that this is included in this release, but is still in beta. That’s because to get an external monitor to work, you’ll need a Thunderbolt Mac, connected to either an AJA, Blackmagic Design, or Matrox conversion box, and not all these devices are shipping yet..
AJA has just released their IO XT unit, which is their version of what you’ll need to make this work. I have been told that Blackmagic Design is not far behind; and Matrox has committed to providing gear as well – though that may be a bit farther away.
However, Apple says that while video monitoring works fine for general editing, they are not happy with the performance of video monitoring for multicam clips, so Apple is continuing to work with their partners to get the performance up to their satisfaction.
One of the features Apple first touted in FCP X was its support for ColorSync to maintain consistent color throughout editing. This is an excellent solution for editors that only need to go to the web. What’s missing is any documentation from Apple on how to set this up. I’m hoping that they will publish this workflow on their website in the near future.
UPDATE – Jan. 31: In reading a white paper from AJA about FCP X 10.0.3, I learned that the Kona/3 card is supported in MacPros using updated drivers. Check out the AJA website for more details — www.aja.com/pdf/FCP_X_and_AJA.pdf.
UPDATE – Feb. 1: Blackmagic Design announced this morning support for FCP X with their release of Desktop Video 9.2 beta 1, a free download that supports DeckLink, Multibridge, Intensity, and UltraStudio – www.blackmagic-design.com
RENAME CLIPS AUTOMATICALLY IN BATCHES
Many file-based cameras assign names to clips that only a cryptologist could love. This update now allows you to rename clips in batches, using naming presets that you can create or modify, from about two dozen template elements.
UPDATE: I just learned that this feature is also in FCP X 10.0.2. I have a note in to Apple to see what’s new about this feature in this version.
VERY COOL SMALL STUFF
But, what really fascinates me is the amount of refinement in the smaller details with this release. Apple seems to have worked hard polishing the details, as well as inventing the big stuff.
Apple has added more flexibility to the Color Board through additional keyboard shortcuts and the ability to enter corrections numerically.
Video scope keyboard shortcuts have changed. And Command+7 now remembers the last scope you used, rather than returning to the benighted Histogram! (Scopes have also sprouted brightness controls.)
The chroma-keyer, which was totally rewritten for FCP X, has been updated with additional controls brought over from Motion 5. Now it is easier to adjust an image for translucency, add light wrap, and tweak the background color selections to clean up bad lighting, background wrinkles, or just general malfeasance on the part of the production crew.
There’s a lot to like with these keyer settings and the whole combination is a vast improvement over the native keying in FCP 7. Sadly, though, the mask function hasn’t changed and is seriously underpowered.
FCP X now automatically backups up every Project and Event folder. This is designed as an automatic recovery system should some wayward binary bad guys corrupt a file. Backups occur every 15 minutes whenever a file has changed. Since Final Cut already saves everything you do as soon as you do it, these backups are best thought of as disaster recovery.
We can now adjust the camera-stamped date and time associated with any clip. Since this can be used by a multicam clip for syncing, this becomes a very useful addition.
Transitions now default to using available media. Gone is the preference setting for “Full Overlap,” where the entire right side of your project was pulled left to get a transition with insufficent handles to work. Now, if you don’t have enough handles (extra media before the In or after the Out) FCP will popup a dialog asking what you want to do.
New preferences are added to clarify dropped frame warnings and enable broadcast monitors.
There is now a keyboard shortcut to apply a default full-screen title at the position of the skimmer or playhead – Control+T. AND a keyboard shortcut to apply a default lower-third title at the position of the skimmer or playhead – Shift+Control+T. Both of these new titles support full font styling, but don’t come with any annoying animation.
Apple has told me on many occasions that they are committed to improving Final Cut Pro X to meet the needs of video professionals. Their record since then backs this up.
Since Final Cut was released last June, it has had two major updates and one minor bug fix. Several of their innovative features released as part of these updates – Roles and Multicam come immediately to mind – are stunning.
I will be the first to say that FCP X had a very controversial birth. I will also say that this version of Final Cut is not perfect — there are features that I wish it had that are still missing. But, with this update, my list of “I wants” is much shorter. I’m looking forward to exploring this version in more detail and writing about it in coming weeks.
If your deadlines are getting shorter and budgets are tight; and you need a fast, powerful system optimized for tapeless editing, the latest version of Final Cut Pro X delivers an amazing range of features in an easy-to-use package.
If you haven’t looked at Final Cut Pro X in a while, it’s time to take another look. Apple’s been making major improvements.
Let me know what you think.
P.S.While working with the software, I’ve assembled a series of ten training movies highlighting how to use the new features in the 10.0.3 release. Priced at only $19.99, and offering more than an hour of step-by-step traiining, these will get you started fast and right. Click here to learn more.
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