Apple updates Final Cut Pro X31 January 2012
Apple has addressed some of the criticisms leveled by broadcast editors at its Final Cut Pro X with the new release of v10.0.3, a more significant update than would normally be in an incremental .0.3 version, writes David Fox.
The update introduces multicam editing (lost in the move from FCP 7), adds advanced chroma keying, and enhanced XML 1.1 for a richer interchange with third party apps and plug-ins (of which there are many). It also includes beta support for broadcast monitoring via Thunderbolt devices and PCIe cards.
For multicam use, it automatically syncs clips from a shoot using audio waveforms, time and date, or timecode and creates a Multicam Clip with up to 64 angles of video or stills, which can include mixed formats, frame sizes and frame rates. A powerful Angle Editor allows precise adjustments, while the Angle Viewer lets users play back multiple angles at once and seamlessly cut between them. Dropping multicam with the move to X had been widely criticised, although it was relatively easy to work around this for a small number of cameras.
It has added advanced controls to its chroma keyer, including colour sampling, edge adjustment and light wrap. This means users can do complex keying in FCP X without having to export to a motion graphics application, and view the results instantly with realtime playback.
From Apple’s point of view, one aspect it sees addressing some broadcast editors’ problems is the healthy third party ecosystem that has grown up around FCP X in the seven months since it launched.
XML-compatible software like DaVinci Resolve and CatDV have tight integration with FCP X for colour correction and media management, while the new $10 7toX app from Intelligent Assistance uses XML to import FCP 7 projects into X (the same company also has a $50 XTo7 app).
Indeed, there are now more plug-ins for FCP X than there ever were for FCP 7. Some of the industry’s largest visual effects developers, such as GenArts and Red Giant, have developed motion graphics plug-ins that take advantage of the speed and real-time preview capabilities of X.
Broadcast monitoring is currently in beta, but can output to waveform displays, vectorscopes and calibrated, high-quality monitors so that users can check a project meets broadcast specifications, with video and audio output through Thunderbolt I/O devices, from the likes of AJA, and third party PCIe cards, such as those from AJA, Blackmagic Design and Matrox.
FCP X v10.0.3 is downloadable as a free update from the Mac App Store, or £199 for new users. A 30-day free trial of Final Cut Pro X is available at www.apple.com/finalcutpro/trial