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Apple Final Cut Pro X ships

Apple has released Final Cut Pro X, "a revolutionary new version of the world’s most popular professional video editing software", at the lower price of £180, as well as Motion 5 and Compressor 4 (now just £30 each).

Apple has released Final Cut Pro X, “a revolutionary new version of the world’s most popular professional video editing software”, at the lower price of £180, as well as Motion 5 and Compressor 4 (now just £30 each), writes David Fox.

So far only the English-language versions are available to download, but versions in other languages are expected to be ready this week. The existing version of FCP already has more than 50% of the broadcast market, and the new lower prices should help it consolidate its position – although there are several broadcast features that don’t seem to be in FCP X, although they might arrive in an update. In the meantime, some third-party vendors, such as Automatic Duck for AAF and OMF export, and AJA for non-Firewire tape i/o seem to be working with Apple to fill the gap. But, for stand-alone and file-based editing FCP X seems to offer an inexpensive, simpler option.

Apple claims that FCP X “completely reinvents video editing with a Magnetic Timeline that lets you edit on a flexible, trackless canvas; Content Auto-Analysis that categorises your content upon import by shot type, media and people; and background rendering that allows you to work without interruption.”

For many users the fact that it has moved to a modern 64-bit architecture, which should mean significant speed gains, will be reason enough to upgrade.

“Final Cut Pro X is the biggest advance in Pro video editing since the original Final Cut Pro,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of Worldwide Product Marketing. “We have shown it to many of the world’s best Pro editors, and their jaws have dropped.”

“I’m blown away by what Apple has done with Final Cut Pro,” confirmed Academy Award-winning film editor Angus Wall. “Final Cut Pro X is incredibly modern and fast, but most importantly it lets you focus on telling your story in the most creative way, while it actively manages all of the technical details.”

The user interface appears to be heavily influenced Apple’s consumer-focused iMovie, which inspired the Magnetic Timeline. It offers a trackless approach to editing, that lets you add and arrange clips wherever you want them, while other clips instantly slide out of the way.

There is also Clip Connections to link primary story clips to other elements like titles and sound effects, so they stay in perfect sync when you move them. Related story elements can also be combined into a Compound Clip that can be edited as a single clip. The “groundbreaking” new Auditions feature lets users swap between a collection of clips to instantly compare alternate takes, and could be a great time saver.

Content Auto-Analysis scans any media on import and tags content with useful information. FCP X then uses that information to dynamically organise clips into Smart Collections, consolidating clips by close up, medium and wide shots as well as media type and the number of people in the shot. Clips can be tagged with range-based keywords to add custom search criteria to the media.

Final Cut Pro X has been completely rebuilt from the ground up as a 64-bit application, to takes full advantage of the latest Mac hardware “so you never have to wait for the next edit, even if you’re working with 4K video.” It uses multi-threaded processing and the graphics card’s GPU for much faster background rendering and much improved real-time playback performance. Additionally, a ColorSync-managed colour pipeline ensures colour consistency from import to output.

It includes powerful tools for audio editing and colour correction, and is complemented by two companion apps, Motion 5 for professional motion graphics and Compressor 4 for advanced media encoding. All three are downloadable from the Mac App Store.