NAB 2011 was all a-flurry when Apple announced it was finally releasing a new updated version of it’s Final Cut Pro editing software program, and the flurry hit a fervor when they announced it was going to be a completely new rewrite. In fact, there was little left but standing room at the Final Cut Pro User Group’s Supermeet in April when Apple’s VP Randy Ubilos and Peter Steinhauer hit the stage.
Now, the excitement is back again with the announcement of Final Cut Pro X’s availability in the App Store today. If you’ve also used Apple’s motion graphic editor, Motion or Compressor in the past, they have new versions also available in the App Store for only $50 each. However the big news is that for only $300, you can digitally download Apple’s new program to see if all of the new features have been worth the wait.
Speaking of features, Apple’s got a laundry list of new one for their latest release. The new Final Cut Pro uses a “magnetic timeline” to allow editors to move clips around without losing audio or video tracks due to overlapping. It also has the ability to correct footage as it’s ingested for audio, color, and motion issues – features that were once part of different applications within the Final Cut Studio suite.
Final Cut Pro’s interface has also been majorly overhauled with only three real windows left: a preview area, a new media browser, and an editing timeline. In a way, this new “upgrade” makes the program feel a bit more like After Effects or iMovie than what people have come to expect from Final Cut Pro.
Apple has also added the ability to edit footage even before it’s been transferred and can categorize your footage based on people’s faces and what type of shot it is. A handy tool for sure. You can also assign all kinds of metadata and keywords to your footage in order to be able to find areas of your footage quickly and easily. Apple also included the ability to “audition” clips with different effects before applying them and claims to have more presets than ever before for their effect library. Lastly, there is now an option to group together audio, video, and transitions into single clips called a “Compound Clip.” This is very similar to nesting but allows for easier access to the elements inside of the group for easy tweaking.
One of the most applauded features of Apple’s presentation back in April was the ability for Final Cut Pro X to utilize the full power of Grand Central Dispatch and the 64 bit architecture. This means that Final Cut Pro X can render everything in the background all while utilizing multiple cores of power – something that no editing application does incredibly efficiently.
Though there are a lot of great new features to Final Cut Pro’s upgrade, there have been a few noticeable features that many users have already found to be missing. One of the biggest is the lack of support for projects from previous versions and the inability to import XML or EDL. Also, Apple got rid of support for tape based ingestion and export, making it difficult to use for the many editors that still need to use tape in their workflow. Lastly, Final Cut Pro has also lost the multicam feature that many live event videographers used to make editing a large amount of clips a little simpler.
Videomaker awarded Final Cut Pro X our “Best of NAB” award for editing software at this year’s National Association of Broadcasters tradeshow in Las Vegas. With its low price, faster renders, and complete redesign, Apple was a clear favorite in this field.
Of course, with all of these new features, almost every editor will want to find out if the software is worth the wait. Actually, we’ve been wondering the same thing ourselves. Thankfully, Videomaker reviewer Ben Balser has an advance copy of FCP X and is working on a review of the program for Videomaker as we we speak. Watch for that review coming soon to see if the new Final Cut Pro will be a game changer for Apple or simply game over.