The present and future of post production business and technology

What I think I know about Final Cut Pro X

Since the Feb 17 preview of Final Cut Pro X, I’ve got clues as to the new features (well some of them) so this is what I think I know ahead of the announcement. Written on Sunday afternoon but set to publish just before the Tuesday event so as not to ruin Apple’s surprise(s).

In no particular order:

  • Redesigned timeline
  • Integrated browsing and viewing/viewer (no separate viewer)
  • Native DSLR support (H.264 MOV)
  • Probably native MXF and R3D
  • Uses all processors and GPU – really fast
  • Native support for Quartz Compositions
  • Built on AV Foundation
  • 64 bit Cocoa
  • Improved metadata tracking in media files
  • Media management based on a database and metadata in files
  • Display of more metadata from files.
  • File-based workflows only. Log and Capture using utilities from AJA, Blackmagic Design and Matrox.
  • Very fluid interface
  • Render in background
  • Media locations stored with project file, not preferences
  • Support for images and sequences over 4K pixels
  • Better titling – over video I hope.
  • Improved color correction built in (hopefully close to the full Color app)
  • Project file is XML file removing need for XML Import and Export.

    I expect FXscript to be lost to history like Log and Capture and a dedicated Viewer window.

    My in depth analysis of what I’m about to see will be coming Wednesday afternoon April 13, because of the important need to party after the Supermeet, and I’m teaching 10am-1pm Wednesday.

    And I expect to be blown away with what more there is than that list. On the balance of probability it will be in the App store (only?) with a price similar to the last upgrade.

    As for the rest of the Studio. Motion will get an upgrade but I don’t know if we’ll see that shortly or have to wait; DVD SP will disappear, while Soundtrack Pro will also likely get an upgrade.






    17 responses to “What I think I know about Final Cut Pro X”

    1. Moze

      How much longer till go time?

    2. Moze

      Really hope color is an “interior” app. I love it but just today it was just boring roundtripping

    3. Good call Phillip! And great chatting with you again. Hopefully we’ll see you at another AVP function.

    4. Well, there are still lots of questions, but no one can say Apple has been sitting on their hands. Can’t wait to see a quality video of the event.

      Walter Biscardi was relentlessly negative, after tweeting a lovefest to AVID all day.

      Can’t wait for your analysis philip.

    5. Chris WIlby

      And I think I said it would makes its appearance in June…
      Bring it on :-))
      Walter Biscardi who? make mine a rum and coke chaps :-))
      Who is Chris Fenwick?

    6. Chris WIlby

      I haven’t seen anything but, if its out in June does that mean it will be a Lion only app?

    7. Just back in the room after relaxing at the Trapcode party. Because of my NAB speaking commitments it will be Wednesday afternoon before I have time for my analysis. HOpefully it will be worth it.

      Long story short. I loved what Apple have done with a foundation for the next decade of NLE development. And I still have a huge number of questions.

      Moze, from the demo I’d say Color (as much of it as there is) will be “Internal” to FCP X. It’s most of what most editors do most of the time. (Apple’s strong point) And it’s easy. Plus there are great third party alternatives for those who want to go further.

      Chris, There are about 100 people who have a copy from the Feb 17 event and are running it on Snow Leopard. That suggests/implies that AV Foundation must be bundled in the App package so it will not be Lion only. June is the end of spring; Lion isn’t due until “Summer” so it’s highly unlikely to be Lion only.

    8. Chris WIlby

      I actually want it to be ‘Lion only’ Phil!

    9. Greg

      They deliberately mentioned FCP X taking advantage of underlying “Snow Leopard technologies” like Grand Central Dispatch. Which implies it will require these newer technologies but is not Lion-only.

    10. Why Lion only Chris? As Greg said it’s clearly running on Snow Leopard now.

    11. I wasn’t there, I don’t have a hands-on. But from the other side of the canyon, I tilt my head sideways at the heavy FCPers who are excited about the interface & workflow when:

      A) it means they have to relearn how to edit, when they could have moved to Avid or Premiere to take advantage of recent advancements and had the same re-learning experience years ago.

      B) these editors weren’t already using iMovie for the improved interface & workflow, background rendering, people finder, stabilization, one-step-effects, and all the other “wow” stuff iMovie already offers.

      Really, the excited people ought to be the many iMovie users who DON’T have to relearn the interface, features or toolset, but now get some more advanced features and I/O capability, all for the same price as the completely alien FCE used to be.

    12. Christopher Carnel

      Wow…I really thought after last night that the “imovie pro” and “say goodbye” to pro apps was going to be a thing of the past. But with Apple products three things always seem to hold true:

      1. The conventional wisdom is typically way way off…the CW IS THE REALITY DISTORTION FIELD….see the panics re: removal of the floppy drive, predictions that ipod would fail b/c it didn’t have features like am/fm tuners and on and on it goes. Just add FCP X to the list.

      2. That there are people who have vested interests to try and throw people off…see some of the still ridiculous posts by “respected” tech zines that say the ipad is a fad, etc. Equally unbelievable will be the posts that this is just imovie pro….unreal. (how many people are going to jump on Avid’s “C’MON OVER FOR 1K!!!! offer)…

      3. And the majority of people who just do not like change but love to complain endlessly about the status quo but when presented an opportunity to move from it do not. As much as I love editors and feel they are so thoroughly under – rated/appreciated/etc, etc, etc many of them are like many of us driven by fear of change.

      This product is fantastic and thank god for companies like apple who continually put out mind blowing after mind blowing product releases and do so at ever decreasing price points. It’s unparalleled how well this company executes on every level

      But pay no attention to any of it. The “PRO’S” verdicts on the “sneak peek” (FAR FROM THE FINISHED PRODUCT) is in and they are the individuals not with columns, nor blogs no one reads but multi-million dollar budgets that live and die with the tech they bet on….while there are still plenty of questions about FCP X, and some cause for concern, the PRO’s will continue to put their money where their mouth is…be it Apple, Avid, Adobe, Sony and it’s clear that the bs is walking and the cash is talkin – all the way to Cupertino.

      p.s. Phillip can’t wait for your take and congrats on being so close to spot on re: much of this re-write.

      1. Great post. Thanks. I’m working on a post but it’s hard without reliable Internet. Today definitely.

    13. Paul


      Looking forward to your post.

      I’m thrilled with what apple has disclosed. I will say that I was somewhat surprised following some of the twitter feeds and subsequent comments disseminated by a few “pros” that were present at the event. It’s pretty obvious none of these guys ever opened/ran iMovie ’11, just to see what apple was doing with it.

      For example: the FCP X enhanced audio waveforms and audio accessibility options in the Timeline. Also, the new “In-line Precision Editor.” These features have been available in iMovie ’11 since it was released. Both features will be very useful.

      I hear allot of people asking if dual monitors will be supported. I know for a fact you can display the iMovie Canvas on a secondary monitor. It’s has to be the case in FCP X as well. But what about scopes, meters, etc?

      My biggest concern is what they plan to do with Soundtrack Pro and Compressor. I would not be surprised if the audio demo that we witnessed last eve only scratched the surface of what audio functions will be available within FCP X, and Soundtrack Pro becomes expendable. And what about outputting video for distribution? Will they incorporate the core functions of Compressor and phase out the stand-alone application?

      I’m looking forward to apple posting some detailed information and specifications on their site. I hope it’s sooner than later …


    14. Christopher Carnel

      C’mon! We’re all “jones’n” for that analysis!

    15. I have to say I’m personally VERY disappointed with the reaction to yesterday’s demo. Despite the narrow demo focus, people seem to have made up their minds about just about everything to do with FCPx.

      and iMoviePro? Give me a break. There was bound to be some design crossover. I personally love the look of the new timeline; I can see what’s going on with both picture and audio so much easier. Multi function of the pointer based on where it is… thank god no more t, a, s, r etc. functions!

      But let’s not forget we have both AVID and PP [and those loyal to them] ready to lasso anyone they can between now and when the program is released with slander or sideways compliments, “Looks great for the low end prosumer!”.

      Excuse me if I decide to wait to see how many cows come home BEFORE I close the barn doors.

    16. Good comment Marcus. And I’m working on my post now.