As promised, the latest release of Final Cut Pro X is released in “early 2012” – January 31 to be precise. This release comes almost exactly three months after the last major release (with a 10.0.2 bug fix between the two), which was three months from the original release. (Is this to be an ongoing pattern?)
As expected there is support for broadcast video out via third party hardware, although that feature is currently “in beta”: it works but not as well as Apple and the hardware folk would like. It’s available for those who need to use it. One less reason to not use Final Cut Pro X.
Multicam in Final Cut Pro 7 was definitely a tool for those who knew what they were doing. In Final Cut Pro X multicam is super simple: mix frame sizes, codecs and frame rates in different angles. I love that we can open the multiclip group into a Timeline and simply drag angles up or down to change their order; or to add filters to one or more angles; or add (or remove) angles from the multicam group without needing to remake the group. Another nice feature is to add in an audio only “angle” and tell Final Cut Pro X to use the audio from that angle, without switching audio.
Multicam, like so much of Final Cut Pro X, is a rethink that considered what would make multicam more accessible to more people by eliminating the “hard parts”: let the software adapt rather than forcing a certain level of knowledge on users. (Sorry for those who had this somewhat hard earned knowledge, but that is the way things move.) For example, the default way of making a multicam group is to base it on the audio waveforms. (Timecode, start points and other options are available.)
Other terrific new features not pre-announced are support for layered Photoshop files and reconnect media, which work pretty much as you’d expect. Also unexpected is an Advanced Chroma Keyer with more controls available. The basic key is still pretty darn good, but having advanced tools for cleaning up is valuable for those tricker keys.
Oh, and one other thing: Intelligent Assistance (that’s us) have released 7toX for Final Cut Pro. Bring your Final Cut Pro 7 projects forward to Final Cut Pro X. For the story, check out my post on 7toX for Final Cut Pro.
We have broadcast video out for those who need it, still in beta because it’s now based on the new CoreMediaIO instead of QuickTime and this is the first time AJA, Blackmagic Design or Matrox have ever worked with these Core Services, so it’s reasonable to cut them some slack. AJA have drivers ready today, with the others following up shortly. It must be hard for those guys having to constantly keep up with new versions of drivers for Avid’s Media Composer 6 and presumably some new version of Premiere Pro since Al Mooney strongly implied we would hear more about the next version of the Creative Suite “around NAB”, extrapolating from the previous two releases.
We have a great implementation of multicam. We have layered Photoshop support and reconnect media, and we have a way of moving Projects forward. That seems to have addressed most of the “deal breakers” people have had. Bottom line now is that we’re at the point where it’s now possible to evaluate Final Cut Pro X on its own merits: not how similar or not it is to other applications, but as a viable alternative editing interface.
I don’t expect that everyone will suddenly jump in and love Final Cut Pro X: if you really don’t find the Magnetic Timeline “works” for you then Final Cut Pro X probably isn’t going to be for you. That’s fine, I like the idea of choices in interface as it’s not something we’ve had before: Final Cut Pro 1-7, Premiere Pro, Media Composer all were based on the same metaphors (and in fact two of the three originated from the same mind.)
I definitely still have features I’d like to see in Final Cut Pro X – at the top for me is selective copy and paste attributes – but now that the major elements are in place, I’m sure we’ll see those features getting some love in the future: by implication we’re likely to see a couple more releases this year.
So, I say, love it or not (and I love it enough to plan on using it for a complex reality show under tight conditions this year) Final Cut Pro X is ready for prime time again, while acknowledging that it may not be for everyone. But now we have good viable choices, something we didn’t have before. I also believe we have a faster alternative that suits my edit style, but that remains to be quantified.