The present and future of post production business and technology

Final Cut Pro X Updated for NAB

It is the season for updates, and Apple come through with a feature update to Final Cut Pro X and Motion. Many of the new features are common, of course, because Final Cut Pro X and Motion share a common display engine (briefly referred to as the Linear Light Engine in the Supermeet preview, and never heard from again!). This is a solid release, with features I find myself using every day. Compressor also gains an interesting new feature: prepare for iTunes store.

Smart Collections at the Library Level

Naturally I’ve got the metadata-focused feature at the top! A good step and one that we needed, and a logical consequence of re-organizing into Libraries.

Resizable Find Window

At last. Thank you. What more can I say, now that the Find window can show all Keywords, not just the first 32.

3D Titles

Motion and Final Cut Pro X gain the ability to create, animate and customize 3D text. More than just 3D titles, this is a full 3D subsystem built into the engine that underpins FCP X and Motion. Textures, lighting and animation are completely customizable as well as being very easy to use.

Apple provide some high quality cinematic templates to get stared, with media. The titles are completely customizable with materials, lighting, edges, shadows. Even better is the easy coversion of a 2D title to a 3D one. All templates are editable in Motion and the usual third party providers will be releasing new templates concurrent with this release of FCP X.

Don’t forget, anything in a font can be used for 3D titles, including an incredible range of dingbat-style fonts that encompass an incredible range of iconography. You can even create custom font glyphs, style and light them in FCP X.

Color Board becomes Color Correction Effect

A fairly major re-architecting of the effects pipeline has replaced the Color Board with a Color Correction effect. This is a huge improvement in my opinion and one that required a lot of behind-the-scenes re-architecting. Color Correction can now go in any order in an effects pipeline. Converting the Color Board to an effect makes it easier to mix and match built-in and third party color tools anywhere in the effects pipeline, and a broadcast safe filter can go at the end!

Improved Masking

The masks from the Color Board are now available to apply to any filter! Plus there is a new Draw Mask effect for custom masks. It’s easy to convert from one of the fixed shapes into a custom drawn mask, so you can use an oval or rectangle to get the approximate shape, then convert to a custom mask for final tweaking and animating. These masks are available to apply to any effect, not just color effects.

Save Custom Effects Presets

Where this differs from the ability to save a preset within an effect, or with customizing a Motion template, is that an Effects Preset can include any combination of filters and transforms into one preset. I’ve found this very, very useful. Custom presets can be moved between computers as long as any third party plug-ins are installed on both system.

Improved Optical Flow

A new Optical Flow engine has been developed for even smoother slow motion on a wider range of content, according to Apple, but I haven’t had the need recently.

More configurable Scope Views

As well as a new four-up Scopes view, the views themselves are more configurable.

Improved RED Raw support

This release has very significantly improved RED Raw support for easier import and better performance. RED’s anamorphic flag is now honored and RED RAW processing is GPU-accelerated  with support for dual GPUs Support.

Other enhancements

  • Instantly display the alpha channel for any effect mask
  • Improved keyframing with better motion smoothing
  • Better performance of FxPlug plug-ins and built-in effects that use multiple frames like Visual Echo and Trails
  • GPU rendering when using Send to Compressor with support for dual GPUs for both single and multi-pass encoding.

Smart Collections can be used at the event and library level

This is a big improvement and a logical outcome of the move to a Library-based structure. One of the things we had to wait for foundation work to be done first.

Import Window

All the import options are now visible in a new consolidated Import Window, which makes it less likely I’ll import to the wrong place, or with the wrong settings.

Improved Camera Support

Final Cut Pro X now has support for/or improved support for:

  • Panasonic AVC-Ultra codec family
  • Sony XAVC-S
  • JVC H.264 Long GOP
  • GPU-accelerated RED RAW processing with support for dual GPUs
  • Support for RED RAW anamorphic formats

and you can now import Sony XAVC and XDCAM formats without a separate plug-in.

Create an iTunes Store Package

Not quite “publish to iTunes” as you’ll still need to partner with an iTunes certified provider, but this makes it much easier for any creator to handle the technical aspects of preparing an iTunes package.






4 responses to “Final Cut Pro X Updated for NAB”

  1. I’ve always been a big fan of Final Cut Pro, and I can’t wait to use these new updates in the software. I’m most excited about the new import window and masking, but all of the improvements are great and much needed.

  2. Edward T.

    Hi Philip,

    Hope your NABShow 2015 is going great! Does this update to Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5 require OSX Yosemite? Take care.

    1. Philip

      Yes, this update requires Yosemite.

    2. Actually you can tell the OS X requirement by the first decimal in the version number.
      10.0 versions were developed for Snow Leopard.
      10.1 versions were developed for Mavericks.
      10.2 versions are being developed for Yosemite.