After what felt like a really long time (the last major update dropped in December of 2019), Apple updated their professional video editing software Final Cut Pro X.
While Apple was steadily improving their NLE, in many ways it’s been even longer since they added new flashy features. I reckon the reason for that might be that the Final Cut team ought to be busy rewriting the app to run on the upcoming Apple Silicon based Macs.
Even though there is still no “make my movie look and sound great” button in this release, the update packs quite interesting enhancements aimed both at professional users with film- and broadcast focus as well as folks working more on the social media side.
Let’s have a quick rundown of the patch notes:
New Proxy Workflows
By far the most important changes have been made to Final Cut Pro X‘s proxy workflow. Better connectivity to 3rd party apps and services like frame.io, Key Flow Pro and Post Lab is a big thing, but much of how Final Cut Pro X handled proxies has changed for the better for editors who are not using external services:
- Before the update, Final Cut Pro X created proxies in exactly half the resolution of the original media, which was sometimes just too big. Proxy media can now be created in custom frame sizes of 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, or full resolution.
- In the past Final Cut Pro X created proxies in ProRes Proxy codec. Now you have the choice between ProRes Proxy or H.264 codecs.
- When using proxies, Final Cut Pro X would not display footage that was present on the system, but no proxies were available for that specific clip. Now you can choose whether it should use the available “original” or “optimized” media instead. So it should be possible to work in a mixed Proxy/full res workflow.
- It’s possible to create a proxy-only version of a library, which is awesome if you want to take a massive library on the road or share it with a collaborator over the internet.
Improvements for Social Media
- Automatically transform projects for vertical or square formats using Smart Conform — unfortunately, filmmakers have to deliver different aspect files. This should make the process less painful.
- Transform Overscan: view media outside the viewer borders when adjusting scale, rotation, and position — see what you have outside the cropped region.
- Custom Overlay as an on-screen guide to place text and graphics within a square or vertical frame
- Duplicate Project As command with Smart Conform to create a social media version of your project.
Misc New Features
- ISO, color temperature, and exposure of ProRes RAW files can be adjusted using controls in the inspector — Awesome, if you are editing ProRes RAW files that are recorded by ATOMOS recorders in combination with some cameras and the DJI Zenmuse X7 drone camera.
- Audio crossfades on neighboring clips can be added in one step using a menu command or keyboard shortcut — Thank the editing gods for this little improvement.
- Last modified date in list view — Useful if you are working on a lot of projects within a single Library.
- 360-degree stereoscopic 3D video preview in left and right eye views in the 360° Viewer.
- One-click-tools to stabilize 360-degree footage.
Compressor and Motion
Both companion apps of Final Cut Pro X have been updated, too. Compressor gained the ability to support custom LUT effects, the ability to use Camera LUTs to convert log-encoded footage to SDR or HDR outputs, and other workflow enhancements.
Motion — Apples underrated but very powerful motion graphics tool — gained the ability to import third-party 3D models or choose from a built-in library of 3D models in the USDZ format for use in titles, generators, effects, and transitions. Behaviors and keyframes can be used to manipulate the position, rotation, and scale of a model, and take advantage of existing replicators, emitters, lights, and cameras.
If you want the whole shabang, check out Apple’s release notes here.
It took a while, but again it looks like the Final Cut Pro X team delivered a update that will improve peoples workflows considerable in some areas as well as save time and hassle when cooperating with others.
Some of the features — especially the new proxy workflow — and the looming switch of Apples Macs to ARM based processors nourish my hope that someday in the near future I can take a proxy copy of a project with me on my iPad, edit there and finish on a desktop Mac seamlessly.
I am on vacation at the moment, so I can’t try the new update for a week or so, but I will as soon as I get back to work. I’ll have a close look at the new proxy features and I do have the feeling there will be a CineD Quick Tip Video or two on the topic.
Download Final Cut X From Apple App store by clicking here.
Do you use Final Cut Pro X in your edit bay or do you consider giving it a try if you don’t? Share your thoughts, comments, questions, or ideas about Final Cut Pro X in general and the recent update in particular in the comments.