Final Cut Pro X Update – 10.3 First Hands-On Review

October 28th, 2016
Final Cut Pro X Update - 10.3 First Hands-On Review

Final Cut Pro X update 10.3 has been announced. It is the latest version of Apple’s professional video editing software. Here’s a hands-on review of its new features!

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Hands-On Review of Final Cut Pro X Update 10.3

Yesterday, Apple announced a long awaited Final Cut Pro X update, bringing a slew of new features and changes to their professional video editing software. Back in the summer, I was fortunate enough to be allowed a sneak peek at 10.3 and, ever since, have been eager to discuss what is a major step forward for this often maligned, but increasingly popular, software.

Before I delve in to these new features let me just say that, yes, Apple completely screwed up the release of FCP X back in 2011 and, yes, I’m not surprised that a lot of people moved to the more familiar embrace of Premiere after that debacle.

However, FCP X today is unrecognisable compared to five years ago and, whether you realise it or not, it has had a massive impact on our industry. Even Premiere and Resolve have borrowed a significant quantity of FCP X’s features and design cues, which has benefitted us all. So, what’s new in Final Cut Pro 10.3…

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New Design

First off, you’ll notice an immediate difference when you open 10.3, as the interface has had its biggest overhaul since X first appeared in the summer of 2011. Like most of Apple’s UI changes in recent years, it is now cleaner and flatter, and I love it!

I’ve never understood this notion that professional software has to look clunky and riddled with tiny buttons. As a professional, I want to work quickly and with minimal distractions, and the new interface gives me just that. iMovie Pro (an oft used, if misguided nick-name) it ain’t!

Metadata Based Audio Mixing, Organisation and Output

By far and away the biggest area that has been updated with this release, is the way in which you edit audio in FCP X. Whilst for a long time it has been a bit of a myth that FCP X wasn’t up to “professional” use, it is certainly fair to say that, for broadcast editors, the audio tool set in FCP X fell just short of their requirements, with 3rd party plugins having to pick up the slack in most cases.

Roles metadata has always hinted at being an exceedingly clever way of manipulating and organising audio, but at long last those hints have become fully formed in 10.3.

Whereas in traditional track-based NLEs an editor would have to carefully place dialogue, effects and music on specific tracks whilst building their edit, FCP X frees them up to not worry about where each type of audio clip is being placed in the timeline, and instead allow roles metadata to sort it for them.

final_cut_pro_x_update_02Now, with one click, an editor can have FCP X find all of their dialogue clips (or any other type of role) and rearrange them on the timeline instantly.

In previous versions of FCP X, you could use Roles metadata to highlight or collapse clips on the Timeline, but 10.3 goes much further. It will pull all your selected clips into “lanes” on the timeline, so you can mix them, apply effects or compound them to create submixes and make master audio adjustments.

This essentially gives us a hybrid track/trackless timeline for the first time.

Types of clip are also now much more easy to spot on the timeline, thanks to colour coding that can be either automatically or manually assigned to Roles. Lastly, Final Cut Pro now exports MXF wrapped Pro Res files using audio roles to create broadcast-standard audio channel layouts.

In fact, at the other end of things, FCP X now supports iXML (an open format that allows a sound engineer to tag metadata on broadcast WAV files) for assigning roles during ingest, which will speed up this type of work massively.

final_cut_pro_x_update_03

Touch Bar Functions

Only time will tell how useful the Touch Bar will be on the new MacBook Pros, but its integration with Final Cut Pro 10.3 looks very promising. It is context-sensitive and will dynamically switch between a Timeline Overview mode, Trimming mode and Audio Controls mode, giving you access to quick navigational and editing functionality that has never been possible before.

final_cut_pro_x_update_04

New Online Editing/Grading Features

As if Apple’s intentions with this update weren’t clear enough, their inclusion of Rec. 709 and Rec. 2020 luma and/or chroma range-checking tools illustrate exactly who Apple are targeting this update at.

You can now turn clipping overlays on whilst grading your projects, making it a whole lot quicker to check your edits before broadcast.

I know a lot of BBC news editors who will love this, as it means they can deliver edits that don’t have to spend as long being onlined by someone else before TX.

More excitingly, FCP now fully supports Rec. 2020’s wide colour gamut, as well as proper colour-management for log processed video files, akin to DaVinci Resolves colour managed workflow.

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Workspace Customisation

I have never been a big customiser of window layouts and, actually, find the dizzying amount of options for this in Premiere (14 default windows/tabs can be moved to 30 different positions!) a touch silly.

However, I do like to have a few presets for editing, audio mixing and colour grading, as well as multiple monitor arrangements.

So it is nice to see that user selectable Workspaces are back in 10.3 and can be loaded to any edit suite you happen to find yourself at.


final_cut_pro_x_update_09

Old Features!

final_cut_pro_x_update_10There are tons of new bits and pieces in 10.3 that will keep users playing for hours, but there are also some old features that disappeared and have finally made their way back!

Remove Attributes is back. Copying and pasting timecode into the dashboard is back.

Also – and I know a lot of editors who will be most thrilled about this – source timecode can be shown in the Viewer again! In fact, it can now be burned in to your exports, giving FCP X a great new dailies workflow.

final_cut_pro_x_update_11

In A World Of Subscriptions…

Finally, not that this is exactly a feature, but this is yet another free upgrade for FCP X.

I bought FCP X for £200 back in 2011 and have paid not a penny since, so it has cost me exactly £3.17 per month to use it, and that figure will just keep on decreasing in the coming months and years.

Summary

If you’re a Premiere user reading this, there’s absolutely no suggestion by me or anyone else that you should immediately jump ship to FCP X.

Quite frankly, if you like working with a track based timeline and don’t have time to re-learn the fundamentals of your NLE, then you’re never going to move. But, for those of us who see that trackless timelines and deep, metadata-driven, workflows are the future of non-linear editing, Final Cut Pro X Update 10.3 is a big step along this road.

Final Cut Pro X update 10.3 (as well as Motion 5.3 and Compressor 4.3) is available through the Mac App Store now.

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 Colin Rickman
Member
March 6th, 2017

Does it support h.265?

Member
November 3rd, 2016

We have both Premiere and FCPX at work, but I use Premiere because, well, it’s what I’ve been using for a long time now. But… When I was a freelancer I was using Premiere, but now I’m paying a monthly subscription cost when I only do a couple of personal projects per year now. I’ve still got a few months left on my annual contract, so I’m not dropping Premiere any time soon. But I do also personally own FCPX, just never took the time to learn it. Now, at least for personal projects, I’m thinking about spending the next few months transitioning to Final Cut and then eventually dropping my subscription. Besides, as far as I’m concerned, it never hurts to learn an additional program and get some extra skills in your toolkit.

 Jay Ryde
Member
November 3rd, 2016

One NLE vs another.. the age old question never ceases to be asked. There is never a definitive answer because we all work differently; have various likes and dislikes and of course different hardware and budgets. Which is why you’ll always have the biased views and arguments here.

Ok, so you already know that? So this is why I use Final Cut Pro X.

1. I edit mainly documentary and when I’m lucky, the occasional feature
FCPX is quick with its simplistic UI. In my projects I need to store quite a lot of metadata, not only because I can hand it off to another person/dept but even working as a one-manned operation I’m able to track material much easier, and FCPX meta system works very very well.

2. A magnetic timeline saves me a lot of work to the point I can vary my workflow to suit either the project (mainly), or my mood! Yep, depending on what I’m doing I can throw caution to the wind and be daring and try something new! The timeline does an excellent at preserving your work I.e clip collisions are automatically avoided.. L & J cuts are a sinch to execute.. I could go on here, but you get the point.. The L2013 D700 GPU slices through renders like butter.. its purpose built.

3. 10.3 offers a unique and excellent way to route audio and both at the Role level and its sub role level. Though I often finish audio for larger projects in Logic or Pro Tools, extensive audio post is already done before launching the Audio post app.

4. Good access to plugins and minimal menu searches make FCPX very quick to navigate.. there a literally hundreds of plugins, many of very high quality.

5. FCPX is built by the same people that build my hardware .. this can only be a good thing.. just one contact point should I need assistance and nobody to point the finger at the other! Compared to most, Apple have pretty good tech support and a large user base.

6. I don’t believe in subscription software! It’s a crime.. you rip off merchants! Moreover, Adobes tech support in my experience was dreadful!

7. Support for iXML supported device and good support for 4K+ workflows

I could go on but you’re probably asleep now!

 Jonathan Jackson
Member
November 2nd, 2016

Been working with FCPX since it’s debut and this is a great update.

Satva Leung
Satva Leung
Member
October 31st, 2016

FCP X is a solid NLE, I have been using it for the last 4 years editing both short form corporate content and longer documentary work with various cameras from RED, Sony, and Canon. I really love the speed and performance and the clean layout.

I have been recently forced to use Premiere Pro for the last few months and while I do like editing in Premiere Pro I have to say Premiere Pro CC 2015 has crashed more in the last couple months than FCP X has in the last 4 years (running off of a 2014 6 core Mac Pro with 64 gigs of Ram).

I do think FCP X has gotten a bad rap the last few years and the big thing that really annoyed me was the people complaining about FCP X never took the time to actually learn the program. They may have opened it up once and messed with it for a day and came to the conclusion that it sucked. If you are going to hate on the program actually use it before hating on it.

One thing I will mention to existing FCP X users, before you upgrade be sure to archive both the older version of FCP X and your projects, here is a quick video on it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LcNucIj-ak&index=10&list=PLj5Nh9NxSxdmBgCNtzLP-oP5ep5caV3Xt

 Jay Ryde
Member
October 31st, 2016
Reply to  Satva Leung

I adopted FCPX within seconds of it coming out.. literally! and I’ve never looked back.. I felt this was a change for the better because it just looked ‘Simpler’ – It has increased my productivity no end.. and I love the simplicity and ability to vary my workflow.

I laughed when I saw the comments on the Apple forums (then used by pros more often than now), and saw the reckless, unprofessional attitudes of those slating it just because it looked like iMove.. which incidentally, for what it is, ‘aint bad, even then! (not that you would have edited a feature on it!).

The problem with many people is that they like to be seen to be different, in this case slagging of what many users had been waiting to see for years – a new version of Final Cut. It all looked more like attention seeking than constructive criticism. Within minutes of its release there were literally hundreds of negative comments in the Apple forums based purely on what it looked like, and some not even having downloaded it! WTF?! and that fact it didn’t have this.. it didn’t have that!

They forgot it was a RE-WRITE, meaning it was a new chapter in FCP, one to be expanded upon and to take advantage of the new 64bit processing power and new ever advancing technology. My advice to those that were part of that slanderous outburst is this: IF YOU DON’T LIKE CHANGE, GET OUT OF THE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY AND STOP USING IT! One thing is for sure, technology will continue progress and companies like Apple will continue to build on it.

Ok, now bear with me on this one: This brings me on to another point.. its this word ‘PROFESSIONAL’ – A horribly misused and misunderstood term. This is how I know a professional – ‘A person who is cable of consistently producing an exceptional high standard of work based on years of experience and knowledge, and that has been recognised for it’ – And I will add this to that definition – ‘Someone who is not scared of moving away from traditional methods and has the foresight to embrace change when it is for the better’ Does that sound like any of those in that debate?!!! LOOOL

Long live Final Cut, Long Long live the Film Industry!

Satva Leung
Satva Leung
Member
October 31st, 2016
Reply to  Jay Ryde

Well put Jay, especially: ” IF YOU DON’T LIKE CHANGE, GET OUT OF THE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY AND STOP USING IT! “

 Jay Ryde
Member
October 31st, 2016

I’ve noticed a quite a few big issues in 10.3: (This list is growing!)

1. VoiceOver command did not appear in the menu.. had to use the shortcut to get it to display. Upon pressing the shortcut few times, its now back?! Could not repeat issue after several attmpts.

2. Voiceover clip would appear greyed-out and have no audio – upon deleting the Library and creating a new one, the issue went away. Could not repeat issue after several attmpts.

3. Voiceover would use incorrect audio from other attempts (No, they were not Auditioned Clips!).. this appears to be random.

4. When editing MultiCam Clips using Option and left square bracket, it would delete incorrect sections of the clip.. this appears to be random

5. Delete key sporadically not working when deleting a multicam clip in the browser.. it would duplicate the clip forcing the user to press it serveral before it would delete!

6. I did notice on first installation of FCPX 10.3 the other day, there was picture breakup, but that was on an older library which has been coverted to run on 10.3 – Have not seen this issue since.

7. After testing with many other applications, FCPX appears to be causing the dock (apps at the bottom on the desktop) and the FCP menu at the top to be sliding on and off even if the OS settings have the dock set to Continuously ON!

8. Clicking on clip names in the browser can sometimes make the clip name disappear.

Im using a L2013 MacPro 8-Core /32GB RAM/1TB SSD, Retinal display and Thunderbolt G-RAID HDD and MacOS Sierra and latest everything! as of 30-10-16

ISSUES REPORTED TO APPLE.

 Ollie Kenchington
Ollie Kenchington
Member
October 31st, 2016
Reply to  Jay Ryde

Hi Jay. I’ve just tried to reproduce all of these issues on my MBP but can’t generate the same symptoms in any case. I hope you can get it sorted. Have you tried deleting the app and downloading a fresh copy?

 Jay Ryde
Member
October 31st, 2016

Hi Ollie,

It happened one too many times. Ive just done (another) complete clean install of my system.. but leaving out some of the plugIns that I suspect were the cause. It was interesting to note that nobody complained of similar issues (yet), yet Im using a fully spec’d 8 Core L2013 MacPro with Thunderbolt G-RAIDs and all that! I know I have the horse power so convinced its a software conflict of some sort. Ill update any more findings here.

thanks for your response.

Ben J
Ben J
Member
October 31st, 2016

I moved from FCPX not because of work flow but because it slowed down so much during use. I got tired of restarting. Resolve is so much snappier.

If this issue has improved, I’ll give it another chance.

 Laurent Lindebrings
Laurent Lindebrings
Member
October 31st, 2016
Reply to  Ben J

Ben J, I have no problème with FCPX since a long time (sine 1.4). It is really stable but doesn’t mean it doesn’t crash sometime. If your computer is older than 2012, I wouldn’t use it but above it should be fine if your hard drives are fast enough (wich is really important). I love Resolve too but I love more the easiest way to edit with magnetic timeline wich is so fast and creative.

Ben J
Ben J
Member
October 31st, 2016

Thanks Laurent, but this is a comparative issue. FCPX was slower than other solutions on my machine. I don’t use a ‘proper’ work station, but I have a recent iMac with 4GB of GPU, 24GB of RAM and USB 3 drives for FHD footage. Projects edited and graded in Resolve are snappy.

But FCPX would always slow down when projects had been open for half an hour or so. Especially with lots of edits. Again, this was a FCPX issue, because the same project would run quickly once FCPX was closed and reopened.

There were various discussions online about memory leaks, etc.

 Ollie Kenchington
Ollie Kenchington
Member
October 31st, 2016
Reply to  Ben J

Hi Ben. You’re absolutely right, this was indeed a problem with FCP X. I remember it well, as it frustrated me at the time too. When 10.2 came out, Apple said they’d fixed this problem but, actually, I found it only completely went away when 10.2.1 came out.

I cut a half hour documentary on my MBP earlier this year, which contained 1.2TB of XAVC-I 4K media and it didn’t slow down at all.

Ben J
Ben J
Member
October 31st, 2016

Thanks Ollie, good to hear. I’ll check out the latest version.

 Laurent Lindebrings
Laurent Lindebrings
Member
October 30th, 2016

Thanks for the highlights and your thoughts the new version. I really like FCPX. That’s my daily NLE even if I have to use sometime premiere Pro, Da Vinci Resolve or getting back to FCP7 for my clients. This is really a major update for professionals: a lot of ergonomic features to deal with sound without third party plugins and a lot of tiny features back from FCP7 (in a better way). We wait for the next features ! That’s free for owners and not so expensive for newcomers (even if you have to buy few plugins to allow some specific workflows). For some specific reasons it will not fit the work of everybody but for the majority of us it is a really efficient, pleasant, fast tool to work with. I edit 4K R3D files with it for 3 years now. If you are coming from a traditional NLE : take the time to get a training course to shorten the transition and avoid mistakes.

Member
October 30th, 2016

Is there h.265 support yet?

Daniel De Silva
Guest
October 29th, 2016

This is definitely the most single biggest update, it’s more like FCP XI. So many small updates that weren’t listed in the announcement.

Emmanuel Sapolsky
Guest
October 29th, 2016

Downloaded it ! Awesome update that easily could have been called FCP11

Chris York
Guest
October 29th, 2016

Can’t beat rough cutting and organizing in FCPX for most projects. It’s all about the responsive scrubbing and keywords. Once you get used to it, so hard to back to anything else.

Nino Leitner
Guest
October 29th, 2016
Reply to  Chris York

Agreed!

 Ollie Kenchington
Ollie Kenchington
Member
October 29th, 2016
Reply to  Chris York

Indeed

Guillem Costas
Guest
October 28th, 2016

Hèctor Solé llegeixtel ?

Hèctor Solé
Guest
October 29th, 2016
Reply to  Guillem Costas

Jo esque ara per ara no perdre ni un milisegon amb FCP…. per molt be q el pintin Im over it…

Adam Loretz
Guest
October 28th, 2016

Great write up by Ollie Kenchington

 Ollie Kenchington
Ollie Kenchington
Member
October 29th, 2016
Reply to  Adam Loretz

Thanks Adam

Himanshu Kumar
Guest
October 28th, 2016

I only use Adobe in editing

 Bob McCarthy
Bob McCarthy
Member
October 28th, 2016

My apologies for sounding like a grump who doesn’t appreciate a free FCPX upgrade. Nevertheless, I don’t understand why the interface is much darker (gloomy) and why the function buttons were moved and re-grouped. Some of these improvements seem to fit the adage of change for the sake of change especially considering the time it will take to learn and memorize the new interface. I would have preferred options that allowed an editor to choose the location of function buttons and select among several interface schemes.

Magnus Dorati
Guest
October 28th, 2016

Martin Landfald Flatmoen Aleksander Mile Ottersen

Art Sanchez
Guest
October 28th, 2016

Is it possible to set it up to 32bit float like Resolve?

 Ollie Kenchington
Ollie Kenchington
Member
October 28th, 2016
Reply to  Art Sanchez

Art, no you can’t, but nor would I want it to! 32bit float is perfect for grading but a pain in the backside for editing, as it slows down playback so much.

Johann Hütter
Johann Hütter
Member
October 28th, 2016
Reply to  Art Sanchez

isn’t fcpx in 32bit float all of the time, anyway?

 Ollie Kenchington
Ollie Kenchington
Member
October 28th, 2016
Reply to  Johann Hütter

No, only when rendering/exporting.

 Roger Stoneburner
Member
October 28th, 2016

When Apple first made the huge change to FCP, I was basically forced to use it, because the entire post-production for the company I was working with decided to go that route rather than the Premiere route.

I went on Lynda.com and re-learned FCP, after using it for 10 years, and completely love and swear by it. It took around 3 months of full time usage for me to really fall in love with it. Periodically, I am forced to go back to Adobe tools for specific clients (I’m freelance now), and don’t get me wrong, Adobe makes great products, but I can work exponentially faster in FCPX. Adobe has 5 programs that FCPX can do itself.

I just find it so much easier to do everything in FCPX and I am looking forward to this update! For a while I was worried Apple was dumping FCPX and the Mac Pro.

Jonathan Zertuche
Guest
October 28th, 2016

Matthew Meehan

Matthew Meehan
Guest
October 28th, 2016

Zamn daddy

 Ollie Kenchington
Ollie Kenchington
Member
October 28th, 2016

Hi Pete. You can play with a 30-day free trial here:

http://www.apple.com/uk/final-cut-pro/trial/

If you get stuck on anything – and you WILL get stuck at some point – then feel free to drop me an email (via http://www.korro.co.uk) and I’ll help you out.

Christian Zorzi
Guest
October 28th, 2016

Still no audio mixer.

Einar Davíðsson
Einar Davíðsson
Member
October 28th, 2016

Well, yes and no – the functionality of the audio lanes within a compound clip (make the entire timeline a compound clip) gives you very comfortable “tracks” to adjust, with whatever level of detail you want (i.e. number of roles and subroles you want). It doesn’t look like a traditional mixer, but what functionality is missing?

It looks really intuitive to me, but I’m not explaining it well, so I’ll let the ripple training guys do it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf6LpsVBvIQ

Einar Davíðsson
Einar Davíðsson
Member
October 28th, 2016

Of course, making the entire project one compound clip is obscure and a needless extra step – in a future update they will surely just have a different “compound” way of looking at each timeline/project. But it all works right now.

Nino Leitner
Guest
October 29th, 2016

Of course, it’s been there for a while and it’s called “roles”

Alban Egger
Guest
October 29th, 2016

Well Netflix doesn´t sell you a BluRay, still you can watch a film. Similar with the audiomixer in FCPX. There is a place for the BluRay, but most people can live without it. FCPX does what an NLE needs to do with Audio especailly after this update where audio workflows got enhanced (as we requested for 5 years now)

Pete McGrath
Guest
October 28th, 2016

i moved to premiere a few years back from FCP7.. worth a move to X?

Nino Leitner
Guest
October 29th, 2016
Reply to  Pete McGrath

I think so, for me personally Premiere feels very old school in many ways, FCPX has a much worse reputation than it deserves, most people complaining have not understood how to work with it. Once you get your head around it, you’ll love it.

Pete McGrath
Guest
October 29th, 2016
Reply to  Pete McGrath

good tip. might give it a crack Opie SH … $299

Vlad Box Rojas
Guest
October 28th, 2016

Nino Leitner or Johnnie Behiri I have been debating about moving to fcpx. You guys use it regularly or full premiere?

Nino Leitner
Guest
October 29th, 2016
Reply to  Vlad Box Rojas

I do… And I love it.

Johnnie Behiri
Guest
October 29th, 2016
Reply to  Vlad Box Rojas

I don’t and I love it too!…

Vlad Box Rojas
Guest
October 29th, 2016
Reply to  Vlad Box Rojas

Great , thanks.

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