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Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 07:00 pm PT (10:00 pm ET)

Apple previews new $299 64-bit Final Cut Pro X to arrive in June

Apple on Tuesday took the wraps off a revolutionary 64-bit upgrade to Final Cut Pro, dubbed version X, which will arrive on the Mac App Store in June for just $299.

Apple previewed the new software Tuesday during the FCP User Group SuperMeet at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas. Final Cut Pro X will be sold through the Mac App Store starting in June for the low price of $299.

The Cupertino, Calif., company promised that the new version of Final Cut Pro will be "as revolutionary as the first version of FCP," Eric Reagan of Photography Bay reports.

Final Cut Pro X has been rebuilt from the ground up and will include support for all processor cores through Grand Central Dispatch. In a move sure to please professional users, the new version of FCP will support high-definition 4K resolution.

Other notable features include editing during import, scalable rendering and a resolution independent playback system, director and editor Rob Imbs reported via Twitter.

Director Larry Jordan noted on his blog that Apple's presentation on Tuesday was nearly identical to the presentation given to industry professionals six weeks ago.


Final Cut Pro X ColorBoard | Source: Apple via Larry Jordan


In February, Jordan revealed that Apple had invited a group of power users to preview the new version of Final Cut Pro. Though he was unable to give specific details, he promised the update would be "a jaw-dropper."


Final Cut Pro X Effects | Source: Apple via Larry Jordan



Preview of updated Final Cut Pro X UI | Source: Photography Bay


As reported by Photography Bay, new features in Final Cut Pro X include:

  • Fully color-managed Final Cut based on colorsync.

  • Resolution-independent playback system up to 4K formats.

  • Background rendering built into application.

Final Cut 1


Automatic import features
  • Media editing before ingest.

  • Image stabilization. "Deal with rolling shutter on the way in."

  • People detection.

  • Shot detection, can detect medium shots, close-ups, etc. during import.

  • Non-destructive color balance as media is being ingested.

  • Audio clean-up, with options to eliminate hum or rumble during import.


New automatic import features | Source: Rob Imbs


Media management

  • Range-based keywords, allowing users to add keywords selected ranges within a clip without subclipping.

  • Smart collections, a method for categorizing media by type, number of people in shot, framing, etc. "Smart collections looks very iMovie-ish."

  • Clip connections: "primary audio and video are locked synced together," with no way to accidentally knock them out of sync.


Final Cut X timeline | Source: Photography Bay


Improved timeline
  • Magnetic timeline: "If you slide a clip down the timeline, long clips (i.e., secondary audio) won’t collide with other clips. The other clips will drop down to a new drag and nothing is pushed out of sync."

  • Compound clips: "You can combine multiple clips into a single clip to make sequence easier to understand. Everything that is associated with compound clips is still accessible, but moves together with later edits."

  • Inline precision editor: "You can double-click on the seam between 2 clips and the timeline opens up to show what’s outside the handles."

  • Auditioning: A non-destructive way to compare edits and effects, allowing users to "throw effects or b-roll into timeline" during the organization process.

Final Cut 2

Streamlined audio editing
  • Auto-syncing audio waveforms, "like a built-in PluralEyes."

  • Playhead scrubs to audio-sample level for aligning audio in between frames.

  • Pitch-corrected audio skimming.

  • Fade heads are built-in to audio wave forms. No more keyframes.

  • Built-in clip retiming.

  • Color matching. "Click a clip and pick one to color match it to. Click and it’s done instantly."

  • Mix and match footage. "No more transcoding before input."

Final Cut 3


Similar to iMovie, Final Cut Pro X offers a film strip view for content. Users can highlight sections of content in the filmstrip view to add keywords. "Selecting those keyword items brings up just those sections of content," Reagan noted.

In a nod to power users, Apple claims to have designed the new Final Cut Pro so that "everything can be driven from the keyboard."

The software also reportedly adds "localized adjustments," which allow users to select an object — like a face — and make adjustments to only that part of the image. Users can also adjust the area and feathering of the local adjustment.

Apple also touted the performance of the current version, Final Cut Pro 7. The company noted that it is popular in the indie film community and essential for the broadcast community.

Apple boasted that there are 2 million Final Cut Pro users with a 94 percent satisfaction rate. It also said that Final Cut Pro is growing twice as fast as its competitors, and said that Adobe and Avid are "in a race for second place."

Photography Bay also has a rough video of Apple's announcement from Tuesday available on its site.

Last week, reports emerged that Apple had pressured other SuperMeet sponsors to back out of planned presentations in order to free up stage time at the event.

Apple's last major revision to Final Cut Studio came in July 2009 and added more than 100 new features, including real time collaboration via iChat Theater and expanded ProRes codecs.