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Thoughts on Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3

Today Apple released Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3 which offers several new features such as multicam and broadcast monitoring (beta) that were previously missing.

Looking through the details, it's hard to find anything that would appeal to consumers and it is clear that this is an attempt by Apple to appease at least some of the pros. My first reaction (and the reaction of a lot of people on Twitter) was that this was the version Apple should have released back in June.

Here are some of the features I found interesting:

  • Multicam - 64 angles are supported and lots of options for syncing, including PluralEyes-style analysis of the audio waveforms. In comparison, Adobe Premiere Pro supports 4 angles and Final Cut Pro 7 supports 128.
  • Media Relink - You can now reconnect to files, which is useful if you need to swap out VFX shots or FCPX for some reason loses the link. This really should have been a 1.0 feature.
  • XML 1.1 - As mentioned earlier on this blog, the previous version of FCPXML didn't support audio levels so you'd lose your levels if you transferred the project elsewhere. This is now supported in FCPXML 1.1, although it's worth noting that Apple's developer documentation still says XML is not a perfect copy and does not contain everything that a project file does.
  • Broadcast monitoring - Apple's description is vague about which devices are supported but today AJA released new drivers that support FCPX output from SDI. There is no word yet from Black Magic Design or Matrox but I would assume new drivers are coming soon. It's worth noting that broadcast monitoring is only supported on Lion.

That doesn't make it a perfect tool for the professional broadcast / film industries of course. I really can't see EDL support ever being added, nor support for broadcast tape capture. But over time I think this will matter less and less. Case in point: I'm working on a feature right now and was very surprised when the post house asked me to deliver the Final Cut Pro 7 project for grading / mixing instead of EDLs and OMF.

I think Apple is very much gambling on the future here and I am definitely considering looking into it for short form work.

Update: Larry Jordan offers more info on the differences between FCP7 and FCPX's multicam implementation. Thanks Larry!

FCP 7 would LINK up to 128 cameras in a multicam clip, however you could only view 16 of them. FCP X links and allows you to view up to 64 clips at once, by switching between up to four banks of 16 cameras each. Also, edits can be made in real-time or by positioning the playhead.
Posted by Jon Chappell on Jan 31 2012 to Apple, Final Cut Studio, Analysis