Last week, an observant Apple Certified Trainer kicked off a round of speculation that a new version of Final Cut Pro X could be arriving along with newly refreshed MacBook Pro machines at Apples October event. A trial download of the current version at the time, 10.2.3, resulted in a broken download of an unreleased version 10.3.
As with all good rumors, this one turned out to be on the mark. Apple did indeed introduce Final Cut Pro X, and the company published a press release with all of the details. Given that the last version of Apple’s professional-grade video editing software was released in February 2016, the newest version represents a significant and likely welcome upgrade.
As Apple Vice President of Apps Product Marketing Susan Prescott put it, “This is our biggest update to Final Cut Pro X since we completely redesigned it five years ago. The new version features a sleek interface and adds powerful new editing features that go far beyond what’s possible with traditional, track-based video editing apps; and integration with the revolutionary Touch Bar gives professional video editors a whole new way to interact with Final Cut Pro X.”
As might be expected, one of the prominent new features in Final Cut Pro X 10.3 is support for the Touch Bar introduced in the newest MacBook Pro. The Touch Bar is an OLED touch display running where the old-school function keys would normally reside on the MacBook Pro keyboard, and it serves as a fully customizable input controller for application developers to tap into for extra functionality.
The Touch Bar is dynamically adjusted to the specific task in Final Cut Pro X, allowing users to switch between editing tools, access commands for trimming and video playback, and adjust audio level. The Touch Bar will also display a navigable color-coded and interactive view of the editing timeline.
In addition, a new Magnetic Timeline that enables users to immediately “understand” their film, through “roles” such as dialogue, music, and effects that can serve as the basis for customized arrangements and color coding of audio clips. Users can drag to highlight audio roles or rearrange vertical timeline layout, which Apple claims sis a professional video software first.
More generally, Apple has streamlined the user interface optimized for the MacBook Pro display and implemented a darker and flatter theme that focuses on video content. Multi-monitor support is enhanced, with adjustable window arrangements of organizing, editing, and color grading tasks. Final Cut Pro X supports a wide color workflow enabling the import, editing, and delivery of video in standard Rec. 601 and Rec. 708 color spaces and wide gamut Rec. 2020 color space.
Some other features of Final Cut Pro X 10.3 including improving flow transition for “invisibly smooth” jump cuts, timecode overlay effect and generator enabling a large view of source timecode for editing, and support for ProRes MXF, Panasonic V-Log, and export of AVC-Intra. Finally, support of direct video output through Thunderbolt 3 leverages the updated connections on the new MacBook Pro for monitoring high-quality video using a single cable to an external display.
Apple also updated Motion to version 5.3 with its own new interface, wide color, support, and 3D text enhancements. Compressor was updated to 4.3 with a matching dark theme, enhancements to iTunes Store Package, and wide color support.
Final Cut Pro X 10.3 is available for download today. It’s free to existing users, and can be purchased in the App Store for $300. Motion 5.3 and Compressor 4.3 are also free to update, and available for $50 each today in the App Store.
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