Apple is pushing out an update to its Final Cut Pro X software this morning, bringing back a feature that pros feel was left out in the company's remake of its high-end video editor.
Now among the video-editing software's tricks is support for multicam editing, the feature — as the name suggests — that lets editors view, cut together and synchronise footage from multiple cameras.
Multicam editing was present in previous versions of the Final Cut Pro suite, dating back to 2005, but was not included in the latest version of the editing suite. Under the new system, multicam works with up to 64 different camera angles and can do video or still clips at any resolution, format and frame rate that's supported by the software.
Apple's bundling that with two new features, which are aimed at production houses that use digital SLRs and other devices that shoot without a time code: one that uses time of day (when a video is time stamped in its metadata, for example) to sync up footage, and another that will analyse the audio waveform and assign it a time based on the waveforms it has captured on other shots.
One other feature making its way into the update is a new adjustment panel to the one-click chroma key feature that was added in Final Cut Pro X.
According to Richard Townhill, Apple's senior director of Applications-Product Marketing, the company received feedback from pros who were using the chroma key feature (frequently used for transposing people and objects in front of green screens) and who said that it "needed more tweaking", specifically when shooting through glass or on a green screen that had uneven colouring. In a phone interview yesterday, Townhill said that editors were leaving the app to go do that particular task in Apple's Motion companion software, which the company thinks the new option will alleviate.
Beyond those two features, Apple's including what it calls "beta" support for broadcast-video monitors. The software now supports third-party monitors through PCI Express and Thunderbolt. That includes hardware from Aja, Black Magic and Matrox, which will work with new software once the companies have updated their drivers.
Also being added in 10.0.3:
- Media relinking; users can now manually reconnect new media to projects and events
- XML 1.1 support; users can now import and export colour adjustments and audio-waveform key frames
- Support for layered Photoshop files, a feature that was in Motion, and is now built in to Final Cut.
Alongside the update, third-party software maker Intelligent Assistance is releasing a US$9.99 software tool called 7toX, which, as the name would suggest, is the reverse of the company's US$49.99 Xto7 software. It takes projects made in Apple's previous version of Final Cut Pro, and makes them compatible with the newer version — something that Apple's own software is unable to do.
This marks the last time in recent months that Apple's offering a glimpse of future features to be added to Final Cut Pro X, which is an unusual habit for the usually secretive company. With previous updates to the software, Apple made a habit of providing a to-do list of sorts, with tweaks and features that were on its update roadmap.
Townhill said that users can still look forward to a "final" version of the broadcast-video monitoring feature as part of a future software update, but that the company is not dangling any other features in to-do list form. In the meantime, one thing that some film fans can at least take off their wish lists are more tools for working with tape.
"We've made enough fuss about the fact that Final Cut Pro X is designed for modern digital workflows; however, we know that some people still use tape, and for that once again we point to our third parties," Townhill said. "Both Aja and Black Magic have tape utilities, so you can create a project in Final Cut Pro, export the result, and use one of their utilities to offload that onto tape if that's still a part of your workflow."