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A look at Final Cut Pro X (images)

Apple has released the latest version of Final Cut Pro as a digital download. CNET walks you through some of the big new features, and tells you why they're important.

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Josh_Lowensohn.jpg

Josh Lowensohn

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The magnetic timeline

Apple this morning released the newest version of its Final Cut Pro software, Final Cut Pro X. It's Apple's top-of-the-line, professional video-editing software, and the first Final Cut to be offered only as a digital download, instead of on a disc. This slideshow will walk you through some of the new features.

Seen here is the "magnetic timeline" a feature that pulls together separate clips when maneuvering around the timeline, a feature designed to keep unintended breaks from occurring.

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Clip connections

The new clip connections feature groups together audio and video from your timeline workspace, even if it's not from the same original shot. The feature is designed so that editors don't have to remember to select everything from a specific section they're working on when moving it around to another part of the project.

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Compound clips-before

The new compound clips feature bundles together audio and video to let you move them around the timeline as one whole unit. Like the magnetic timeline, it's a feature designed to make it easier to manage edits. Here's a shot of all that information before it's compressed into one clip.
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Compound clips-after

And here's a shot of what that same compound clip looks like once it's bundled together into one. The software lets users unbundle these groups at any time.

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Inline precision editor

The inline precision editor lets users make edits to a clip from right on the timeline. It will show you a whole source clip, where you can grab from before or after it was edited, letting you make a quick change without leaving what you're doing.

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Auditions

Like the name for the "auditions" feature would suggest, it lets you see how edits you've picked out work with the rest of a sequence. You can select multiple clips for audition, then try each one out to see how it fits in, eventually picking the one you like without having to rejigger your work each time.

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Content auto analysis

A feature brought over from Apple's iMovie software, Final Cut Pro X adds automatic analysis of your content to pick out whether there are people in shots (including how many) and what kind of shot it is. It can also run it through for stabilization and color correction.

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Media viewer

Apple has incorporated the "skimming" feature from iMovie to let users wander through their video and audio collection with their mouse cursor.

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Range-based keywords

For times when editors need more than the auto-analysis on clips that Final Cut Pro X provides, they can manually tag shots with keywords. Final Cut Pro X adds a range-based approach, where editors can select a part of a shot to add tags to for finding later.

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Smart collections

To go with the range-based keywords feature, the "smart collections" feature works just like making a smart playlist in iTunes. You feed in things like text and any keywords, and it creates a folder that will stay updated with just those clips and content files.

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Media library integration

Just like an iLife app, Final Cut Pro X is integrated into other bits of Apple software including Aperture, iPhoto, and iTunes. This lets users grab a photo or a song from one of these apps right from the timeline.

Read more about Final Cut Pro X here.

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