Final Cut Pro X, which is now exclusively available on the Mac App Store, is a complete rethink of Apple's professional video editing suite.
The software now features the Magnetic Timeline, which is a trackless approach to editing footage "that lets you add and arrange clips wherever you want them, while other clips instantly slide out of the way," says Apple. The new feature also allows editors to link clips with other elements such as titles and sound effects, as well as combine story elements into a "Compound Clip that can be edited as a single clip."
Final Cut Pro X also uses a new Content Auto-Analysis feature that can scan a user's media on import and tag it with information on the number of people found in each clip. The tool can also detect whether the clips are close-up, medium or wide shots.
A new feature, dubbed Auditions, lets users "swap between a collection of clips to instantly compare alternate takes. Final Cut Pro X also features audio editing and colour correction tools, which used to come as standalone software in previous versions of the video editing software.
However, Apple has also released two companion apps to assist editors with motion graphics and advanced media encoding. Motion 5 and Compressor 4 are also available from the Mac App Store, retailing at £30 each.
The new software also includes new tools of use to photographers shooting video on digital SLR cameras, including a one-click option to synchronise high-quality audio recorded on a separate device with the reference audio taken from a camera's built-in microphone. It can also detect the need for, and apply, image stabilization to imported video files.
The program includes native support for the H.264 and AVCHD video files created by DSLRs and but some professionals have complained that other features found in pro-level video editors, such as EDL (Edit Decision List) are currently missing.
However these missing features may be added in future. In a briefing today Apple confirmed to the BJP that it intended to use the Mac OS X App store to produce more regular updates to the software, with updates "coming pretty fast and furious" and "fairly major" updates every six months.
The App store license also allows users to install the program on several computers if they wish - or, with the £30 Compressor add-on, to use several Mac computers at once for more rapid video rendering.
Final Cut Express, the cheaper edition of Final Cut available up to version 7, has now been discontinued. Final Cut Pro X is available at £180, a fraction of its previous retail price of £800.
Visit www.apple.com/uk/finalcutpro for more details.
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