Apple announced during NAB that Final Cut Pro X would be available in June. That day has arrived. Although not previously announced, Apple has also released the companion Motion 5 and Compressor 4 apps. All three apps are available in the Mac App Store for immediate download.
Final Cut Pro X
Apple’s press release, entitled “Apple Revolutionizes Video Editing With Final Cut Pro X,” emphasizes some of the revolutionary new features. As quoted from the press release, these include:
- Magnetic Timeline that lets you edit on a flexible, trackless canvas
- Content Auto-Analysis that categorizes your content upon import by shot type, media and people
- Background rendering that allows you to work without interruption
Another major feature is that, for the first time, Final Cut Pro is fully 64-bit. Apple describes the new app as:
“Completely rebuilt from the ground up, Final Cut Pro X is a 64-bit app that takes full advantage of the latest Mac hardware and software so you never have to wait for the next edit, even if you’re working with 4K video. Final Cut Pro X uses multi-threaded processing and the GPU on your graphics card for blazing fast background rendering and superb real-time playback performance. Additionally, a ColorSync-managed color pipeline ensures color consistency from import to output.”
Another new performance feature is that Final Cut Pro X utilizes the OpenCL (more information on OpenCL is available from Wikipedia) which can best be described as utilizing the GPU (graphics processing unit) for computing tasks other than graphics.
The flip side of the OpenCL feature is that it is also a requirement. This means only GPUs that support OpenCL can be used and they must feature 256MB or more of video memory. This eliminates a large group of systems as supported through 2008 or so. Apple has posted a support document detailing graphics card compatibility.
Final Cut Pro X is available for $299.99 and you can support this site by purchasing Final Cut Pro X through the Mac App Store.
Along with Final Cut Pro X, Apple has also released a new version of Motion in the form of Motion 5. Apple states:
“Designed for video editors, Motion 5 lets you customize Final Cut Pro titles, transition, and effects. Or create your own dazzling animations in 2D or 3D space, with real-time feedback as you work.”
Apple lists major features in six categories:
- Breakthrough Speed and Quality
- Editor-Friendly Design Tools
- Easy Animated Text and Titles
- Stunning Effects
- Effortless 3D
- Quick, High-Quality Output
The highlights include a new fully 64-bit architecture along with using the GPU even more than previous versions to speed up operations. Motion has the same requirements for an OpenCL-capable graphics card that Final Cut Pro X has.
In addition, Motion allows you to “export projects to Apple devices and popular websites such as Vimeo and YouTube” and you can “choose to output the ProRes 4444 format for uncompressed quality at small file sizes.”
Motion has been very useful in our own video projects and we are looking forward to putting the new version through its paces. You can purchase Motion 5 for the great price of $49.99 and can be purchased through the Mac App Store which supports this site.
The third part of the Pro App releases today is Compressor 4. The list of new features seems to be fairly similar to the previous version and seems to be an incremental upgrade with better performance by utilizing OpenCL just like the other two apps. As with Motion, Compressor 4 is available for $49.99 and can be purchased through the Mac App Store which supports this site.
All three of the new apps make for a great combination at under $400 for the whole group. This is substantially cheaper although the number of apps has decreased. The lack of DVD Studio Pro may reflect either a future app available on the Mac App Store or, more likely, the obvious belief by Apple and many others that digital delivery is the future of media production rather than DVD or Blu-Ray.
Those that are heavily tied into Final Cut Pro 7 can continue to use it without issue along side Final Cut Pro X as long as you do not use them simultaneously. Initial reactions to Final Cut Pro X have been mixed with many negative comments. Overall, many perceive Final Cut Pro X as moving toward iMovie rather than becoming a more capable Pro App. I think that conclusion is flawed. I believe Apple is making the bar to working with a Pro App lower while still providing compelling and easier-to-use video editing features.
Ultimately, time will tell how well the new Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, and Compressor 4 work. I’m glad to see Apple continuing the trend of lowering software costs which ultimately encourages adoption and hardware sales. Adobe, one of Apple’s main competitors in this space, seems to think that each new version of its Creative Suite deserves a price increase.
Philip Bloom has some great initial thoughts on what the new apps means. As a seasoned pro who has used Final Cut Pro for five years, his thoughts are a valuable read.
The Mac App Store is also proving revolutionary for software delivery and makes it much easier to receive updates. The future is bright for Apple’s Pro Apps.