Hi there. This is a little blog about FCP X. “The internet is full of blogs about FCP X” you say. “Why bother?” Well, I just thought I’d add my opinions and experiences to the 800 billion others out there. Also, I am selfish. I Like FCP X 😛
I usually do a little overview of each new FCP X release on the day it drops, as it’s interesting for most users to see what’s inside before they update. But this time, things are… different. Not only did Apple announce the release of 10.4.1 five days in advance, they also seem to have provided a press kit to bunch of people with lots of info about the new features in this release. With pictures. And a White Paper.
Apple had done something similar with the 10.4 release, but it was still pretty mysterious. At the FCP X Creative Summit, they let people take pictures of the unreleased FCP X 10.4 UI. And post them ONLINE! Madness! lol But it was still kind of mysterious. People had to infer features from the pictures of the interface. This time, everyone could find out in great detail what was in an FCP X update before it was available.
There was also a pretty interesting TechCrunch article about Apple’s efforts with creative pros that appeared on the same day as everything else. This was not your usual, quiet FCP X Roll out.
In some ways, I think this is a bigger deal than he update itself. And it seems to be a continuation of an ‘openness’ on the part of the Pro Apps division in general.
A couple months ago, Apple did a presentation on the then-new features in FCP X 10.4 at LACPUG in Los Angeles. Not unusual, they do traveling roadshows in bigger markets pretty often. What was unusual though, was that a couple days after the event the demos were posted online for all to view. That was unheard of until now.
This isn’t to say they’re not being just as secretive as before. Nobody had a clue about ProRes RAW, or any other new features before Apple chose to release the info. But they did release the info, early, and to a lot of people. The PR Blitz around ProRes RAW has been pretty astounding. And kudos to Apple for this.
Most of the latest features in FCP X signal that they definitely have NOT “abandoned the Pro market”. The headline features in that last couple X releases have been squarely aimed at ‘Pro’s’, and Apple is talking again. I think the best is yet to come.
So, what’s in the update? Lot’s of bug fixes. Captions, and ProRes Raw. I don’t do a whole lot with captions or Raw footage, but a little bird told me that the ProRes RAW is pretty amazing. This is third hand, unsubstantiated info, but allegedly – using Better Performance setting – you can play and work with un-rendered 4k RAW files on a 6 year old iMac from a TB 2 external spinning drive.
Crazy. Can’t wait to see what’s next.
As you’ve no doubt heard, FCP X 10.4 has been released, as well as updated versions of Motion 5 and Compressor. Along with a slew of under the hood tweaks and a lot of bug fixes (thanks Apple!) there’s some really great new stuff in this update. The headline features?
Color Wheels and Curves, plus lots of new Color Grading options.
Native 360° video editing and Effects, both Monoscopic and Stereoscopic
–View Stereo output in VR headsets (requires High Sierra).
Full HDR (Rec. 2020 PQ & HLG) playback, export and grading, including HDR monitoring
–via BMD and AJA I/O’s.
HEVC (H265) video and HEIF image support (requires High Sierra).
In addition, Libraries and Media on NFS drives are supported, and most of the Logic Audio Plugins have been updated to the latest versions with shiny new resizable UI’s. Oh, you can now directly import iOS iMovie projects too. 🙂 They are converted to Libraries with the the edited Project including Titles and Effects. All media is available in an Event. Happy?
This new version runs on macOS 10.12.4 or later, though, as noted, some features require 10.13 or later. Updating to FCP X 10.4 will update Libraries created by older versions of X. Everything I’ve updated has been fine but, as usual, always have backups and ZIP up your current versions of any Pro Apps just to be safe.
Also, most all the plugins I have – and I have a lot of plugins – appear to be just fine. Check for updates of course, especially if running on High Sierra.
OK… let’s have a quick look shall we?
NOTE: For a deeper dive into the big features, check out Marc Bach’s look at the Color Tools, and Alex Gollner’s look at the 360 stuff.
Color Wheels and Curves
This has obviously been on everyone’s wish list for a while. In my opinion, it was worth the wait. These new features are really well implemented and like anything in FCP X, they’re really easy to figure out. The first thing you’ll notice is an additional permanent Inspector tab, the Color Inspector.
Selecting this brings up the (slightly redesigned) Color Board.
And, as usual, adding a correction changes “No Corrections” to “Color Board 1”. Still can’t rename it yet 😦 So, then you… hey, wait a minute… what’s this?
Yep, Color Effects are now keyframe-able. More on that below. Anyway… Selecting the Corrections dropdown menu gives you additional options now.
Color Wheels. Really nicely done color wheels, with integrated saturation and brightness adjustors. Numerical RGB adjustments and saturation/brightness sliders for each wheel are also available at the bottom of the tab.
They can be viewed as All Wheels, or Single, larger wheels
Next up, Color Curves. Same all or single view options. Use the eyedropper to select a color from the image for the curve, or click the color name to reveal a wheel with which to select a curve color.
Finally there are Hue/Saturation Curves. Use the eyedropper on the image to select a target color for each curve, and optionally click the lower (Color) vs Saturation curve name to choose a color to adjust. The inclusion of an “ORANGE vs SAT” curve for skin tones is particularly handy.
There’s also a new “Default Correction” preference, if you prefer to start with wheels or curves rather than the Color Board.
I’d also suggest poking around the Command Editor, as there are a lot of new color-specific Keyboard shortcuts available to be mapped.
Additional Grading and Color Options
In addition to the new wheels and curves, Apple has made a number of improvements and enhancements to grading and color effects in FCP X 10.4.
As noted above, all corrections can now be keyframed. The keyframes are applied to the entire correction, and keyframe timing can be adjusted in the Video Animation graph.
Individual parameters can’t yet be keyframed, but it looks like they do create separate keyframes, so who knows…
Manual White Balance
Another popular request addressed. The Balance Color effect now allows you to use the eye dropper to pick a source area for balancing. Apply the Effect as usual, then head to the Inspector to choose the method you prefer.
Color Presets Location Change
Color presets (built in and user created if saved to that location) have moved from the pop up menu in the Inspector to the Effects Browser. Much easier to search and preview.
LUT Loader Effect
There’s a new LUT Loader Effect, from which you can select and apply LUT’s from, well, anywhere you can find LUT’s. 🙂
You can also convert I/O from SDR to HDR.
HDR Playback, Export and Grading
FCP X now supports HDR import, editing, grading and export. Both Rec 2020 PQ (Dolby Vision and HDR10 Delivery) and Rec 2020 HLG. Output to HDR monitors -via AJA and BMD I/O- is now supported as well. As before, set the Library color processing to “Wide Gamut” to access HDR settings.
The Waveform Monitor has been updated to support the new HDR settings
And there’s a new Tone Mapping effect to change HDR to SDR as well as a couple other conversions.
Native 360 VR Editing and Export
I’ll be honest, I really don’t know a whole lot about VR editing, but for those who do, this is a very welcome addition. There’s now a new 360˚ format with which to create projects. Choose Monoscopic, or Stereoscopic. Stereo output can be viewed in VR headsets via Steam VR in High Sierra. (Install Steam, then install Steam VR from the apps’ “Tools” Menu.)
In addition, 360˚ video can be edited and reoriented in a flat Project, and flat video, GFX, stills etc can be added and positioned into 360˚ Projects. It’s very cool. There’s a new 360˚ Viewer, and both the Inspector and Viewer gain 360˚ keyframe-able Orientation controls
360˚ Viewer, Viewer and Inspector Controls
A new Horizon Overlay for Mono and Stereo 360˚ sources is now available in the Viewer
And there’s a new 360˚ Effects category. In any 360˚ NLE, Effects designed for regular video may behave… unexpectedly. I imagine we’ll see 360˚ versions of our favorite 3’rd party stuff fairly soon.
Importantly, .fcpxml has been updated to v.1.7 to support the new color grading, 360˚VR, and HDR features when exchanging between apps. As with any fcpxml updates, there may be some apps that will not support it yet, so you have the option to export using the previous 1.6 version. The major workflow tools, (from Intelligent Assistance, X2Pro, etc) are good to go right now.
HEVC (H265) and HEIF Support
When running on High Sierra or later, FCP X 10.4 now supports import and playback/editing of HEVC (H265) video and HEIF Images. **Exporting in H265 requires Compressor. As usual, you can either Send to Compressor, or create an HEVC “Compressor Settings” Share Destination and export directly from FCP X.
Updated Logic Audio Effects
As an “audio guy”, I’m happy to see this. After being a few years behind for a while, most of the Logic Plugins have been updated to the latest versions. Updated plugins gain any new functionality as well as new, resizable UI’s. For example, here’s the old and new Compressor.
Here’s a handy chart of what has been updated (with stars)
So that’s a quick poke around FCPX 10.4. There are more little things you’ll find when you update, which you should do immediately! lol Again, this update will require updating any existing Libraries, but I’ve updated dozens of them with no issues. It runs great on Sierra, but you’ll need High Sierra to “unlock” a few of the features. The grading stuff is an enormous improvement. Apple’s implementation of the stuff that’s new to FCP X is, in my opinion, much nicer than some of the alternatives. Very “FCP X” if ya know what I mean. So… back up your stuff, hit the download button and go!
So… in my first post here, I told a long winded story about getting FCP V.1 in 1999, bringing it to work, setting it up on an old Performa next to my Avid, cutting – and somehow managing to finish – a spot with it. This eventually led to my company switching from Avid to FCP, and others in town followed. Blah, blah blah…
Anyway… in a Facebook thread, me and a bunch of other geriatrics were reminiscing about the first FCP versions we used. In the course of this trip down memory lane, I did a search for the spot and… holy crap, it was there. On the Internets.
So, here it is. From late Jan or Early Feb 2000. Probably FCP V1.2?
As everyone knows, FCP X 10.4 has been announced. And Apple, uncharacteristically, has allowed people to talk about it. With pictures! In case you live under a rock, here are some links to the most comprehensive roundups from fcp.co and Provideo Coalition.
But this post isn’t about the new features, it’s about the reaction in some circles to these features. Not the usual “This isn’t what I personally wanted! Fail!!” whining that pops up every time FCP X is updated. That’s as predictable as the sunrise, and is laughable at this point. No, the whining I’m reacting to is that Apple has “stolen” these ideas – and others – from Current FCP X plugin developers.
I just want to go on record as calling bullshit on this. I will now provide examples. 🙂
“Apple stole the new color tools from (insert color correction plugin developer here)!!”
Bullshit. Color correction tools are A) not some new idea that these devs invented and B) Apple had their own Color Correction software years before any of these current plugins appeared. They bought the company that developed it, Silicon Color, in 2005 or so, meaning they already owned the tech.
“Apple stole the idea for the “Flow” morph transition from the mMorph transition!!”
Bullshit. Morph transitions are not a new idea. mMorph came out in reaction to Adobe’s Morph Cut transition, which was inspired by Avid’s Fluid Morph transition which came from the Elastic Reality software they bought… in 1996. The FCP X flow transition is just Apple’s version. Honestly, I wish it was more like Fluid Morph and didn’t need to freeze the A and B overlap. 🙂
“Apple stole 3D text from mObject!!”
Bullshit. 3D text is not a new idea. 3D environments are not a new idea. Cinema 4D has been around since 1990, and on the Mac since 1996. Motion has had a 3D environment forever, Apple just added the ability to create 3D text objects. Maybe they’ll eventually add in true 3D obj support.
It won’t be “stolen”.
Honestly, the idea that Apple “stole” 3D text from anyone is particularly ridiculous. Why? Here’s why:
“3D text app” web search (partial results)
In reality, if Apple want a technology/software that is truly unique, they just hire the developer or buy the company. The 360 video tools in FCP X 10.4 are from Tim Dashwood, and who knows what Wes Plate is cooking up.
Look, I’m not some “Apple can do no wrong” fan boy – the term “Sherlocked” exists for a reason – but regarding the stuff we’re seeing implemented in FCP X they’re not doing anything shady at all.
10.4 seems to have some very cool new features, and they’re not stolen from anyone. I’m really looking forward to it’s release. Hurry! 🙂
Unceremoniously killed by High Sierra. But Final Cut Pro X lives on. 🙂
In recent twitter post. Ievgenii Larin wrote:
“If you want to grasp the Magnetic Timeline, open Premiere, put a stereo audio clip into a sequence and try to change stereo to dual mono.”
So I did. 🙂
Here’s the TL;DR version. Pasting text copied from any text app into an FCP X title will change the title font to that of the pasted text. Really cool. Text pasted into the Inspector won’t change the selected style.
EDIT: Works with text copied from a web browser too, So it’s a Mac OS thing, it works when you paste styled text into any text app.
I got this from Brian Elliot Tate, who noticed that if you copy and paste text from a font browser into an X title it will change the font. Here’s a link to the video he made showing this.
So… I poked around a bit and discovered that this works with text copied from anything. Text Edit, Pages, Word, even PDF’s. Any styled text. If you have the font, it’ll work. Try it!