The eagerly-awaited next version of Apple Final Cut Pro, called Final Cut Pro X, became available this morning. Editors can download it immediately from the Mac App Store for $299.99.
The program was announced during the National Association of Broadcasters conference in April, at a Final Cut meet-up group. With this release, Apple is making drastic changes to the program. The interface has some of the ease of iMovie, and the price is far lower than before at $299.99.
Despite being more accessible, the program still looks to pack a lot of editing power. One of the key new features is the Magnetic Timeline. Editors can add and rearrange clips however they like. Other clips already in place simply slide out of the way, while links to titles and audio clips stay synchronized. There’s also an option to group clips into a Compound Clip, so that multiple items can be edited at once.
Making choices becomes easier with the Auditions feature. Editors can swap between a collection of clips to easily compare alternate takes.
Final Cut now handles tagging chores with the Content Auto-Analysis feature. It scans media as it’s being imported and tags it with useful information. Once tagged, clips can be organized into smart collections. This lets editors see all their close-up or wide shots at once, for example.
For experienced editors, the biggest draw is the background rendering. Final Cut Pro X is a 64-bit application and has been completely rebuilt. It takes advantage of multi-threaded processing and the GPU on the graphics card so that editors never have to wait for rendering.
Final Cut Pro X is being offered with new versions of Motion and Compressor, which each go for $49.99. Both have a new interface and are rebuilt at 64-bit applications.
“Final Cut Pro X is the biggest advance in pro video editing since the original Final Cut Pro,” says Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “We have shown it to many of the world’s best pro editors, and their jaws have dropped.”