I’ve been cutting with Final Cut Pro as my primary editing software of choice since my early days in college. When I started using the program, we were using Final Cut Pro version 3 on Apple G4 towers. Needless to say, the workflow was painfully slow (and we were only using DV and VHS footage!). The latest release of the program before last night was Final Cut Pro 7 in 2009 as part of the Final Cut Studio 3 package; it came bundled with other applications such as Soundtrack, Color, Compressor and DVD Studio Pro. The combined price for the entire Studio package was $999.
Last night in Las Vegas, as part of the annual NAB festivities, Apple announced the new version of Final Cut, entitled Final Cut Pro X. It is a complete, from the ground-up redesign of the program that has largely been formatted the same since its inception over 10 years ago. Many were concerned that the new release would be a dumbed down version of the program, similar to the less professional-based software, iMovie, which comes standard on macs.
It looks, however, that those concerns have been allayed. Final Cut Pro X looks to be a pretty interesting program re-design and still sharply aimed at the professional user. Updates to the program include: support for 64-bit processors, the ability to utilize more than 4GB of RAM with the program, new smart collections for grouping similar types of media, clip connection for keeping audio and video in sync, a magnetic timeline and the ability to begin edits on the video before the ingest is complete. Furthermore, transcoding issues have been addressed, easy color balancing options have been added in the timeline, background rendering will run with available CPU and the ability to import and handle 4k files is now an option.
The screenshots from the program itself looks quite sleek and the aforementioned updates sound very enticing. Perhaps more enticing than anything though is the price tag that accompanies the program – $299. Having before only been available for purchase as part of the Studio package at $999, this price drop and ability to download from the Apple App Store make it a lot more affordable for everyone, especially students and small production companies. No news, however, on if the rest of the Studio suite programs are going to get a redesign like Final Cut, but Apple said in the unveiling last night for everyone to “stay tuned.” Final Cut Pro X will go on sale in June; I can’t wait to get my copy and see what the hype is truly about.