It might appear to be a simple a point update, but Apple's FCP X 10.4 offers some huge additons and improvements in what turns out to be major new release.
The wait is finally over for Final Cut Pro X users. Apple’s long-await major release of FCP X 10.4 is now available for download along with updates to Compressor 4.4 and Motion 5.4.
The release coincides with the release of Apple’s iMac Pro thereby reassuring sometimes skeptical professionals that Apple indeed has not forgotten its loyal video professional user base.
FCP X 10.4 hits all the major buttons that new technologies require. It includes a strong 360 VR editing feature set including output to a connected VR headset with an option to track that movement within the FCP 360 viewer, placing graphics within a 360 clip, sharing directly to Facebook, Vimeo or YouTube as well as support for both stereoscopic and monoscopic 360 clips. This is a most welcome addition and keeps FCP X in the forefront of new production modalities. It is our opinion here that 360 video is real, it is here to stay and that post production tools need to pay close attention to it.
The next production modality so significant today is HDR video. Here again, X 10.4 offers a full feature set from import, to grading to delivery in HLG or HDR10. Note here that Vimeo now hosts HDR movies which can be viewed on supporting devices such as the iPhone X or iPad Pro. And this comes just in time for a future article we’re planning on several HLG cameras! Oh, and its built in WFM can indicate brightness up to 1000 nits!
Many users had complained about Apple’s color boards (confession—I actually liked them). Yet Apple recognized that color wheels with sliders are the standard in NLE and grading apps, so X 10.4 now brings us wheels. Note that earlier projects graded with the color boards will retain those boards so there will be no need to re-grade footage opened in the latest version.
But color features go beyond the color wheels. HSL curves, color curves and eye dropper selection allow selective adjustments of components of an image. Manual white balance with the eyedropper, long a favorite of users of pre-X versions, has returned. You can apply custom LUTs as well as adjust corrections via keyframes to achieve corrections over time.
HDR benefits from HEVC (H.265) encoding and this is available to users of Apple’s 10.13.x High Sierra OS. Parenthetically, this is now a great reason to upgrade from Sierra to High Sierra. Metal 2 (in compatible machines—unfortunately not in my current Mac Pro 2013) speeds up optical flow analysis. It supports the recent XML 1.7 standard for HDR and 360 VR. Most important here is support for the new Canon Cinema RAW light format (Canon-supplied software required). There is more integration with Logic Pro X.
Read the full feature set in Apple's press release on the following page for full details.
We anticipate a complete review but meanwhile look forward to working with FCP X 10.4.
And a thank you to Apple from the skeptics.
Final Cut Pro X introduces 360-degree VR video editing
Apple’s Pro Video Editing App Also Adds Advanced Color Grading, HDR Support and More
Final Cut Pro X leverages the raw power of iMac Pro to create the ultimate video editing solution for pros.
Cupertino, California — Apple today announced a major update to its professional video editing app, Final Cut Pro X, with new features including 360-degree VR video editing, advanced color grading tools and support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) video. Optimized to take full advantage of the incredible performance capabilities of the all-new iMac Pro, Final Cut Pro users can now edit full-resolution 8K video for the first time on a Mac. Apple is also extending 360-degree VR video support to Final Cut Pro companion apps, Motion and Compressor. Today, with more than 2 million seats, Final Cut Pro X is the most popular version of the software ever and is used by professional video editors to create incredible works of art, from award-winning Hollywood feature films and commercials, to international broadcasts and the world’s most popular YouTube videos.
Final Cut Pro users can create immersive 360-degree films and view them in real time with a connected VR headset.
“With new features like 360-degree VR editing and motion graphics, advanced color grading and HDR support, Final Cut Pro gives video editors the tools to create stunning, next-generation content,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Apps Product Marketing. “When combined with the performance of Mac hardware, including the all-new iMac Pro, Final Cut Pro provides an incredibly powerful post-production studio to millions of video editors around the world.”
Final Cut Pro lets professional editors create VR content with the ability to import, edit and deliver 360-degree video and view the project in real time through a connected HTC VIVE headset with SteamVR. Users can easily add 360-degree titles in 2D or 3D; apply blurs, glows and other immersive effects; and use visual controls to straighten horizons or remove camera rigs from equirectangular videos. Standard photos and videos can also be added to VR projects and 360-degree video can be shared directly to popular websites including YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo.
Advanced color grading tools including wheels and curves offer pros precise control over hue, saturation and brightness.
The update also includes powerful tools for professional color grading. Unique color wheels feature built-in controls to adjust hue, saturation and brightness. Color curves allow for ultra-fine color adjustments with multiple control points to target specific color ranges, and eye droppers let users sample specific colors and apply manual white balance. Users can also apply custom lookup tables (LUTs) from popular color grading apps like DaVinci Resolve and websites including PremiumBeat, Color Grading Central and more.
Color curves allow video editors to select and adjust specific hues to create beautiful images from within Final Cut Pro.
With support for the most popular HDR formats, Final Cut Pro gains access to an expanded range of brightness levels to deliver incredibly realistic images. Editors can output video to HDR monitors using I/O devices from AJA and Blackmagic with brightness levels up to 10,000 nits. The new color grading tools support both HDR and Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) video, and with tone mapping, users can easily change HDR to SDR output for broadcast.
Additional Features in Final Cut Pro 10.4:
• Easily import iMovie projects from iPhone and iPad into Final Cut Pro for advanced editing, audio work, motion graphics and color grading.
• HEVC and HEIF support for importing and editing high efficiency video and photo formats from Apple devices.
• Updated audio effects plug-ins from Logic Pro X with redesigned, resizable interfaces.
• Faster, higher quality optical flow analysis built on Metal, Apple’s advanced graphics technology.
Motion 5.4 enables users to create immersive 360-degree VR titles and effects that can be instantly accessed in Final Cut Pro. The update also makes it easy to convert between any type of Motion project at any time, create realistic spring-loaded animations with the new Overshoot behaviour and apply photographic-inspired looks with new filters. Compressor 4.4 lets users deliver 360-degree video with industry-standard spherical metadata. Compressor also lets users export HEVC and HDR video, while adding a range of new options for delivering MXF files.
Pricing and Availability
Final Cut Pro 10.4 is available as a free update today for existing users, and for $299.99 (US) for new users on the Mac App Store. Motion 5.4 and Compressor 4.4 are also available as a free update today for existing users, and for $49.99 (US) each for new users on the Mac App Store. Education customers can purchase the Pro Apps Bundle for Education for $199.99 (US). For more information, please visit: apple.com/final-cut-pro.