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.