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FCP X 10.0.3: Restoring Some Missing Features

Ashley Kennedy

Seven months after the release of FCP X, Apple comes forward with v. 10.0.3. Will it be enough?

As noted here at PremiumBeat.com (and nearly everywhere else) the original version of FCP X had some glaring omissions. But with the new v. 10.0.3, Apple has come out with a new release to address a few major concerns.

You can get the official release specs, but given the major objections during the first release, I think it’s worth pointing out this upgrade’s improvements:

  • Multi-cam editing (up to 64 tracks): Apple is calling their new multicam technology “groundbreaking.” This much coveted missing feature comes with a variety of sync options—including something they’re calling “automatic sync,” where the software automatically analyzes and syncs the footage based on a variety of common characteristics, like audio waveforms. (Or, you can custom-sync your footage based on time code, creation time, markers, audio waveforms, etc.) You can also use different formats in your multicam clips without having to convert.Other plusses: there’s support to include photos in the multicam setup (FCP X arranges the photos chronologically based on when they were shot) so timelapse creations should be a breeze. The actual editing tool—”the angle editor”—looks interesting, and it seems like modifying and adding synced angles should be pretty seamless. I’m looking forward to trying it out and reporting back here.
  • Broadcast monitoring: This feature, listed as still in Beta, is slated to allow Macs to output video via PCIe card or Thunderbolt to calibrated broadcast monitors and waveform displays (as well as large HD monitors/projectors). Apple’s disclaimer is that they’re still working with third-parties to keep improving this feature. So if you’re using this in beta, we’d love to hear how it’s working.
  • Advanced Chroma keying: FCP X initially came with the one-step “keyer” effect, but with v. 10.0.3, they’re releasing an advanced keyer with color sampling, edge adjustment, and light wrap. Again, I’ll be playing with this soon to let you know how well it handles some trickier keys.
  • Media Relink Improvements: Until now, FCP X’s media reconnection abilities have been sorrily lacking, sending users straight to the forums. With v. 10.0.3 comes an improved relink interface, supposedly allowing you to find media that has been moved or modified, or transcoded, trimmed, or affected in a third-party program. Please report back on how it’s working for you!
  • Importing layered Adobe Photoshop files: You can now import a PSD file into a single compound clip in FCP X, which allows you to step in to animate and add effects and color correction to individual layers within the application.
  • FCP Project Translation made easier: Another huge drawback of the original release—the inability to transfer projects between versions—has some support now. The only reason this isn’t first on the list is that Apple isn’t the one offering the improvement. But at least someone is.

  • With the new v. 10.0.3 upgrade, Intelligent Assistance (by Phillip Hodgetts and Gregory Clarke) has released an app to move FCP 7 projects to FCP X, appropriately titled, “7toX” and available in the Mac App Store for $9.99.  (We previously wrote about the same company making Xto7, which translates FCP X projects to FCP 7. So, needless to say, it seems the Hodgetts/Clark enterprise has a major hold in the FCP translation business.) While these apps definitely help the conversion process, they aren’t absolutely flawless (some things don’t translate, so read the fine print), so most users will likely have to maintain both FCP 7 and FCP X on their computers for the time being.

All of these upgrades will likely be welcomed by FCP X users, though it still leaves open the question of further upgrades and Apple’s ultimate plans for FCP X.  Do significant upgrades (to what many would consider basic requirements) show that Apple is serious about making FCP X a professional level piece of software? Or, as this piece from Apple Insider suggests, is FCP just on the path of the average ‘pro-sumer’?