Today, Apple announced an update to Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) which brings improvements to proxy workflows, Smart Conform for turning video into social media cropped clips, and more. Though there are a lot of new features across the board, some of the most important features have to do with collaborating with others remotely, which is something many of us are doing more than ever before.
Powering up the Proxy
The biggest example of the remote collaboration improvement comes with the changes to the way FCPX handles Proxies.Proxy media is a way for you to make a video file smaller by lowering the video quality. This allows you to quickly move what would otherwise be an enormous file to an external hard drive so you can work on it on a device that isn't as powerful. Moving from an iMac Pro to a MacBook Pro, for example.
The idea is that you could edit these files while on the go, and then send them back to your more powerful computer for the final touches. Content creators have been using proxy media for a long time, but this update adds some important additions that make it even easier and more versatile.
You can create proxies in ProRes Proxy, HVEC, or H.264, which means you can edit in more programs. You can move files to an external drive and the Final Cut Pro Library can be relinked to proxies already created. You can also create proxy media in 1/8, 1/4. 1/2 or full size dimensions.
If you didn't create a proxy for some clips in your project, Proxy Preferred allows you to display those clips as either original or optimized media, so you won't just see a message that the proxy is not available.
There is so much more
Apple has updated FCPX with new social media tools for cropping for vertical video, which is something I never thought I'd imaging people actually wanting, but with apps like Quibi gaining in popularity, we're all going to have to put aside our judgements here. Smart Conform automatically crops videos for square or vertical, and the Transform Overscan shows you where in the view the crop takes place while keeping the full frame shadowed in the background. That way, if you don't like what was cropped automatically, you can adjust the framing yourself.
With new plugins for RED and Canon, you'll see improvements to RAW codecs with Metal. The RED plugin is available now while the Canon plugin is coming soon. ProRes RAW improvements offer more controls for ISO, color temperature, and exposure.
You can now cross-fade audio between clips with a single menu command, so you can select the sections you want to fade from one audio track to another and stitch them together quickly. There are also a number of user interface improvements that are a nice addition for different actions.
Don't forget Motion and Compressor
Apple's motion graphics tool for FCPX, Motion, was also updated with new 3D objects and it now supports importing of USDZ objects. So you can import your own design, or choose from third-party websites. You can animate an object's position and rotation, and scale it for the perfect fit. With the new Stroke filter, you can outline images or text within a video to further customize the look of your graphics.
Compressor got some nice additions, as well. You can convert log footage to HDR and SDR and use a custom or built-in LUT for Sony, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Blackmagic, and ARRI for a more accurate conversion when compressing.
New 90-day free trial
Just like the last time FCPX received an update, there is a new 90-day free trial with this version. Because Apple considers this to be a major update, they're also treating this 90-day trial as new, even if you already took advantage of the previous 90-day free trial.
So, if you're still deciding whether to drop the $300 for the full version, you have another three months to try before you buy.
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