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Final Cut Pro X 10.2 @ NAB 2015
April 13
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"Apple Product Marketing will be giving an update on Final Cut Pro X" - FCPWorks.

There is a lot more FCPX buzz and FCPX-centric activity at and around NAB this year than there has been in recent years. Even though Apple officially stopped going to NAB in 2007, it surely realizes NAB's importance in the pro marketplace. That's why it introduced FCPX at NAB 2011. Apple doesn't have Final Cut Pro X specific events so NAB is the next best way to expose FCPX to a wide group of professionals.

At NAB 2015, FCPWorks has a special NAB Final Cut Pro X Presentation Suite with "the latest products, workflows, opinions, and opinion makers" and "Apple Product Marketing will be giving an update on Final Cut Pro X". And then there is the first annual FCP X Guru Gathering - "Spend the evening with FCP X Rock Stars" during NAB week. There are also many FCPX sessions at the NAB 2015 PostProduction World Conference and the FCPX boys at Ripple Training will be presenting on stage at the LACPUG Supermeet,

Is this flurry of NAB 2015 FCPX-centric activity about last year's FCPX news, techniques and workflows? No. It will be about new workflows and solutions for and about FCPX in 2015 and the release of Final Cut Pro 10.2. Apple hasn't had a major update to FCPX around NAB in the past other than the initial preview in 2011 at the then LAFCPUG Supermeet. That was 4 years ago. A lot has changed in the FCPX world since then. More FCPX changes are due in 2015. Also expect some new 3rd party FCPX plugins and other products introduced around NAB.

 FINAL CUT PRO X 10.2 IS HERE!

AppStore

The Final Cut Pro Team has done a fine job updating FCPX since it came out in June 2011. But last year, 2014, was a bit of a slow year for any big list of major Final Cut Pro feature updates compared to 2012 and 2013.

2013 brought 10.1 in December, with its 46 line list of new features, workflow changes and improvements. In 2012 we had two major feature updates, 10.0.3 and 10.0.6, along with lesser updates 10.0.4, 10.0.5 and 10.0.7.

Last year we saw a very minor 10.1.1 update in January, 10.1.2, a small update with a few new features in June, the minor 10.1.3 in August and minor 10.1.4 update in December. Also in December, MXF support was added with the Pro Video Formats 2.0 software update. MXF support was not an FCPX 10.1.4 update. It was a Pro Video Formats update for all versions of FCPX, Motion, Compressor and even FCP7.

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NAB 2015 - Show Floor Tour

 

The folowwing list is not a Final Cut Pro X feature request list or a wish list (that's here), but rather a list of features I expect to see included in the next FCPX update. We could also see updates for Motion and Compressor. Maybe even an updated Mac Pro.

01) A Yosemite workover.
It's kinda odd that Yosemite was previewed 9 months ago and has been out for 5 months and there is no sign of it so far for Apple's flagship Pro App Final Cut Pro X.

02) FCPX optimization and bug fixes.
I've experienced it myself and have seen many, many reports of the common FCPX slowdown and some consistent bugs. I sometimes have to reboot FCPX every few hours or so to regain smooth operation. Even though I have a fully loaded 2013 iMac, I sometimes see unresponsiveness, sluggishness and other odd behavior that requires a reboot. This could be a problem at the OS level but what ever it is, it needs to be remedied. It would not surprise me if the FCPX team is changing FCPX's underpinnings or even using a new more robust database.

03) Collaboration and media management improvements.
The way we store and manage our media and databases has changed three times over the last several years and it still need improving. Collaborating with other editors on the same project has been an often heard loud request and it also needs improvement. And clear documentation and ease of use for both.

For example, Motion Templates, are left behind when doing media management, Library or project sharing. You have to remember and then copy the current Motion Templates manually. That's hardly a modern method of media management. They should be included when copying or moving a Library or at least there should be a checkbox option or pop-up reminder to include Motion Templates. An iCloud storage solution might work.

Another example of media management that needs improvement is when sharing a YouTube video, the encoded file is deleted even if it is stored externally. YouTube encoded files are not readily accessible, but are hidden in the cache bundle. I reuse my YouTube encoded files often and I prefer not to have to make a new one each time. I also prefer that FCPX doesn't delete any of my media on its own.

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04) Improved proxy workflow that includes proxy re-linking and proxy media consolidation.
Using a pure proxy workflow for offline editing, especially with 4K or higher media, would be very beneficial. I've copied libraries to an external hard drive and the proxies are offline even though they were brought along and are in the exact same folder structure as the originals. There is presently no re-link proxies command like there is for original media. There should also be an option to re-link cache files. And bring audio files and graphic files along with proxy files when using a proxy specific workflow.

Right now, it's an all or nothing approach when working with proxies in a project. The option to work with UHD 4K proxies, which are 1920x1080, along with1920x1080 original or optimized media, in the same timeline is due. A pop-up warning would let you know if you are using any proxy files in the timeline when you are exporting. Also a few quality and frame size options when making proxy files would be welcome.

05) Master database that keeps track of every Library that has ever been opened in FCPX.
A searchable database that would keep track of Keywords, Favorites, Notes, location, and other metadata, even when a Library was offline.

06) Improved Import window media options.
There should be more flexible media management options in the Import Media window. For example, allow us to create a new Library and Event and set media storage locations/options in the Import Media dialog window.

07) Allow the choice between an internal and external managed Library with a single checkbox like Logic Pro X has for Package or Folder. External media folder structure will be created automatically if you choose that option.

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08) Save a Library as a Template and be able to select a Library Template from a Master Template Chooser.

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You would be prompted for a location and a name, which would telegraph through to the template Events. The template would recreate Smart collections, Events, managed or external preference, media folder structure, etc. You could save multiple templates for different Library needs. This would save time from creating a Library from scratch, especially complex Libraries that you reuse on a regular basis. You can make a template Library and duplicate it in FCPX, but you still have to set Library preferences, make an external folder if using external media, and point your media and cache files to it. This would make the process automatic and easy.

09) Slip audio and video out of and back in sync without detaching audio.
Currently you can slip sync if you open the clip in its own timeline but I expect to see this ability in a project timeline clip
.
Select a clip, right click and choose the sync option. Type a + or - followed by the number of frames to slip or use the < > keys to slip left or right one frame at a time. There should also be out of sync indicators for instant visual feedback and the ability to easily reattach and re-sync detached audio. A sophisticated database like FCPX's should be able to keep track of audio and video that was once synced.

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10) Checkboxes to allow custom settings, such as Spatial Conform and dual mono/stereo, to be saved .

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11) Customizable window layouts with a full window Timeline option.
Right now there is a single default window layout that you can reset, "Revert to Original Layout" under the Window menu. I expect there will be customizable window layouts that you can save and recall like there are Keyboard Command Sets presently. There already is a Layouts folder. I use a completely different layout for editing in the timeline, tagging clips in the browser, multicam, color correction, etc. I'm constantly manually resizing the timeline, viewer and browser for different jobs. Being able to save and recall window layouts is due.

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12) Color coding for libraries, events, clips, projects, roles, etc.
There presently is no custom color coding in FCPX while t
he Mac OS has color "Tags".

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13) Project playback/scrubbing in the browser.
You can scrub a compound clip timeline and multicam clip in the browser, but not a project.

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14) More attaching options like the ability to attach a clip or storyline to any other clip or storyline
or to completely disconnect and reconnect, rather than only attaching to the main storyline as FCPX does now.

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15) Timeline and timeline toolbar improvements.
The timeline should be optimized to be more efficient and responsive. Options for timeline markers, tools, shortcut icons, source clip and project timecode and a lock clip or storyline in place command to prevent any accidental movement. There is lots of empty timeline toolbar space that could be put to good use. Logic Pro X's sophisticated timeline toolbar and ruler makes FCPX's look pretty spartan. Logic Po X has an Advanced preference pane with multiple checkbox options. If you prefer FCPX to be simpler, you could uncheck its Advanced preferences.

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Logic Pro X timeline toolbar and ruler area.

 

16) Major Audio improvements.
Whether it's a roles mixer or some new way of working with audio, I expect audio improvements that include features like a master and sub volume control, effects plugin inserts, audio only fades and crossfades to multiple clips via keyboard shortcut, etc.

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17) Compound clips expand for editing directly in the Timeline.

18) iPad Final Cut Pro X Remote app like the extensive Logic Pro X iPad Remote app.
This could include tabs for windows like a customizable palette of keyboard shortcuts, a large view inspector, audio & audio plugin controls, effect controls, audio roles mixer, etc.

LogicRemoteontheAppStoreoniTunes

 

I'm sure there will be some other surprises, or "Wow" features, the team will throw in the mix for FCPX 10.2.

Here's a video discussion of what might be coming for FCPX in 2015.

 

Copyright © 2015 Richard Taylor. All rights reserved.
Apple and Final Cut Pro X are registered trademarks of
Apple Inc.
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