Final Cut X, A Much Needed Update.

Last night my friend Tim started sending me text messages from NAB as Apple showed off the new Final Cut X editing suite. All week long there has been speculation that it would be kind of like iMove on steroids, but from the things I am seeing on various websites this morning, I think that might be a bit of an understatement.

The whole application has been rebuilt from the ground up to take advantage of OSX 64bit architecture, which means bigger, faster and better.It also means that Final Cut can handle 4K footage on 8-core editing systems, thanks to Snow Leopard’s Grand Central Dispatch feature. The big things for me, that might make me start using Final Cut again are the new price point, and more importantly Final Cut will always be rendering instantly in the background which means instant preview and editing on the fly much like you do in the latest version of iMovie.

In addition to continuous background rendering, Final Cut added:

  • magnetic timeline, people detection, instant color matching between media clips
  • editing before media ingest, image stabilization during import (that is a huge plus)
  • shot detection, the ability to detect medium shots, close-ups, long shots during import
  • Audio clean-up, with options to eliminate hum or rumble during import
  • Non-destructive color balance as media is being ingested
  • Range-based keyword search
  • Clip connections: (primary audio and video are locked synced together)
  • Inline precision editor:  (double-click on the seam between 2 clips and the timeline opens up to show what’s outside the handles)
  • Smart collections
  • Pitch-corrected audio skimming
  • Auto-syncing audio waveforms
  • Scalable rendering
  • Resolution independent playback system, plus a ton of other tweaks as well.

Final Cut X will be available for download from the Mac App Store in June, for just $299.