Apple introduced Final Cut Pro X, the latest version of its professional video editing software, at the NAB conference SuperMeet Tuesday night. This new version replaces Final Cut Pro 7, which was introduced in 2009, and will be available for download via the Mac App Store for $299 beginning in June.
Final Cut Pro X brings a number of new features (via TUAW) to the editing platform, including full 64-bit compatibility, and the ability to take advantage of the processing power of all cores of a Mac’s CPU, in addition to the GPU using Snow Leopard’s Grand Central Dispatch feature. This should improve rendering times, especially on more powerful machines like Mac Pros.
The new version of the app also sports a brand-new visual look, resolution-independent playback, and content analysis, which allows it to detect whether shots are close-ups, medium or wide-angle, identify people or groups, and more. The new recognition features feed into Smart Collections, which automatically groups different types of shots. It’s sort of like Faces and Places for iPhoto, but much more powerful and with video as well as stills.
Final Cut Pro X also features many new non-destructive editing tools, like primary audio and video that can’t be knocked out of sync accidentally, and secondary audio that can be locked to video if that’s what an editor requires. Final Cut also now seems to be able to detect primary and audio tracks: for example, when you have an actor wearing a microphone but also have the camera’s microphone working. The new Magnetic Timeline automatically moves audio out of the way when you move video, while the timeline automatically adjusts, which should make it easier to drop clips in later without worrying about screwing up timing later on.
All rendering is now handled in the background, too, without any interruption to your primary workflow. That alone will probably make a significant difference in the lives of many video editors. Apple didn’t reveal details regarding the rest of the Final Cut Studio suite, which includes apps like Color, Motion and Soundtrack Pro in addition to Final Cut Pro. The full Final Cut Studio package retails for $999, so it’s possible Apple will be separating out the suite’s components and selling them individually on the Mac App Store, as it has done with the iLife and iWork suites.