Apple today has updated Final Cut Pro X to 10.4.4, Motion to 5.4.2 and Compressor to 4.4.2. We take a look at the new features including the new third party apps that work within FCPX.

The big news is out, the day before the FCPX Creative Summit starts which will make that event very interesting to go to.

Apple has announced an upgrade to Final Cut Pro X to 10.4.4. A Motion update to 5.4.2 and a Compressor (to 64 bit architecture) update to 4.4.2.

This is the 28th update of FCPX since June 2011 and as for number of seats, 2018 is the busiest year for Apple so far.

This is a free update to all existing customers and the prices remain at $299.99, $49.99 and $49.99 respectively. The apps will run on High Sierra 10.3.6 and Mojave.

Education customers can purchase the Pro Apps Bundle for Education for $199.99, which includes all three pro video apps plus Logic Pro X and MainStage.

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As we always say, do not update in the middle of an important project and always make sure you have made a backup of any critical files, especially FCPX Libraries! Zip up copies of the existing apps and save them in case you need to revert back.

FCPX needs to modify existing libraries, so be warned!

We thought we might see FCPX 10.5 at the Summit, but 10.4.4 is out today and can be downloaded from the Mac App Store. The update might take some time to propagate worldwide.

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New in Final Cut Pro X 10.4.4

  • Workflow extensions. Extend the capabilities of Final Cut Pro with third-party extensions that open directly within the app interface.
  • Comparison Viewer. Open the Comparison Viewer to reference other frames for consistent color grading across your project.
  • Batch share. Export multiple video clips or projects in a single step.
  • Video noise reduction. Apply the high-quality, drag-and-drop noise reduction effect to reduce grain and video noise.
  • SRT Caption support for Facebook for example.
  • Caption burn in on export for all three caption types.
  • Timecode window. View project and source timecode in one or more floating, customizable timecode windows.
  • Improved marquee selection 
  • Tiny planet. Create interesting spherical effects with 360° video.

Workflow Extensions

The main new feature has to be the Workflow Extensions. This is the first time that Apple has allowed third party companies to get inside 'the walled garden' of FCPX. Why are these different? Because you can access the services from within the app without having to go to an external app or web browser interface. The extensions are accessed from the new button in the top left of the GUI next to the Background Tasks window. It will appear when an extension is installed. You can have more than one open at any time.

Apple has added a new framework to FCPX that allows Workflow Extensions currently for-

  • Shutterstock. Browse stock photos, videos, and music while you edit. Drag watermarked files into the timeline—and later easily replace them with licensed, high-resolution versions.
  • Frame.io Drag clips and projects into your Final Cut Pro library, jump between markers, and review comments and annotations in real time from your Frame.io collaborators.
  • CatDV Authenticate and connect directly to your CatDV media asset management system so you can browse, mark, and transfer files from within the Final Cut Pro interface.

Apple has announced Shutterstock, Frame.io and CatDV as the first three partners at launch. Expect a lot more to follow as we are sure that companies will want to access the growing number of people using FCPX.

Expect Workflow Extensions from Simon Says for speech to text translations and Ripple Training for FCPX training soon.

Right click for larger images.

fcpx update 003Shutterstock workflow extension running in FCXP 10.4.4

fcpx update 002Frame.io workflow extension running in FCXP 10.4.4

image.pngCatDV workflow extension running in FCXP 10.4.4

Being able to access, move and even change assets from within is huge news for FCPX and partners. Could this be the gateway for better control of proxies, or maybe even the start of edit collaboration tools? Too early to know, but we see this as the biggest feature in the Pro Apps update.

More information, a demo and tutorial video can be found about the Frame.io Workflow Extension in this article.

Comparison Viewer ( CTRL CMD 6 )

We missed this feature from FCP7, having the reference of another frame when colour grading always helps. We really like that the user can have two sets of scopes up at the same time, one for the reference and the other for the media that is being graded. There is also a built-in still image store that can be recalled to match shots against.

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Batch Share

Building your own 'render queue' has been a long standing entrant in the FCPX wish list. You can also export individual clips in batches from the Browser which will be very helpful in grading and VFX workflows. LUTs can be added so that dailies look correct.

This works exactly like exporting and rendering a single item in the background. The process will run when the computer is not being tasked.

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SRT Caption Support

A third option of caption format has been added. SRT is useful for Facebook and YouTube video subtitles.

Caption Burn-in on Export 

Captions can now be burnt-in to exports from FCPX from the master file share window. Just choose the option to burn-in captions after clicking on the small Captions bubble on the video track in the roles export dialogue. - It took quite a bit of time to find that!

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Timecode Window

We can hear the roar of approval from FCPX editors around the world! No more looking at the little timecode display in the centre of the screen or using a third-party plugin.

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The window can be resized, placed anywhere and even dragged to a second screen.

There are actually two timecode windows that can be accessed from the Window menu. The Source Timecode window is fully configurable (top right hand side arrow) with clip names, coloured roles with timecodes with source and original timecode. The Project Timecode window just reads the Project timecode. No shortcuts for these, but they do appear in the custom keyboard layout, so you can assign your own.

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Before anybody poses the questions, yes emojis do transfer on to the Source Timecode window! We got some funkiness with the resizing and remember the colour of the role will follow the assigned audio component of the video.

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Improved marquee selection 

Improved marquee selection makes it quick to select individual clips or the entire secondary storyline which saves valuable time for common edit operations.

Video Noise Reduction

This feature was accidentally leaked with the previous update so no surprise here, but good to see it in this update. No complex controls, just a couple of drop-down menus in the Inspector. As this is an effect, it can be placed anywhere in the processing order in the Inspector. Apple has also tried to make the plugin responsive, optimising it so that it shows the effect without bogging the machine down.

How it performs against other render heavy noise reducers we don't know, it will be interesting to see some side by side tests for quality and render times.

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Tiny Planet

Pretty niche, but should you want to make the 'Tiny Planet' effect you can now do so with 360° video in non-360° projects. 

Sorry Sean, no dupe detection!

 

New in Motion 4.4.2

Colour Correction

The colour correction tools from the FCPX 10.4 update have been included in Motion. The wheels, colour curves and hue/sat curves now appear as effects with the matching GUI in the Inspector. Still no broadcast output though.

Custom LUTs

Custom LUTs can now be added to Motion projects using the new filter.

Comic Filter

Does what it says on the tin, converting video or images into comic book illustrations. controls for ink edges, ink smoothness, ink fill and posterization. These effects are also available in FCPX as you can see below.

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Tiny Planet

Same as the above effects like FCPX.

 

New in Compressor 4.4.2

64-Bit

The main new feature here is the apps upgrade to a 64-bit engine. This should improve performance and use all the available memory in a machine. There's also support for 32-bit formats enabling workflow of new and legacy files such as Animation codec media.

Closed captions

You can view, edit and deliver captions in the SRT format - Facebook being an example.

Automatic Configuration

Compressor is now quite clever and will look at the source file and configure MXF and QuickTime settings. So settings such as frame rate, field order and colour space get automatically set.

 

So what machine specs to Apple recommend to run these apps?

 • macOS 10.13.6 or later

• 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended for 4K editing, 3D titles, and 360° video editing)

• OpenCL-capable graphics card or Intel HD Graphics 3000 or later

• 256MB of VRAM (1GB recommended for 4K editing, 3D titles, and 360° video editing)

 

A good all round update and not the 10.5 named release many were expecting. Although we didn't see the collaborative tools or better audio mixing we desired, the ability for 3rd parties to work within FCPX opens up many possibilities. We are sure many other partners will get their apps on the Mac App Store soon. very soon.