Update: Apple has published a white paper entitled “Final Cut Pro X for Final Cut Pro 7 Editors” to detail the differences between the two apps and smooth the transition for professional users.

Apple updated its Final Cut Pro X video editing software this morning with some much-needed improvements. It is a significant update, because Final Cut Pro X version 10.0.3 now appeases to pro editors with two new features, including multicam editing that automatically syncs up to 64 angles of video and photos,  and broadcast monitoring. The software also advances XML 1.1 support for better plug-in compatibility, and it supports media re-linking while boasting enhanced chroma keying with edge quality, light wrap and color sampling. Users can also finally import layered Adobe Photoshop files.

Multicam editing is done in a typical Apple fashion, and besides taking advantage of the time code to sync camera angles, Final Cut Pro X can also sync scenes using audio waveforms to provide great accuracy. Users also no longer have to export to a motion graphics application to view results with real-time playback, and the broadcast monitoring feature lets an editor connect to waveform displays, vector scopes, and calibrated, high-quality monitors to ensure the projects meets broadcast specifications. Broadcast monitoring requires a Mac Pro with a PCIe card or a Thunderbolt device. In the case of the latter, customers will be able to monitor their project live while on a shoot.

Interestingly— broadcast monitoring is releasing as a beta feature, which is unusual for Apple. Then again, the iPhone 4S digital secretary Siri is also in beta, so perhaps these features mark a change in Apple toward getting new products out of the gate as soon as possible and smoothing out the rough edges over time.

The Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3 update is free for anyone that owns Final Cut Pro X, a $299 download from the Mac App Store. By the way, if you are stuck with a current Final Cut Pro 7 project, there is now a new app called “7toX by Assisted Editing” that is a $99 value and lets you easily convert old files to Final Cut Pro X projects.

Other updates include Compressor 4.0.2 that lets you customize output settings, work faster with distributed encoding and tap into a comprehensive set of delivery features and Motion 5.0.2 which allows users to customize Final Cut Pro titles, transitions and effects, with 2D/3D animations using real-time feedback.

Apple released Final Cut Pro X last summer as a digital download exclusively on the Mac App Store. However, the software was met with such harsh criticism that the company moved to temporarily block reviews on the Mac App Store. Apple also posted a FAQ section promising major enhancements in the near future and even issued refunds to disgruntled customers. While the video editing program won praise for its revamped interface, people hated it for its bugs, heavy requirements and lack of pro features, such as multi-cam editing.

CUPERTINO, California—January 31, 2012—Apple® today released Final Cut Pro® X v10.0.3, a significant update to its revolutionary professional video editing application, which introduces multicam editing that automatically syncs up to 64 angles of video and photos; advanced chroma keying for handling complex adjustments right in the app; and enhanced XML for a richer interchange with third party apps and plug-ins that support the fast growing Final Cut Pro X ecosystem. Available today as a free update from the Mac® App Store™, Final Cut Pro X v10.0.3 also includes a beta of broadcast monitoring that supports Thunderbolt devices as well as PCIe cards.

Final Cut Pro X v10.0.3 includes a collection of groundbreaking new tools for editing multicam projects. Final Cut Pro X automatically syncs clips from your shoot using audio waveforms, time and date, or timecode to create a Multicam Clip with up to 64 angles of video, which can include mixed formats, frame sizes and frame rates. The powerful Angle Editor allows you to dive into your Multicam Clip to make precise adjustments, and the Angle Viewer lets you play back multiple angles at the same time and seamlessly cut between them.

Final Cut Pro X builds upon its robust, one-step chroma key with the addition of advanced controls including color sampling, edge adjustment and light wrap. You can tackle complex keying challenges right in Final Cut Pro X, without having to export to a motion graphics application, and view your results instantly with realtime playback.

In the seven months since launch, the third party ecosystem around Final Cut Pro X has expanded dramatically. XML-compatible software like DaVinci Resolve and CatDV provide tight integration for tasks such as color correction and media management. The new 7toX app from Intelligent Assistance uses XML to import Final Cut Pro 7 projects into Final Cut Pro X. In addition, some of the industry’s largest visual effects developers, including GenArts and Red Giant, have developed motion graphics plug-ins that take advantage of the speed and real-time preview capabilities of Final Cut Pro X.

Broadcast monitoring in Final Cut Pro X is currently in beta and allows you to connect to waveform displays, vectorscopes, and calibrated, high-quality monitors to ensure that your project meets broadcast specifications. Final Cut Pro X supports monitoring of video and audio through Thunderbolt I/O devices, as well as through third party PCIe cards.

Pricing & Availability
Final Cut Pro X v10.0.3 is available from the Mac App Store for $299.99 (US) to new users, or as a free update for existing Final Cut Pro X customers. A 30-day free trial of Final Cut Pro X is available at www.apple.com/finalcutpro/trial. Full system requirements and more information on Final Cut Pro X can be found at www.apple.com/finalcutpro.

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