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Final Cut Pro X announced at NAB SuperMeet

As widely rumored, Apple's Peter Steinauer took the stage at the SuperMeet during NAB in Las Vegas to introduce the latest version of Final Cut, Final Cut Pro X. The new video editing app (last revised in July of 2009) adds full 64-bit compatibility with a full rewrite of the platform. Final Cut Pro X will be shipping in June. You can download it via the Mac App Store! And the price? US$299 -- that's truly astonishing. (We don't yet know if that's just the editor itself, or also includes the capabilities of Motion and Color... but we're inclined to believe the former.)

The new version includes improved media management and improved image quality built on "modern foundations," with top-to-bottom color management and a new look. FCP X features resolution-independent playback all the way from SD up to 2K and 4K formats. It now leverages Grand Central Dispatch to take advantage of all cores on the Mac plus the GPU. The crowd goes wild, especially as Steinauer suggests that the ever-popular render bar will now be a thing of the past.

Other new features (via @fcpsupermeet and Photography Bay)...

Content analysis: Can detect close ups, medium, wide shots, people detection, single or groups. Sounds like the features in the latest version of iPhoto.

Can start editing during ingest of AVCHD and other media, switches silently to local media as it ingests.

Smart Collections, combined with the recognition features in content analysis, allow you to group media faster than ever before. Imagine being able to immediately group close-ups, single shots, etc. This is handy if you have a lot of takes. Combined with keywords, you can filter and sort Smart Collections in an instant. Not only that, but as you sort, you can go ahead and grab a small section from a clip as you organize.

Film strip view allows you to easily set what appears in the preview of a clip in a group. You can drag a selected clip (or clips) onto a keyword, and they are instantly tagged with that keyword.

Clip connection primary audio and video are synced, no way to accidentally knock out of sync. Secondary audio can be locked to video.

Magnetic Timeline: audio moves vertically out of the way instead of causing a trim collision. Demo shows how you can move video around, and the audio that is attached to it also moves around, with the timeline adjusting itself automatically. This saves editors a lot of time when they just want to throw something into a timeline, but not worry about cuts further down the timeline getting thrown out of whack.

@fcpsupermeet says, "Watching an audio clip jump onto a new track to accommodate an audio edit is impressive."

A key differentiation is primary audio versus secondary audio. Something quite impressive is that Final Cut seems to analyze your audio tracks, so if you leave the camera mic running (versus a dedicated mic on an actor), it'll detect this.

During the demo of some editing maneuvers, @silveradosys says, "Couple transitions added--background renderer banged em right out..." Good to hear!

Some audio notes: audio waveforms can auto-sync, aligning audio is easier when you scrub the playhead, you can auto-skim with pitch correction, which assists in scrubbing your audio (and still making sense of what you're hearing). Audio peaking can be seen in the timeline.

Again from @fcpsupermeet: "Just showed how to do a J cut on the new timeline. Click and drag, audience is ecstatic."

You can now, with one keystroke, move from editing your video in fine detail to "zooming out" and seeing the scenes and manipulating the overall video easily.

One click color correction? We'll have to see this in action; it sounds divine. And if you're wondering about rendering, everything is now native, renders in the background, no interruptions.

Along with Compound Clips, where you can collapse media into a single timeline, tools are enabling you to see overall project vs. tiny detail in clips.

With the Magnetic Timeline you no longer have to worry about messing up a sequence. The Inline Precision editor allows you to double-click a seam and zoom into the details. Auditioning allows you to create options during, say, a review session with a director, and allows you to choose the ones you want later.

In the demo they show progressing through auditions with a single keystroke. You can stack up potential edits and demo them one after another, committing whatever you want whenever you want.

Apparently there are also proper guides and keyframes for animation like Motion does!

Throughout the demos, we are hearing a lot of enthusiasm for tools that give editors impressive flexibility in crafting their video. It sounds like Apple has made flexibility and non-destructive edits a priority in the workflow.

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