I'm live at the sold-out FCPUG SuperMeet in Las Vegas, where the "surprise" guest has turned out to be none other than Apple ("surprise" is in quotes because everyone, this site included, expected it to be AAPL). As expected, Apple has announced the new version of Final Cut Pro, now called Final Cut Pro X, with OpenCL support, backround rendering, and a completely redesigned interface. Here are the new features:

The "pro version of iMovie" is sort of an apt description, but only if you really emphasize the "pro" part. In my own estimation so far (and from the applause in the room), pro editors are on board with it. Randy Ubillos, chief software architect, demoed the new application (still in beta, he was careful to point out). People are literally screaming when a new feature shows up. Editors are crazy! Here's the rundown of the presentation:

  • Apple claimed FCP has a 94% user satisfaction rate and Adobe and Avid are "in a race for 2nd place."
  • Resolution independent, up to 4K
  • Leverages Grand Central Dispatch to do rendering in the background, utilizing all cores
  • Full color managed, based on ColorSync
  • No more Log & Transfer -- media is ready to edit "before the ingest is completed," whatever that means
  • Media can be analyzed during the ingest: stabilized, corrected for rolling shutter, audio synced
  • People detection and shot detection -- meaning, it can recognized a medium close-up
  • Magnetic timeline -- sliding long groups of clips won't overwrite later clips -- they'll drop down to a new track
  • Compound clips -- sort of like nested sequences, makes grouping clips together (and moving those groups) easier
  • Inline precision editor -- double-click on the handle between two clips and get a nice view of what's on either side of each clip
  • L-cuts and J-cuts are "super easy" -- the handles are right in the timeline
  • Fade handles right in the timeline, including right-clicking to choose type of fade -- no more keyframe dots
  • Similarly, audio editing handles based on selections right in the timeline -- and the audio waveform moves up and down to reflect the changes
  • Amazing color-correction matching -- Randy took one orangish clip and made a blue clip match it with one click. Remains to be see if this works quite as automagically in practice, but it was a draw-dropping moment.
  • "Automatically rendering all the time, in the background, no rendering." Yes, we already said this, but when Randy demo'd it, someone yelled, "do it again!"
  • No transcoding -- "AVCHD, DSLR, GoPro, all editing natively." Doesn't matter about codec, resolution, etc.
  • New "Color Board" -- impressive primary and secondary color correction built into FCP, including bezier masks
  • Reframing shots is really easy right in the viewer -- including animating the reframing
  • Audition groups -- you can try a number of clips in a timeline (even when the clips are of a different length) and watch each one in an insert edit, and then choose the one you like (without having to do a bunch of sliding around in the timeline)
  • It's got quite a colorful logo -- perhaps stressing its new color correction abilities...
  • Shipping in June
  • Downloadable from the App Store
  • For $299.

Standing ovation at the price. Presentation's over. Lots of questions to be answered... stay tuned for when video demos and screenshots go online.

UPDATE: here is video of the full presentation.