Apple just rolled out their new revision of macOS Catalina, and along with it a major revision for their video editing application, Final Cut Pro X. The headline feature for filmmakers is a brand new Metal-based graphics engine that promises faster playback, rendering, exports and realtime effects on any mac that supports Metal.
For reference, If you load up FCP-X onto one of the new 12 core Mac Pro machines, you should be looking at renders up to 2.9X faster and transcodes 3.2X faster than the "trashcan" 12 cores that are everywhere throughout post-production today.
This update is really built around NOT ONLY the new Mac Pro but also the XDR monitor.
"pros using Final Cut Pro on Mac Pro can simultaneously use up to three Pro Display XDR units — two for the Final Cut Pro interface and one as a dedicated professional reference monitor."
We've been wondering what the XDR monitor was going to be used for, and this release of FCP starts to hint at an answer.
There is a new layout design for three-screen editing where "pros using Final Cut Pro on Mac Pro can simultaneously use up to three Pro Display XDR units — two for the Final Cut Pro interface and one as a dedicated professional reference monitor." Hopefully, that layout will still work with a single XDR monitor as the "professional reference monitor" and 2 more affordable monitors. It's still exciting to see that the layout is intended to be a "professional reference monitor."
We're not sure exactly what Apple is planning, but if they want this to be a "professional reference monitor" one hopes they also intend to create a preview image on the XDR that accurately previews the final video output, which would be a first for a software-based system that isn't going out through a video output device. There would still be limitations as other software (and web video) might not preview images the way FCP-X does, and of course, the small number of dimming zones might create halos.
And we haven't even gotten to the most exciting part of this yet...
Final Cut has also been updated to support Sidecar. What is Sidecar?
Sidecar allows Macs to use iPads as additional screens. While, yes, you could previously do this with the app Duet, it never worked well for video apps. Duet really shone as an additional screen when you weren't heavily using the GPU, but fire up Resolve or FCP and the lag made it almost unusable.
Now that Sidecar builds the functionality of using an iPad as an extended display natively into the OS, and now that Final Cut is building specifically for the feature, we're very excited to try it. We're hoping it will provide a more robust experience than we had when using Duet with video app in years past. The tight apple software/hardware integration could reap major benefits here.
This update also does seem to indicate that the Mac Pro is coming soon since the field is well prepared for it with software starting to support it. However, the last word from Apple is that the Pro will ship in the fall, which ends on December 21st, so we might still have a few more months before we see those in the field.
Has anybody tried out Final Cut and Sidecar yet? Please let us know in the comments.
More at the Apple Site.
- New 64bit Metal-based graphics engine improves rendering and exporting
- Sidecar support
- Peak brightness of 1600 nits, sustained brightness of 1000 nits, contrast ratio 1,000,000 to 1