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Final Cut Pro X 10.2 Update is Here With Plenty of New features

Check out our Final Cut Pro: Get Started Now! course!

Finally!

Finally!

Introduction

After what seems like a really long time, but is in fact only about a year, a major update to Final Cut Pro has been released, and it’s free, like every other update before it. While the UI looks largely the same, there are many new features and several bug fixes to talk about, but before you jump straight to the App Store and hit Update, a few words.

Make really sure you’re not in the middle of a project when you upgrade, back up your old app and important libraries, and don’t call them “Untitled”.

Make really sure you’re not in the middle of a project when you upgrade, back up your old app and important libraries, and don’t call them “Untitled”.

Caution First

As ever, if you’re in the middle of a project, don’t update your main editing station, as there can always be unforeseen issues. It’s always a good idea to right-click and zip each of Final Cut Pro and Motion, so you can revert in case of disaster. Libraries will be updated too, though, so only update if you’re sure you can roll back safely. This update also requires not just Yosemite, but 10.10.2 or later, so you’ll need to be fully up to date before you jump in.

3D Text

Some tumbling text, with glossy red car paint.

Some tumbling text, with glossy red car paint.

Now that you’ve just hit update and jumped on in (you did, didn’t you?) all the new toys are on show. The biggest, and most obvious update is the introduction of 3D Titles—not stereographic support, but bevels, shadows, and the appearance of depth. (It’s a little like the text support in the third-party mObject plug-in, though that tool still offers a whole lot more than just 3D titles.)

Just some of the text controls and new title options below.

Just some of the text controls and new title options below.

FCP X has had great 2D title and 3D positioning support since day 1, so the addition of new controls that let you control how text is pushed into that third dimension seems a logical enough jump. There are many bevel options, fresh templates, you can convert your existing 2D titles to 3D, you have access to shadows and materials, and you can extend the new 3D title templates further by opening them in Motion.

The bevel options for 3D Text in the new Motion.

The bevel options for 3D Text in the new Motion.

Motion too?

Yes, Motion was also upgraded. The new 3D titles can be further finessed here, including multiple cameras and lights, and with many, many more controls. Texture and bump mapping, sequence text in 3D, and tons of new presets and texture options all allow you to extend FCP X’s new 3D titles in interesting ways.

Two of the new Generators, Truchet Tiles and Manga Lines.

Two of the new Generators, Truchet Tiles and Manga Lines.

Outside of 3D titles, there are several new generators, improved key framing and masking controls, improved performance on Intel GPUs and on time-based effects like Echo. Bug fixes are included too, including a few keyframe-related bugs, and better stability when opening a project that’s missing fonts or filters.

Add the Color Correction filter, or just press Command-6 to get access to the Color Board.

Add the Color Correction filter, or just press Command-6 to get access to the Color Board.

Color and Masking

In FCP X 10.1 and prior, the color board came first, and all other effects afterwards. Not any more: the Color Board is hidden by default, has been rolled into the Color Correction effect and can be placed in any order you want. Any effect—even third-party effects—can now use Shape or Color masks, for much greater flexibility in the way you apply effects and color grading. There are also several new masks for restricting how much of a clip is visible, including “Draw”, which allows freeform polygonal, bézier or b-spline masks.

You can now also assess your color work much more easily, as you can show many video scopes at once, splitting the area into many separate panes, and putting whatever you want in each one.

A blue, harsh preset being saved.

A blue, harsh preset being saved.

In fact, you can now save presets for your video effects—much like it’s been possible to save presets for audio effects and for text styles. Perhaps a bank of color grading presets will be useful to you, a selection of ways to blur, or simply common tweaks to your favorite effects. A little time invested in creating presets can save a lot of time later. (Pro tip: a “+6 dB” preset on the Gain filter saves a lot of time when the default +12 dB just isn’t enough.)

Smoother Motion

Optical Flow has been improved for better slow-motion results, so if you’d tried a shot before and it didn’t work, try it again. Keyframed motion is now smoother too, though if you want a full keyframe graph, you’ll still have to use the Motion app itself. Also like Motion, performance on time-related effects has been improved.

More Codecs

As more cameras have come out, the codecs the manufacturers have chosen have multiplied. While you can still convert to ProRes, you can also work natively if your Mac is fast enough, and the codecs you can work with now also includes:

  • AVC-Ultra
  • XAVC S
  • XAVC and XDCAM (without a plug-in)
  • JVC H.264
  • RED RAW and RED RAW anamorphic with GPU and dual GPU acceleration

The new-look Library pane, where Smart Collections sit at the top level of each Library.

The new-look Library pane, where Smart Collections sit at the top level of each Library.

Smaller, yet important features

Smart Collections can now search across Events within a Library. Previously, Smart Collections could only search a single Event at a time, limiting their usefulness in large projects, but Events can now be effectively used as an organizational tool on even the largest jobs. The new Smart Collections folder, at the top level in each Library, also contains new presets, revealing an entire Library’s audio, still images, projects, favorites, and of course whatever other Smart Collections you add yourself.

Importing options are now up-front.

Importing options are now up-front.

Importing has been streamlined, and now shows the (many) options in a sidebar instead of hiding them until you’ve started the import. Compressor now supports GPU (and dual GPU) rendering when using Send To Compressor, and in fact, Compressor has a few new tricks of its own. Besides hardware-accelerated multi-pass H.264 encoding (a new trick), there’s new support for creating iTunes Store Packages, including a trailer, closed captions and subtitles, options to create a stereo downmix from surround projects, and a few more tweaks too.

Bugs Fixed

All these new features would be for naught if existing issues were ignored. While not everyone will be satisfied with the list of issues addressed, there are several issues which have been fixed. Number one is that audio waveforms are drawn faster, a bugbear for editors of very long timelines especially. Long GOP video like AVCHD can now be skimmed more quickly, and badges on high-speed iPhone footage helps you spot those clips more easily.

Probably one of the neater tricks, especially relevant for long-form editors, is that if you export to an intra-frame format like ProRes, you can start playing your exported file before it’s finished exporting. I look forward to an edit I can finish before it’s imported (previously possible) and then start watching before it’s finished saving.

Conclusion

It’s taken a while, but editors are taking FCP X more seriously, with Award-winning FCP X-based work like The Other Side and This Girl Can and the feature “Focus” finally changing perceptions. Thankfully, Apple are coming to the table too.

The big deal here is not just the proof that Apple haven’t given up on their professional NLE. It’s not even that they’ve addressed some of the real issues editors have reported. It’s that they chose to launch this update at 9 a.m. on the first day for the world’s biggest video trade show. The mix of new features (consumer users don’t need multiple scopes) and bug fixes (audio waveform performance, for one) should go a long way to reassuring everyone that Apple haven’t given up.

What to do, then? Well, if you’re an FCP X user, back up your old apps, back up your projects, update (for free) once again, and watch for more tips and tricks right here.

Check out our Final Cut Pro: Get Started Now! course!

Iain Anderson

Iain Anderson | Articles by this author

Iain Anderson is an editor, animator, designer, developer and Apple Certified Trainer based in Brisbane, Australia. He has taught privately and in tertiary institutions, and has freelanced for Microsoft and the Queensland Government. Comfortable with anything from Quartz Composer to Second Life and Final Cut Pro to Adobe Creative Suite, he has laid out books, booklets, brochures and business cards; retouched magazine covers and product packaging, shot and edited short films and animated for HD broadcast TV, film festivals and for the web.

Comments

Apr 15, 2015
Chris Polus
I'm a little more skeptical about this update. While I like new features and some are great (masks for every plugin) I think praising 3D text as one of the major things about this update is weird. How many times have I seen 3D text in pro productions, be it TV or cinema? Same with all the nice title themes. It's cool and a toy for consumers for their vacation movies, but it's not what pros really were looking for. There are still lots of untackled issues. Working with audio in FCPX is still a mess. That there is no master channel to put a compressor and limiter on but the fact that I have to do that for every audio object or make a compound clip which kills overview, is pretty dumb. You can take things into Logic of course but just for applying a limiter at the end this is overkill.
That you cannot see the above layers of compound clips make it impossible to edit and sync them to something OUTSIDE a compound clip. And you either have to take things out of the clip to sync and then put them back or tediously move things around.
And my use of FCPX is only for really small productions. There are many other things in the details that are problematic for pros still.
So if this update shows something to me it's that Apple's on it and reveals updates regularly. That's cool. But I hope they also dive a little deeper into the tech and not only come with eye candy stuff like 3D text.
Apr 16, 2015
Deejay Schmeejay
If you're a Panasonic AF100 user, it might be best to hold off updating to 10.2 until a couple of show stopping bugs with AVCHD media from these cameras is sorted out.

https://forums.creativecow.net/thread/344/36796
Apr 16, 2015
Gary H
Provided upgrade from OSX 10.9.x to 10.10.3 in combination with FCPX 10.1.3 to 10.2. User reporting everything he's trying to do in FCPX is causing crashes. Sequences are coming up without any memory of being rendered already. Small insignificant changes such as adding a transition is requiring a full re-render of the entire sequence. Try to open the inspector to make changes to color or effects and FCPX will crash. Just wanted to post in case someone is also facing similar version upgrades. I'm a 25 year IT manager looking into this issue.
Apr 17, 2015
funwithstuff
Sounds like something in the library has become corrupted during the upgrade process. Best approach is to create a new library with new events, copy the media across within Final Cut Pro, then create new projects and copy/paste the contents of the old projects into them.

Trashing preferences would also be a good idea. General troubleshooting advice can be found here: http://fcpx.tv/troubleshooting.html

If that doesn't work, contact Apple support.
Apr 17, 2015
funwithstuff
Looks like a codec/GPU/driver issue, as one commenter had noticed black clips instead of video before the update. But yes, worth waiting for a fix if you could be affected. The posted workaround (converting to ProRes with the unaffected QuickTime 7) would be painful but possible in an emergency.
Apr 17, 2015
funwithstuff
Article author here.

Apologies, these replies were intended to be attached to the original posters, and I'm going through in reverse order. The "black clips" reply refers to the Panasonic bug reported above.

Replying to Chris:
I would love to see and hear some updates to the audio side of things, and something along the lines of a role-based mixer would work well. Compound clips will help to work around the audio issue, but aren't really meant for editing in context, which is why you're having that secondary issue.

Two approaches could help.

1. Deal with audio in a separate app, like Logic Pro.
2. Lock picture first, then duplicate your project and create compound clips to manage the audio.

I was lucky enough to speak to some FCP X engineers this week at NAB, and the best way to get requests to them is to send feedback. The more people send in a request, the more likely it is to be implemented. Go for it:

https://www.apple.com/feedback/finalcutpro.html
Jan 07, 2016
Sebastiano
Ho scaricato la versione di prova di fcpx 10.2...ma ha un Bug sull'audio per quanto riguarda i file AVCHD...si sente un disturbo alternato di picchi ed è molto fastidioso.poi dovrebbe essere alleggerito per quanto riguarda i progetti, all'inizio di un lavoro è molto fluido poi comincia a rallentare e compare la rotellina di caricamento...il tutto usando ovviamente gli optmize media
Jan 07, 2016
funwithstuff
Sorry, but I don't speak Spanish. I've translated your comment as best I could with Google Translate, but I'm afraid I don't have a solution to the problem you're experiencing with corrupted audio in AVCHD. It's likely to be an isolated bug or a media problem, because AVCHD is quite common, and I haven't heard of this one before. Probably the best idea is to ask on some discussion forums if anyone else can help? Good luck, though.
Jan 07, 2016
Sebastiano
ah grazie per la risposta. mi capita con tutti i file avchd e di tutte le marche dalla sony alla panasonic...si sentono dei picchi rumorosi a tratti.solo con fcpx 10.2.
mentre ho provato con Edius e premiere ed è tutto perfetto.
Jan 10, 2016
funwithstuff
OK. I haven't seen those issues myself, but it might be worth running Software Update to make sure that you're running the latest versions of all the codecs. Updates to codecs have been released separately from FCP X and you might not have them just running a trial version.
Jan 11, 2016
Sebastiano
grazie per la risposta...io voglio acquistarlo fcpx ma alcuni bug mi trattengono per adesso dal suo acquisto. ad esempio anche quando devo cercare delle musiche che inserisco negli eventi sono troppo dispersive per cercarle mentre in altri programmi come edius o premiere le musiche subito si individuano anche perche le clip hanno una grafica piu semplice. Comunque quali codec mi mancherebbero?
Jan 11, 2016
funwithstuff
I don't think Google Translate has really worked will with that last post, so I'm not sure what the problem with audio files might be. You can access anything from iTunes, from audio libraries, from Garageband or Logic quite easily using the Audio section in the bottom right.

For the codecs, downloading this manually may help? https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1396?locale=en_US
Jan 13, 2016
Sebastiano
grazie per la risposta proverò.
Ho un altro problema con fcpx. Quando edito un progetto in fullhd ma voglio fare un' esportazione in mpeg(720x576) per fare un dvd se rimango il progetto in fullhd non mi elabora il file di uscita mpeg (720x576).
mentre se imposto la timeline in sd(720x576) il tutto funziona ma ho notato una perdita di qualità.
Jan 15, 2016
funwithstuff
If you want to burn a DVD, there's a direct DVD export from File > Share. If you don't see the option in the menu, you can add it from Preferences, in the Destinations section.

PAL 720x576 is no problem.
Jan 18, 2016
Sebastiano
Si la conosco la funzione.
Ma il problema è un altro: Lavoro un progetto in Full Hd ma se voglio esportare e creare un file mpeg 720x576 non me lo fa fare anzi ci metterebbe molto tempo, circa 10 ore.
Mentre se il progetto l'ho imposto in sd 720x576 ed esporto mpeg 720x576 in 20 minuti circa mi completa l'operazione.
Ma ho notato che è uun bug del fcpx ultime versioni, perche sulle prime versioni non succedeva questo problema.
Jan 18, 2016
funwithstuff
If there's some kind of bug when exporting to DVD from an HD timeline, that's unfortunate. You may be able to work around it by duplicating the Project, changing settings to PAL SD, and then exporting to DVD from that.
Jan 18, 2016
Sebastiano
si, infatti se imposto la timeline in sd funziona perfettamente ma facendo cosi perdo la qualita in esportazione
Jan 19, 2016
funwithstuff
DVD export will look pretty bad, simply because it's much lower resolution than HD. It will also probably be presented as interlaced, which then looks lower quality again. Test it on a real DVD player to make sure?
Jan 20, 2016
Sebastiano
grazie per la risposta.
ma io volevo sapere se anche a voi succede la stessa cosa.
Impostazione timeline Full Hd, ed esportare in mpeg 720x576. Funziona?
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