Apple announced today that it would be issuing a series of free upgrades for their highly controversial editing software, Final Cut Pro X. The changes came after Apple received highly critical reviews on their latest video editing release. Many professionals have been upset with Apple’s recent devotion to the “prosumer” instead of developing improvements to their existing professional quality editing system, Final Cut Pro 7.

The free update is available on Apple’s website and features the following upgrades:

  • Media Stems Export: Traditional, track-based editing systems require you to constantly rearrange and disable tracks to export audio and video stems. With the latest version of Final Cut Pro X, flexible metadata removes the burden of track management. Use the new Roles tag to label clips — dialogue, effects, music, and more — then export a single multitrack file or separate stems based on your tags. You can even apply Roles to video clips and graphics for a powerful new way to deliver separate files for versioning and localization.
  • Rich XML Support: Now you can import and export Final Cut Pro X project and Event information via a rich XML format. XML interchange enables a wide range of third-party workflows, including high-end visual effects, color grading, and media asset management. Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, Square Box System’s CatDV, and many other third-party applications will offer XML-based workflows with Final Cut Pro X.
  • Projects and Events on Xsan: Create and edit your Final Cut Pro X projects and Events on Xsan. Ideal for multi-user workflows, you can import media through Final Cut Pro X and place it directly on the SAN. Multiple users can access the same source media, and each editor can create separate projects and Events on the SAN. Users can then edit from any system attached to the SAN, making it easy to move between computers and continue working.
  • Custom Starting Timecode: Set the start time of your project to a custom timecode value to accommodate color bars and tone, or to meet broadcast delivery specifications.
  • Full-screen view in Lion: Use every inch of your display when working in Final Cut Pro X. And easily navigate to other applications with a swipe.
  • One-step Transitions on Connected Clips: Add a transition to a connected clip or between multiple connected clips without manually creating a secondary storyline.
  • GPU-accelerated export: Harness the power of the GPU on your graphics card to speed up foreground export.
  • New Theme: Tribute: Access the new Tribute theme, with four animated titles and a matching transition.
  • Camera Import SDK: Camera manufacturers can use the Camera Import SDK to write plug-ins for importing media from a wide range of cameras. For example, Sony is updating their XDCAM EX plug-in to support native import directly into Final Cut Pro X.

In addition to the upgrades, Apple has also started offering a free 30-day trial of the product. All you have to do is give them your name and email address and you will have a chance to try out Final Cut Pro X for yourself before you make any judgements.

What do you think of Apple’s latest move in the Final Cut X saga? Are these upgrades going to make FCPX a more valuable product, or are they just trying to scramble to save face? Let us know your opinion by leaving a comment below or sending us a message on Facebook and Twitter.

Need some free stock footage to try out in Final Cut Pro X? Download this free time lapse stock footage clip and use it royalty free in any of your projects!

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