Apple makes Final Cut Pro X work better for remote and collaborative video editing

Apple has announced a new major update to Final Cut Pro X that adds several new improvements to proxy workflows, making the software far more suited to remote and collaborative editing for videos. The 10.4.9 update also adds several other useful new features, including a machine learning-powered “Smart Conform” feature that can automatically crop videos for social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Proxy files are smaller, lower-resolution versions of an original clip designed to make editing easier on lower-powered or offline machines (for example, on a laptop at home because you can’t access your company’s high-powered Mac Pro in your shutdown office). The new Final Cut Pro X update now makes it easier to move the entirety of a proxy project to another device, including non-proxy files like images, titles, or motion graphics — meaning you can easily share a much smaller version of your video project, fully edit it remotely, and then pass it back to your main computer for final color correction, effects, and export.

Final Cut Pro X is also getting more flexible proxy options for even smaller project sizes: it now supports creating proxies at 50, 25, and 12.5 percent resolutions and supports both ProRes and H.264 formats. Furthermore, clips that don’t have proxy files — either because you didn’t have time to compress them or because it’s already compressed — can be used together with proxy clips now (previously, Final Cut Pro would simply just not show those clips alongside proxy files).

The other major new feature introduced in this update is called Smart Conform, which uses machine learning to automatically analyze video clips for “dominant motion” and then automatically crops them to a specified size — including square and vertical clips for Instagram and other platforms. Apple’s playing a bit of catch-up here, given that Adobe already added a similar feature to Premiere Pro in its last major update. But it should be a useful addition for Final Cut users regardless.

There’s also a variety of other improvements available in the new update, including new plug-ins for Canon and RED RAW files that adds Metal support, allowing playback of 8K Canon Cinema RAW Light files for the first time and faster 8K transcoding for RED RAW files. The new update also adds a simplified command for cross-fading audio between two clips and the ability to see ISO, color temperature, and exposure offset adjustments for ProRes RAW settings directly in the inspector, among other improvements.

The new version of Final Cut Pro X is available now as a free update for existing owners on the Mac App Store. Apple is also renewing its free 90-day trial with the 10.4.9 update — all customers will be able to try out the new version of Final Cut Pro X for 90 days, even those who have already taken advantage of the previous free trial introduced in March.

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