iMovie (2013) and Final Cut Pro X 10.1

Tuesday, 05 November 2013

When Apple releases big new revisions of software we can insights into their thinking on application design and features. When Final Cut Pro X appeared in 2011, it was very different from the previous version. In the process of rewriting it from scratch they changed the main user interface metaphor and didn't have the opportunity to recreate every feature from Final Cut Pro 7.

Although Final Cut Pro X 10.0 was then updated with bug fixes and new features in the ensuing months, we weren't sure whether some features would never be reintroduced. Perhaps Apple was philosophically opposed to some features many wanted. Also Apple didn't introduce some features from other video editing applications that many people wanted. For example, was Apple opposed to a timeline that scrolled to follow the timeline as a movie played. 

This Summer saw the launch of Logic Pro X, a new version of Apple's professional music production software. Although revised greatly compared with previous versions, it was less of a break from the past than Final Cut Pro X was. It also showed that Apple weren't against some features that Final Cut Pro X users would like, as they were maintained or introduced in Logic. I wrote about what Logic Pro X might tell us about the future of Final Cut Pro X on my blog. 


iMovie (2013) was launched as part of Apple's October 2013 announcements. What does it tell us about future versions of Final Cut Pro X, the first of which is due to be released alongside the new Mac Pro?

File Management

In iMovie 2013, Projects (timelines) are stored in Events. Events (collections of footage and other content) are stored in iMovie Libraries.


Although the default 'iMovie Library' document is created in the Movies folder of your home directory, you can use any location or name for iMovie Libraries. iMovie also doesn't open Libraries on any hard drive automatically: you choose which libraries appear in iMovie's library browser:


You can have multiple Libraries open at once, and copy Projects, Events and clips between them. Multiple Events can be merged together by dragging.

You can choose to browse all the Projects and Events in the Libraries you have open. Each Event appears as a single skimmable icon, so you can use the skimmer to review all the footage in an event very quickly.

If Final Cut Pro X 10.1 gets these features, many editors wil be happy. Life will be much simpler than the 10.0.X way.


There are few commands in iMovie that would be useful in Final Cut Pro X:

- Seperate menu and keyboard commands to paste specific attributes. Once you've copied a clip, you can use a command to apply its Colour, Crop (including Ken Burns), Stabilization, Rolling Shutter, Video Effects, Audio Volume, Speed and Connected Clip attributes to one or more other clips.

- Seperate menu and keyboard commands can select all of a timeline's Transitions or Transitions or Video Clips or Generators.

- Join Clips command for when you've bladed a clip

- Mute audio of clip command

- Type in custom speed % for slow and fast motion

- Alter date and timecode for any clip optionally changing the source file creation date and time


- Option to show Avid-style timeline that wraps in the window:


- Clip Trimmer (shows clip trims for setting in and out points as well as rolling the visible part):


- Option to show which parts of the clips in an Event are being used in the open Project

- Control to colour balance a clip based on the skin tone of a featured artiste:


- Control to white balance a clip based on choosing a part of a clip that should be white

- Colour temperature slider

- Single brightness/contrast/shadows/highlights slider

- Saturation slider

- Single control to correctly rotate and scale portrait clips to fit a landscape timeline

- Control how much to reduce other audio when a clip is playing

- Apply choice of colour adjustment, video effect or audio effect to Event clips before adding them to a Project

- For connected clips, a draggable control that defines opacity fade in/out time:



I think many of these iMovie commands and features would be happily recieved by many Final Cut Pro X users. 

Stay tuned, there is much more to iMovie (2013)...

Mark Harrison, BBC: “We are taking 4K very seriously”

Monday, 04 November 2013

He says TV hardware manufacturers are

inviting consumers to consider seeing their television as less of a television and more as a primary display. It’s almost like the TV becoming the biggest and best computer screen in the house. Once you have accepted a ‘television’ is actually a display – and the discipline of television is separated from the device – it has subtle but profound implications for both consumer and producer.

More at IP & TV News.

NLE innovation - does Apple want to keep up?

Friday, 13 September 2013

This weekend sees many announcements at the IBC Show in Amsterdam. Another set of features and innovations that Apple will probably ignore, as they have been for many months. 

Ben Thompson has written an article about why Apple might deliberately limit its innovation.

Your part in the video goldrush!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

If someone starts talking up the wondrous 'democratisation' of video afforded by sites like YouTube, here's an antidote. Last week's 'Culture Show,' the BBC's arts programme, was a YouTube special.

They included a short amount of contrary opinion during a 30 minute advert for Google's video sharing site:

By the way, can I interest you in some free digital video mining equipment? My modest refurbished store is now open.

4K might not be for you, but

Friday, 13 September 2013

Last week Sony announced two 4K cameras. Matt Davis asked me to contribute to a video he was making on the prosumer model: the PXW-Z100. As well as having my dainty fingers working in big close ups of the controls, he asked for my perspective as someone who designs videos and animations for motion graphics.


  • Categories UHD

The answer is ‘Metadata,’ now ask me the question

Thursday, 12 September 2013

As soon as I saw that OS X Mavericks apps would have 'tags', I guessed that many people would dismiss the feature as new name for Finder coloured labels. In practice, Apple is starting to introduce metadata to OS X users. The ability to associate a variety of things with the same content is currently being presented as a project management method. A good place to start.


Apple TV and iOS

Thursday, 12 September 2013

UI grabs of the new Apple TV software have started to appear. They show a very iOS 7-like revamp. If they are genuine, it might be the first time Apple will imply that the Apple TV runs a version of iOS. This could presage iOS-style third-party (relatively) open app development and distribution for Apple TV.

  • Categories iOS

Your media anywhere

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Apple will be updating their Apple TV software next week. One expected improvement will be the ability for friends to play the media they paid for on their iTunes accounts on your Apple TV.

This is good news if you want to listen to your music or watch your TV shows and movies when you're away from home. Hotels with Apple TV devices in bedrooms will become that bit more attractive to people who've bought content on the iTunes Store. Eventually those who have use an HBO app on their Apple TV might be able to use that app and see that content on the other side of the world.

Rights to content could be based on Apple only allowing one log in at a time of an Apple ID to access media. ID could be confirmed by entering the password on a nearby iPhone or iPad, so that the foreign Apple TV wouldn't ever get access to Apple ID details.

Once any Apple TV can play your media, I hope Apple extend the feature so that any iOS device can play your media too.

  • Categories iOS

The next million movie editors

Thursday, 12 September 2013

On Tuesday Apple made some iPhone 5 and iOS 7 announcements.

As well as improving the most popular stills camera in the world, Apple are starting to focus more on supporting what are probably the most popular video cameras in the world.

Apple are making iMovie for iOS free for all new iOS devices from now on. When people start using their new iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, there will be a prompt to download the iOS iLife and iWork apps (amongst others).

Apple will have sold 300 million iOS devices in the 13 months between September 2012 and October 2013.

If they sell the same number of devices over the next 13 months and 5% start using iMovie on iOS to edit their videos, there'll be 15 million more video editors in the world.

Welcome to Alex4D Notes

Thursday, 12 September 2013

This is a link blog: a series of short to medium-length posts that are primarily about sharing interesting post production and media content from elsewhere with a little commentary from me.