Today Arctic Whiteness announced a very quick update to the Final Cut Library Manager application. Despite version 1.0 only having been launched on March 4th, version 1.5 adds quite a few new features.
Version 1.0 could list all Final Cut Pro X libraries on your system, provide useful information on their composition and launch Final Cut with only the libraries of your choice open. These features were free. If you paid a small activation fee, FCLM could also reduce the size of your libraries by safely deleting proxy media, optimised media and render files.
Version 1.5 is a big update - primarily Final Cut Library Manager can keep a record of every library it sees. That means libraries on external drives, mounted disc images and network locations. Even these drives, images and network locations are no longer connected to your mac, their Final Cut Pro X libraries (optionally) remain in the FCLM list. This is big news for the lone editor with tens of external hard drives and the facility manager keeping their eye on groups working on the same project.
Here is Arctic Whiteness' list of what's changed in the most recent two updates:
Added a context menu item to show the contents of a library in the Finder.
Final Cut Library Manager now tries very hard to follow libraries and source directories that have been moved or renamed while it's not running.
Improved tracking of libraries that reside inside Disk Images, on USB keys, and on other devices that can't be uniquely identified. Note: You may need to remove and re-add these sources - sorry about that.
Visual feedback is given when trying to select a source that doesn't contain any libraries.
Improved the visual feedback when dragging libraries and sources to the main window.
Missing libraries no longer retain their size information and thus don't incorrectly affect the size display in the correspoinding sources.
Fixed a rare bug that would cause libraries on the system disk to be incorrently listed as missing.
Added a handy popup view that details the sections in a bargraph when you hover over it.
"Show Library Contents in Finder" didn't work correctly if the Finder was set up to display columns.
Fixed an issue and potential crash when using 2 or more identical harddrives from certain manufacturers.
New Final Cut features and third party developers
Final Cut Library Manager is an interesting example of how editors get new features for their applications. When a new third party application appears, sometimes editors ask why its features weren't already part of their main editing tool. Although Arctic Whiteness weren't asking for much money for their 1.0 library cleaning features, 'free' is always better.
If all goes well, many editors then download the 'missing feature' application. The developer can then improve their tool. They can then add features that the main application are unlikely to add. FCLM 1.5's offline library management system is a good example of this.
Apple seems to be concentrating on making Final Cut Pro X the application for the lone professional editor. They might have considered including Acrtic Whiteness's advanced library management features in version 10.1, but they were either seen as not a priority resource-wise, or too complex for new editors. In practice, third party developers need to watch out for their apps being 'Sherlocked' by Apple (after seeing the success of third party app, Apple sometimes includes most of its features into a new version of the OS X for free).
Luckily for Arctic Whiteness and Final Cut Pro X users, Apple are unlikely to add the new v1.5 features of Final Cut Library Manager to a future version of Final Cut. Features involving backup management, workflow and group editing. That's where the Final Cut Pro API comes into play.
Over the years Apple have continued to update the Final Cut API (Application Programming Interface) - the way third party software and hardware works with Final Cut Pro. As version 10.0 was a new application that Apple decided to Final Cut Pro X, the APIs had to built up from scratch. The unheralded feature of the 10.1 update was improvements to the API - whose benefits will become more obvious as third party software and hardware developers launch updates and new products in the coming months.
Final Cut Pro X: the core of a modular editing system
For many years feature films and TV shows have been shot using modular systems. Panavision, ARRI and RED are modular systems with a camera at the centre. Attached to the camera would be a choice of lenses, film mags, batteries, viewfinders and support systems.
Final Cut is the equivalent editing application. Although it can work on its own (as long as you have a Mac), editors have the option to add a variety of software and hardware to support their specific needs.
The editing app with the best software and hardware connections has a big advantage over the competition.