Final Cut Pro X updated with multicamera editing features, advanced time syncing, new import options

Apple just released a fairly major update to Final Cut Pro X, adding in multicamera editing functionality with the ability to sync cameras using recorded audio, more advanced chroma keying, deeper XML import / export support, and new support for Thunderbolt-based broadcast monitoring. FCP X 10.0.3 is the second major update since the new version launched seven months ago to deeply ambivalent reviews — Apple says it's moving away from 18-month release cycles, but it's also clearly feeling the pressure as pros have begun looking to other solutions.

FCP X 10.0.3's new multicamera editing feature supports up to 64 cameras, which can be resolution, codec, and framerate independent. Apple's Senior Director of Applications Marketing Richard Townhill says it's "the best multicam in the business," with "some really cool and innovative controls no one else has, even Final Cut Pro 7." Chief among them is the ability to sync up DSLRs and other cameras that don't record standard timecode by either their internal clocks or by automatically analyzing their audio recordings and matching things up. The system can be used to sync pretty much anything — Apple's demo video shows a commercial production using everything from an iPhone to a full Arri Alexa rig.

Apple's also added in new chroma keying features that allows for more granular control inside of FCP X, the ability to relink media files, the ability to import and animate layered Photoshop files, and new beta support for broadcast monitoring via Thunderbolt — theAJA io XT is already shipping, and devices from Matrox and BlackMagic are incoming.

Apple's also touting some new third-party plugins and tools — Red Giant's popular Magic Bullet effects suite has been updated to work with FCP X, as has GenArt's Sapphire plugin. There's also a new $10 app called 7toX by a company called Intelligent Assistance that lets editors move projects from Final Cut Pro 7 to FCP X — a major sticking point in the past. Apple's also bumped XML support to version 1.1, which adds color correction and audio keyframes to the file format — but it doesn't sound like pros will be getting the standard EDL support they've been asking for anytime soon. Apple's Townhill told us that "EDL is a legacy format, and XML is really the future."

All in all, it's a pretty major set of upgrades aimed at some of FCP X's biggest omissions and pain points, but Apple still has some work to do in convincing pros that it's still focused on their particular needs and not totally caught up in the consumer world of iPhones and iPads. We'll see how it goes — FCP X 10.0.3 is available now in the Mac App Store.