Gear Talk: Final Cut Pro 6.0.2
Apple has just released a barrage of Leopard updates, and if you’ve done the necessary basic steps, a new update will become available for their pro applications, (Apple has gone stealth on us for this, for unknown reasons) among which are some important updates for Final Cut Pro 6, or technically, version 6.0.2.
Many of you will no doubt have some reservations on updating your software blind, so I’ve done a neat summary in four parts with information from the release notes from Apple to sum up the new/improved features, and you can decide if updating is the way to go.
1. Compatibility issues
FCP 6.0.2 is compatible only with OS X from version 10.4.11 onwards. That translates Apple-ese as Tiger v.11 and of course, Leopard. It is NOT backward-compatible with 6.0.1, so if you’re in the middle of the project, I’d suggest you finish it in 6.0.1 before updating, simply because you will want everyone else involved to be able to open the project.
2. Formats supported
There is now support for AVCHD full HD formats at 1080i, which is default to cameras such as the Panasonic HSU1UE (our review of this is here) and HDC-SD5. Spanned AVCHD clips are also now recognised â€“ BUT if you had independently ingested spanned clips in version 6.0.1, 6.0.2 would render it impossible for you to re-ingest certain segments. In this case, you are advised to use the Log and Transfer window to re-ingest the entire clip and then delete the outdated clips.
AVC-Intra is also supported, but you will have to first transcode it as ProRes 422; and this will only be available on intel-based macs. Due to its data-intesive nature, only Mac Pros are able to do a full video preview of AVC-Intra footages. On everything else, there is the limited preview playback option, which appears when the footage cannot be played back at its full frame rate. In this case, there will also be no previewing of audio. You must also, of course, have the codec installed, which can be downloaded from Panasonic (can’t locate yet if you find it please drop us a comment/note! See this).
You can also now capture and output in 720p50 using the DVCPRO HD compression method.
There are also some new setups, including HDV Easy Setups for capturing from Canon‘s HDV range at 1080F24, 1080F25 and 1080F30 formats via FireWire. Also new is capture and output support for the JVC 720p50 and 720p60 HDV tape-based devices.
Along with support for a number of 50p formats, 6.0.2 also supports the 50 fps timecode in all its timecode fields and project properties. A new 50 @ 25 timecode format has also been added for deck support and EDL compatibility. Support for 60 fps is also included for capture and export, with the ability to display a 60 @ 30 timecode in drop-frame mode.
Its good to note that the other software updates for associate programmes such as Motion, Color and Soundtrack Pro also now support 50p footage as well.
BWF (Broadcast Wave Format) iXML files are also now supported â€“ so if FCP is able to determine the timecode rate and mode from the imported iXML metadata file, settings in the BWF NTSC Default Timecode pop-up menu is ignored.
The update to 6.0.2 will not affect the timecodes of existing FCP projects containing BWF clips, BUT newly imported media files will be tagged with timecode information from the iMXL metadata, which may not match the timecode that you are originally on. Re-connecting existing clips will also affect the timecode should the iXML metadata be present, and unfortunately in this case, there is no other way around the dilemma except to complete the project in the old version.
Master templates in FCP 6.0.2 requires Motion to be version 3.0.2 or later. That said, FCP is preset to render Motion templates at Normal quality, which you can easily change to suit your needs under the Render Preferences for Motion Master Templates. Worth noting is the checkbox ‘Always Use Best Quality When Rendering Movies’ in the Render Control tab, which, when checked, will set all of the Motion templates and projects to Best quality during export and final renders, no matter what quality you choose in the Quality pop-up menu.
Media files moved to trash now properly appears offline when you switch back to FCP.
In 6.0.1, you could do a ‘swap’ edit by dragging a clip over an adjacent one and holding down the Option key. In 6.0.2 however, holding down the Option key now enables snapping, regardless of whether snap is turned on or off.
Sequence clip names can now be hidden so you can see more of your content, which is especially useful for checking audio waveforms.
What I really appreciate though, is this: there are now commands for playhead-centered zooming in the timeline. A total of three options (which you can map to keyboard shortcuts) are available:
a) Zoom in to playhead on timeline â€“ this keeps the timeline playhead centered as you zoom in.
b) Zoom out on playhead in timeline (same as above, but zooming out instead).
c) Scroll to playhead â€“ scrolls through the timeline so that the playhead remains centered.
Even better: your playhead now appears in the same position when you open nested sequences as where you put it in the parent timeline. This is particularly useful for adjustments when reviewing and playing back, and will no doubt save editors a lot of time and frustration.
Another useful option they have included is the ability to force FCP to open with an empty project when it launches, so you no longer have to wait eons as FCP loads up your last (possibly lengthy) project before you can start a new one.
Some re-named functions to note: The ‘Imported Still/Video Gamma’ option is now renamed as ‘Imported Still/RGB Video Gamma”; and the “Show as square pixels” option is now called “Correct for aspect ratio”.
The Log and Transfer window now displays the amount of free space you have available on scratch.
4. Some useful links:
The latest P2 driver software: https://eww.pavc.panasonic.co.jp/pro-av/support/desk/e/download.htm
The official FCP forum: http://discussions.apple.com/forum.jspa?forumID=939
RSS feed to the latest on FCP: feed://docs.info.apple.com/rss/fcp.rss