FCPX 10.3 Quick And Dirty Update Guide

Quick & Dirty Update Guide To:
I - Final Cut Pro X 10.3
II - Motion 5.3
III - Compressor 4.3


I - Final Cut Pro X 10.3

Please backup everything first!
Never backup mid-production!
Read and follow Apple's upgrade guidelines!
Be sure all your third party plug-ins are compatible with the upgraded application!


1 - Introduction
The latest update to Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) shows that Apple is very committed to developing a cutting edge, state of the art pro app for video, broadcast and film editing. In this blog post I’ll cover the updated and new features, except audio roles.

Audio Roles will be covered in a blog post immediately following this one, because there so so much to the new audio roles update, it will take up a whole article of its own.

Everything in this update I’m absolutely in love with. Very much a step in the right direction. And much of, I believe, is
necessary in order for other functions many of us would like to see manifest in the future.

Audio Roles are greatly enhanced, and the single most popular subject about this new upgrade. Here is Apple’s document explaining how they work.
FCPX 10.3 - Understanding Audio Roles

2 - Odds & Ends
A new drag-and-drop XML function for certain objects with another application that supports this function. Let me explain; Let’s say you are developing an asset management system, for example. You can let your users drag-and-drop clips or edited timelines, back and forth with FCP X, and along with the copy function, the XML metadata gets exchanged with it. This can be especially useful fur users of web based services like frame.io. Or maybe for something like LumberJack? Philip, you reading this?

FCPX 10.3 supports SMB 3 so you can store Libraries on network attached storage.

Import XML files from a Project or Event directly into an existing Event. No more being forced to have a whole new Event when importing XML files.

01 XML Import

XML 1.3 supports new audio role functions (see blog post immediately following this one).

Export MXF-wrapped ProRes, and AVC-Intra files.

Extensive MXF options for exporting via Master File share. Includes using audio roles for specifying broadcast channel layouts.

02 MXF Export

Support for Canon C300 12-bit video.

Option in Preferences, General section, to tell FCPX to re-validate all AU plugins during the next time FCPX is launched.

03 Validate Audio Units

When launching FCPX or Motion with the Option and Command keys held together (delete preference files), you get a compressed file of what I personally call the "preference archive". Double-click to uncompress it and you see all the files FXCPX trashed. Yeah, a copy of all that stuff, so if someone knew what they were doing, they could diagnose what went wrong.


3 - User Interface
A totally re-worked, cleaner, easier, more logical, faster, lends itself to better laptop editing. As an FCP/FCPX user from day one (and an Apple certified trainer for over a decade), it took me a little bit to get used to. But after using it to cut an episode from two TV shows and a couple of promos today, I got used to it quickly, and fell in love with it. After spending a considerable amount of time with FCPX 10.3 on two actual TV shows I'm producing, I can honestly say that I now can not stand working in the old 10.2 user interface. So glad Apple did this. Who thought the FCPX interface could get easier and cleaner? A lot of work to design, must more to code almost from scratch, but so well worth it.


Overall bright gray text over dark gray interface makes for easier reading.

Purple highlights makes for much easier identification of selected/active items.

Large audio meters in Timeline pane are much easier to see accurately, as are peak lines.

Thin blue line just below a pane’s header indicates that pane is the active one at the moment.

Top left of FCPX window has Import, Keyframe, and Background Task buttons.

Background task button works as before, just smaller and out of the way.

Better presets for second monitor use. Select to show either Browser, Timeline, or Viewer on a second monitor.

Window layout presets for: Default, Organize, Color, Color & Effects, Dual Display.

Create, save, and share with others custom window layout presets, called Workspaces. You can also select a preset you created, change what’s on your screen, and “update” so you custom preset changes to the current layout. You can also open the Workspace presets folder from the Window > Workspaces menu. I created my own called “Enlarged Timeline + Index” as you see here. Being simple
.fcpworkspace files, and roughly about 30 KB, they can be moved from system to system easily.

05 Workspaces

Remove Attributes and Remove Effects are great additions. Remove Attributes is exactly like Paste Attributes, except things get
removed from one or more clips at a time.

Three buttons at the top right of the FCPX window open and close: Browser & Libraries panes, Timeline (yes, CLOSE the Timeline pane), Inspector. Note that clicking the Libraries icon (top left) opens and closes just the Libraries pane.

Share button is upper most top right of FCPX window, with enhanced icons.

Bottom of FCPX window / Timeline pane left blank so we have more Timeline real estate to work with. Yay! Thanks Apple!

4 - Import Window
The import window has two new options, also reflected in the Preferences > Import settings, which determine how to handle drag-and-drop imports.

We can have FCPX read iXML data from audio recorders, to give our audio files custom audio roles automatically. Assuming your audio recorder has the function of naming roles and adding iXML metadata to its recorded files.

You can also assign audio roles to clips at import manually.

06 Import window

5 - Library / Browser Panes
New light gray on dark gray scheme is easier to see, new clip type icons for compounds and such are much easier to distinguish at a glance.

And the Browser now swaps out with newly designed Photo/Audio and Title/Generator browsers (see Media Browser section below).

Once selected, clicking the Libraries button again will hide/show the Libraries pane, giving you more room to work in the Browser. It’s background will darken indicating the Libraries pane is hidden.

Top left is the Background tasks indicator/button, which works as usual.

06b Background Tasks

Top right has Clip Filter menu, Filmstrip/List view switch button, Clip Appearance button, Search button.

Clip Appearance menu now contains a Continuous Playback checkbox. Allows for continuously playing clips one after the other non-stop in either Browser mode (filmstrip or list).

Right-click a Library to select “Reveal In Finder” to quickly locate where that Library is in the Finder.

Search for Compound Clips, Sync Clips, etc. by typing the word for that clip type into the search field. For example; type in the whole word “compound” to see all Compound Clips, regardless of the clips actual name. Or “video” or “audio” or “multicam.”

07b Seach Field

6 - Timeline
The new Timeline in FCPX 10.3 is now referred to as “Timeline 2.”

08 Timeline

Redesigned timecode display shows Timeline name and Timeline history navigation buttons to either side. Shows duration of selected section in yellow and timeline duration in gray.

Overwrite Edit button has been added to the edit buttons.

Clip Appearance menu is in the toolbar, on the right. Easier to see and use.

There is now a keyboard shortcut to change clip heights. It is
shift and command with the - or + keys. Now along with the already existing shortcuts to change clip appearance, and zoom in and out, this is really a nice addition.

Render lines are now dotted lines along the timecode ruler.

Gap clips are now light gray, not dark gray, so they stand out really well.

Connection stems are now very tiny and out of the way. You can see connection points for clips in the Primary Storyline as very bright colored dots.

With the new User Interface design, clips, transitions, lanes (see following post about audio roles), etc, all stand out much more clearly. Way more easy on the eyes. And at my age, with my eyes, that’s a HUGE help.

Option with [ or ] can now trim multiple selected clips at once, rather than one at a time.

Command-arrow keys move you through highlighting clips in the Timeline.

Timeline Index, in the Clips section, you can now search for Compound Clips, Auditions, Multicam and Synchronized clips by simply typing in those words. Exactly as it works in the Browser search field. Example; type “compound” in the Index search field, and all Compound Clips, regardless of actual name, will be listed. Note; the full word “compound” must be typed, not just “comp”.

I’ll include the Timeline Index update for Roles in the following post about audio roles. It is simply amazing.

7 - Inspector
The new streamlined, simplified User Interface scheme helps the Inspector panes to be much easier to see at a glance, also.

Custom metadata fields are now text searchable in the Browser and Timeline Index.

Either double-click the Inspector pane’s header, or use Control-Command-4, and it expands to the bottom of the FCPX window. It moves the audio meters and media browsers rather than covering them, but will shorten the Timeline pane area visible.

09 Inspector Expanded

7a - Inspector > Video Pane:
Compositing is now at the top of the pane, just below Effects.

Auto Color Balance is now an effect, allowing it to be placed anywhere in the effects chain desired. Also frees up space in the Inspector.

Easier to see and use keyframe and reset buttons.

10 Inspecor Keyframes

7b - Inspector > Audio Pane:
Effects now list below Volume, Enhancements, and Pan.

Audio Enhancements is now an expandable block, not a separate pane you must slide out to.

Audio Configuration can be dragged by its header up and down in the pane, depending on where you need it to sit for the data you’re using at the moment.

11 Audio Inspector

Compound Clips can be configured to show broken out into Roles, or into Sub-Roles.

12 Audio Inspector Roles

When working with multiple mono channels, even when a stereo pair has been switched to dual mono, or if you have multiple stereo pairs in a clip, you can still apply effects and controls to all channels as a whole, by selecting the main waveform display at top. Much like applying adjustments and effects to a Compound Clip.

Pan and Volume for each channel can be controlled by selecting that channel’s waveform display. Effects to each individual channel are applied in the Timeline pane, by Expanding Audio Components and selecting the individual channels there, then referring back to the Inspector. When then only shows information for that specific channel.

Individual channels on a multichannel clip can each be assigned their own individual Roles or Sub-Roles.

12b Channel Roles

7c - Inspector > Information Pane:
Due to new audio roles functionality (see blog post immediately following this one), video and audio roles are now two separate drop down menus.

Settings configuration; Color Space Override can be off, Rec 601 (NTSC or PAL), Rec 709, Adobe RGB (1998), sRGB IEC61966-2.1, or Rec 2020.

Settings configuration; The Log Processing menu now includes ARRI C (3D), Canon Log 2/Cinema Gamut, Panasonic-V Log, and upgrades to Sony-S Log 2/S-Gamut, Sony-S Log 3/S-Gamut3.Cine. These are all real time LUTs.

13 Inspector Color Setting

Metadata View Presets includes DPP Editorial/Services, DPP Media, and MXF presets.

Color Processing for everything in the Library can be set to Standard or Wide Gamut (Rec 2020). This allows for Projects to be set "up to" Rec 2020. If the Library is set to Rec 709, then Projects in that Library won't have a color space option in their settings, they'll just be Rec 709.

When a Library is selected, click Modify Settings for Storage Locations, there is a new Motion Content option. Any Motion created templates (effects, transitions, titles, generators) used in that Library, can now be set to be stored either in the Motion Templates folder as before, or have a copy stored inside the Library bundle itself. Think “collaboration”. There is also a Consolidate button to create those copies inside the Library, if necessary, when this setting is changed.

14 Library Inspector Tempates

8 - Viewer Pane
Formatting of video and audio of selected item, or active Timeline shows in upper left of Viewer pane.

Timecode display is now in the Viewer pane, bottom center, with a play button and small audio meters.

Click once on the timecode display to type timecode for the playhead to jump to that location in the Timeline pane.

Double-click on the timecode display to change duration of the selected clip in the Timeline.

Color Balance and Retiming shortcut menus have been moved to the Viewer, next to the on-screen controls menu.

Copy and paste timecode to the timecode display. Copy timecode from the Timeline playhead position, or from and external document such as a spreadsheet. Then click once on the timecode display, and paste via the Edit menu or Command-V, hit enter. The playhead jumps to that timecode.

View menu now has Range Check (Rec.709) options. Check for luma, saturation or both. This shows animated hash lines, or “zebra stripes” overlaid in the Viewer. This is VERY welcome addition to the built-in color grading tools.

15 Veiwer Pane

9 - Media Browsers
The four media browsers have been separated (Themes browser has been dropped). This allows for the Browser’s already larger workspace to be utilized to make browsing photos and audio content much easier and faster. It also allows for two media browsers to be open at once. Such as having access to the Effect and Transition browsers at the same time, for example.

Once it is selected clicking the Libraries button will hide/show the Libraries pane, giving you more room to work in the Browser. Similarly, once selected clicking either of the two media browser buttons will hide/show their category column on the left hand side. The background of each button will darken when it is hide mode, lighten when it is show mode.

17 Browser Modes

In the Audio Browser, you can select ranges to edit into your Timeline.

In the Audio and Photo Browsers you can drag an audio clip or range left, and the Library Browser appears, letting you copy it that content into an Event.

New “Flow” transition to smooth over jump cuts, such as in a cut up head shot interview segment. I find this new built-in “jump cut morphing” transition in FCPX to be amazing. It is set to 4 seconds by default. In my test, up to 8 seconds gives great results. 12 second duration seems to max out before you actually see artifacts and unrealistic movement.

A new Timecode effect allows for burning timecode based on clip, project, or custom timecode settings.

In the Timeline toolbar, on the right side, are only the Effects and Transitions browsers.

19 Effects & Transition Browsers

Titles and Generators are now grouped together at the top left of the FCPX window, above the Libraries browser.

20 Audio & Generators Browser

Full length of audio clip waveforms (skim-able) is available in the Browser pane when searching audio content, make ranges, edit to timeline or drag left directly into an Event.

Effects, Transitions, Titles, Generator browsers all have a sort of targeting menu. By default it is set to Installed [media type]. But it can be changed to specify the media of that type (effects, titles, etc) used by timelines within a specified Library. This function only reflects the effects, titles, etc. that have been set to store in that Library and have been consolidated.

Audio and Photo browsers are grouped together at the top left of the FCPX window, above the Libraries browser.

Larger, clearer, easier to see photo thumbnails are available in the Browser pane when searching photo content.

Audio and Photo browsers have better, larger drop down menus and options for searching content. Especially nice when working with very large iTunes and Photos libraries.

When either of the two media browser buttons are selected, clicking them again will hide/show the categories list on the left, giving you more room to work. The same is true for the Libraries button. It will hide/show the Libraries pane, giving you more room to work in the Browser.

10 - Conclusion
That’s about it, it is a lot. There may be a few things I missed. If so, please drop me a line and I’ll update this blog.

This is a major upgrade for sure. No wonder it took so long! Re-writing your apps User Interface is a major undertaking. But it will allow more good things to come along as FCPX grows.

Thank you Apple for putting so much thought into things and bringing us an amazing NLE that pretty much lets us be creative, not engineers.

II - Motion 5.3

Please backup everything first!
Never backup mid-production!
Read and follow Apple's upgrade guidelines!
Be sure all your third party plug-ins are compatible with the upgraded application!

New Motion

New overhauled User Interface to match FCPX and Compressor. I’m personally finding it WAY better than before. A major improvement if you ask me!

01 Motion GUI

File Browser pane removed (hardly used anyway).

Better layout of buttons.

Work with and deliver wide color gamut video in Rec.709 or Rec.2020 color space.

Out Of Gamut zebra stripes for Exposure and Saturation in the Channels menu (upper right of Canvas).

02 Out of Gamut

Align-To behavior lets you link one layer object to another for some really creative work. LOVE IT! Very cool!

Link Behavior allows linking of more parameters such as width and height to automatically drive animations. Played with this, LOVE IT!

Improved performance when working with 3D text. Yes, greatly so.

“Improved environment reflection controls allow for more realistic rendering including anisotropy, which changes the appearance of an object based on angle of view.” I think that says it all.

III - Compressor 4.3

Please backup everything first!
Never backup mid-production!
Read and follow Apple's upgrade guidelines!
Be sure all your third party plug-ins are compatible with the upgraded application!
  • Read THIS article about audio and updating older Libraries from Apple!

Redesigned interface to match FCPX and Motion.

01 Compressor GUI

Better batch warnings and failure error messages that should actually make sense.

Improved image processing including frame rate conversions, interlacing, scaling, optical flow retiming, effects and color space conversions.

More audio and video effects options.


More efficient use of CPU and GPU processing.

Automatic bit-depth selection for high quality transcoding, used for color processing and effects.

Wide color gamut support to work with Rec.709 or Rec.2020 color space, as well as several options for color space conversions.

iTunes Store Package Enhancements
- Audition video with any audio, caption or subtitle to verify sync.
- Media pass-through lets you bypass unnecessary compression and deliver your source files to iTunes
- Seamlessly switch between audio sources during playback to speed up verification.
- Batch warnings and failures have more useful feedback.

More Format Support
- Better DPX support including more accurate interpretation of color information, pixel aspect ratio, interlacing and timing.
- Still image improvements including true color management, wide color gamut and higher bit-depth support.
- Additional still formats for image sequences now include DPX, Cineon, OpenEXR.