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TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 18 December 2017

Final Cut Pro X 10.4, Compressor 4.4, and Motion 5.4 — Updating in sync with the release of the new iMac Pro (see “Apple Releases the iMac Pro,” 15 December 2017), Apple has released Final Cut Pro X 10.4, Compressor 4.4, and Motion 5.4 with a focus on 360-degree VR video support. You can now import and edit equirectangular video from a wide range of formats and frame sizes (including monoscopic and stereoscopic formats) into Final Cut Pro and Compressor,
plus send 360-degree video output to a connected VR headset from Final Cut Pro and Motion.

From Final Cut Pro, you’ll be able to monitor headset and equirectangular views simultaneously while editing from the 360-degree viewer, use the Horizon overlay to change a video’s orientation, and utilize a patch to remove cameras and rigs from the scene. Both Final Cut Pro and Motion enable you to place, reposition, and resize any graphic, still, or video in a 360-degree video project; apply effects such as blurs and glows to 360-degree video; and share videos directly to YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo. Compressor adds support for exporting 360-degree video files with embedded industry-standard spherical metadata.

Apple’s professional video editing apps also boast a long list of new features and improvements, plus important bug fixes.

Final Cut Pro X 10.4 adds new tools for color grading, with a dedicated color tab in the inspector that collects all color controls. New color wheels improve upon traditional wheels with integrated sliders to adjust hue, saturation, and brightness, while color curves provide ultra-fine adjustments and hue/saturation curves let you make brightness adjustments while leaving other parts of the image unchanged.

Beyond color grading, here are some highlights from Final Cut Pro’s other improvements and fixes:

  • Adds support for importing, editing, and playing of High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) video clips and High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF) photos

  • Directly import an iMovie for iOS project for advanced editing, audio work, and finishing

  • Import, grade, and deliver High Dynamic Range (HDR) video as Rec. 2020 HLG or Rec. 2020 PQ for HDR10

  • Import and export WAV files greater than 4 GB as RF64 when using macOS 10.13 High Sierra

  • Fixes a stability issue that occurred when using Final Cut Pro on High Sierra with a laptop in closed-display mode and attached to an external monitor

In version 4.4, the video conversion and output tool Compressor also adds support for HEVC files, compacting file sizes up to 40 percent smaller than H.264 with the same video quality. It also provides controls for color space conversions and metadata for HDR video, and enables you to convert HDR to Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) video. Other highlights include:

  • Adds support for encoding MXF files with compatibility for a wide range of codecs and parameters

  • Correctly identifies frame rates for iPhone movies

  • Addresses an issue with Panasonic GH5 MP4 files exported to ProRes that produced three green frames at the beginning of a file

Finally, the motion graphics tool Motion 5.4 now enables you to convert between a Motion project, Final Cut Pro generator, Final Cut Pro title, Final Cut Pro effect, or Final Cut Pro transition at any time. In addition to adding support for HEVC videos and HEIF photos, the update also brings these changes:

  • Send to Compressor to export motion graphics projects in the HEVC format

  • Improves speed and quality of Optical Flow analysis using Metal

  • New Overshoot behavior creates realistic spring-loaded animations without the need for keyframes

  • Resolves issues with the Time Date Text Generator 24-hour clock

  • Trailing punctuation in a text sequence now animates correctly

All three video apps now require a minimum of OS X 10.12.4 Sierra. (Free updates. Otherwise, Final Cut Pro X, $299.99 new, 3.02 GB, release notes, 10.11.4+; Compressor, $49.99 new, 393 MB, release notes, 10.11.4+; Motion, $49.99 new, 2.38 GB, release notes, 10.12.4+)

Read/post comments about Final Cut Pro X 10.4, Compressor 4.4, and Motion 5.4.

Logic Pro X 10.3.3 — Apple has released Logic Pro X 10.3.3 with support for up to 36 cores and optimizing Sculpture and Amp Designer for the newly released iMac Pro (see “Apple Releases the iMac Pro,” 15 December 2017). These changes boost performance up to 12 times compared to previous versions. The professional audio app makes Loops, Channel Strip settings, and other content available again on Macs using APFS volumes; adds a new high-definition mode to Sculpture; fixes latency compensation with plug-ins inserted as Dual Mono or Multichannel; ensures the VoiceOver cursor
remains functional when shortening a region at all zoom levels; and fixes a lengthy list of crashes. ($199.99 new in the Mac App Store, free update, 1.35 GB, release notes, 10.11+)

Read/post comments about Logic Pro X 10.3.3.

Mellel 4.0.3 — RedleX has issued Mellel 4.0.3, a maintenance release aimed at fixing bugs in the word processor built for long-form writing. The update resolves several issues related to larger documents that caused sluggish performance, plugs a couple of memory leaks, fixes several crashes, addresses problems applying markers to outline items via the Markers palette, and fixes a bug that caused URLs entered into a hyperlink URL field to produce broken links if the pasted URL was not URL-encoded. ($59 new from RedleX and the Mac App Store, $29
upgrade, free update, 92.4 MB, release notes, 10.6+)

Read/post comments about Mellel 4.0.3.

Moneydance 2017.6 — The Infinite Kind has released Moneydance 2017.6 with an improved investment portfolio screen layout and streamlined online banking setup process. The personal finance manager also fixes the translate currencies tool window, mutes Dropbox notifications when writing sync files unless the debug flag is set, improves the online transaction confirmation options, works around a macOS 10.13 High Sierra bug that caused a crash when certain file chooser windows were invoked, and fixes a bug preventing the correct entry of share values for securities with 10 or more digits. ($49.99 new from The Infinite Kind with a 40 percent discount for TidBITS members, free update, 102 MB, release notes, 10.7+)

Read/post comments about Moneydance 2017.6.

AirPort Base Station Firmware Updates 7.6.9 and 7.7.9 — Apple has released firmware updates for the current AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule base stations with 802.11ac Wi-Fi (these tower-like models receive Firmware Update 7.7.9), as well as older AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule models with 802.11n Wi-Fi (Firmware Update 7.6.9). Both updates patch the KRACK exploits (see “Wi-Fi Security Flaw Not As Bad As It’s KRACKed Up To Be,” 17 October 2017), improving the handling of state
transitions to prevent reusing a nonce (aka, Number ONCE, an arbitrary number that can only be used once) in WPA multicast/GTK clients. Update 7.7.9 also addresses a memory corruption issue that enabled an attacker within range to execute arbitrary code on the Wi-Fi chip. You must update your AirPort base station using AirPort Utility on your Mac or an iOS device with Apple’s AirPort Utility app installed. (Free, release notes for 7.6.9, release notes for

Read/post comments about AirPort Base Station Firmware Updates 7.6.9 and 7.7.9.

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