This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2017-12-17 at 2:46 p.m.
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Final Cut Pro X 10.4, Compressor 4.4, and Motion 5.4

by Agen G. N. Schmitz

Updating in sync with the release of the new iMac Pro (see “Apple Releases the iMac Pro [1],” 15 December 2017), Apple has released Final Cut Pro X 10.4 [2], Compressor 4.4 [3], and Motion 5.4 [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:

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:

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:

All three video apps now require a minimum of OS X 10.12.4 Sierra. (Free updates. Otherwise, Final Cut Pro X [5], $299.99 new, 3.02 GB, release notes [6], 10.11.4+; Compressor [7], $49.99 new, 393 MB, release notes [8], 10.11.4+; Motion [9], $49.99 new, 2.38 GB, release notes [10], 10.12.4+)