Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro news: 8K, object tracking, spatial audio, and still free updates

Final Cut Pro, Motion, Compressor, and Logic Pro all got major updates today, too, to go alongside those new Macs. Logic gets the Spatial Audio tools we’ve been waiting for (and they look fantastic). Just as notable, the pricing stays the same – free updates, buy once, no subscriptions.

That subscription news I think is itself notable. As a lot of software pushes subscriptions, Apple isn’t. If there was ever a time to unveil some kind of Apple Pro subscription for the Pro apps, this would have been it, presumably. So if it’s not happening now, I don’t expect it to happen any time soon. Apple’s situation is unique, of course – why charge for upgrades when they can sell you a new MacBook Pro? But it’s still worth mentioning.

And let’s get into what you get with these updates.

This is the one we’ll be digging into next – spatial tools baked right into Logic. There are already some free tools out there like the open-source IEM suite. But many other tools tend to have higher licensing fees, in particularly for Dolby Atmos authoring. The likelihood here is that this makes both multichannel panning more accessible to Logic users, and Atmos authoring more economical for all Mac users. Photos courtesy Apple.

Logic Pro 10.7 – now with Spatial Audio creation tools

This is what we’ve been eagerly anticipating – Apple is baking Spatial Audio tools directly into Logic. I hope to do a deep dive on this soon, but here’s the snapshot:

  • New mixer and panner controls
  • Spatial options in 13 plug-ins – including Space Designer (ooooooooh), Limiter, Loudness Meter, and Tremolo.
  • Dolby Atmos and Apple Music authoring

As I read the update, this is really two good things in one. The spatial options in the plug-ins and panners and whatnot are almost certainly multichannel spatial tools generally. (Notice the binaural output in the screenshot, so you can even get something through headphones.) So that’s not just relevant to Atmos or any single proprietary format; it should work for your n-order ambisonics or multichannel performances or whatever. That’s certainly how that stuff can and should work. Getting it “for free” in Logic would be really, really great, though.

The second part is equally good news for democratization, which is that it appears you’ll be able to author Dolby Atmos for Apple Music without buying add-ons as you previously had to do. How that works, what features are here versus the paid tools, whether this applies to other Atmos deployments – all that I have to research.

In short: the likelihood here is that this makes both multichannel panning more accessible to Logic users, and Atmos authoring more economical for all Mac users.

But the other story here is, if you are getting a new MacBook Pro, Apple says in their news item that you’ll get up to 3x more plug-ins for recording.

There are also Producer Packs, which… you probably don’t care about, but that does include an Atmos mix of Lil Nas X, which could make a reasonable demo for how those projects are assembled.

Final Cut Pro 10.6, Motion, Compressor

Oh, there’s a lot of cool stuff here.

  • Edit Cinematic mode videos from the iPhone 13/iPhone 13 Pro (heh, how you get those into Resolve I guess will be a topic for another day)
  • Improved object tracking analysis on 16-inch MacBook Pro
  • New Neural Engine acceleration for face and object detection on those newer M1 Pro / Max, too
  • Improved ProRes playback and export performance on the new M1 Pro / Max
  • Motion performance enhancements – 2x faster renders, 5x performance of two 8K video streams on MBP
  • Object tracking combined with masks, shapes, 3D objects, behaviors, filters in Motion
  • New Neon filter in Motion
  • Compressor HEVC and ProRes transcode improvements on new MBP (2x and 10x faster, Apple says, respectively)
  • Canon Cinema RAW transcoding to other formats for the first time (so you can get those in ProRes or H.264 or whatever you need)
  • Watch Folders

Sounds great. And as usual with the Mac, it isn’t just the Apple apps – we do expect a lot from the other members of the Mac ecosystem on the new Apple hardware, too.

Stay tuned. And some of you, probably, watch that FedEx tracking… enjoy.

More on details of these updates later this week. I need an evening coffee, or to upgrade my brain to M1 Max. I think it’s an old Pentium or something.