Back on April 21 a couple of Mac blogs posted a story that said “Major updates to Apple’s Pro Apps will be coming atWWDC this year. This is 100 percent confirmed.” One even ended the post and said “Consider it good as done people!” This post was discussed again on Twitter yesterday. Rumors never die on Twitter [and I guess posts like this doesn’t help either ; ) ]

That’s pretty confident. Is it out of the realm of possibility that Apple will announce new Pro Apps at the World Wide Developer Conference? Of course not. Current train of thought says that this year’s WWDC will be iPhone related with the new iPhone 3.0 os around the corner and even a new iPhone itself taking center stage. But it wouldn’t at all surprise me if new Pro Apps are announced as well. It would seem that the most logical place to announce the Pro Apps would have been in April at NAB 09 but despite rumors that it would happen the event came and went with nothing. Many opinions are that Final Cut Studio 3 will take advantage of Apple’s updated OS Snow Leopard so that’s one reason that this update seems to be taking so long to happen. With that it makes perfect sense that the Pro Apps could be updated (or at least announced)  at WWDC since that conference is often dedicated to the Mac OS, even though the iPhone now plays a very prominent role. One likely scenario: Snow Leopard gets a progress report with a mention of the applications that will take most advantage of it – a new Final Cut Pro being a lead among them. Then new iPhones.

But more than when this will happen the Mac Soda article states something even more interesting: “There will be native RED and XDCAM support. There will be a major UI overhaul in Color. There will be a new Motion/Shake.”

That first statement is the most interesting: There will be native RED and XDCAM support.

If this proves to be true it will be a major shift in the whole philosophy behind Final Cut Pro. Native RED and XDCAM support would mean that FCP would natively allow non – .mov files into a Final Cut Pro timeline. This would be huge. I was talking to a former Apple employee at NAB this year about this very thing. He said that since day 1 of FCP word has come down from executives “on high” that Final Cut Pro is to only support .mov QuickTime files. Makes sense, that’s Apple own architecture. We all know that it is possible for FCP to support files in a timeline. Look at Gluetools and MXF Import as third parties that are making this happen. The current supported way to work with this file based media in FCP is to rewrap everything via the Log and Transfer window.  This is a process that takes time and disk space. Even what people call the “native” RED editing in FCP isn’t as it has to rewrap the .R3D files as .movs. That is not native editing. 

There was a time when FCP’s QuickTime based architecture was heralded as a God-send, especially against Avid’s proprietary OMF format which meant that everything (graphics, audio, QuickTimes) had to be converted before it could be brought in to an Avid for edit. Today it almost seems silly that FCP can’t natively support formats other than QuickTimes, especially considering all of the different file-based cameras on the market. Avid has opened up a new way of thinking with its Avid Media Access architecture. It really shows the ease with which an NLE can see this new tapeless media and how fast it can be to work with it. If the old walls of Avid can come down then surely FCP do the same. This has been discussed before, most famously by Mike Jones and his talk about the new JVC QuickTime cameras. It does indeed seem like a step backwards for a camera manufacturer to make .mov files out of the camera instead of Final Cut Pro opening up to natively support open formats that the cameras are shooting to. We in post get frustrated with all of the different format that camera manufactures roll out but the software adapts and often makes things better and easier … case in point, Avid Media Access. 

I will anxiously await this upgrade to Final Cut Pro 7 to see if it will allow for “native RED and XDCAM support.” But my gut tells me not bloody likely.