Where is the blazing performance we were hoping for Apple Silicon? A just-released trio of optimized Pro App updates gives the answer, plus some nice extras in each.
In visuals and in music, it makes a big difference that Apple has settled into both a happy third-party ecosystem and the company’s own first-party tools. Gripes about plug-in authentication aside (cough), it seems clear that Apple dogfooding the company’s own hardware, OS, and developer tools is probably a good thing. And for users, maybe you won’t drop Ableton Live or Cubase or Reaper for Logic, or Resolve or Premiere for Final Cut. But you might still try running a live show with MainStage or whip up some visuals in Motion or deal with cutting footage from the iPhone using Final Cut.
There are few useful toys in this set of updates – on top of evidently some serious optimization work for Apple Silicon hardware.
iMovie Storyboard and Magic Movie
Wait! iMovie isn’t a Pro App! Ah – but this actually integrates with Final Cut, and means the iOS app here works as a companion. Two new features to play with, both automating the full look and feel of what you’re doing:
- Magic Movie: Drop a bunch of clips and/or photos together, and iMovie promises to whip something up.
- Storyboards: Templates with pre-built shot lists, transitions, and whatnot. Promised genres include “DIYs, cooking tutorials, product reviews, science experiments, and more.”
Yeah, I’m not sure about them either, but sometimes when Apple has fired right over the years, they’ve come up with workflows that function well in a pinch, especially on mobile and under tight deadlines. I’m mainly curious to see if you can warp these into your own look.
Tips, and as always, better in Japanese:
The main thing is, you can migrate these from iMovie 3.0 to —
Final Cut Pro 10.6.2
Magic Movie and Storyboard with iOS. With the 10.6.2 update you can bring those Magic Movies and Storyboards from your iPhone (or iPad) and edit away.
But it’s really the other workflow goodies that I think we’ll welcome:
Locate duplicate media. Highlight a clip range or Timeline Index and you can quickly find media that appears more than once. (This winds up being a really big deal at least for me where I did projects with lots of use of the same clip over and over again…)
Machine learning-powered background noise removal. Okay, gotta test this one, but it promises to help out speech. I’d love to see the same feature in Logic; imagine we might. You’ll need Monterey 12.3+.
But of course, what’s really interesting is performance.
Improved playback and graphics performance on M1 Max + Ultra:
These are Mac Studio notes – for more detail:
Play back up to 18 streams of 8K ProRes 422
Play back up to 56 streams of 4K ProRes 422
Transcode ProRes up to 5.2x faster than on the 27-inch iMac
Render 8K projects up to 5x faster than on the 27-inch iMac
I mean, let’s take a step back and process that for a moment. Those are, like, World Cup, Super Bowl numbers of streams. That’s insane. It means you can just use ProRes 422 for everything if you want, in realtime. Hell, apart from I’d have to check some (important) details like how transport works, you could theoretically VJ live with the stuff.
Oh, sorry – it’s spring. Baseball. Apple actually did a little press release around how broadcast baseball works with their goods, even if part of me will not accept the notion of “Friday Night Baseball.” (Sorry, don’t baseball fans just start to measure the rare days where there isn’t some unending game on?)
Interestingly, some eagle-eyed folks had already caught that this build was coming. Dig through the footnotes on the FCP page for the details of how they benchmarked; I haven’t had time to do that yet. (I miss Macworld Labs, for sure!)
The Mac Studio has different thermals, so I do expect you won’t get exactly the same results on a MacBook Pro with the same chipset, but based on my understanding of the software architecture, you should still view this through the filter of “improvements across Apple Silicon.”
Release notes: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201237
Two subtle but useful details – and hey, another reason to opt for Compressor over Adobe Media Encoder. (I mean, I’m not the only one randomly swapping between the two, right? Once they’re there…)
- View a video’s transparency (requires macOS Monterey 12.3 or later), the aspect ratio of an output, and modified source media properties in the preview viewer.
- Rotate and flip video files using new video properties in a setting.
And yes, more ProRes goodness:
Transcode ProRes RAW to ProRes 422 up to 12.6x faster than on the 27-inch iMac
Transcode ProRes 4444 to ProRes 422 up to 8.5x faster than on the 27-inch iMac
Transcode ProRes 4444 to HEVC 10-bit up to 1.7x faster than on the 27-inch iMac
Again, see footnotes for how they tested, and I guess we should try this on their notebooks, too.
Release notes: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202204
I really adore Motion, as a too-often overlooked motion graphics creator. Nothing huge in this release feature-wise, but one nice new filter: “Use the new Sliced Scale filter to divide an image into slices to prevent distortion when scaling.”
Also: “Adds a Scale Mode menu to choose a scaling method when using a match move behavior.”
Apple isn’t being quite as loud about this one, but you should also see enhanced 3D performance on Apple Silicon, as they promise this will improve playback and share performance when you’re working with 3D Objects.
Motion release notes: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202203
It’s good stuff – and I do think this software-silicon combo is likely to be one we see industry-wide, so Apple deserves some credit for leading the way in a pretty user-accessible package.
Let us know what you’re making with these if you’ve got this software/hardware combo.