We have known it has been in beta for a while, but today, Apple released the next macOS - 10.15 Catalina. We answer the questions about 32-Bit apps and legacy media using old codecs, especially Avid's DNX series. But the number one new feature for us is the ability for FCPX to output the viewer video to an iPad using Sidecar!

So why the update? Things have to move forward and although that means there are some casualties along the way, the new macOS brings benefits for all Mac users.

First of all, we shouldn't need to say it, but don't upgrade anything mid-project and always make sure you have everything backed up before you do upgrade.

Catalina finishes off Apple's transition from 32 to 64-Bit apps. There has been over a decade of development from Apple with 64 bit apps, they bring better system performance and access to more memory. Final Cut Pro X has been 64-Bit from version 10.0.0. Metal will only run with 64-Bit apps and should give FCPX a good speed bump when rendering, compositing, real-time effects playback, and exporting.

Apple macOS Catalina sidecar tethered woman drawing

There are two ways to check if you have any 32-Bit apps left on your Mac. First of all, if you look under Application in the System Information in 'About this Mac' from the Apple Menu, you will find all the apps installed on your Mac and also if the are 64-Bit or not.

system information catalina 64 Bit 

Or, when running the Catalina installer, the user will have the option to abort the install if any 32-Bit apps are found.

So before we hit the new features, what about supporting legacy codecs such as Avid's DNxHR and DNxHD? You might have missed it, but at IBC, along with the announcement that Avid will support ProRes RAW, they also said this:

Apple will provide 64-bit decoders for DNxHR and DNxHD codecs within the Pro Video Formats package that is available from Apple as a free download for all users.

Great news for FCPX users who have to assemble programs from multiple sources. Although the Pro Video Formats update hasn't been released yet, we expect it sooner rather than later.

There are many new features in Catalina, but we would like to touch on four:


If you saw the WWDC Keynote, then using an iPad as second screen to a Mac isn't new news. There have also been a couple of third-party apps that have done this for a while.

What we didn't realise though was that Final Cut Pro X can send a video out from the Viewer to an iPad, all without wires, up to 10 metres if you wish. (if you have the correct hardware!) 

Think of it as having the iPad as a broadcast monitor, although it probably won't show interlaced material. Yes we know the banner image isn't FCPX!

Also, not only do you get Touch Bar support, you can use an Apple Pencil, which will be very handy if you want to draw a mask.

Voice Control

Yes we are a step further to opening the pod bay doors. There are two different modes that can work together or can be toggled off. This in in addition to Siri.

Speech-to-text transcription gets an upgrade with Machine Learning. It can work out what needs to be transcribed and what is said as a command.

There are now many more ways you can control your Mac with Command Mode in Voice Control.

We are yet to put it into action, but individual items in the GUI can be numbered. So will it be possible to play a clip out of the FCPX browser by saying a number and play? Although these commands are aimed at people who maybe cannot control a mouse, it does open up some interesting opportunities when editing. 

QuickTime Player

Nice to see QuickTime Player getting some love from Apple. It's got new features aimed at the pro.

  • Enhanced Movie Inspector. The Movie Inspector pane now shows you even more in-depth technical information about the currently opened media file. At a glance, you can now see key details such as video color space, HDR format, bit depth, scale, and aspect ratio.
  • Timecode support. When QuickTime Player opens a media file with embedded timecode, it shows the time information right within the onscreen navigation controller. Great for quickly referencing shots during the media production process. 
  • Open Image Sequence. A thoroughly modernized Open Image Sequence feature makes its return to QuickTime Player. You can create an H.264, HEVC, or ProRes-encoded movie file by navigating to a folder of sequentially numbered images, then choosing your resolution, frame rate, and desired encoding quality. Great for pros creating movies from rendered frames or photographers creating time-lapse videos. (Nice!)
  • Transparent video support. QuickTime Player can optionally preserve the transparency (alpha) channel when exporting from a ProRes 4444 source into the HEVC format. 
  • Picture in Picture (PiP). With a single click in the navigation controller, you can send video in a resizable window that isn’t blocked by other windows, allowing you to watch while working on other things.


Coming in slightly under the radar, but this feature just might dig you out of a hole. If you find that any third-party software is incompatible with an update, you can go back to where you where before the installation happened. Snapshots are available for a day, disk space permitting.

Catalina is a free update, available today, although you will need a Mac from the list below to install it.

• MacBook (Early 2015 or later)
• MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or later) • MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or later) • Mac mini (Late 2012 or later)
• iMac (Late 2012 or later)
• iMac Pro (2017)
• Mac Pro (Late 2013 or later)



Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


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