FCPX Timeline render comparison

This week's Final Cut Pro X upgrade to 10.0.6 brought some excellent new features and some much requested old features back. But under the hood there have been more changes, one of them turbo boosting rendering on the timeline by a massive 3200%!

We would say that it would be hard to find anybody in the industry that didn't think 10.0.6 was a pretty good update to FCPX.  But guess what, some people were slamming it before anybody had downloaded it. It really does make us wonder why if people are so happy with other NLEs, why should they keep moaning about FCPX when they don't even use it?

We won't go on about the new features within FCPX, but we will point out one HUGE improvement that has gone rather unoticed over the last couple of days.

You may or may not have been aware that up until 10.0.6 there were large differences between render times of effects on the timeline and the same effects on export. This was because on export, the Mac used all the resources it could to get that movie out and that included the GPU or Graphics Processing Unit. Rendering on the timeline was a different matter and that was done by the CPUs in the background. In the 10.0.6 update, the GPU is now used for rendering on the timeline which has led to a massive improvement in rendering times.

So why should we be interested in this? The majority of effects, generators, titles and transitions are written using Motion which is a heavy user of the GPU. Some of the effects within FCPX are coded, they are the ones that you cannot open when right clicked.

So we thought that we would do a little test.

We took the office iMac which is under a year old and did a like for like comparison of render times of an effect before and after the move from 10.0.5 to 10.0.6.  So same machine, latest OSX, same project, same effect.

We decided to use a plugin called Box Roll from the XEffects 3D Transitions pack and turn all the 3D features like distance blur and reflections up to the max. The project was 1080p 25fps ProRes 422 and the effect we put at a duration of 5 Seconds.

We were amazed by the results.


FCPX Timeline render comparison 2

Ouch!  And here is 10.0.6

FCPX Timeline render comparison 3


That is a huge 3200% improvement in timeline rendering times! It will also mean less dropped frames on playback as the GPU will have a go at playing complex effects.

This is a great improvement for all FCPX users and will definately speed up the editing process and allow the use of GPU intensive effects to be able to be played without stuttering. We also noticed that the thumbnail previews in the transitions browser were much more responsive.

If anybody else has figures on other effetcs showing the stunning improvement then we would love to post them as an update.

Just to clear one point up, we forced the effect render from a menu command, not just leaving background rendering to finish it. Will be interetsting if background rendering is as quick.

Nice one Apple, 3200 thank yous!


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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