Apple has previewed Final Cut Pro X, the latest version of the company's professional video editing software. The announcement came at the Final Cut Pro User Group Network Supermeet, being held in Las Vegas during the 2011 NAB trade show.

Apple says Final Cut Pro X has been rewritten from the ground up, with support for 64-bit, a user-interface redesign, and a whole host of new features. The software takes advantage of core Mac OS X features like Cocoa, Core Animation, Open CL, and Grand Central Dispatch to speed up and fine-tune performance.

Final Cut Pro X replaces Final Cut Studio and Final Cut Express, and Apple has dropped the price dramatically in the US from $999 to $299. UK pricing hasn't yet been announced, but if Apple followed the same model, it would come down from £695 plus VAT to around £210 plus VAT. This will be through the Mac App Store. Apple hasn't stated if boxed copies will cost the same -- or even if the new version of Final Cut Pro will be available outside the Mac App Store.

In addition to a complete UI overhaul, Final Cut Pro X boasts a newly designed floating point linear colour system, up-to-4K-resolution-independent playback, a magnetic timeline for keeping audio and video in sync, Compound Clips for easy video nesting, non-destructive colour balancing, automatic audio cleanup, and Smart Collections for organizing clips.

The new software has additionally borrowed a trick or two from Apple's consumer-level video editing software, iMovie: It now supports full background rendering -- “the render dialog is gone!” said Apple video architect Peter Steinauer -- and an inline precision editor. It also sports the same automatic face detection (single or group) as iMovie or and the ability to identify shots (medium, wide, or close-up).

Steinaeur spoke briefly about the new features before Apple’s chief architect for video applications, Randy Ubillos, came on-stage for a full walkthrough of the software.

Final Cut Pro X will be available this June. More details to follow, including information about the rest of the Final Cut Studio suite. While it seems the Color and Soundtrack Pro apps have been integrated into Final Cut Pro, there was no mention at the event of Motion, DVD Studio Pro or Compressor.