As expected, Apple introduced a new version of Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Studio at the 2007 National Association of Broadcasters convention.
As expected, this updated version of the Final Cut packages will blow your socks off with capability and new features.
I’m a big fan of the NAB Convention. It’s loaded wtih broadcasters from all over the world. Even better, NAB is loaded with all the latest video production
Even better is Apple’s release of Final Cut Studio 2, Final Cut Pro 6, and Final Cut Server—a suite of
tools that may well be the best package of video and audio production components on the planet.
My first NAB was about 20 years ago in Dallas, TX. That was back in the days when $150,000 would get you a decent video camera, a few Sony 3/4-inch video recorder decks and monitors, an A/B roll video editing system with character generatioin, a 286 PC running rudimentary digital video effects, and a multitrack audio recorder.
Today, $15,000 will get you all that in an Octomonster MacPro, a full suite of Final Cut Studio
tools, an HD video camera, and some change.
Thanks to the expected crowds at NAB, my hands on effort with Final Cut Studio 2 exceeded seven minutes but never reached 10 minutes total. Here are the highlights.
My Final Cut Pro experience began in late 2000 with version 1.2 so I’m a long time user and faithful upgrader. So it will be with Final Cut Studio 2, the package of video and audio treats Apple uses to carve out a wel-deserved niche in media production.
The new Studio contains Final Cut Pro 6, the award-winning non-linear video/audio editor, SoundTrack Pro 2, Motion 3 for special effects and character generation (dispensing with the previous LiveType package), Compressor 3, DVD Studio Pro 4, and Color, for color grading and finishing.
This is not just a simple upgrade designed to extract a semi-annual upgrade fee from the faithful. Final Cut Studio is loaded with new features and capabilities aimed at a more experienced user.
For example, Final Cut Pro 6 offers a new open format timeline which lets videographers mix and match and edit a combination of source material; HD and SD, NTSC and PAL—even different frame rates—in real time.
Audio gets a big boost with SoundTrack Pro 2, now loaded with time saving automation tools and over 1,000 royalty-free audio effects, some nifty clip transition effects, and SurroundSound 5.1 output capability.
Some producers may buy the Studio suite just for the audio capabilitys and SurroundSound in SoundTrack Pro 2.
Compressor 3 gets a long needed overhaul and more automation, including the ability to batch process for multiple format deliver—iPod, AppleTV, DVD, even Blu-ray and HD DVD discs.
Motion 3 has a substantial set of new features, including more automation tools, and the ability to attach and manipulate text to any layer or object of a video clip.
I was particularly impressed with Motion’s image stabilization option to correct poor or shaky video. SmoothCam keeps pans, tilts, and zooms, but reduces handheld camera jitter.
New to the Studio is the standalone Color color grading application. From what I could see within less than a dozen minutes of use, Color will do a great job enhancing video for that all important signature look—all with point and click simplicity.
DVD Studio Pro 4 is not, from what I can tell, an upgrade to Apple’s video production authoring environment. Frankly, I don’t know what they’d add to make it better than the current shipping version.
Regardless, whatever the content, burning it on DVD is easier with drag and drop carried to extremes in DVD Studio Pro. You gotta like it that Apple has fully embraced Blu-ray and HD DVD. Who’s the winner? Who cares?
As important as Final Cut Pro is to the whole Studio suite, even more important is the integration between the major applications. While each can stand alone, they work better in concert, making the whole of Studio greater than the sum of the Studio parts.
The upgrade price for Studio 2 is a mere $499 which will translate into another $10,000 expenditure—the cost of an Octocore MacPro and a new HD video camera.
Make no mistake about Apple’s intent with the Final Cut packages, they’re aiming for the professional and succeeding as feature length movies, TV commercials, and TV shows are now being edited and produced using FCP.
Somewhat out of my league is Final Cut Server, Apple’s media asset management and workflow automation applications. Server is for larger production outfits which need headache relief from managing media files, tracking job status, and automating complex sequences.
Seven minutes of hands on does not a detailed review make. Once back to the confines of my room I managed to check the Apple site and download most of the video presentation tutorials on Final Cut Studio 2—nearly 90-minutes total.
If you love video and audio production, grab a pizza, something cold to drink, and settle in for an hour or so of blissful thinking.