Your Mac is an amateur audio video production house. iLife gives you Garageband for audio, iMovie for video production. Add a camera and a decent microphone and you’re ready to produce.
Add Final Cut Studio to your Mac and you’re ready for professional level, broadcast quality, cinematic quality video and audio production. This is Part 1 of a two part look at what’s inside Apple’s new Final Cut suite.
Sure, your Mac has an iSight camera, iMovie, Garageband and the ability to record audio and video and create an attractive production. One level above what comes with every new Mac is a production powerhouse called Final Cut Studio.
I’ve been a Final Cut user since late 2000. Since then, Apple has developed a commanding share of the desktop, non-linear video editing and audio production market. Television stations use Final Cut. Movie production houses use Final Cut.
Why? It’s a production studio in a box. Add a fast Mac, a high quality video camera, a few good microphones, and you can have a full on production house inside your Mac.
How much? How’s between $5,000 and $10,000 sound? Less if you’re frugal. More if you need more power.
Final Cut Studio is a suite of applications, Mac only, which set the standard for desktop or notebook video and audio production.
Final Cut Pro for video and audio editing. Motion 4 for video effects. Soundtrack Pro for audio production. Color for color effects and enhancement. Compressor for squeezing video files. DVD Studio Pro (basically unchanged, which tells you what Apple thinks of DVD’s future).
Final Cut Pro
FCP is the central figure in the suite, a non-linear editor that now handles more video formats, more Pro-Res codecs for faster editing, and support for Blu-ray.
Also new is a Share window reminiscent of iMovie, an improved timecode window, closed caption capability, and Multi-Touch gesture support for MacBook Pro models.
Long one of my favorite audio editors, Soundtrack lets you drop in video sequences, add or enhance the audio tracks, and pop out a finished product.
The new version sports more multitrack editing tools, noise reduction enhancements, and a new option called Voice Level which matches dialog levels across an entire project.
If you’re into digital effects, Motion 4 adds 3D shadows and reflections to a long list of 2D and 3D graphic capabilities.
Motion also handles character distortion via the new Adjust Glyph tool, and Scroll Text can automate and animate credit rolls. There’s also over 120 GPU accelerated filters and effects.
It appears as if LiveType, a special effects generator for fonts in previous versions of Final Cut, is nowhere to be found.
Color and Compressor
Apple’s color correcting software utility has a few new features, including the ability to render at maximum quality video from cameras like the Red One.
Compressor is the utility which encodes your video files. The new version comes with more automated tasks and output, including Blu-ray and DVD burning.
Also updated is Final Cut Server. Boris Calligraphy is included in Final Cut Pro. DVD Studio Pro remains unchanged from previous versions which were basically unchanged.
The More Version
Basically, Final Cut Studio could be called the More Version. There’s a little more of everything inside. More features. More effects and filters. More supported video formats. Better media management. Plenty of support for film, including 24-fps EDL import and export.
Where’s LiveType? It appears as if some LiveType features have been rolled into Motion. Once my order for Final Cut Studio is filled, shipped, received, and installed, I’ll complete Part 2 with a hands on review.
For now, If you’ve ever wanted to be a video producer, Final Cut is a great place to start. High quality video cameras are inexpensive. An no audio and video production suite gives you more capability than Final Cut Studio.
Fans of PowerPC chips, it’s time to upgrade. Installing all of the Final Cut Studio components requires an Intel Mac.