About 3000 people heard Apple’s latest announcements at a special event
today in Las Vegas, at the Venetian Hotel. The highlights are a new
application Final Cut Server, new codec called Apple ProRes 422, new
AJA hardware called IO-HD for real time converstion to ProRes 422 and,
of course, a new version of Final Cut Studio, with new releases of
Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Motion and Compressor and a new
application in Final Cut Studio, Color (based on the Final Touch
purchase), which is included.
Apple reported over 800,000 paid Final Cut Pro users now registered
with Apple. As we at the Digital Production BuZZ predicted, this was a
big year for workflow within the Final Cut Studio, starting with a new
asset management application, Final Cut Server. Final Cut Server is scalable
from small boutiques to multinational news organizations and the
interface works on PC as well as Macintosh. Final Cut Server can
catalog about 100 types of files, generates proxies and enables keyword
searching and access control.
More interestingly, Final Cut Server includes workflow automation
with workflow templates and a “watch and respond” (watch folder)
system. Also included are review and approve tools and automated
encoding and publishing using the technology from Compressor. This is
all integrated with Final Cut Pro, including cutting with proxies.
Final Cut Server costs US$999 for up to 10 concurrent users, or
US$1999 for unlimited concurrent users. Final Cut Server will be
available “this summer” and is probably based on Proximity’s artbox (which was acquired by Apple).
Cut Studio 2 includes Final Cut Pro 6, Motion 3, Soundtrack Pro 2,
Compressor 3 and Color. DVD Studio Pro has not been revised in
Before we get to the details of Final Cut Studio, Apple had met
another item on the Digital Production BuZZ wish list: Apple ProRes
422, a scalable HD codec optimized for post-production workflows. Apple
have long needed a post-optimized codec that scales in data rate across
need and resolution. Apple ProRes 422 does uncompressed HD at SD file
sizes making full HD post workflows practical on a MacBook Pro. A 1 TB
uncompressed HD file can be stored in 170 GB. Apple ProRes 422
works with all sources up to 1080P60 from the RED One camera or from
Sony’s HDCAM SR 1080p60 system being announced separately at NAB this
Files from the Sony or RED cameras, including 4K files, can be
plugged directly into a MacBook Pro and work end-to-end in the codec.
AJA have backed up the Apple ProRes 422 codec with new hardware, the
AJA IO-HD that will take in all
formats and convert them to Apple ProRes 422 for just US$3495 and
available in July. Everything in and out to Apple ProRes 422. Apple
ProRes 422 includes includes automatic upscaling of lower-res
Final Cut Pro 6
Major new features for Final Cut Pro 6 include:
- Open Format Timeline where you can mix resolution, codecs and
size in the same timeline with real-time playback;
- New Tapeless ingest interface (for DVCPRO HD and XDCAM HD sources);
- Self normalizing gain function;
- SmoothCamera – optical flow technology from Shake for stabilizing camera moves
(i.e. a stabilizer that actually works for Final Cut Pro);
- Open editable Motion projects directly in Final Cut Pro, without
leaving Final Cut Pro (limited editing, for example text within a
Motion project, making it the defacto title tool for Final Cut Pro now);
- Motion projects play without rendering in the same way they do in
- More FXPlug real-time effects and ProRes 422 support.
- Vector-based painting;
- Retiming is matched with Behaviors in Motion with a new approach
- Audio behaviors – control animations by audio volume and
- Full 3D application environment with lights, camera and 3D
- Motion tracking – match-move style.
Soundtrack Pro 2
- 5.1 surround sound mixing with stereo and 5.1 in the same project
and aligned with 3-up video display;
- Surround sound Plug-ins;
- Library of over 1000 music tracks and sound effects supplied in
- A new continuous Conform feature that tracks changes, syncs changes, etc. in Final Cut Pro and updates the Soundtrack Pro project accordingly, with differences highlighted that you can accept or over-ride;
- Frequency spectrum view in built-in waveform editor (no more need
to suffer from Adobe Audition envy) – the demonstration showed removing
a mic “thump” without damaging the dialog it occured under (something
we might need to use on the Digital Production BuZZ shows!).
Yet another new interface!
- Simplified cluster setup now extended to MPEG-2, H.264 and
supports Telestream Episode Pro through a plug-in for VC-1, WMV, FLV;
- Dynamic filters with Timecode overlays, and animated
Motion project watermarks;
- Faster with more support for multiple cores; and
- Device presets for just about any device.
New application for high end color correction, basically the Silicon
Color Final Touch version 2, rebranded as Color and now included in
Final Cut Studio 2.
- Real time color grading;
- Same UI for 3-way color correction with RGB and Luma curves,
gamma, life, gain;
- 3D color visualization;
- Matte can be derived from chroma, luma, saturation, custom
vignettes, hue and saturation curves;
- Custom shapes for colorization effects (not just square and
- Color Effects are easily exportable and shared with editors;
- Color Effects that can be strung together in a node tree, and
- Multiple secondaries.
Final Cut Studio 2 will be available “in May” and pricing remains
the same: US$1299 for a full purchase, US$499 for an upgrade from Final
Cut Studio 1; or US$699 from any version of Final Cut Pro.