Apple packs the house at NAB

What do you get when you put a tall dark haired man in front of 36 systems in a rack serving 200 terabytes of data, five miles of cable (one-half of which is fibre) and 40 desktop systems all in a room? If you guessed anything other than Apple executive Richard Kerris standing in front of the company's booth at the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas, Nev., you would have been wrong.

The Apple booth was so busy during its demo sessions that people had to take alternate routes because they couldn't make it through the crowds. From a packed house in the demo sessions to jammed aisles in the booth itself, everyone with an Apple shirt was being riddled with questions. It wasn't at all uncommon to see show badges with the names of some of the biggest movie and television studios in the world printed on them.

"This is one of those beautiful moments that we hit it out of the park," a smiling Richard Kerris, Apple's senior director Pro Apps Technical Marketing told MacCentral. "We are more committed to NAB this year than any other before."

One of the least talked about product releases for Apple yesterday was Shake 4, the company's compositing software for film and television visual effects. Among other things, new to Shake 4 is 3D multi-plane compositing that lets users leverage the capabilities of their Mac's graphics system -- it uses graphics hardware to let you composite layers in 3D space through OpenGL.

You can also import Maya-compatible camera data and add camera animation in Shake, viewing top, side, front and camera angles simultaneously to make it easier to position layers.

Calling the latest version "the biggest release in Shake's history," Kerris said that Shake has drawn a lot of interest from people at NAB.

"Shake is what makes what you see in movies seem real," said Kerris. "Everything with Shake makes you believe what you're seeing."

The release of SoundTrack Pro on Sunday may have left some people with the impression that this was simply an update to an existing Apple application, but Kerris said this is not the case. Combining over 50 professional effect plug-ins from Logic Pro 7 and more than 1,000 professional quality sound effects, SoundTrack Pro is a brand new application in Apple's professional line of products.

"SoundTrack Pro provides post-production for audio that sounds as good as the video looks," said Kerris. "There is some great technology in this application." "SoundTrack Pro is Final Cut Pro for your ears," said Kerris.

Overall, Apple said that it was the suite of products drawing people to the booth. Questions ranged from Final Cut Pro to H.264 to the interaction of the entire suite.

"With Final Cut Pro Studio, people can do it all," said Kerris. "What's the hottest product here -- all of them."

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