Apple unveils Final Cut Studio 2

Apple unveiled on Sunday Final Cut Studio 2, its production suite for film editors. As part of the update Apple will release Final Cut Pro 6, Soundtrack 2, Compressor 3, Motion 3 and a new application called Color.

The Open Format Timeline will allow users to mix formats, mix resolutions and even mix frame-rates. The application will also include SmoothCam, which will remove unwanted camera motion. Editable Motion Templates within Final Cut Pro will also be included in this version.

Final Cut Pro 6 introduces Apple's ProRes 422 format for uncompressed HD quality at SD file sizes. ProRes 422 is a new full raster, 10-bit 4:2:2 post production format that produces HD quality at SD file sizes, making it ideal for working efficiently across a SAN or on a MacBook Pro in the field, according to Apple.

Color

New to Final Cut Studio is an application called Color. According to Apple, Color puts a logical task-based color grading and finishing workflow in the hands of every Final Cut Pro editor. The primaries in Color include advanced color correction tools such as gamma, lift and gain adjustments, as well as custom R, G, B and luma curves, and the secondaries provide the ability to isolate specific areas of an image with soft-edged mattes and custom-shaped vignettes.

Professional scopes provide precise monitoring of chrominance and luminance values via waveforms, histograms and new 3D scopes. Color includes over 20 looks which can be customized to create a unique mood for any given project, and offers a roundtrip workflow where projects can be sent from Final Cut Pro 6 directly to Color for grading, finishing and final rendering with 32-bit float 4:4:4 image processing.

Color also has more than 40 effects including, Exposure, Film Grain, Alpha Blend and Noise Reduction.

Motion 3

Motion 3 includes many new features including the ability for all real-time tools to be extended to 3D. Motion also has multi cam and light sources, and vector-based paint with pen pressure and speed sensitivity.

Motion 3 will also have Match Moving, a new simple workflow that automatically follows the path of any animated object (even if it was not created in Motion). Match Moving will suggests points and create motion paths for video.

Retiming Behaviors like, Hold Frame, Set Speeds, and other creative timing effects like Slip and Slide are also part of the application.

Audio Behaviors allows animations to respond to the soundtrack and control animations based on volume and frequency. Audio behaviors can be assigned to any parameter on any object.

Soundtrack Pro 2

Soundtrack Pro 2, Apple’s audio editing and sound design application, “focuses on marriage between picture and sound,” according to Rob Schoeben, Apple’s vice president of Applications Product Marketing.

The new version features 3-up video HUD for placing clips and advanced Take Management for dialog replacement. Soundtrack Pro will also have Surround Mixing, which allows for 5.1 and stereo in a single project.

Soundtrack Pro has panners with automation, surround plug-ins and more than 1000 music tracks and sound effects in 5.1 surround.

A new Conform feature allows users to sync changes between video and sound — differences are highlighted in the graphical view. Users can audition and then accept or override the changes.

Soundtrack Pro features a new waveform editor with a frequency spectrum view to see audio in a different way. A new Multitake Editor gives users the ability to compare replacement dialog tracks and then pick the portions you like and build a good clip.

Soundtrack Pro 2 comes with more than 2000 royalty-free sound effects.

Compressor 3

Compressor 3 gives editors a complete set of tools for generating video for use on the iPod, the web, wireless devices and DVD. According to Schoeben, Compressor is the “tool we use to encode every bit of video on the iTunes store.”

In addition to simplifying the cluster setup, Apple has added MPEG-2 broadcast program streams and presets for the iPod and Apple TV.

Compressor 3 can take advantage of as many cores as you have access to — the user just needs to pick the number of instances. You can keep track of performance using the included core gauge.

According to Apple, Compressor 3 has “the ability to publish to any device on the planet.”

Apple will not release an update for DVD Studio Pro.

Pricing and availability

Final Cut Studio 2 will cost $1,299 or $499 for an upgrade. Upgrading from any version of Final Cut Pro to the Studio will cost $699. Final Cut Studio 2 will be available next month.

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