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Great job overall
The upgrades and new features in Final Cut Pro 7 are good, solid, worthwhile improvements that will increase every editor’s productivity. Final Cut Pro 7 will enable new, even higher quality workflows with ProRes 4444 for those demanding it, without requiring the massive storage and throughput that uncompressed media demands. Easy Export will save time, and iChat Theater solves the remote editing problem if everyone has sufficient bandwidth. Blu-ray support, while limited, is welcome if long overdue.
The Final Cut team has clearly listened carefully to customer requests, properly prioritized the features they did implement, and appears to have done a solid job implementing them. However, there are still a few things that haven’t been fixed from version 6, such as proper handling of pulldown and cadence in the Open Format Timeline capabilities, and a proper RGB processing pipeline that can handle more than 8 bits of precision (especially now, with ProRes 4444). Apple says the Y’CbCr 32 bit float is good enough. Red workflow still has lumps in it if you don’t shoot in the Quad HD setting. While Apple states that there will be performance benefits from running Snow Leopard with Final Cut Pro 7, no new features are enabled by running it.
If this version had shipped within a year after Final Cut Studio 2, I’d be thoroughly satisfied with Apple’s rate of progress. But it has been two years, and at this point I’m a bit surprised at how many long-standing issues haven’t been sufficiently addressed, and how relatively little bold new ground this version explores.
Macworld’s buying advice
With Final Cut Pro 7, Apple started with an already excellent market-leading tool and takes it further with significant improvements that will benefit editors doing realistic day-to-day tasks and enable them to get better work done even faster. The background processing, Easy Export, and new ProRes flavors alone make this a worthwhile upgrade for the entirely reasonable upgrade price of $299 for the entire Final Cut Studio. The plethora of other minor improvements makes for a smoother, faster version of Final Cut Pro to work with. What’s not to love about that? I would have liked to see a few more things get fixed, and seen some dated or flawed infrastructure ripped out and rebuilt, but that is not to be for this version. As a product, this is very strong, a definite A. As an upgrade, it feels like a Macworld Expo without Steve Jobs grinning and saying, “One more thing....”
[Mike Curtis has been pushing pixels for a living for more than two decades, and presently consults on Final Cut Studio and other post production issues in Santa Monica, California. He writes for Macworld, his own HDforIndies, as well as ProVideoCoalition.com .]
Apple Final Cut Pro 7
- Plethora of genuine productivity enhancements
- Convenient iChat Theater
- New ProRes flavors
- Time saving and automation of Easy Export
- Mediocre progress after two years since previous version
- Some glitches still not fixed
- Limited Blu-ray support
- Redcode still not optimally supported