New York DV Show 2002
opened its expo floor yesterday to an overwhelming crowd of digital video professionals and developers. Tucked away inside the Manhattan Center, the show features hardware and software aimed at the high-end video editing crowd, an audience that Apple courts heavily through products like the new dual processor 1Ghz Power Mac G4 and Final Cut Pro 3.0.
Apple’s Mike Evangelist, Director of Product Marketing, Professional Applications took the stage for a Keynote presentation on the “Digital Hub for Pros” to a large crowd. Evangelist discussed the advantages of OS X, and the recent professional hardware releases; the PowerBook G4 with Combo Drive and the new professional desktop systems. Much emphasis was placed on the built-in Target disk mode and Gigabit Ethernet.
Turning to Final Cut Pro 3, Evangelist introduced Tom McDonald, Product Line Manager for Apple’s professional editing software. McDonald spent the better part of his presentation discussing Final Cut Pro’s “world class editing tools, QuickTime Real-time architecture, scalable media from DV to HD, integrated compositing, mode-free user interface, and media management.”
Focusing on the “Productivity Breakthroughs” of Final Cut Pro 3, McDonald turned to a presentation familiar to those who watched Steve Jobs’ keynote. Commenting on accusations that Final Cut Pro “drops frames” McDonald unequivocally stated, “on a properly configured system, Final Cut Pro does not drop frames.”
McDonald dug deeper into Final Cut Pro’s color correction tool, recently vaunted by Apple CEO Steve Jobs during his own keynote presentation at Macworld Expo. McDonald modified footage of David Justice. A quick segment of the famous sports figure had him wearing a blue jacket standing in front of a red truck. By selecting the range of colors in Justice’s jacket, McDonald was able to nearly instantly convert the colors to match that of the truck. Working for just a few more moments he was able to just as easily mask out a section of background footage to magically change the color of the truck from red to blue, to the astonished gasps of the audience.
Evangelist then turned the floor over to Wes Plate of Automatic Duck, a firm that adds features to Final Cut Pro via its Automatic Composition FCP tool (also known as Automatic Duck). The software enables those who plan to use Adobe After Effects to export an OMF file that contains all the same media handles in After Effects without having to hand-export the elements. Changes to scale, position, opacity is maintained inside After Effects, to save “amazing amounts of time.”
Automatic Composition allows 3D transitioning effects without having to rebuild timelines in After Effects. After using the compositing features the clips can be dragged from the application right back into the Final Cut Pro bin.
Colin Sharp and Manuel Gonzalez demonstrated Commotion 4 from Pinnacle Systems. Commotion adds a suite of tools to do visual effects to footage which is then brought back into the Final Cut Pro timeline. A raster-based editing system that works similarly to Photoshop, Commotion allows frame by frame editing of footage, perfect for tasks such as removal of scratches or any other destructive editing technique. Another useful feature of Commotion is the ability to convert 30 fps capture to 24 fps output.
Sharp commented that Commotion has the fastest motion tracker on the market, with the new tool 15 percent faster and performance on a G4 1Ghz “outstandingly ridiculous.”
Daryl Obert, Application Engineer for Alias|Wavefront, demonstrated the integration between its 3D rendering and animation package Maya and After Effects (which works in conjunction with Final Cut Pro). Obert proceeded to develop an iMac animation all the while dazzling the audience with a complex rendering of Apple’s newest hardware device. By dropping a iPod video onto the rendered iMac Obert was able to create a model of a rotating iMac with a commercial perfectly overlaid on the screen.
Turning to audio, Jason Davies, BIAS vice president of sales and Zac Wheatcroft, Senior Product Specialist, discussed BIAS’ products Deck and Peak, two applications which can be used to edit audio in conjunction with Final Cut Pro. Addressing the problems with editing audio on DV in Final Cut, Davies demonstrated setting Peak DV as the audio editor to eliminate the “funny bad things” that happen with audio editing.
One of Peak’s strengths is the dynamic VST sound editor that allows real time modification of audio files, while another is the ability to change the duration of an audio clip, without changing the pitch, crucial for applications such as commercial editing or video production. Peak also provides batch processing of audio files with the ability to script those batch actions. The version of Peak DV that’s included with Final Cut Pro provides fewer features than the full version of Peak, but still retains some powerful editing features.
In a question and answer seminar, Evangelist stated that DVD Studio Pro 1.5’s new features are its operation under OS X, chapter creation based on time markers, and creation of data sections. While Evangelist wouldn’t comment on exact shipping dates, he did say that the program would “be available in the next few months.”