At DV Expo yesterday,
Apple took the wraps off of Final Cut Pro 3, the company’s high-end video editing solution. The new version brings Final Cut Pro to Mac OS X, adding many new features, while maintaining much of what made the application a success.
Many users of Final Cut Pro like the interface of the program, which allows them to focus on the material they are working without being distracted by the application interface. Apple said the interface is the same as it was before, although they will take advantage of Aqua features in future releases.
“Maintaining the integrity of the program is certainly something that was foremost in our minds as we made the leap to OS X,” Tom McDonald, Product Line Manager for Video Applications at Apple, told MacCentral.
New features added to Final Cut Pro 3 include G4 real-time effects, OfflineRT and a new set of a new set of professional color correction tools. In addition, Apple added a Voice-Over tool; an Auto-Save Vault; Integrated compositing, including Adobe After Effects plug-in support; QuickView, a new preview mode; Advanced media management and export tools; New 3D titling and effects; and PeakDV audio editing tool.
While many of the new features implemented in Final Cut Pro came from the engineering team at Apple, some came from feedback from users of the application. The Final Cut Pro team spends a lot of time working with its customers on a regular basis to improve the application, according to Apple.
“Color correction is something our users were asking for,” said McDonald. “They were tired of having to go to more expensive systems, leaving the toolset behind they felt most comfortable with, in order to get top-notch quality color correction. Offline capabilities are another request where people were looking for a better offline workflow solution and we were able to give that to them. We didn’t have a lot of requests for the Voice-Over tool, but the users were very excited about it when we showed it to them.”
Using OfflineRT, Final Cut Pro provides 40 minutes of video per gigabyte of hard drive space. Editors can capture and transcode DV footage to OfflineRT on the fly, with a FireWire connection. This means that editors can work with large amounts of high-quality, timecode-accurate video that can be reconnected to the original source material, without having to resort to special external storage solutions. OfflineRT is the first native offline format available for DV, and it can also be used by editors working with standard definition or high definition formats.
“OfflineRT is based on our new photo JPEG codec — Apple rewrote the photo JPEG codec optimizing it for the G4 and there have been quality improvements to it,” said McDonald. “We use a special combination of settings and architecture improvements around this codec in order to provide on-the-fly transcode from FireWire down to OfflineRT.”
Having Final Cut Pro on Mac OS X will help the adoption rate for the operating system. In fact, Apple believes this is one of the best applications to bring professionals to the new OS. “We have never had the powerful combination of Unix stability and our QuickTime media rich architecture,” said McDonald. “Final Cut Pro on Mac OS X is the first application to take advantage of both of these things. As far as professionals adopting Mac OS X, this is the poster-child application for it.”
McDonald said that much like the new features implemented in Final Cut Pro, users also asked for training from Apple. Apple announced yesterday a new training program in that includes a training center, instructor, technician and courseware certification. A network of approximately 25 certified training center locations will serve users, offering a range of courses from beginning to advanced levels.
While Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro will work together right now McDonald said that this would get even better once DVD Studio Pro comes to OS X.
“When DVD Studio Pro does get here — and we’re close because we showed it [at DV Expo] — we are going to have even more integration than what’s available today.”