Apple used this week’s National Association of Broadcaster (NAB 2003) conference to unveil
Final Cut Pro 4, the latest major upgrade to the company’s digital video and film editing software. The new version incorporates more than 300 new features, according to Apple, and introduces “RT Extreme,” a new real-time compositing and effects system.
RT Extreme provides new software based-real-time effects that scales with processor speed, according to Apple. The technology enables Final Cut Pro users to view software effects in real time or via an external broadcast monitor when connected via FireWire or an external breakout box. It’s codec-independent, as well.
There’s more, too. Final Cut Pro supports software-based 8 and 10-bit uncompressed formats and 32-bit floating point per channel video processing. Final Cut Pro 4 also gains new integrated applications, including LiveType for titling, Soundtrack for music creation and Compressor for batch transcoding.
LiveType’s LiveFonts provide character-level control of fonts in Final Cut Pro-based jobs. The software includes more than 8GB of media, including LiveFonts, 150 pre-configured effects, customizable templates, backgrounds, animated texture and objects.
Soundtrack is a music creation tool for Final Cut Pro 4 — it provides features like automatic matching of audio loops regardless of tempo and key. Soundtrack works with new score markers in Final Cut Pro 4, and includes a library of thousands of music loops and sound effects. Soundtrack supports AIFF, WAV and ACID formats.
Compressor is a new batch transcoding tool that supports batch and export to MPEG-2 for DVD, MPEG-4 for streaming media and supported QuickTime formats. Features include watermarking, real-time preview and 30 filters and effects. It comes with a new MPEG-2 software encoder which includes controls for bit rate adjustment and one or two-pass VBR encoding.
New customization options in Final Cut Pro 4 abound; the software features more than 600 tools and commands, a mappable keyboard, custom interface buttons, custom layouts and enhanced screen layout options. You can save, export and import the custom settings to any Final Cut Pro-equipped Mac.
What’s more, Apple is supporting a new XML interchange format and FireWire-based I/O framework in Final Cut Pro that the company promises will integrate the system into any production pipeline. The new FireWire-based I/O framework promises future support by third part developers of FireWire-based systems to do fully uncompressed 8- and 10-bit 4:2:2 broadcast video.
Extending Final Cut Pro 4 into the film world out of the box, Apple has included Cinema Tools, previously sold separately. The update included with Final Cut Pro adds features like support for change lists and ink numbers, for filmmakers working with 35mm and 16mm formats. There’s more too — visit Apple’s Web site for more details.
Final Cut Pro is expected in June for US$999. Registered users can upgrade for $399.