2005 is “the year of HD video editing,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs told the Macworld Conference & Expo San Francisco keynote crowd, and he backed up the pronouncement by introducing Final Cut Express HD as well as a new version of iMovie that supports 720p and 1080i high-definition video. The latter is part of the new iLife ’05 software bundle. Jobs also noted that QuickTime 7, which will be included with Mac OS X v10.4 “Tiger” when the upgrade ships during the first half of 2005, will include the H.264 video codec that is part of the competing high-definition DVD formats, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.
In addition to support for downloading high-definition video from a camcorder, Final Cut Express HD features animated titling via LiveType, with 27 animated fonts and 150 pre-configured effects, and integration with iMovie and Motion. It also includes Digital Cinema Desktop, a feature that plays back HD video at full-screen resolution, and the RT Extreme Engine, which enables previews of effects, filters, transitions and multi-stream composites in real time, without the need to render them.
Final Cut Express HD’s sound controls extend to the inclusion of Soundtrack, which enables you to create custom movie soundtracks, and the ability to edit up to 99 tracks. Access to over 4,000 royalty-free music loops and sound effects is also included.
The software will ship in February for US$299, with upgrades for current users costing $99. System requirements call for Mac OS X v10.3.7, a 500MHz G4 or G5 processor (550MHz for PowerBook G4, 450MHz for a dual-processor G4 or G5), 384MB RAM (512MB required for RT Extreme and Soundtrack), QuickTime 6.5.2 and an AGP video card compatible with Quartz Extreme. For high-definition video editing, you’ll need a 1GHz or faster G4 or G5 and 1GB RAM.