big apple day

As per usual, apple picked 11:00 AM on Sunday morning to make their NAB announcements. In front of a large audience of the chosen, collected in a grand ballroom at the Venetian Hotel, Final Cut Pro 6 is unveiled. Rumored to be a complete rewrite of code, it is the culmination of two years of work. Major changes involve a new, visually lossless, ProRes codec, which promises to greatly reduce file sizes and bit-rates for HD as well as SD projects. Another major improvement allows for mixed formats and frame rates on the same timeline. There are many other improvements. See here.

Final Cut Pro Studio 2 includes massive upgrades to Motion , Soundtrack Pro and Compressor. Motion 3 adds 3D space, motion tracking, retiming and paint effects.

Soundtrack Pro 2 adds Surround Sound mixing and effects, advanced take management, audio restoration and audio to picture conform. Compressor 3 has a totally reworked interface, adding encoding for new codecs including AppleTV. Enhanced image processing adds format and frame rate conversion using optical flow technology. Telestream has expanded the encoding choices through the new Episode plug-ins that work with compressor for support of VC-3, WMV, GXF, and FLV output as well as proprietary formats for broadcast servers.

Apple introduced two new applications, one of which will be included in Final Cut Studio. Color is a very slick, high end da Vinci-like, professional,  color-grading tool that handles primary and secondary color correction and finishing. It comes to Apple via the acquisition of Final Touch. When it was Final Touch, the HD version was priced at $5000. Apple has optimized Color to work even more smoothly with Final Cut and included it at no extra charge with FCS. FCP uses XML to send clips to Color, from which final color graded clips are rendered and sent back to FCP.  The other new application introduced by Apple is called Final Cut Server.  This is a media and asset management tool which comes as a result of Apple’s acquisition of Art Box by Proximity. This is a wonderful tool which will be available in July at an extremely affordable price. This has been the largest upgrade to Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Studio ever. It was a very impressive presentation and clearly shows that Apple has been listening to the needs of broadcasters. The one big disappointment: no new DVD Studio Pro and little hope for blu-ray authoring soon.