Presenting at the National Association of Broadcasters conference on Sunday, Apple unveiled Final Cut Studio 2, a significant upgrade to its industry leading video production suite that delivers new creative tools designed expressly for editors.
Final Cut Studio 2 includes Final Cut Pro 6, which introduces Apple’s ProRes 422 format for uncompressed HD quality at SD file sizes and support for mixed video formats and frame rates in a single Timeline; Motion 3 featuring an intuitive 3D environment, paint and new behaviors; Soundtrack Pro 2 with dozens of innovative tools for multitrack editing, surround mixing and conforming sound to picture; Compressor 3 delivering powerful batch encoding for multiple formats with a single click; and DVD Studio Pro 4.2 for SD and HD DVD authoring. Final Cut Studio 2 also introduces “Color,” a professional color grading and finishing application for ensuring consistent color and creating signature looks.
“Final Cut Studio 2 was specifically designed to enable the rapidly growing community of over 800,000 Final Cut editors worldwide to animate, mix, grade and deliver their work as a natural extension of the editorial process,” said Rob Schoeben, Apple’s vice president of Applications Product Marketing. “Final Cut Studio 2 is the most powerful production suite on the planet.”
At the core of Final Cut Studio 2 is Final Cut Pro 6, the latest version of Apple’s Emmy award-winning editing software which includes a new Open Format Timeline that lets editors mix and match virtually any video format and frame-rate in a single Timeline without transcoding. ProRes 422, a new full raster, 10-bit 4:2:2 post production format produces stunning HD quality at SD file sizes, making it ideal for working efficiently across a SAN or on a MacBook Pro in the field. Companies including Panasonic, Sony and RED are embracing ProRes 422 as they continue to innovate on the next generation of cameras. Final Cut Pro 6 also includes optical flow based SmoothCam technology to remove unwanted or jarring camera movement with simple, easy-to-use tools. Deep integration with Motion includes the ability to edit Motion templates with video drop zones and editable text fields directly in Final Cut Pro.
New to Final Cut Studio is Color, which puts a logical task-based color grading and finishing workflow in the hands of every Final Cut Pro editor. The primaries in Color include advanced color correction tools such as gamma, lift and gain adjustments, as well as custom R, G, B and luma curves, and the secondaries provide the ability to isolate specific areas of an image with soft-edged mattes and custom-shaped vignettes, which can be tracked with ease. Professional scopes provide precise monitoring of chrominance and luminance values via waveforms, histograms and new 3D scopes. Color includes over 20 signature looks which can be customized to create a unique mood for any given project, and offers a seamless roundtrip workflow where projects can be sent from Final Cut Pro 6 directly to Color for grading, finishing and final rendering with 32-bit float 4:4:4 image processing.
Motion 3, the latest version of Apple’s motion graphics software, takes all the familiar Motion tools and extends them to a 3D environment. New camera behaviors add depth and realism with drag-and-drop simplicity. Vector based paint tools allow editors to easily create brushes with color, particles, video or pictures. A simple, yet highly precise match moving tool automatically maps any image or effect to the path of any other object. New retiming behaviors enable editors to slip and slide retiming effects on the Timeline without keyframes, while new audio behaviors allow users to easily create animations that respond to soundtrack volume and frequency. Motion 3 includes over 1500 new design elements including professional stock imagery, beautifully animated line drawings and stunning vector artwork.
Soundtrack Pro 2, a brand new version of the audio editing application in Final Cut Studio 2, features powerful new multitrack editing and recording tools in a streamlined interface that simplifies every aspect of the audio post production process. Soundtrack Pro 2 introduces a breakthrough heads up spotting display that lets editors precisely align effects and dialog with picture. Advanced take management tools enable editors to quickly combine pieces of the best takes to craft seamless performances. Stereo and surround mixing tools enable users to create 5.1 and stereo mixes in the same project, saving time and eliminating costly errors. Editors can work with a royalty-free library of over 5,000 professionally produced foley and sound effects, including over 1,000 surround sound effects and evocative multi-channel music tracks. A powerful new Conform tool enables users to synchronize and track changes between picture and sound editorial.
Compressor 3, the latest version of Apple’s industrial strength encoding tool, comes with a new streamlined interface and simplified workflows that make encoding and delivering in multiple formats easier and more efficient than ever. Powerful batch processing and job chaining capabilities enable editors to create pristine quality output for a wide range of delivery formats with a single click. Compressor 3 extends support for industry-standard codecs such as MPEG-2 and H.264 to include new drag-and-drop presets for delivery to broadcast television, web, iPod, Apple TV™, DVD and mobile phones. Dynamic filters applied during pre-processing now support timecode overlays, audio/video fade in and out, and animated watermarks that can be applied directly from Motion projects.
Apple today also introduced Final Cut Server, a powerful new server application that works seamlessly with Final Cut Studio 2 to provide media asset management and workflow automation for post production and broadcast professionals.
Pricing & Availability
Final Cut Studio 2 will be available in May through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $1,299 (US). Registered users of the current version of Final Cut Studio can upgrade for $499 (US) and registered users from any previous version of Final Cut Pro can upgrade for $699 (US). Full system requirements and more information on Final Cut Studio 2 can be found at Apple's website.