Final Cut Studio 2

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Had a chance to attend Apple’s special event today, in which they announced Final Cut Studio 2, including all sorts of exciting goodness. For the full scoop, check out Apple’s site, or the live feed from Engadget. This post is just the stuff that excites me.

First off, Final Cut Pro now does mutli-def, multi-codec in a single timeline. That’s really fantastic, especially for novice users that don’t want to worry about transcoding media to other formats. Mix HD, SD, 24p, 60i, etc all on one timeline and play back in realtime. That’s nifty.

Final Cut 6 also introduces a new codec called ProRes, a 4:2;2 variable bitrate HD codec which claims to give you uncompressed HD quality at uncompressed SD bitrates. The demos they showed looked really impressive, but demos always look impressive. What makes it exciting is that they’ve teamed up with AJA to build a FW800 based box (the IO HD) which lets you bring HD-SDI into a macbook pro in the field. That’s huge! Here’s hoping the codec is as good as they say.

Motion has also gained a ridiculous quantity of new features, taking it from a handy-for-titles app to a full fledged After Effects competitor. To name a few, you get a 3d working environment with multiple cameras, and 3d aware behaviors and particle emitors. You can use audio to provide input to any control, so you can now have the soundtrack to your video control the way the effects behave. You also get an object tracking system for doing match moves.

Soundtrack Pro gets surround sound mixing and a spectrum view with editing capabilities (like Audition). There are a number of other cool features to make the editors easier.

Compressor gets a new interface which exposes some functionality that was actually in Compressor 2 (and used heavily by Media Mill) but which was difficult to take advantage of.

Finally, there’s an entirely new app called Color, which is just a warmed over version of Silicon Color’s tool (which Apple purchased). Cool that it’s free now (as part of Studio) but it didn’t blow my mind. Just a color finishing app.

There was lots of other cool stuff, like Final Cut Server and loads of cool demos. They were recording the whole event so hopefully they’ll be posting a stream. If not, Final Cut Studio 2 ships in a month so we can all start playing.

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