Apple Final Cut Studio 2

Apple Final Cut Studio 2

Final Cut Pro can mix and match different video formats and framerates on the same Timeline without rendering. Not all video formats can coexist, but major ones (DV, HDV, DVCPRO, and others) can.


Apple’s Final Cut software began as a friend of the little guy working with a DV camera and a FireWire hard drive. Now, many of the new features in Final Cut Studio 2 are aimed at production professionals whose needs go way beyond those of your average indie filmmaker. Also, the Studio’s system requirements aren’t lightweight: Even fast, new MacBooks won’t run some of its applications well (if at all), and some new features won’t even work on G5 tower Macs. You may also need a new, roomier hard drive to accommodate the suite’s 59GB of applications and other media. But despite these beefy requirements, Final Cut Studio 2 is an awesome collection of pro-level applications, wrapped for the most part in a relatively easy-to-use and familiar interface, at a cost that no competitor can match. In this review, we’ll cover Final Cut Studio’s major applications.


Final Cut Pro 6. This is the linchpin in the whole Studio, but it’s also the most mature application of the group. Its new features tend to be a little more specialized.


The new Open Format Timeline is a big help if you edit footage in different video formats, letting you easily mix and match popular standard-definition and high-definition video formats together without having to render them first. You can put an SD DV video clip next to a DVCPRO HD clip next to an HDV clip, and Final Cut knows to scale the clips up or down to fit the frame properly and can throttle through their different framerates as they play. It generally works smoothly, although we very occasionally noticed small framerate stutters when playing back our test clips.


Another new addition is ProRes 422, which is an Apple-developed codec (short for compressor/decompressor or coder/decoder) that makes it much easier to edit the high-quality HD footage used in broadcast TV and film, without the pricey RAID storage systems and other add-on cards that high-end HD usually requires. The beauty of ProRes is that it takes a full-blown HD image and compresses it to fraction of its native size without losing an iota of visual quality. This is great for editors who want to go after higher-end HD projects without paying the usual associated costs for storage. ProRes also offers some lower-quality settings that look shockingly good but take up even less space and support more real-time streams and effects (and even work smoothly on MacBook Pros). And unlike HDV or AVCHD video (highly compressed formats used in low-end HD cameras), ProRes loses very little visual quality as you render in layers of other effects, so you could convert that footage to ProRes for better results.


The only hitch: Capturing video to ProRes in real time requires a Mac Pro (no G5 will do), or a dedicated hardware add-on like AJA’s IoHD ($3,699). But any Final Cut Studio 2-compatible Mac can use Compressor or Final Cut itself to convert existing digital video to ProRes.


Our favorite new upgrade is Final Cut’s SmoothCam feature, which takes unwanted camera shake out of any shot. Select a clip, and Final Cut will analyze it, automatically scale it up while losing little to no sharpness, and steady it for you, depending on the parameters you set (in case some movement is intentional). The gotcha is that Final Cut analyzes your entire clip, not just the portion that you edited into the Timeline, which can take several minutes depending on clip length and resolution (but you can work in the background during the one-time analysis). Also, if your media is a highly compressed format like HDV video, the analysis can take hours, so just convert clips to a format like ProRes first.


Final Cut offers many other tweaks, such as new effects plug-ins and the ability to play 5.1 surround-sound audio. But its biggest features are a flexible Timeline, a new HD codec, and a cure for sloppy camerawork. Your particular projects and needs will determine whether these are must-haves.






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That makes it much easier to edit the high-quality HD footage used in broadcast TV and film, without the pricey RAID storage systems and other add-on cards that high-end HD usually requires. Very helpfull.



Sony hasn't finished the specs for blu-ray. How can Apple give support to a format that has no specs defined. And yes this also means that a blu-ray player bought today may not be able to reproduce certain features from tomorrow's discs...

I guess Apple is waiting for Sony to update blu-ray and to see who s going to win this war, by bet is with Blu- Ray but it is still too early to tell...

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