Editor's Blog: Rik Meets with Apple Honchos in Las Vegas to Get the Inside Scoop on Final Cut Studio 2

Editor's Blog: Rik Meets with Apple Honchos in Las Vegas to Get the Inside Scoop on Final Cut Studio 2

 

In Las Vegas this morning, I sat down for a half-hour or so with Apple's Director, Pro Video Product Management, Richard Townhill, hoping to clear up a few details about Final Cut Studio 2, which was released yesterday to an enthusiastic crowd.

 

Before I get to our conversation, however, a word or two on Apple's participation at NAB: It's huge - noticeably bigger than any prior Apple presence at this high-end broadcaster's' gathering. How big? Well, if you've ever been to or seen photos of Apple's booth at the San Francisco Macworld Expo each January, it's the same booth. We're talking big; we're talking big investment; we're talking big commitment to professional video.

 

(For more information about the entirety of Final Cut Studio 2, check out our report from Monday morning, and also Tuesday's podcast, in which I contribute a detailed report from the Las Vegas announcement.

 

1. Motion 3: A Leopard preview? My first question to Townhill was about the animation improvements and 3D enhancements in Motion 3. As we all now know, Mac OS 10.5, aka Leopard, is scheduled to ship in October; it's scheduled to include a new built-in animation engine called, imaginatively enough, Core Animation. I asked Townhill if any of Motion's new animation enhancements were based on Leopard's upcoming Core Animation engine. His response was that Motion does not, in fact, rely on Core Animation, and that the demos that wowed the crowd at yesterday's were performed with all apps running on Mac OS 10.4.9. When I asked him if there will be any improvements to Motion 3 when Leopard does ship, all I got in return was a smile and the obligatory "Apple doesn't comment on unreleased products." I knew the drill, but I had to ask.

 

2. Compressor 3: Better-than-real-time encoding. Yesterday's announcement included an impressive report by Townhill of a head-to head between Compressor 3 and its immediate ancestor, Compressor 2. The results Townhill displayed were for a test in which both apps, running on an eight-core-core Mac Pro, converted a 10-minute HD video clip into an H.264 MPEG-4 iPod video. Using Compressor 2, the Mac Pro took 16 minutes and 45 seconds. Not too bad, but nothing to shout about. When running Compressor 3, however, it took a mere six minutes and two seconds - impressive performance; faster, in fact, than real time. Townhill assured me that Compressor 3's mastery of 8-core threading was the difference.

 

3. Compressor 3: Providing assistance to third-party plug-ins. According to Townhill, Compressor 3 is optimized to use all eight cores in the Mac Pro - but if you don't want it to, you can dial it back in a System Preferences pane. When I asked Townhilll if this "dialable core-usage" was limited to Compressor, he told me that, yes, it was, but that all of the other apps in the suite were tuned to "get the maximum use out of the system." He then went on to tell me something that hadn't been hinted at in yesterday's announcement: That Compressor is able to take third-party codecs and distribute their workload over the eight cores without the third-party codec having to do anything to request such help. In essence, Apple is helping third-party software to run better than it's designed to run.

 

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Andy Coon

By any chance do you know if FCP 6 has support for AVCHD codec that is recorded to the Sony HDR-SR1 Hard Drive? This is a question many of my readers have asked me and I can't figure it out. I don't blame Apple if they don't have support it seems like another blunder by Sony. Pushing a product onto the marketplace without getting feedback from other suppliers.

Thanks

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curiously enticed

ok so the word is that this 422 thing will compress HD video to SD file sizes. has it occured to anyone else that this would be exceptionally benefitial to getting hd movies from the itunes store?particualrily for the nice high def apple tv's? (now if there was only someway to get them to sell to CANADIAN customers

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Frank

Did you mean to say that Final Cut Server has Compressor Pro 3 built in? It seems silly that they wouldn't include the latest version since you had mentioned earlier how much faster it was.

Frank

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rmyslewski

Yup.

Typo.

Fixed.

Thanks.

-Rik

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