Apple has optimized its suite of pro video applications for Power Mac G5s, announcing significant software updates for Final Cut Pro 4, Shake 3 and DVD Studio Pro 2.

Apple says they "fine-tune" the applications to take advantage of the new G5 processors. The Final Cut Pro 4.1, Shake 3.0.1 and DVD Studio Pro 2.0.2 updates, along with the new Compressor 1.1 update, are available from Apple.

Final Cut Pro 4.1 now supports simultaneous playback of seven fully uncompressed standard definition (SD) video streams with real-time effects using a dual 2.0GHz processor Power Mac G5 and Xserve RAID.

The update also means Final Cut Pro 4.1 running on a Power Mac G5 can deliver five simultaneous streams of DV video in safe-mode without any extra hardware. Video rendering is also now twice as fast on a G5 than on preceeding 32-bit processors.

Apple 's vice president of applications marketing, Rob Schoeben, said: "With the new releases of Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro and Shake, we have optimized our suite of professional applications to tap the advanced architecture of the Power Mac G5, and the results are unprecedented for both real-time and rendering performance. All this performance is available at a fraction of the cost of systems requiring dedicated hardware."

Click Media co-founder and president, Sven Krong, said: "After previewing the new G5-optimized versions of Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro, we are blown away by the results. We now have the horsepower to deliver stunning results to clients in a fraction of the time it used to take and all at a cost we can afford."

DVD Studio Pro, Compressor, Shake

The DVD Studio Pro 2.0.2 and Compressor 1.1 updates also speed up the time it takes to encode projects from video-editing application Final Cut pro 4.1 into broadcast-quality MPEG-2. High volume and repetitive encoding tasks are up to 55 per cent faster on a Power Mac G5
when compared to a Power Mac G4, Apple said.

Shake 3.0.1 offers an extensive toolset specifically designed for advanced compositing and visual effects. The updated version will render up to 45 per cent faster on a Power Mac G5 than on a Power Mac G4, Apple claims.

"Free distributed rendering on Panther enables any artist to produce film-quality content at unprecedented speeds," Apple said.

Full system requirements and additional information are available here.

Apple is also offering customers a $300 discount when they buy a new Mac with Final cut Pro 4 and DVD Studio Pro 2, while customers who already own a new Mac can save $150 when they buy the two applications. These deals are available worldwide until February 28, 2004, and are in the form of a mail-in rebate. More information on this deal is available online.

UK pricing details to follow.