Apple introduced Final Cut Pro 4 at NAB 2003 yesterday.
The revision to the company's £799 non-linear digital video editor offers over 300 new features, and introduces RT Extreme for real-time compositing and effects, a revised customizable user interface, and support for new 8-bit and 10-bit uncompressed video formats. Most noteworthy in a product at this price, Final Cut Pro 4 supports 32-bit floating point per channel video processing. The application also includes three integrated applications: LiveType for titling; Soundtrack for music creation and Compressor for batch transcoding.
Apple's senior VP worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller said: "Final Cut Pro has revolutionized professional video editing by making previously expensive and complex technology affordable and easier to use. With Final Cut Pro 4, we?re introducing more professional capabilities and broadening the market by offering a more accessible and affordable product with innovative features that far exceed the competition."
Extreme move RT Extreme is a software-based, real-time effects architecture that scales with processor speeds to support an increased number of simultaneous real-time video streams and hundreds of real-time effects. It allows video editors to preview effects in real time on an external broadcast monitor when connected using FireWire or an external breakout-box. The software is codec-independent, so editors can check work in real time at maximum resolution for quality preview, or at maximum performance for increased simultaneous streams and effects.
FCP product also has the capability of generating film quality output, rendering all elements in 32-bit per channel floating point colour.
Apple's new titling application, LiveType lets users create dynamic, animated titles swiftly. It includes LiveFonts, a new approach to text animation. This works by treating every font character as a separate animated movie. This ships with 150 pre-configured effects, customizable templates, backgrounds, animated textures and objects. LiveType enables Final Cut Pro 4 users to develop a customizable look from scratch, and supports DV, SD and HD (digital video, standard definition and high definition) formats.
Sounds good Soundtrack is a music production tool that's available only with Final cut Pro 4. It can mix audio loops automatically, regardless of tempo and key, and offers real-time arranging and mixing. This is fully integrated with Final Cut, and supports that application's new score-markers for synchronizing audio to video. It includes a library of thousands of music loops and sound effects, and supports AIFF, WAV and ACID files.
Compressor is a batch-transcoding tool that's being made available with both Final Cut Pro 4 and DVD Studio Pro 2. It lets users both batch and export directly to multiple formats, including MPEG-2 for DVD, and MPEG-4 for streaming media or any supported QuickTime format.
FCP includes watermarking, real-time preview and 30 high-quality filters and effects. It ships with a new MPEG-2 software encoder, with controls for adjusting bit rate and selecting one- or two-pass VBR encoding. "The MPEG-2 software encoder delivers pristine-quality video rivaling the speed of hardware and software encoders that cost thousands of dollars as stand-alone products," Apple claims.
Custom made The application's new customization options offer 600 tools and commands, a mappable keyboard layout, customizable interface buttons, customizable window layouts and enhanced screen-layout options. Settings can be configured and saved, and also exported/imported to other Macs.
Additional features include: a new XML interchange format; a FireWire-based I/O framework; a new import/export API; and built-in features that third-party developers can use to build FireWire-based devices for uncompressed 8-bit and 10-bit 4:2:2 broadcast video.
Other features include: advanced trimming and timeline tools; enhanced media management; full support for Unicode; enhanced audio editing features, including muti-track audio mixing. Final Cut Pro now ships with Apple's Cinema Tools, which was previously sold separately. This offers new support for change lists and ink numbers for filmmakers working with 35mm or 16mm film.
Final Cut Pro 4 ships in June and costs £799 (including VAT). Registered users can upgrade to Final Cut Pro 4 for £299. More information is available from Apple.