Apple's vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller took the wraps off Final Cut Pro 3 (FCP 3) during yesterday's keynote speech at DV Expo.

FCP 3 is described by Apple as "the industry's first video-editing solution to deliver professional-quality, real-time effects without the addition of specialized hardware".

The application ships this month, and is available for Mac OS X v10.1.1 and Mac OS 9.2.2.

Speed engine FCP 3 takes advantage of the G4 processor's onboard Velocity Engine, allowing the application to offer real-time effects. The app also marks the debut of OfflineRT, an offline format that holds up to five times as much footage as the DV format. Additionally, the application also features professional colour-correction tools that were previously available in only advanced (and costly) video-editing solutions.

“With G4 real-time effects, the high-capacity OfflineRT format and professional colour-correction tools, Final Cut Pro 3 raises the bar for the industry once again,” said David Moody, Apple’s senior director of applications marketing. He added: “On top of all this, Final Cut Pro is now available on the world’s most advanced personal-computer operating system, Mac OS X.”

The Velocity Engine support (called AltiVec by processor manufacturers Motorola) means the application offers dual-stream, real-time effects such as cross-dissolves, titling and colour correction. It's the first available dual-stream, real-time architecture not to require hardware. The company claims that video editors can access real-time effects playback on a PowerBook G4, though the number and complexity of G4 real-time effects scale as processing power increases.

RT video The first native offline format for DV, OfflineRT, offers video editors 40 minutes of video per gigabyte of hard-drive space, and such footage can be transferred using FireWire to capture and transcode DV footage into the OfflineRT format. Editors can work with a plethora of high quality, time-code accurate video that can be reconnected to the original source material with no need for external storage solutions.

Other features of the OS X-compatible video editing application include a new set of professional colour-correction tools, including primary and secondary colour correctors, range checking, zebra stripe overlays and waveform and vectorscope monitors. The application also has controls to maintain broadcast-safe video levels.

The software also includes a new voice over tool for audio capture directly to the timeline, from a built-in or external microphone; a new Auto-Save Vault, which saves and time-stamps projects at user-specified intervals; and a selection of editing tools.

Plug-in support Additional features include support for Adobe After Effects plug-ins, integrated compositing, and a new QuickView preview mode designed to let editors preview complex effects. Media-management tools also feature in Final Cut Pro 3, as do a selection of media export tools.

Final Cut Pro 3 also offers some built-in 3D titling and effects from Boris and CGM, and bundles the PeakDV audio-editing tool from Bias, which provides VST plug-in support and time compression and expansion features designed to help precisely fit audio tracks to video signals.

Apple also announced DVD Studio Pro yesterday. These two applications can work together - Final Cut can utilize DVD Studio Pro's MPEG2 engine to encode edited video sequences. Using the two applications, editors can author navigation menus, preview disk operation in real time, and burn DVDs using SuperDrive-equipped G4s.

Final Cut Pro 3 ships later this month, and costs £829 Inc VAT in the US. Registered Final Cut Pro users can upgrade to Final Cut Pro 3 for £249 Inc VAT. Final Cut Pro 3 requires Mac OS X v10.1.1 or Mac OS 9.2.2, a 300MHz or faster PowerPC G3 or G4 processor with built-in FireWire, 256MB of RAM, and 40MB of hard-disk space for installation. Versions for both Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 are included in the Final Cut Pro 3 box.

Until December 31 2001, Final Cut Pro 2.0 owners can purchase a Final Cut Pro 3.0 upgrade CD-ROM for £39 (inc VAT) via Apple UK's online fulfilment process. Offer available while stocks last. The Upgrade CD-ROM does not include printed manuals.