Final Cut Pro 2.0
at a Glance

Maker: Apple
Price: $999
Platforms: Macintosh
Demo Available: No

Overall Impression: Final Cut Pro 2.0 is an excellent editing tool, one that belongs at the core of any studio. It's powerful, intuitive and easy to use and shares all the best features of even the highest-end NLEs on the market today.

Key Benefits: Media management in Final Cut Pro 2.0 is outstanding, with the ability to nest sequences for practically unlimited video layers while always maintaining links to media files regardless of project. It supports all common file formats and CODECs, includes 75 effects filters and supports real-time effects (with a third-party card). It also handles resolutions up to 4,000 x 4,000 and can output EDLs in a number of common formats. The manual, at 1,435 pages, is comprehensive yet organized well enough to serve as a handy quick reference.

Disappointments: Render times can be long without a real-time card (or even with, in some cases). Keying is sloppy, but it does support keying plugins for After Effects, such as Ultimatte.

Recommendation: Must Buy


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REVIEW JUNE 13, 2001

Apple Final Cut Pro 2.0
[Page 2 of 4]

Final Cut Pro 2.0 allows the user to overlay up to 99 layers per sequence. Because you can nest sequences, this amounts virtually to an unlimited number of layers to work with. This is invaluable. It allows you to create some fantastic sequences without having to flatten or merge tracks to free up video space, as you have to do in other editing systems. This means that you can always go back and undo an effect or delete a video track if, later, you discover there's a problem.

FCP 2.0 preserves Photoshop layers.

Final Cut Pro supports the standard image formats, allowing graphics created in other programs to be easily imported into the system for inclusion in your project. If you're like me and use Photoshop for 90 percent of your graphic creation, Final Cut Pro 2.0 maintains the layers, which gives you more control if you have to manipulate or color correct layers. As an added bonus, Final Cut Pro 2.0 also has a built in character generator that is pretty powerful. Scrolling, crawling and regular text can be generated using any of the fonts on your system, and all effects (drop shadows, etc.) are keyframeable.

Text controls in Final Cut Pro 2.0. Scrolling, crawling and regular text can be generated using
any of the fonts on your system, and all effects (drop shadows, etc.) are keyframeable.

Speaking of keyframing, nearly all of Final Cut Pro's effects (75 preinstalled) can be keyframed, giving the editor control over every aspect of the editing session. The effects you will find in Final Cut Pro are the same as or similar to the effects you will find in other NLE applications. But the fact that many of them become real-time effects when any of the above mentioned video boards are installed as part of a NLE system is a huge time saver.

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Stephen Schleicher is the producer of DMNTV, Video Systems, Millimeter and Digital WebCast and is the host of the Video Systems, Millimeter and Digital WebCast forums at the World Wide User Groups. He has taught at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, and at the American InterContinental University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he also ran his own animation company, Thunderhead Productions. Stephen also freelanced in the Atlanta area as a producer/editor for five years working on everything from training videos to live shows.
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