Final Cut Pro 2.0
at a Glance

Maker: Apple
Price: $999
Platforms: Macintosh
Demo Available: No
URL: http://www.apple.com/
finalcutpro/

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 4 of 4]

It is surprising that with the big hullabaloo surrounding Mac OS X that Final Cut Pro 2.0 is not supported, even in Classic—at least not yet. If Apple wanted to really boost sales of Mac OS X, they should carbonize Final Cut Pro 2.0 and get the real time card manufacturers to support it as well. In its current incarnation, Final Cut Pro 2.0 has only crashed a few times; it is very stable, and I love it compared with some other Mac-based NLEs, which crashed on average of twice every half hour. However, Mac OS 9.1 is not as stable as I once believed, and the crashes that I attribute to the OS could be greatly reduced on OS X.

Final thoughts
In the office, I am one of the last people who hasn't purchased a Mac for home use. Since using Final Cut Pro 2.0, having a shiny G4 sitting among my other computer systems suddenly doesn't sound like a bad idea, especially if it has Final Cut Pro 2.0 on it.

This has just been a brief overview of the program. There are so many great features, I could write for five days straight and still not cover all Final Cut Pro 2.0 has to offer. We'll bring you more tips, techniques and feature overviews in the coming months.


The Final Cut Pro 2.0 interface. Click image for full-size view.

If you are frustrated with your current NLE, I suggest checking Final Cut Pro out for yourself. I have a feeling you will be very surprised at the results. Final Cut Pro 2.0 is a very stable and solid package that is incredibly powerful, yet easy to use. If you are tired of using NLE systems that are clumsy, lack many of the features that clients are asking for during edit sessions or do not want to spend a fortune getting into the NLE arena, then Final Cut Pro 2.0 is a must have.

One final note: We have recently upgraded our rating system to do justice to those applications out there that belong at the core of any creative professional's studio. Previously our highest rating was "Strong Buy." It is now "Must Buy." Final Cut Pro 2.0 is the first to receive this new rating, and well deserved.

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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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