APRIL 03, 2002
Final Cut Pro 3
Now before it seems like I am giving too much praise to this application, Final Cut Pro 3, does have some trouble spots. Obviously, as I’ve mentioned before, what the user believes real time is, and what Apple considers real time don’t jive, and I would like to see the next release of the software take advantage of the new Mac speed and power to create even more real time effects that can be viewed on a monitor, and faster rendering for those effects that are not. Media Management has been improved; however there are still some problems when moving files from system to system. If media gets broken, Final Cut Pro 3 only wants to look for a file with the original name; it doesn’t let you select another file to put in the missing media’s place. This is understandable and makes sense, however, Final Cut Pro 3, also doesn’t like footage with the same name. For example, you might have separate folders for the footage of each of your scenes, and in each folder you have a shot called wide_2_shot. If the media gets broken or deleted, it is near impossible to redigitize the shot without overwriting previous clips. During the logging and digitizing process, I would like Final Cut Pro 3 to let the user know that there is already a clip somewhere in the project with the same name. This will save headaches later on.
While I love OS X and Final Cut Pro 3 running together, there are some system problems that have popped up a couple of times. The first is if the system goes to sleep. I have noticed on my system that the Tools and Audio panels will often disappear and not return unless you restart the NLE software. Not a real big problem if you are working nonstop, but if you have to step away for lunch, phone call, or while waiting for effects to render, you may come back to discover your work area wasn’t how you left it.
For anyone who is creating content outside of the DV environment (i.e. HighDef), many of the third party cards like Pinnacle’s CineWave, Matrox’s RTMac, and Digital Voodoo cards do not yet work under OS X. Hopefully all of that will change at this year’s NAB convention. I for one am keeping my fingers crossed.
The other problem with OS X and Final Cut Pro 3 are plug-ins. Right now I am having some difficulties with Boris Red loading correctly inside Final Cut Pro 3. While Boris Red will run under OS X, if you are using plug-ins from those companies that have not made the migration to X it may be impossible for these enhancements to work in your system. If you are not happy with Final Cut Pro 3, and use other applications to enhance your workflow, then you may not want to make the OS jump just yet.
I’ve only scratched the surface of some of the improved and new features of Final Cut Pro 3. There is so much more that I could go on and on about. I can tell you that I love Final Cut Pro 3 so much that it prompted this guy to go out and purchase his very own dual Gig G4. Yes, that is correct, an application so wonderful that a once PC only house, now has a Mac just for postproduction work. For independent producer/directors, small production houses, corporate video units, and motion picture studios, Final Cut Pro 3 is an incredibly valuable asset that will leave you wondering why you didn’t switch sooner. I highly recommend Final Cut Pro 3 as a must have for any editor.
I learned all of my NLE skills on an Avid system running on a Mac, and there are hundreds of others who were either raised on Avid or migrated to it years ago based on need, and who still rely on Avid/Mac to make their fortunes. Just around the corner, and possibly a huge competitor for Final Cut Pro 3 is Avid XPressDV 3. Both are competitively priced and appear to have similar features (see Charlie White’s recent review of XPressDV 3 for the PC). When XPress DV 3 is released for OS X in June, DMN will do a side-by-side, blow-by-blow, comparison of these two systems for the Mac. For now, my money rests with Final Cut Pro 3.
For more information on Final Cut Pro 3, visit www.apple.com.
Stephen Schleicher is the producer for www.digitalanimators.com and www.digitalwebcast.com. When not working deep in the labs of the DMN Central Division testing the latest and greatest software/hardware products he can be found at the local university teaching a few courses on video and web production. He can be reached at [email protected]
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