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Apple Says DVD Studio Pro 2 Coming Aug. 18

New version gets workflow, feature enhancements By Dave Nagel
Apple today announced that DVD Studio Pro 2, the next generation of its professional DVD authoring suite, will be released Aug. 18. The new version has been demonstrated publicly since the NAB conference in April. It includes new functionality, integration features and workflow enhancements, along with a new price point of $499. Apple also says upgrades from any version of DVD Studio Pro run $199. Preorders are available now.

I had a chance to speak with Brian Schmidt, Apple's product manager for DVD Studio Pro. He said the new version is completely revamped, using underlying technologies from Spruce, a developer of DVD authoring technologies Apple acquired back in 2001. "We've completely redesigned this application, and we've made [it] much easier to use," he said in an interview. "We're really focusing on making this the best DVD authoring program available."


DVD Studio Pro 2.0 includes customizable templates, a new menu editor, timeline-based track editing, new user interface and a new software-based MPEG-2 encoder.

"We worked hard to make it the best quality MPEG encoder we could, so you can get great quality at low bitrates," Schmidt said.

Its new user interface is designed to get users of other Apple products, such as iDVD, up and running quickly. It includes a new outline view, enhanced asset information and the timeline-based track editor. The new timeline track-editing functionality is based on the timeline in Final Cut Pro, providing a linear view of clips, audio and other assets, with support for nine camera angles, eight audio tracks and 32 subtitle tracks. Version 2 also gains integration features with other APple software, including Final Cut Pro, with support for chapter markers and the ability to import and encode Final Cut Pro reference movies in the background.

DVD Studio Pro 2's new menu editor allows users to create menus by dragging and dropping content. It includes support for context-sensitive drop palettes for linking to new tracks and allows users to build slideshows and automatically build chapter indexes in one step. A built-in compositing engine in DVD Studio Pro 2 allows users to edit text directly in the menu editor and make changes to font styles and button graphics without leaving the application.

The software also includes Compressor, a batch transcoding tool that comes bundled with DVD Studio Pro 2 and Final Cut Pro 4, which allows users to batch and export directly to multiple formats, including MPEG-2 for DVD or any supported QuickTime format. Compressor includes watermarking, real-time preview and 30 filters and effects.

For performance, Schmidt says that DVD Studio Pro sees dramatic speed improvements when running on the G5, though at this point there are no specific optimizations for the upcoming G5 machines.

DVD Studio Pro 2 will be available Aug. 18 for $499. Upgrades from any version run $199. For more information, visit http://www.apple.com/dvdstudiopro.


Contact the author: Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Mac OS, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at dnagel@digitalmedianet.com.

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