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Final Cut Pro 5

Upgrade worth the price By Stephen Schleicher

Users of Final Cut Pro can rejoice with the release of Final Cut Studio. It not only includes an eagerly awaited update to Final Cut Pro, but updates three other applications as well; Soundtrack Pro, Motion 2, and DVD Studio Pro 4.  The improvements made to Final Cut Pro 5 alone are worth the price of the upgrade, as Digital Media Nets Stephen Schleicher points out.

Ive been a fan of Final Cut Pro since I first used v2.0 to edit a show that previously took three hours to edit.  FCP brought the edit session down to half that time thanks to the comprehensive workflow and easy to understand interface.  With the new features in Final Cut Pro 5, I expect edit times to streamline even more.

The first way your sessions may get shorter is with the introduction of Multicam Editing.  Editors have been begging for this feature for years, and Apple has finally delivered.  With the Multicam Editing feature, you select all of the clips in the Browser that were shot at the same time, and make a Multicam clip from them.  When you open the clip in the Viewer Window, you can display up to 16 sources at the same time. 

To edit, you play the Timeline and clicks on the shots you want.  If you have ever done multicam editing with 10 different tracks on the Timeline, you know how long and repetitive it is.  The Multicam Editing feature is by far my favorite addition to Final Cut Pro 5.

For more on using the Multicam Editing feature, check out Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #47: Real-time Multiclip Editing in Final Cut Pro 5.

With the explosion of the HDV format, it is no wonder that Apple has quickly adopted support to edit HDV natively in the Timeline.  Several HDV presets are included in Final Cut Pro 5 so you can edit in 1080i60, 1080i50, etc.  Further, Apple recognizes the other acquisition formats that are available and supports nearly all of them including IMX, DVCPro, DVC Pro HD, DVCAM, uncompressed SD and HD, and soon the P2 format from Panasonic.

I have been editing footage captured with the Sony Z1U HDV camcorder, and believe me, Final Cut Pro makes it a breeze to work with this new high-definition format.  Final Cut Pro allows frame accurate editing in the long-GOP format, so you dont have to worry about hitting an I frame.  What makes this possible is Final Cut Pros ability to analyze the sequence as it is exporting to tape and only render those frames that require corrections to the long-GOP sequence.

This entire timeline is using the HDV Native setting. Note everything is real time - even the dissolves and color correction. Click image for larger view.

Mixing HD and SD formats in Final Cut Pro is quite natural.  You can scale SD footage up to match the aspect of HD/V, or vice versa.  I would recommend HDV users go ahead and edit their sequences in HDV, and then if you need to create a SD master, simply drop the entire sequence into a SD timeline.  Of course you have to render the entire sequence, but at least you end up with two useable versions SD now, and HD later.

For more information on HDV/SD editing in Final Cut Pro, read Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #49.


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