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First Impressions: Apple at NAB

New tools and a renewed drive for market dominance
Final Cut Pro HD
The second big announcement for Apple at NAB was the introduction and immediate launch of Final Cut Pro HD, AKA Final Cut Pro 4.5, the latest version of Apple's non-linear editing application. Final Cut Pro HD, which, like Motion, I also had a chance to experience in person, is a significant advance over its predecessor for two reasons: First, it's been accelerated almost exponentially to accommodate not just HD editing, which FCP has been capable of for quite some time, but real-time HD editing using camera-native HD footage vis a vis DVCPRO HD; second, it adds this capability free for current users. Yep, it's simply a free update via Software Update. Uh ... thanks, Apple.

The real-time capabilities in FCP HD extend to up to four streams of HD using the DVCPRO HD codec with no recompression. It also supports real-time color correction and image controls. (FCP HD includes 150 real-time effects via RT Extreme.) And it includes the new capability to display full SD and HD monitoring on an Apple Cinema Display or other connected device (assuming the device supports resolutions high enough to display HD).

Aside from overall performance improvements and new HD enhancements, FCP HD includes new integration features for working with Motion, DVD Studio Pro 3, Shake 3.5 and Logic Pro 6. And it includes LiveType 1.2, SoundTrack 1.2, Compressor 1.2 (which can now encode HD to SD formats for DVD production) and Cinema Tools for working with 32 mm and 16 mm film.

Final Cut Pro HD is available now as a free update for current users, $399 for users of versions 1.x through 3.x and $999 for the full release.

Shake 3.5
Apple also launched Shake 3.5, an update to the company's high-end compositing package. The new version includes several feature enhanceents, as well as completely new functionality in the areas of warping and morphing. It accomplishes these by using splines (rather than meshes) to achieve shape-based warps and morphs.

Shake 3.5 also adds enhancements to the Qmaster network render manager, which gains improved Rendezvous support and the ability to handle distributed rendering tasks for both Shake and Alias Maya. It also adds support for 16-bit RGB and 10-bit YUV QuickTime formats and new integration features with Apple's other pro apps (though I didn't have a chance to see this in action, unfortunately).

Shake 3.5 is available now for $799 as an update for current users; $2,999 for new purchases for Mac OS X (including unlimited render licenses); and $4,999 for Linux and Irix with an annual maintenance of $1,499.

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Related Keywords:apple, motion, motion 1.0, final cut pro, final cut pro hd, dvd studio pro, dvdsp, shake, compositing, motion graphics, video editing, nab, national associate of broadcasters, xsan

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