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First Impressions: Apple at NAB

New tools and a renewed drive for market dominance
DVD Studio Pro 3
Finally, Apple also announced (but has not yet released) DVD Studio Pro 3. Unfortunately, as with Shake, I did not have an opportunity to explore this latest version in depth. However, I did get the same peek at the application as everyone else during Apple's stage presentation. The forthcoming update does not, on the surface, appear to be a huge update from the prior version. However, it does include a few significant enhancements.

Among these, the only one Apple gave particular attention to was the program's new "alpha transition," showing off some canned effects that I have the feeling very few professionals will be using. However, this new alpha transition capability extends to integration with Motion and Adobe After Effects so that users can create their own easily for adding flashy interface elements to a DVD project.

Also tremendously significant, yet not even mentioned in Apple's presentation, is the addition of support for DTS 5.1 audio. It also includes Compressor 1.2 (which, as previously mentioned, can encode HD to SD formats); new integration features with Apple other pro applications; and "edit original" capabilities for integrating with Adobe Photoshop.

I'll be bringing you a much more in depth look at DVD Studio Pro 3's new features within the next few weeks (if all goes according to plan). So stay tuned.

DVD Studio Pro 3 will be available next month for $499 for the full version, $199 as an upgrade from DVD Studio Pro 1 or 2.

The biggest news
Of course, creative applications weren't the only items on Apple's agenda for NAB. The company also introduced Xsan (a new 64-bit storage area network file system for Apple's Xserve and Xserve RAID hardware) and jointly announced AJ-HD1200A with Panasonic (an HD VTR with FireWire connectivity), not to mention the announcement of Thomson integrating Final Cut Pro into its Grass Valley Digital News Production line. None of which I will pretend to understand, let alone relate to you. I'll leave these to DMN's broadcast pros to deal with. And, of course, there were the new PowerBooks and iBooks announced this week.

But the biggest news from for the Mac at NAB wasn't in the form of any one application or piece of hardware. Over the last five years, we've seen the Macintosh platform accelerate in importance at the NAB convention to the point where that show has now become more significant to the Macintosh creative professionals out there than any Mac-specific convention, including the big one, Macworld SF itself.

Furthermore, in the past, Apple has had some significant news to present to the member of NAB. But the bulk of the most significant news had always come from third-party developers. Not only were many of the most major announcements from developers centered around the Mac this year, but Apple itself led the pack in some key areas: video editing, motion graphics, DVD production, news editing, HD and others. Understand something critical (and often overlooked): The Macintosh has held at least an equal market share for several years in the various fields of creative production, including video editing and motion graphics, not to mention the traditional Mac strongholds in publishing and audio production. More and more, though, the significant innovations are tipping away from Windows-based platforms and toward the Mac--or at least including the Mac. With this week's announcements from Apple and other key players, there's simply no question as to whether Apple can hold on to this market. And there's no question of Apple's determination to  continue to dominate, even if it means--as it seems to mean--taking steps that could strain relationships with traditional allies like Adobe and Avid. The message from Apple is that the innovation is happening here, on Mac OS X. If you want the most powerful tools, if you want to stay competitive, you simply must incorporate that Macintosh into your production pipeline.

As of now, this is becoming more than just a message. It's becoming reality.

Later this week I'll review all of the new technologies I experienced at the NAB convention and present my top picks from this year's show. In the meantime, if you have anything to add to the discussion or any question related to what you've read here, drop me a line or visit me in one of the forums listed below.

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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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