by James Alguire
I’m reporting this week from the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas (www.nabshow.com), where cool things are happening in the world of video editing and podcasting. NAB hosted it’s second Podcasting Summit, further establishing podcasting as a legitimate and viable content delivery method. Sessions held Saturday and Sunday covered podcasting essentials, encoding tools and techniques, demystifying RSS, distribution strategies and metrics, marketing your podcast, and the legal issues of podcasting. Serious podcasters should consider attending this event next year.
On Sunday, April 15th, at the Venetian Ballroom, at the Venetian Hotel, Apple hosted a special event, basically a keynote presentation followed by a finger food reception. During the keynote given by Rob Schoeben, Appleâ€™s vice president of Applications Product Marketing, Apple announced a brand new product, Final Cut Server and an updated version of Final Cut Pro Studio (FCPS 2). By now there are many web sites commenting on the new products and features, so I’ll just summarize here and provide links to the appropriate pages at Apple’s Web site.
Final Cut Server (www.apple.com/finalcutserver) is a media management and workflow automation program designed to help Final Cut Pro users to better store, track, search, and manage project assets. Final Cut Server supports over 100 media types and is fully integrated with the Final Cut Pro Studio. A 10-user license is $999 with the unlimited user license costing only $1999.
The Final Cut Studio 2 update was the biggest news of the event. Final Cut Studio 2 significantly upgrades the feature set of Final Cut Pro, Motion, SoundTrack Pro, and Compressor adds a completely new program, called Color, and adds minor updates to DVD Studio Pro and Cinema Tools. The lion’s share of the buzz and excitement is around the first five programs I mentioned. More complete information about the new Final Cut Studio, including videos, can be found at www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/, but briefly here are the high points of the updated programs:
Final Cut Pro 6:
Open Format Timeline – Use any video format at any frame rate and still get real time editing features.
Smoothcam – Allows the easy removal of camera shake from video clips.
Deeper Integration with Motion – Edit Motion templates and take better advantage of Motion’s features within Final Cut Pro.
Apple ProRes 4:2:2 – A new CODEC to provide high quality HD video at SD throughput rates.
Improved Audio Features – New Normalize and Gain controls and the ability to work with 5.1 surround mixes.
Simplified Setup – Final Cut now performs, essentially the Easy Setup function, just by dragging a clip into a sequence.
New 3D Environment – Motion now has a sophisticated, but approachable 3D toolset, from working in 3D space to create remarkable promos, bumpers, and interstitials, to 3D text and particle effects, 3D doesn’t get much easier to work with than this.
3D Behaviors – Get started with over 100 behaviors to animate in 3D out of the box.
Vector-Based Paint Strokes – Stylize the look of your motion graphics with strokes that can be animated and easily modified in both 2D and 3D space.
Synchronized Audio Behavior – Now attributes of motion graphic elements (scaling, rotation, etc.) can be synchronized and animated by using the frequency ranges of audio clips.
Point Tracking and Match Moving – Provides the ability to have any motion element follow any other motion element. Need the blur out of a face or logo to follow the face or logo? Do it two-clicks or less with no keyframing.
Soundtrack Pro 2:
Revamped Interface – Soundtrack Pro’s interface is now a single window and supports standard Final Cut Pro keyboard shortcut for many functions.
Surround sound Mixing – Now creating and tweaking surround mixes for video projects is easier than ever with the new Surround Panner and the over 1000 included 5.1 surround music beds and sound effects.
Lift & Stamp – A feature lifted from Aperture, Lift & Stamp let’s you take attributes from one audio clip and quickly apply them to any number of additional audio clips.
Automatic Audio Conform – If changes are made to the sequence in Final Cut Pro, the audio can be automatically updated in Soundtrack Pro, to reflect those changes.
Enhanced Take Management – Especially helpful for Automatic Dialog Replacement, use the good portions of multiple audio takes to create the final dialog track.
Enhanced Podcasting Features – Now enhanced audio and video podcasts, using markers, URLs, and images, can be created without ever leaving Soundtrack Pro.
New User Interface – Helps streamline the workflow in Compressor, making access to features and tools easier.
Expanded Format Support – Provides improved support for MPEG formats, adds new Apple TV formats and support for Telestream’s Episode plug-ins for better cross platform video and audio support.
Qmaster Autoclustering- Now Compressor can automatically locate and configure other Macs on a network running Qmaster providing easy distributed network rendering.
Dynamic Video Filters – Easily add animated watermarks or timecode overlays during the encoding process.
Advanced Encoding Options – For adding metadata, keywords, or close-captioning information to video clips.
Sophisticated Frame Controls – Speed up, slow down, or fit video to a specific duration with the quality of Optical Flow technology, now built in to Compressor.
Color: Is a new color grading and finishing application that can help create a signature look for your video projects.
Task-Based Workflow – All of Color’s features are divided into eight rooms based on specific color tasks.
Accessible Toolset – If you’ve used Final Cut Pro’s Color Corrector 3-way filter then you know the basics for using Color.
Dramatic Color Effects – Color contains over 35 presets for creating color effects, all of which can be modified. Color effects can also be adjusted over time.
Cinema-Quality Signature Looks – Create a specific look using Color’s tools and then apply that look to any project. This keeps the “look” of your work, or of a video series unified.
Final Cut Pro Integration – Quickly and easily move between Final Cut Pro and Color.
The new Final Cut Studio 2 will ship in May and is still only $1299 or a $499 upgrade for previous Final Cut Studio users. Users of any version of Final Cut Pro can upgrade for only $699.
This is a tremendous update, adding significant new features that Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Studio users have been asking for, and I can hardly wait to get my copy.
I’ll have some additional NAB follow here and in an upcoming MacCast. Stay tuned.