Archive for July, 2009

Apple Updates Final Cut Studio – More Than 100 New Features

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Apple Updates Final Cut Studio with More Than 100 New Features
New Versions of Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, Color and Compressor
Press Release
July 23, 2009    Source: Studio Daily

Apple today announced a significant update to Final Cut Studio® with more than 100 new features and new versions of Final Cut Pro®, Motion, Soundtrack® Pro, Color and Compressor. Final Cut Studio features Final Cut Pro 7 which expands Apple’s ProRes codec family to support virtually any workflow and includes Easy Export for one step output to a variety of formats and iChat® Theater support for real-time collaboration. Motion 4 includes enhanced tools such as 3D shadows, reflections and depth of field for stunning motion graphics and visual effects, and Soundtrack Pro 3 features new multitrack audio tools to streamline audio post production. Color 1.5 includes better Final Cut Pro integration and support for full color resolution, and Compressor 3.5 adds new features that make it easy to set up and customize your export options. At $999, the new Final Cut Studio is $300 less than the previous release and is also available as an upgrade for just $299.

“With 1.4 million users and 50 percent of the market,* Final Cut Pro is the number one professional video editing application,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “The new Final Cut Studio includes more than 100 new features and dramatically expands Apple’s ProRes family of codecs so editors can work in the studio with the highest quality video or on location at low bandwidths.”

Final Cut Pro 7, the latest version of Apple’s Emmy Award-winning editing software, includes new versions of Apple’s ProRes codecs to support virtually any workflow with the addition of ProRes Proxy, for offline and mobile editing at low bandwidth; ProRes LT, for general purpose editing; and ProRes 4444 for editing and visual effects at the highest quality possible. Easy Export allows users to continue working on projects while encoding is done in the background and the sequence is exported to YouTube, MobileMe™, iPhone™, iPod®, Apple TV®, DVD or Blu-ray. iChat Theater support allows real time collaboration by sharing Final Cut® timelines or individual source clips with iChat users anywhere in the world, even if they don’t have a copy of Final Cut Pro. Other new features include new speed tools to change clip speed with ease, alpha transitions to create dramatic effects using moving mattes, and native AVC-Intra support for the latest high quality Panasonic cameras.

Motion 4 extends award-winning, easy to use animation tools so video editors can quickly create everything from basic titles to animated credit rolls to stunning motion graphics. Enhancing 3D compositions is faster than ever with new customizable features that add point and spot lights to cast realistic shadows or turn any shape, video plane or paint stroke into a reflective surface. Motion 4 gives editors the flexibility to adjust the depth of field within a 3D canvas by selectively highlighting a single object or using multiple objects to create a racking focus effect.

Soundtrack Pro 3 adds powerful new audio editing tools including Voice Level Match which extracts volume information from the vocal content of one clip and applies it to another without altering any other audio content so editors can easily correct mismatched voice levels. An enhanced File Editor includes new tools to make sophisticated edits and fine tune volume adjustments by targeting specific frequencies such as the rustle of a paper or the bump of a desk without affecting dialogue. The new Advanced Time Stretch feature stretches and compresses audio with incredible precision using three Apple-designed algorithms or other algorithms available as third party plug-ins.

Color 1.5, Apple’s easy to use professional grading application, now works with a greater range of sequences and effects from Final Cut Pro and an integrated workflow allows editors to complete projects entirely within Final Cut Studio. New 4K support works natively with files from cameras such as the RED ONE and outputs directly to ProRes for HD or DPX for film. Expanded support for new high quality formats includes AVC-Intra, XDCAM 422 and ProRes 4444, for grading with the maximum amount of color information.

Compressor 3.5 makes encoding and delivering in multiple formats easier than ever with the ability to automatically detect QuickTime® settings and create an Easy Export template or a mini “droplet” on the desktop that automates specific Compressor actions. New, customizable sharing options make it easy to publish to YouTube and MobileMe, or export for iPhone, iPod, Apple TV and mobile phones. For the highest quality HD material, menu templates and encoding presets make it fast and easy to create Blu-ray discs. Final Cut Studio also includes DVD Studio Pro®, a powerful DVD authoring environment with drag and drop tools, on screen editing and real time previews.

Soundtrack Pro and Compressor are also available as part of the new Logic Studio®, allowing Final Cut and Logic® users to collaborate and share files.

Apple today also introduced Final Cut Server 1.5, the asset management and automation tool for Final Cut Studio. Final Cut Server 1.5 includes powerful new features like lightweight, offline editing with ProRes Proxy, production hierarchies to organize media, and support for still sequences to easily view and manage image sequences for graphics and effects workflows. Final Cut Server now includes unlimited client licenses and is available for $999 or as a $299 upgrade for existing users.

Pricing & Availability
Final Cut Studio is now available through the Apple Store® (, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $999 (US) and existing Final Cut Studio and Final Cut Pro users can upgrade for a suggested retail price of $299 (US). Full system requirements and more information on Final Cut Studio can be found at Final Cut Server 1.5 is now available through the Apple Store (, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers and includes unlimited client licenses for a suggested retail price of $999 (US) and existing Final Cut Server users can upgrade for suggested retail price of $299 (US). Full system requirements and more information on Final Cut Server can be found at *Based on data from broadcast and professional video market research firm SCRI International, Inc. showing Apple is the market leader for post-production with 50 percent of broadcast and post non-linear editor purchases in 2008.

The 64-Bit Question – By Giles Baker

Monday, July 13th, 2009

The 64-Bit Question

64-bit computing is a hot topic in the video production industry—and a lot of people are talking about the benefits of a complete 64-bit system. You may think that moving to 64-bit is expensive, but not necessarily. It’s actually possible to take advantage of the benefits brought by 64-bit systems without much expense, and in today’s environment, anything that brings incremental improvements to productivity without a big cash outlay is worth investigating. This article explores the advantages that 64-bit can bring to various video production workflows, and discusses the easiest ways to upgrade systems to take advantage of these gains.

Are We There Yet?

You may be waiting for 64-bit computing to arrive, an eagerly anticipated explosion that delivers unprecedented new computing power. The reality is that 64-bit computing is not going to arrive as a massive sea change; it’s already here. In fact, you may at this moment be sitting in front of a 64-bit capable machine that can add dramatic productivity improvements to your business, and not even know it. All you may need is a memory or operating system upgrade to start working at blazingly fast, 64-bit speeds.

Whenever the industry moves to a new architecture like 64-bit, it does so in a transitional manner that takes a number of years to complete. Those that move first are the most demanding users who value the benefits of the technology highly enough to endure the teething problems that are a natural part of early adoption. Eventually, as the technology advances, all users will make the change. We are well past the early stage now, and it is fair to say that for all involved in professional video production, the benefits of 64-bit easily justify the cost and time to migrate. In fact, if you wait for the transition to be complete, you will undoubtedly find yourself behind the curve.

The Benefits of 64-Bit

The biggest difference with 64-bit is memory. With a 32-bit address space, the computer can identify 232 individual bits of data, corresponding to 4GB of memory. In practice, operating systems, particularly Microsoft Windows, reserve a portion of this memory for “personal use,” meaning that less is actually available for running applications. With a 64-bit address space, computers can talk to 264 individual bits of data, corresponding to 17.2 billion gigabytes—an effectively unlimited amount of memory that can be used for running multiple applications, often with increased performance.

With more memory, video workflows gain two important benefits, both of which can give you an edge in your business: efficient high-resolution production and more flexible workflows.

Hi-Res and RAW

With more and more productions shooting high-resolution RAW content, the capacity to handle any resolution your clients request might be the deciding factor in getting a particular job, so it pays to be ready. Equally important, the additional productivity from investing in more memory for 64-bit systems equates to less time and lower cost to complete a job, providing the freedom to price more competitively or to increase margins.

Smoothly playing multiple streams of video in real time requires that many frames must be loaded into memory simultaneously so that they can be processed quickly. With cameras like RED capturing very large frame sizes up to 4K and beyond, 32-bit systems run out of memory quickly, hindering performance. With 64-bit systems, memory can be specified according to the expected workflow—if large frame rates will be the norm, you can add up to 64GB to maximize performance.

All Apps, All the Time

Running all your applications at the same time equates to a more efficient production system, leading to lower production costs. More importantly, it opens the door to experimenting more during production because there is no longer a time penalty associated with moving content to and from other applications. For example, if you can use Adobe®After Effects® to add motion graphics to any element of an Adobe Premiere® Pro timeline without having to save and close work in some other application, you are far more likely to experiment because the tools are immediately available. This flexibility can bring a creative edge to your production that improves your reputation, and ultimately, your business success.

As the solutions from the major software providers become well-integrated desktop production systems, workflows become increasingly seamless and flexible. But the reality is the race to higher resolutions means that often there isn’t enough memory in the system to run all the applications you need at the same time, and you have to close/reopen the applications that are used less frequently. With 64-bit systems, the removal of memory limitations means this issue is eliminated—you can add as much memory as you need to run multiple applications.

Getting to 64-Bit

If you are a Mac user, odds are you probably already have a 64-bit machine. With the exception of the very first generation, all Intel-based Macs are 64-bit capable, and all versions of Mac OS X that run on those machines are 64-bit too. This means that a memory upgrade is all that is needed to realize the benefits of 64-bit.

For Windows users, the decision is a little more complex. The major question is whether the CPU in your system is 64-bit capable. If it is, then you will need to purchase a 64-bit version of Windows to take advantage. Microsoft sells the 64-bit Windows Vista Ultimate upgrade for just over $200.
The majority of CPUs built in the last three years can run 64-bit systems. At Adobe, we survey our customers to understand the capabilities of their systems. Our latest information shows that the vast majority of our Production Premium CS4 customers have 64-bit capable machines.

For memory there are a number of considerations. The first is the simple question of whether the computer can physically accommodate more than 4GB of memory. This depends on the number of slots on the motherboard and type of memory expected. Most desktop machines will accommodate at least 8GB of RAM. Most laptops are limited to 4GB, although that is changing, with new machines allowing up to 16GB. There are a number of resources on the web that can help you through this process – try searching for “how to upgrade memory.”

At today’s prices, PC users should be able to upgrade a desktop system to 8GB RAM and Vista64 for less than $400. This may prove to be the most cost-effective upgrade you can make to your current system.

Up Close: Dv3 Productions and 64-Bit

One Adobe customer that has moved to 64-bit systems is Dv3 Productions, founded by brothers Obin and Amariah Olson. In Fall 2008, the Olsons became among the first to use the RED camera’s tapeless workflow built around the RED importer plug-in and Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. Their project, Fatal Flaw, is a short film produced by Joseph Simpkins of Living Water Films.

The brothers used Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium software to drop 4K resolution native R3D files straight onto the Adobe Premiere Pro timeline, without transcoding or rewrapping, and 64-bit machines to work either online or offline with the same RAW master files.

The Olsons note that a major benefit of using Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium is that the applications are all optimized for 64-bit computer systems. The latest version of Adobe’s toolset offers increased performance and editing speed, rapid switching among tools, and improved stability—all of which free up time. The move to 64-bit has given the Olsons confidence to work in real-time in client-supervised sessions, editing video and creating effects on the fly using native RAW video. Dv3 Productions got all of these benefits at a low cost that has quickly paid off in improved creativity and better client service.