Apple Announces DVD Studio Pro 2 With New Features & Integrations With FCP 4

Apple announced yesterday a major update to its professional DVD authoring solution, DVD Studio Pro. The new version, DVD Studio Pro 2, includes a host of new features, new templates for DVD interfaces, and integration with Apple digital video solution, Final Cut Pro 4. Apple is also touting a simplified user interface that the company says is easy enough for non-professionals to "get started right away." From Appleis press release:

Apple today announced that DVD Studio Pro 2, a powerful new application re-designed to simplify professional DVD authoring with a breakthrough user interface, will be available through Appleis retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers beginning August 18. New features such as Apple-designed fully customizable templates, an innovative menu editor, timeline-based track editing and a new world-class MPEG-2 encoder make DVD Studio Pro 2 a must-have application for every creative professional.

DVD Studio Pro 2 offers unprecedented integration with Final Cut Pro 4, Appleis Emmy award-winning video editing software, and completes Appleis professional suite of software which includes Shake 3, the industry-leading compositing and visual effects software; Soundtrack, the innovative music production tool; and Logic Platinum, the standard in computer-based music production.

DVD Studio Pro 2 features a new user interface so easy to navigate that both Final Cut Pro editors and users of consumer DVD authoring applications, such as Appleis iDVD?, can get started right away. DVD Studio Pro 2 provides professionals with a solution that scales from building basic DVDs easily to handling the most advanced projects.

New Apple-designed templates in DVD Studio Pro 2 include a variety of styles, buttons and backgrounds so users can start creating elegant DVDs in a few simple steps. The templates are fully customizable, allowing users to jumpstart their DVD projects with the look of a Hollywood title or to create their own templates from scratch to re-use or share with customers and colleagues.

The innovative new menu editor in DVD Studio Pro 2 provides the tools DVD authors need to create professional-quality menus, while also integrating with popular graphics applications such as Adobe Photoshop. Context-sensitive drop palettes allow users to make otherwise tedious connections in one step, dramatically reducing the work required to make a DVD.

Based on the popular timeline in Final Cut Pro 4, a new timeline-based track editing feature in DVD Studio Pro 2 enables users to work faster and more efficiently with a linear view of clips, audio and other assets. In addition to arranging up to nine video angles, eight audio streams and 32 subtitle streams, DVD Studio Pro 2 users can do basic trimming, merge clips and manage chapter markers in one location.

DVD Studio Pro 2 also offers an integrated MPEG-2 encoder that delivers pristine video at low bit rates. Compressor, a batch transcoding tool that comes bundled with both DVD Studio Pro 2 and Final Cut Pro 4, lets users export directly to multiple formats including MPEG-2 for DVD and MPEG-4 for streaming media. A.Pack encodes uncompressed audio into highly compressed Dolby Digital AC-3 streams, which can then be used in DVD Studio Pro 2 for full 5.1-channel surround sound or simply as a compressed 2.0 stereo track.

DVD Studio Pro 2 is available through the Apple Store for US$499. Apple says that the software will ship on August 18th, with German, French, and Japanese versions to follow sometime in September. You can find more information on the product at Appleis Web site.