Apple Announces Final Cut Pro 2 With Vastly Improved G4 Performance

Apple has announced Final Cut Pro 2 today, the successor to their very popular video editing solution. Apple has been working hard to establish the Mac platform as the premier Digital Video and analog video editing platform, and Final Cut Pro is a big part of that strategy, reportedly, much to the chagrin of Adobe who competes in the same space with their Premier product. Final Cut Pro has been a huge success for Apple, and the new release packs many features and vastly improved performance on G4 powered Macs. According to Apple:

Apple® today introduced Final Cut Pro® 2, the next generation of its award-winning video editing, compositing and special effects software. Final Cut Pro 2 is a powerful, all-in-one editing solution, featuring real-time editing, breakthrough Power Mac™ G4 performance and a scalable architecture that allows users to output content into any video format.

With Final Cut Pro 2, real-time editing and compositing functions are seamlessly integrated into the video production workflow. By simply adding an optional, supported real-time processing card, video editors can instantly perform wipes, dissolves, and 2D motion graphics effects, dramatically increasing their creative freedom and efficiency. Final Cut Prois real-time architecture allows third-party manufacturers to create hardware that supports a variety of professional editing features and formats. The first card to support Final Cut Prois real-time architecture is the RTMac card from Matrox, which provides real-time broadcast-quality transitions and effects, and uncompressed, 32-bit, animated graphics in a dual-stream, native-DV editing environment.

Final Cut Pro 2 takes advantage of the supercomputing performance of Appleis new Power Mac G4 and PowerBook® G4 lines, and the new QuickTime™ 5 architecture, to deliver dramatic gains in video editing productivity. On compute-intensive operations, Final Cut Pro 2 is up to 30% faster on G4 systems and 70% faster on dual-processor G4 systems, when compared to the previous generationis performance on similarly configured systems.

With Final Cut Pro 2, video editors can:

  • work with all popular video formats, from Digital Video, to Beta SP, to High Definition (HD);
  • edit using a professional three-point editing model, including "JKL" keyboard-control shortcuts, drag and drop functionality, and trim-on-the-fly video for fast synching of video and audio;
  • simultaneously output to a computer monitor, an NTSC or PAL TV monitor, a VCR, or a camera;
  • consolidate, move and reconnect media with advanced new media management tools;
  • work efficiently between online and offline systems using Final Cut Prois Edit Decision List (EDL) import/export function;
  • easily convert projects to the most popular web-based formats using Cleaner 5EZ;
  • export audio that is compatible with industry standard mixing and finishing systems using OMF audio export;
  • use the included Peak DV with VST plug-ins to perform audio editing functions such as eliminating unwanted audio noise or changing clip duration without changing pitch;
  • utilize Subframe audio editing to 1/100th of a frame;
  • combine up to 99 layers of video, audio, text and graphics;
  • open and nest multiple sequences and programs; and
  • create special effects using Final Cut Prois built-in FX scripting language, or hundreds of supported Adobe After Effectis plug-ins

Final Cut Pro works with Appleis new DVD Studio Pro™ to form a complete system for professional digital content creation and delivery. From within Final Cut Pro, users can invoke DVD Studio Prois powerful compression engine to encode their edited video sequences into MPEG2. Using DVD Studio Pro, they can author sophisticated navigation menus, preview disk operation in real time, and burn DVDs using the Power Mac G4is new SuperDrive for playback on consumer DVD players.

Final Cut Pro 2 requires Mac® OS 9.1, a Macintosh® computer with a 300-MHz or faster PowerPC G3 or G4 processor, QuickTime 5, 192MB of RAM (256MB of RAM for real-time processing), and 20MB of available disk space for installation.

Apple will be shipping Final Cut Pro 2 on March 19th. The company says it will be available at The Apple Store and retailers alike. The product is priced at US$999, and previous owners can upgrade for US$249. You can find more information on the new release (including compatible hardware and software lists) at Appleis Final Cut Pro Web site.