Wednesday, 18 April, 2007

Final Cut Pro 6

On Sunday a day before NAB 2007 began, Apple announced Final Cut Studio 2 consisting of Final Cut Pro 6, Motion 3, Soundtrack Pro 2, Color, Compressor 3, DVD Studio Pro 4, LiveType 2, and CinemaTools 4.

There aren't shipping immediately, so first-hand details are sketchy. But going by reports, viewing videos and reading up at Apple's Web site here are the highlights.

Final Cut Pro 6

Mix multiple formats and codecs in the same timeline. Yes you do it even now with FCP 5.1 but you need to render. In FCP 6 you can make a new sequence set as Open Format and anything in it will play in real-time. How this impacts clips with filters and transitions, needs to be seen.

ProRes 422. A new codec which gives you great quality at low data rates. Sort of like how DVCProHD or DNxHD on Avid. An new hardware from Aja called IO-HD will be needed to work with this codec efficiently. Blackmagic has also introduced hardware called Multibridge Eclipse that does this acceleration.

But if you have an older BlackMagic or Aja card, or no card, can you still work with ProRes422? Remains to be seen.


In some countries it is spelt colour, but means the same thing.

Some time last year Apple took over a small company called Silicon Color. They used to make a film and video colour grading software called FinalTouch. It sold in 3 versions - FinalTouchSD for $1000, FinalTouchHD for $5000, and FinalTouch2k for $25,000.

With FinalTouch2k you could do colour grading for an entire feature film. Meaning you could do DI. And people bought FinalTouch2k for $ 25,000.

Now Apple is giving away FinalTouch free, meaning part of Final Cut Studio. But whether Color (as FinalTouch is now called) has retained all the fill-blown DI features of the original FinalTouch2k, remains to be seen.

What I'm really keen on finding out is whether Color can work with DPX files and conform them to an EDL. And then exported the graded DPX sequence as Quicktime for use in FCP and do do deliverables like pan and scan etc.

To really grade like a DI suite you need a grading panel. And with Color, the Tangent CP-200 is supported. Check with Tangent

3D compositing

Motion 3 part of FCS 2 now supports 3D and 32-bit floating point for compositing.There is also bezier masks, tracking, match moving, and stabilization. If you're a compositor, you know how big that is.

I don't use Motion all that much, so maybe I'll do so when I get Motion 3.

Surround mixing

Soundtrack Pro 2 now has surround editing and mixing with an innovative graphical display. And there's autoconform so you can make changes to the original edit in FCP 6, STP will show the changes and even implement them.

Compressor 3

Its become faster for one thing. Has more codecs even supports ProRes. And AutoCluster. meaning you can actually use QMaster now.

CinemaTools 4

Details are sketchy, but the table view is more interactive and in the Open clip window you can now open the next or previous clip in the same window without having to close the earlier one. Clip Analysis shows up in the margin instead of having to open a window.


Upgrade from any version FCP is $ 700 or about Rs 35,000
Upgrade from any version FCS is $ 500 or about Rs 25,000
A whole new one costs $ 1300 or about Rs 65,000
All these will not be available before May.

Meaning if you spent on an upgrade earlier tis year or late '06, you now have to spend some more. I wonder what happens to people who bought FCS this month.

For the IO-HD or Multibridge Eclipse hardware (either needed for ProRes422 support) you need to shell out $ 3500 or about Rs. 2.2 to 2.5 lakhs. Both these ship in July.

What's not changed

Capture tool still doesn't seem to show a time-code display or audio level meters during capture. So if your VTR is far away you still have no feedback.

Media Manager still looks the same, but if there are improvements I need to wait and report.

Relink even if the clip is not identical to the original. Again don't know if that works like in an Avid.

So basically these are the new things in FCP 2. More as soon as I get my upgrade.


  1. Neil,

    You can find this article written by Stu really interesting...

  2. Yes I did read that. Seems like Color still has some way to go.


  3. Dada: I like the new layout. It's got a cool style and makes it easy to read. One issue though: could you increase the width of the main comments column. It would make for even easier reading!


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