Apple Updates Pro Apps, Introduces Motion at NAB

Apple updates Final Cut Pro with HD Apple on Sunday introduced Final Cut Pro HD, a new version of its video editing software that supports the DVCPRO HD format. The new version of Final Cut Pro works using FireWire without requiring any additional hardware. Final Cut Pro HD is available as a free upgrade to registered Final Cut Pro 4 users and is available for retail purchase for US$999. Final Cut Pro HD can play back up to four streams of native DVCPRO HD video itself; adding an Xserve RAID into the mix, you can work with up to 10 streams in preview quality. "Digital Cinema Desktop" is a new feature that allows SD and HD monitoring on an Apple Cinema Display. Also included is LiveType 1.2, Compressor 1.2 and Cinema Tools. Apple introduces Motion During a Sunday press event at NAB 2004 in Las Vegas, Apple introduced Motion, a new motion graphics design package that provides animation of text, graphics and video, instant previewing of multiple filters and particle effects, and "Behaviors" -- natural movement of type and graphics with effects like gravity and wind, without depending on keyframes. Motion is available for US$299. Motion uses procedural animation to create the natural simulations Apple refers to as "Behaviors." You can define interaction between objects like attraction and repulsion, leading to the creation of complex or simple effects with relatively little work involved. Motion also sports a Keyframe Editor if you need to plot precise parameter values at specific frames. Apple announces DVD Studio Pro 3 In a special event at NAB 2004 on Sunday, Apple announced DVD Studio Pro 3, the latest major revision to the company's professional DVD authoring application for Mac OS X. New to this release are Alpha Transitions, a new Graphical View, DTS 5.1 audio support and the inclusion of Compressor 1.2, Apple's digital media encoding and compression tool. DVD Studio Pro 3 is designed to provide a professional digital video professionals with DVD layout and design capabilities. The software features more than 30 pro transitions that can be used to blend between menus, slides in slideshows and stills in tracks. The new Alpha Transitions, which use QuickTime-based movies; users can build their own Alpha Transitions using Apple's just-announced Motion or Adobe After Effects as well. Apple offers Shake 3.5 At a special event at this week's NAB 2004, Apple on Sunday introduced Shake 3.5, a new version of its compositing and special effects tool for cinema and video. The new version of Shake features new shape-based morphing and warping capabilities that rely on spline tools, improves Rendezvous networking and more. It's available now as a paid upgrade for Shake 3 users. Shake 3.5's Shake Qmaster network render manager has been improved in this version; the Rendezvous-enabled system can handle distributed rendering tasks for both Shake and Alias' Maya 3D rendering and animation software. Support for 16-bit RGB and 10-bit YUV QuickTime formats has been added also. Apple intros Xsan storage area network system At a special event at this week's NAB 2004, Apple introduced Xsan, a Storage Area Network (SAN) file system priced at US$999 per system. The new file system is aimed at users in video and other businesses looking for high-speed access to centralized, shared data where even conventional Local Area Networks (LANs) might still be too slow. Xsan is a 64-bit cluster file system designed to work with Mac OS X. It provides multiple computers with concurrent file-level read/write access to shared volumes over Fibre Channel, and it's certified to work with Apple's pro applications. Up to 64 users can simultaneously access a single storage volume using Xsan. Features include metadata controller failover, Fibre Channel multipathing, file-level locking, bandwidth reservation, and flexible volume management. Source: MacCentral
I am not going to be doing any HD cam work in the near future, but this new Motion app looks pretty cool. I have used DVD Studio Pro since version 1, and that update also looks pretty nice as well. What I was confused about when I heard about FCP HD, I thought it was going to be a (another) split of FCP. I mean we have Final Cut Express now - don't even get me started with that. FCP HD is really FCP 4.5, and it is a free upgrade too. I am glad it is free, seeing as FCP 4 just came out not too long ago. As if the Adobe and Apple relationship has been strained (C|Net News.com) in the recent past, I am sure this heats things up even more. It will be interesting to see what all Motion can do that After Effects cannot. I think Motion is an After Effects killer. It works hand in hand within a FCP and DVD SP timeline. All these Pro Apple apps (lets not forget Logic and Shake here) work hand in hand. Sure, After Effects is a tried and true post app, but Motion is integrated into the FCP workflow. Adobe killed Premiere for Mac, is this foreshadowing to things to come? I don't think After Effects will go the way of Premiere so soon, after all does Motion do 3D? Nope, but it does have a particle system, and it does work with some AE plugins, and it works with Photoshop. That is enough to use Motion most of the time. Motion is $300, After Effects is $700 or $1000 for the full application. This is why I think people will start using Motion, it costs $300, less then half the cost of the Standard version of After Effects. (After Effects 6.5, just out at NAB, does work on OS X). I used to use Premiere, it was good. I then found Media 100 and liked it, even got professional training in it. Once Final Cut Pro came out it did not take me long to realize how much better it was to M100. I am obviously not the only person to make this realization, and I am sure people will start noticing this same thing about Motion for most of their AE needs. I have not tried Motion yet, but from what I read, it looks like it does quite a bit of AE like stuff. Apple and Adobe are facing off head to head like never before.

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