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Summary: Apple Final Cut Studio (7/2009)

    by Douglas Dixon

Final Cut Studio Summary
    Final Cut Pro 7
    Motion 4 - Soundtrack Pro 3 - Color 1.5 - Compressor 3.5
    DVD Studio Pro 4

Apple has announced and released an updated Final Cut Studio, with new versions of  Final Cut Pro 7, Motion 4, Soundtrack Pro 3, Color 1.5, and Compressor 3.5 ( The price has dropped by $300 to $999, and the upgrade is $299. (There's no version number on this edition of Final Cut Studio, although the last update in 2007 was version 2.)


One major focus of the new Final Cut Studio is web-based output and sharing. Final Cut Pro adds Easy Export to continue working on projects while encoding in background, and Compressor 3.5 can share to YouTube and MobileMe, or export for iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, and mobile phones (

Final Cut Pro also has new iChat Theater support for real time Web review and approval of timelines or individual clips with iChat users, even if they don't have FCP.

Apple remains unenthused about delivery on old-fashioned optical disc -- DVD Studio Pro 4 still is not updated, and is still only for authoring standard-def DVDs. But you can export HD material from FCP/Compressor to Blu-ray disc, albeit with simple menus and chapters.

FCP also adds three new Apple ProRes codecs for more efficient editing of complex formats: ProRes 422 Proxy for offline and mobile editing, ProRes 422 LT for general purpose broadcast quality editing, and ProRes 4444 for high-quality editing.

Apple states that there are more than 100 new features in the new Final Cut Studio, with deeper support for HD / high-quality formats, and tighter integration within the suite.

PR 7/09 -

See Jan Ozer's First Look Review: Apple Final Cut Pro 7 (registration required for full access)

        Find Apple Final Cut Studio 2 (old) on

Final Cut Studio Summary

Final Cut Pro 7 - Apple's Emmy Award-winning editing software


Apple ProRes codecs: Edit at HD quality with SD file sizes

  • Variable bit rate (VBR) encoding to minimize file sizes for storage efficiency
  • Optimizes decoding for multistream, real-time editing
  • Original ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 (HQ)
  • New ProRes 422 Proxy for offline and mobile editing at low bandwidth
  • New ProRes 422 LT, for general purpose editing, broadcast quality
  • New ProRes 4444 for editing and visual effects at highest quality

Broad Format Support: Edit natively in almost any format

  • Tape and file-based media, SD, HD, and 2K
  • Open format timeline: Mix and match formats and frame rates
  • New native AVC-Intra support for the latest high quality Panasonic cameras

New collaboration tools: Web review and approval

  • New iChat Theater support for real time collaboration
        Share Final Cut timelines or individual source clips with iChat users anywhere
        Even if they don't have Final Cut Pro
  • New Easy Export for one step output to a variety of formats
        Continue working on projects while encoding in background
        Export to YouTube, MobileMe, iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, DVD, Blu-ray
  • Integration with other Final Cut Studio applications,
        Final Cut Server for asset sharing and automated review and approval

Comprehensive professional editing tools

  • Precision editing and trimming, Real-time multicam editing
  • Fully customizable interface, Audio sweetening
  • New interface improvements, including enhanced markers and tabs

Real-time effects and transitions

  • More than 150 filters and effects, multistream vide
  • New speed tools to easily change clip speed with ease
  • New alpha transitions to create dramatic effects using moving mattes
  • Enhanced tools such as 3D shadows, reflections and depth of field
  • SmoothCam stabilize shaky shots while preserving standard camera moves

Open, extensible architecture

  • Open standards like QuickTime and FxPlug for interoperability with third-party tools
  • Open, standards-based XML interchange format

Digital cinema workflows

  • Deeper integration with Color, for digital intermediate workflows
  • Film, high-res cameras like the RED ONE
  • Improved relinking with Cinema Tools 4.5

Motion 4 - Animation tool for 2D & 3D motion graphics and visual effects  


  •  Video editors can quickly create everything from basic titles
        to animated credit rolls to stunning motion graphics and 3D compositions
  • New customizable point and spot lights to cast realistic shadows
        Turn any shape, video plane or paint stroke into a reflective surface
  • Adjust the depth of field within a 3D canvas
        Selectively highlight single object, use multiple objects for racking focus effect

Soundtrack Pro 3 - Audio editing, mixing, enhancement  


  • New multitrack audio tools to streamline audio post production
  • New Voice Level Match extracts volume from vocal content of a clip
        Applies to another without altering any other audio content
  • Enhanced File Editor includes new tools to make sophisticated edits
        and fine tune volume adjustments by targeting specific frequencies
  • New Advanced Time Stretch stretches and compresses audio with precision
        Use 3 Apple algorithms or other third party plug-ins

Color 1.5 - Professional grading application / finishing tool


  • Greater range of sequences and effects from Final Cut Pro
  • Better Final Cut Pro integration
        Integrated workflow allows editors to complete projects entirely within Final Cut Studio
  • New full color resolution - 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  for grading with maximum color information
        including AVC-Intra, XDCAM 422, ProRes 4444

Compressor 3.5 - Encode and deliver in multiple formats


  • Easy set up and customize export options
  • Automatically detect QuickTime settings and create an Easy Export template or a mini "droplet" on desktop to automate specific Compressor actions.
  • Customizable sharing options to YouTube and MobileMe,
        or export for iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, mobile phones
  • HD menu templates and encoding presets to create Blu-ray discs

DVD Studio Pro 4 - DVD authoring


  • Drag and drop tools, on screen editing, real time previews