Apple Final Cut Pro 3

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Apple Final Cut Pro 3

With version 3, Final Cut Pro is finally compatible with Mac OS X, not just OS 9, but there's much more to the new version than that

Final Cut Pro began life as a fledging program under the Macromedia banner. When Macromedia decided to focus attentions on web development software tools, Final Cut Pro was adopted by Apple and given pride of place at the head of its new desktop video strategy.

The program is aimed at advanced hobbyists and professional users, and is making considerable inroads into video and film editing studios, including some television production houses. Although the creative industries have long been Macintosh fans, many found the NT platform too tempting an alternative, with a good selection of video editing software with real-time support. But, since the release of Final Cut Pro only a couple of years ago, and especially following the more recent introduction of the Matrox RTMac and Pinnacle CineWave RT real-time editing cards, the Macintosh has seen a top-end video editing revival.

When we reviewed the Final Cut Pro 2/RTMac combination (July 2001, p32) we were suitably impressed and gave it a strong recommendation. But what did seem strange was that a Mac OS X version of such an important product as FCP was not available when Apple released the new operating system last year. However, the wait is now over. Version 3 has been optimised for Mac OS X, and also boasts some rather impressive new features and enhancements.

A 167-page booklet is included in-pack detailing the new goodies and giving a few tutorial-like examples to set users on the right path.


Not everything in FCP 3 has been revised. Audio has, for the most part, been ignored and adjusting levels is still fiddly - Apple needs to fix this. However, Final Cut Pro 3 is definitely moving in the right direction, with a growing list of features in a stable application. The real-time effects playback is a major bonus for those on a tight budget and with deadlines looming. PowerBook users will be impressed by OfflineRT's real-time previewing without expensive expansion cards, and by its space-saving file format. Overall, this is a must-have upgrade and one that helps to confirm OS X as a viable operating system for video editing.

For more details, see the June issue of Computer Video magazine.

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