Today, Apple (s aapl) released a huge update for its Pro series of audio/video editing applications, including both the Final Cut and Logic Studio suites of applications. People (and businesses) who need the extra muscle of Pro applications (as compared with the iLife suite, for example) will be happy to note that with this latest update, Apple has dropped the price for Final Cut Studio by a very respectable $300, from $1,299 to $999 for the full studio package, or $299 for existing users to upgrade.
Final Cut Studio
Final Cut Studio includes Final Cut Pro 7, Motion 4, Soundtrack Pro 3, Color 1.5, Compressor 3.5 and DVD Studio Pro 4. While all of the applications included in the suite received an upgrade, Final Cut Pro bears the most significant changes over its previous iteration.
New features include iChat Theater support, so that you can actually edit collaboratively in real-time while working remotely. It’s a great way for Apple to leverage existing tools in an innovative way to provide a truly useful function for people editing media, since collaborators don’t even need to have Final Cut installed. There are also new Change Speed and Share windows, which give you better control over video speed changes and the ability to preview your content when exporting for web, Blu-ray or Apple devices.
There are also new and improved versions of Apple’s ProRes codec. ProRes 422 (Proxy) helps with offline editing; ProRes 422 (LT) provides broadcast quality at reduced sizes; and ProRes 4444 gives you the highest quality possible for editing.
Motion 4 now allows you to add light sources to cast reflections and shadows on any surface, and offers new text, tilting, and depth of field tools. Color 1.5 should now work with a wider range of effects, and includes native support for RED ONE camera files. Compressor 3.5 now has Job Action features to make it easier to export to open and export a file to various destinations and work with Automator workflows. Finally, Soundtrack Pro 3 brings new tools like Advanced Time Stretch which boasts all-new audio stretch and compress algorithms, and Voice Level Match, which matches volume from the vocals of one clip to another.
Logic Studio comes in at a respectable $499, and includes both Soundtrack Pro 3 and Compressor 3.5, mentioned above, in addition to Logic Pro 9, MainStage 2, and WaveBurner 1.6. It also ships with all six Apple Jam Pack loop sets and tons of bundled plug-ins, instruments and effects. Current Logic Studio or Logic Pro users can upgrade for $199, while those with Logic Express will have to pay a heftier $299.
Logic Studio brings a lot of new stuff to the table, with over 200 new features. Some highlights include the new Amp Designer amp modeling software, which comes with 25 amps, 25 cabinets, and three mics to allow users to customize the sound of their guitar tone, which was lacking in Guitar Amp Pro, their previous modeling software. Pedalboard works with Amp Designer to bring 30 stompbox effects, which can be arranged on a virtual pedalboard.
Flex Time, a new feature for Logic Pro, allows you to manipulate timing so that if one of your tracks (or part of the track) is slightly off with the others, it’s much easier to drag the affected area to try to correct the timing, and Logic Pro will compress or expand the areas nearby to accommodate the change.
Early impressions from Apple Pro users at Macworld and CNET seem to indicate that many of the changes introduced with the new versions make working with audio and video significantly easier than in previous installments. Apple really has put the focus squarely on usability improvements this time around, and it shows. Both suites are available immediately from Apple’s web site.