Final Cut Studio 3
THE LEADING POSTPRODUCTION SUITE JUST GOT “SLIGHTLY” BETTER
Instead of writing the typical review you can find anywhere about new features, expanded format capabilities, and collaborative tools of the new Final Cut Studio, I’d like to instead focus on the whole package. I could write all day about all the little things such as the awesome new additions to the Apple ProRes family, the technical data on 4444 codec, the AVC-Intra support, and a plethora of new features. Yes, the new Final Cut Studio is filled with more than 100 new features and innovations that help you work faster, collaborate efficiently, and finish your work in style. At the end of the day, what does that mean to you?
Before I answer that question, I must make a disclaimer. My name is Erik Kuna, and I’m a Final Cut Studio addict. I love it and have loved using it from the days when I switched in 2001 to Final Cut Pro from Adobe Premiere (which I was using since 1996). So, what is Final Cut Studio? It’s the leading suite of applications for an all-encompassing, affordable, and complete postproduction solution. No other option has come close in the last few years. Sure, there are other options out there, but the fact is the vast majority of professional and advanced amateurs look no further than Final Cut Studio. All the way from Academy Award winning movies to major television networks and even featured primetime shows, all different industries use Final Cut Studio for their editing and postproduction work. What does that mean to us? That means we have postproduction tools available to us that, up until about the last ten years, were unobtainable without a huge Hollywood budget.
Let’s focus on one application in the suite for now, Color 1.5, Apple’s color grading tool, which was introduced in the last iteration of Final Cut Studio. Before becoming Color 1.0, it was a product called Final Touch from Silicon Color with a retail price of $24,995. That’s right, twenty-four thousand, nine hundred ninety-five dollars. Apple purchased Final Touch in late 2006 and now anyone who buys the $999 Final Cut Studio has access to this powerful Color Grading tool. Plus, in Final Cut Studio 3, the new and improved Color adds 4K support, better round tripping, and many other features colorists have been asking Apple to include. As with Color, the rest of the suite is filled with productivity enhancements and new features that would make any video professional happy he invested money in the upgrade.
With all the praise for Final Cut Studio 3, I do have two particular reasons that kept me from unequivocally giving this product a top rating. Final Cut received minimal upgrades given a long time between versions. Also, DVD Studio Pro received no major update at all, not even Blu-ray support. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but maybe Apple has something up their sleeve with both down the road, or at least I can hope.
The bottom line is if you don’t have Final Cut Studio and you’re looking for a postproduction suite, why are you still reading this? Go buy it! If you have an older version and are looking to upgrade, do it. It will be worth it.—Erik Kuna
Company: Apple Inc.
Price: $999 (Upgrade: $299)
Hot: New ProRes codecs; compression time savers; productivity tools
Not: Average progress in Final Cut 7; no major update to DVD Studio Pro