Final Cut Pro Studio: Post-Production Power

I’m an independent filmmaker with Hollywood dreams and a deadwood budget. I need to provide professional results that showcase my creative skills. That’s why I use Final Cut Pro Studio by Apple. Every year Final Cut Pro becomes more and more accepted into the mainstream, and it’s easy to see why; because every version keeps improving, because more people are catching on that you can buy a program off the shelf and get a better bang for your buck. When it comes to film and video post-production solutions, look no further than a Macintosh loaded up with Final Cut Pro.

The software is as intuitive as ever, bringing the same easygoing quality to video editing that Apple brought to interface design back in the eighties. Drag, click and zoom around even the most complicated project with the same ease as you’d have in your word processor. Whether you’re working with home video from a MiniDV camcorder or high-definition footage for a feature film, Final Cut Pro makes video editing easy and fun. Why go with Avid when you can use the same Mac setup you use to play The Sims?

These days, though, Final Cut Pro has more to offer than just video editing. It comes in an imposing black package labeled Final Cut Pro Studio, bundled with DVD Studio Pro to make professional-quality DVDs (complete with irritating video menus!), Soundtrack to help you edit and even create groovy tunes, LiveType for nifty animated titles, Motion for assorted, well, motion graphicsâÂ?¦ you name it, Apple’s covered it. The new Final Cut can edit high-definition video with the same ease as it does the standard DV you recorded at your neighbor’s bar mitzvah. So don’t be afraid of a consumer-available program not living up to professional post-production standards. In fact, you can go right to your local video rental outlet and pick up real Hollywood movies edited on Final Cut Pro, like “Cold Mountain” and “Intolerable Cruelty”.

But you can’t cut a major feature film without some serious juice behind you. Fortunately, Final Cut Pro has got you covered. With the right computer setup behind it, long render times are a thing of the past. Render DV with multiple effects on it in real time. Export at lightning speed. You won’t know when to take a bathroom break any more.

Even Apple isn’t perfect, of course. Some users may resent having to buy lots of programs at once instead of just good old Final Cut by itself. And DVD Studio Pro has gotten a lot more confusing since the already-complicated version 2. Working with HD is a lot easier than you might think, but it still has a long way to go; Apple needs to sit down and figure out a one-step way to downconvert HD to standard definition for DVD and tape export without sacrificing more quality than necessary. It’s these sorts of gripes that make you sort of press your hands together and long for the simpler days of editing with scissors on Steenbecks.

Ultimately, this is a program in flux. Filmmaking technology is changing and Final Cut Pro is changing with it. But you still get all the bells and whistles you want, don’t worry, and in a suite of applications with power to spare. The world has gotten more complicated, but Final Cut Pro has not. It’s as intuitive and easy to use as ever. And when you’ve got a big job to do and can breeze through it at the speed of your own creative mind, it’s worth the price tag. Every penny. Let the traditionalists slowly suffer through Avid. You’ve got trails to blaze.

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