Steve Jobs: 2005 year of HD video editing

At the MacWorld conference in San Francisco last week, Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs showed how his company’s HD software works well with Sony’s new HDV camera
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At the MacWorld conference last week, Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs unveiled Final Cut Express HD software, which can capture HDV video over a single FireWire cable.

Following a CES that showcased a variety of lower cost HDTV displays for consumers, Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs used MacWorld last week to dramatically lower the entry ticket to high-definition video (HDV) editing.

Declaring 2005 “the year of HD video editing,” Jobs announced Final Cut Express HD, a $299 professional editing software package, and a new version of iMovie, both for the first time supporting 720p and 1080i high-definition (HDV) video in the 16:9 aspect ratio.

Jobs also noted that QuickTime 7, which will be included with Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger when the upgrade ships during the first half of 2005, will include the H.264 video codec that is part of the competing high-definition DVD formats, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.

Jobs was joined at the Moscone Center in San Francisco by Kunitake Ando, president of Sony Electronics, to emphasize how closely the two companies were working together. Jobs held a new Sony HDR-FX1 1080i HDV camera (for less than $3500) while Ando spoke about Sony’s commitment to the Blu-ray high-definition DVD format and expressed his “great admiration and respect for Apple products.”

Jobs reciprocated, saying, Apple is anxiously awaiting Blu-ray “so we can burn high-definition DVDs” and suggested the possibility that Sony and Apple could work together on music and computers in the future.

Final Cut Express HD users can now capture HDV video over a single FireWire cable, without requiring any additional software or hardware. Whether it’s with DV or HDV content, the RT Extreme engine in Final Cut Express HD allows users to preview effects, filters, transitions and multistream composites in real time, without rendering. Final Cut Express HD also supports Digital Cinema Desktop, a feature that enables HD and DV preview monitoring on a primary or secondary Apple Cinema Display.

With LiveType, Final Cut Express HD users can add HD-quality animated text and motion graphics to videos. LiveType includes 27 animated LiveFonts, 150 pre-configured effects and a variety of customizable templates, backgrounds, textures and objects that can be added to any Final Cut Express HD project.

Final Cut Express HD also supports direct timeline file placement from Motion, Apple’s real-time motion graphics design program. Final Cut Express HD’s sound controls extend to the inclusion of Soundtrack, which enables users to create custom movie soundtracks, and the ability to edit up to 99 tracks. Access to more than 4000 royalty-free music loops and sound effects is also included.

On the consumer front and bundled with all new Macs, Apple also introduced HD editing capability to its entry-level editor, iMovie. With the new iMovie HD, support was added for HDV 720p and 1080i and the 16:9 widescreen video. From a new Timeline, users can drag and drop clips to and from the Clip Viewer, to and from other iMovie HD projects, to iDVD drop zones. The application also offers smoother scrubbing, better clip management, non-destructive video and audio editing and a new “save as” feature to safeguard projects during editing.

Final Cut Express HD ships in February. Upgrades for current users are $99. iMovie HD is part of Apple’s iLife 05 package. That upgraded package can be purchased separately for $79.

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