I admit, the title is a bit dramatic. Apple isn’t impacting the world that much. However, they are definitely impacting the film industry, and yesterday’s announcement of Final Cut Studio 2, Final Cut Server, and the addition of Colour to the upgraded Studio suite present a multitude of new options for filmmakers across the spectrum. Indies and professionals alike now have a more powerful system available to them with more capable and more accessible tools.
The announcement that excites me the most (though it is by now means the biggest announcement of yesterday) is Colour, a new Final Cut Studio 2 application based on the work of the folks at Silicon Color and their Final Touch application. Colour grading digitally is a relatively unexplored area (in comparison to the advancements made with non-linear editors). Autodesk’s Lustre, used on Pete Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and King Kong, is a Windows program designed with high-end studio applications in mind. It is incredibly powerful, check out the Appendices of The Fellowship of the Ring for an example of the application in use. Colour grading can subtly change the entire mood of a scene, refocus various elements, and ultimately improve the feel of a scene. The availability of Colour will add another option for filmmakers who are interested in working with this powerful artistic tool.
Final Cut Server is a new application that Apple is apparently targeting at broadcasters. The application is designed to easily move elements of a production easily from one Mac to another, streamlining the workflow and ensuring that everyone involved has the up-to-date version of everything. Whilst targeted toward broadcasters, the application will undoubtedly see use among filmmakers as well. The ability to sync up work in a central workflow is something that many have tried to solve before. Having this successfully accomplished, Apple poses a threat to the existing solutions on the market.
Final Cut Studio 2 is a generally awesome upgrade. The changes include new codecs (support for RED appears to be a top priority for Apple) with focus on real-time. Motion 3 supports three dimensional elements. There are lots of little fixes and added features, the Studio upgrade appears to be a great one. Apple’s continued march toward pushing Avid out of contention is impressive to say the least. Their solutions that target a wide range of filmmakers are catching on quick. It’ll be interesting to see what Apple does with this growing marketshare in the coming months.