Final Cut Pro evolution puts power in hands of us all

Apple's Final Cut Pro uses the familiar iMovie interface.
Apple's Final Cut Pro uses the familiar iMovie interface.

ANYONE who has edited a video knows it can be a time-consuming labour of love - and frustration.

Depending on the program you are using, creating that home movie masterpiece or small business promo can take hours to produce just minutes of viewing.

And the learning curve for some programs is ridiculous. They are packed with features but are anything but user-friendly.

What you really want is a program that can provide great features and lots of short cuts along the way that is relatively easy to use.

Apple's Final Cut Pro X certainly fits the bill here.

What was once a $2000 editing suite pitched at professionals has been redesigned from the ground up to make it far more accessible to us all.

If you have used iMovie on your iPhone, you should pick up the basics pretty quickly as it shares the same look and functionality. But Final Cut has a stack more features to justify its $299 price tag.

When it first came out it was dubbed iMovie on steroids. Upgrades since have made it even better.

Some of the coolest features of the program are:

Magnetic timeline - you can add and arrange clips wherever you want them while other clips slide out of the way.

Clip connections - your video and audio files stay together so when you edit them you don't find things out of sync.

Auditions - a great way of looking at how different shots might look in a story quickly.

Multicam - you can use vision from an iPhone, a sound recorder, your digital SLR and a professional movie camera with automatic sync and support for mixed formats. Up to 64 camera angles can be accommodated.

Clever media organisation - you can tag your video and audio with keywords and even different descriptions (close up, wide shot etc) to quickly locate what you are after.

Compound clips - you can combine related story elements into a consolidated group that you can edit as a single clip.

The real beauty of Final Cut Pro comes as you are editing. All the rendering of the video is done in the background so you don't have to continually wait for every change to be processed.

For someone who does a lot of videos, this could easily save hundreds of hours in a year.

Apple says its 64-bit architecture is a key to ensuring every bit of your computer's processing power is harnessed.

Final Cut Pro comes with an array of transitions and title templates to jazz up your video, as well as colour grading and audio editing features.

The audio effects were particularly impressive, transforming ordinary audio at a concert into something useable.

If you want to take things a step further, Motion 5, which retails for $49.99, provides advanced tools to let you customise titles, transitions and effects.

Compressor 4 allows you to customise the export settings built into Final Cut which include everything from YouTube uploads to HTTP live steaming.

If you are just doing basic movie editing on an Apple, iMovie may be enough.

But if you want to take your video editing to the next level and produce something that you can be really proud of, Final Cut Pro is well worth a look.

Topics:  apple, games and gadgets, imac, video editing



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