Apple updates Final Cut, Logic

Today, Apple's professional video and audio production suites entered their next generation, with Final Cut Pro 7 and Logic Pro 9.

In keeping with Apple's latest price-cutting trend, the newest version of Final Cut Studio is $300 cheaper than its predecessors, and includes more than 100 new feature upgrades and support for more high quality output formats, including AVC-Intra, XDCAM 422, and ProRes 4444.

Motion, Final Cut's 3D graphics, titling, filtering and effects application, has been improved to include 3D shadows and reflections, and lets editors create new depth of field focus effects (like racking focus) on their rendered graphics.

Soundtrack now features Voice Level Match, a tool which automatically balances the audio levels between video clips with different voice volumes. Users can also target specific frequencies in their audio tracks to bring out details without effecting the overall dialogue.

Apple's music composition and production suite Logic Studio did not get a price reduction like Final Cut Studio, but it includes more than 200 new features, and the second generation of MainStage, Apple's live performance package that premiered with Logic Studio last year.

The major additions to Logic Studio are the new Amp Designer and Pedalboard plug-ins and "Flex Time." The new plug-ins emulate classic amplifiers and speaker combinations as well as the various vintage stompbox effects, and Flex Time is a new tool that quantizes recorded audio, sort of like the rhythmic equivalent of auto-tune.

Since the laptop has become an accepted tool on the performance stage, Apple's MainStage sought to be a live, on-the-fly setup where the musician sets up all the tools he'll need for a given song and can call them up on playlists. The first version of MainStage was ideal for DJs, enabling various synths and plug-ins to be set up alongside the Ultrabeat drum machine (or any virtual drum machine) in an environment with very few intrusive menus.

This version of MainStage introduces Loopback, a sampler and looper which lets users quickly capture live samples and build songs off of them, an integral tool in a DJ's setup.

Both Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio are available immediately from Apple.

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