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Apple Final Cut Pro X Announced, Aims at a New Market

Apple isn't exhibiting at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) conference in Las Vegas, but it's certainly making its presence known. As was rumored, Apple took the stage at a Final Cut Pro meet-up last night to unveil the upcoming version of the editing program, now called Final Cut Pro X.

The upcoming version includes many worthwhile improvements, such as instant background rendering and the ability to edit footage while it's being imported. It's also 64-bit and completely rebuilt.

Some features, however, signal that Apple is aiming at a less sophisticated audience, and have upset hard-core users. Final Cut Pro X has an interface similar to iMovie and includes people detection, the ability to skim a clip by moving a mouse over it, and auto image stabilization.

"So Apple has turned Final Cut into iMovie Pro. Is this a step forward?" asked Thomas Moser (@megamoze). "I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid (Apple Juice?) on FCP X yet. Pro users seem to be gaining iMovie Pro, but loosing [sic] a suite," tweeted Doug Luberts (@dougluberts).

The biggest indication that Apple is aiming at a less professional audience is the price. Final Cut Pro X will sell for $299 in the Mac App Store, starting in June. It will replace Final Cut Pro Express, which sells for $199. The program will integrate Soundtrack and Color, which were part of Final Cut Pro Studio, and it seems likely that there won't be a Final Cut Pro Studio after June.

While there were dissenters, the overwhelming majority of tweets were positive. Most seem intrigued by the speed and features of the new Final Cut. For those just entering online video, or who don't have time to learn a professional suite, this seems like a strong move, offering the power of a top-level editor without the price tag.

Troy Dreier's article first appeared on OnlineVideo.net

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