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Apple upgrades digital video editing software

Apple Computer Inc.  on Sunday unveiled the latest versions of its digital video editing, DVD creation and special effects software.
/ Source: Reuters

Apple Computer Inc. on Sunday unveiled the latest versions of its digital video editing, DVD creation and special effects software, including a new program called Motion it says will vastly ease motion graphics effects.

Apple, which makes the Macintosh computer, has long been a leader in digital editing software and other tools, and it says the latest versions should broaden the market for its film and DVD editing products, as moviemaking increasingly become more digitized and high-definition television catches on.

At the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas, Apple rolled out Final Cut PRO HD, which allows users to edit high-quality uncompressed high-definition (HD) signals. The software, which costs $999, gives broadcasters, producers and post-production professionals the ability to capture, edit and put out broadcast-quality HD video, including on an Apple PowerBook, the company said.

The new Motion program allows for interactive animation of text, graphics and video, with an instant preview of different filters and effects.

It also has what Apple calls "behaviors," which allow artists to add natural-looking movement to type and graphics, such as gravity and wind, without the use of the traditional, complex method of using keyframes."

"That's the one I think is just out of this world," said Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research, a multimedia industry research firm based in Tiburon, California. "I think Apple has got an incredible tool there that will find applications beyond just enhancing and editing motion capture data."

Motion graphics are the types of animation and images that accompany football and baseball games that are broadcast on television, for example, Cupertino, California-based Apple said.

Motion will be available this summer for $299, Apple said. Final Cut Pro HD is available immediately.

The company also rolled out Xsan, a high-performance storage area network (SAN) file system that lets artists work in Final Cut Pro or its special effects software Shake or other Apple digital editing products with other artists on the same project.

"They can work on the same (digital) content in a central repository," Rob Schoeben, vice president of applications marketing for Apple, said, adding that it is compatible with non-Macintosh computers like PCs running the Linux or Windows operating systems. Apple's current operating system is Mac OSX.

A test version of Xsan is now available to qualified customers, and general release is for fall 2004. It will cost $999 for each computer on which it is installed.

Apple also announced DVD Studio Pro 3, the latest version of its DVD-creation application that eases and streamlines the creation of professional-quality DVDs.