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Wednesday, September 15, 2004, 02:00 pm PT (05:00 pm ET)

Final Cut Pro to support HDV format

Listed as one of its early supporters, Apple will reportedly implement compatibility for the newly established HDV format in future versions of its Final Cut Pro software.

The next release of Apple Computer's Final Cut Pro video editing software will be one of the first applications to support the HDV format, according to sources who attended last week's International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam.

The HDV format allows for recording and playback of high-definition video on a DV cassette tape, and was established jointly by Canon, Sharp, Sony, and Victor Company in late 2003. Apple has since been listed as a supporter of the format on the HDV format web site.

According to tipsters, tucked away in a corner of Sony's booth at IBC was an Apple-staffed exhibit running a beta version of Final Cut Pro HD. The software could be seen operating on native video streams from Sony's upcoming HDR-FX1 camcorder, which records 1080/60i high-definition video, as defined by the HDV specification.

"I was blown away by the picture quality," said one tipster who was privy to a demo of the beta software and Sony cam combo. "This endorsement is much more important to Final Cut Pro than P2 or IMX support. It will bring HDTV to every low-budget filmmaker, like DV did for SD video."

The FireWire compatible HDR-FX1 camcorder is expect to ship in a consumer model for US$3700 in November, and will be followed by a $7000 Pro version in the first calendar quarter of 2005. Apple typically revamps its Final Cut Pro software in April, but could produce an update sooner, as it is already engaged in public demonstrations of a newer version.

Speaking at the Apple presentation during IBC this past Saturday, Rob Schoeben, Vice President of Applications Product Marketing, also announced that future versions of Final Cut Pro will support 1080i 50FPS editing, IMX editing, and Panasonic’s next-generation P2 format.

In April Apple announced Final Cut Pro HD, an upgrade to Final Cut Pro 4.0 that delivers real-time performance of high-quality native DVCPRO HD in addition to real-time support for DV and SD. The release also added the ability to capture, edit and output broadcast-quality high definition (HD) video over a single FireWire cable, without requiring any additional hardware.