Apple, Sony ready for XDCAM HD/Final Cut road tour

Apple s NAB booth had the company s typical mix of attendees this year. There were, as always, the Apple faithful, those who worship at the altar of Final Cut Pro and, more importantly, the Apple hardware and operating system. And then there were the rest: those hoping to be converted and those who are curious to see the computing giant s latest steps towards the professional and broadcast market.

This year, however, there was one big difference: it was the first time Apple has displayed its new line of MacBook Pro computers to the broadcast audience. The new line of laptops is based on Intel Core Duo processing, offering much faster graphics and data processing speeds.

The most important announcement was the addition of native XDCAM HD
editing. It s only available with OSX but its something that Avid won t
be able to do until at least June. And both Sony and Apple will take to
the road in June for a road show that will demonstrate first hand the
powerful new combination of HD acquisition with cost-effective HD

Apple also took the wraps off its latest family member: the 17-inch MacBook Pro, which has a number of features that will be of interest to the professional graphics creators and editors. Among the features that will be attractive to professionals who rely on Macs are three USB and two FireWire 400 and 800 ports, giving the $2,799 laptop more options for connecting cameras, decks and other devices based on formats like Sony XDCAM HD and Panasonic P2 that are moving to FireWire and USB outputs.

But it s the speed and brightness of the laptop that will hold true allure. It s up to five times faster than the PowerBook G4 laptop and has a screen that is 36% brighter, making it easier to evaluate content and video edited on the computer. In addition, video can now be played back at full resolution.

Kirk Paulsen, Apple s senior director, market development professional applications, says the improvements on the hardware side plus in Final Cut Studio 5.1 elevate the system s performance to new levels.

We ve been expanding HD support and for nine months we ve been shifting gears, he says. Now all of our eight pro applications have been ported over to HD.

Products like Matrox MXO, says Paulsen, hijack the DVI port on the MacBook and allow for multiple audio and video streams to be sent via SD baseband or HD SDI. When working in Final Cut Pro you can leverage the digital cinema desktop and provide an HD preview in real time on an HD display, he says. There s also enough processing speed to view six HD streams on screen at once.

Apple Final Cut Studio 5.1 has also been integrated into the Associated Press ENPS system, allowing for Final Cut Pro projects to be incorporated into the run lists of more than 3,300 ENPS newsroom installations around the world.

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