Date: Monday, April 7th, 2003, 07:12
Apple didn’t stop with Final Cut Pro at the NAB show in Vegas: it’s updating its entire pro video software line. DVD Studio Pro 2 is completely rebuilt “from the ground up” with a new user interface, professionally designed, customizable templates (think iDVD for pros), a new menu editor, timeline-based track editing, and a new software-based MPEG-2 encoder. The headline news seems to be that DVD Studio Pro 2 is learning from the ease of use of iDVD, but with pro capabilities. The previous version, while insanely powerful and very popular, was hampered by a tough learning curve. I was about to say, “now if only Apple would cut the price,” and then I read to the bottom of the press release — they did, by a full 50%, to US$499. (But where’s the upgrade pricing, Apple, for people who shelled out $1000 for DVD Studio Pro 1.5?) The new version ships in August, but if you buy DVD Studio Pro 1.5 now, you’ll be able to upgrade for $29.95 via the Up-to-Date program.
”That’s all fine and well,” you say, “but I’m doing professional-level compositing and visual effects.” You’ll love Shake 3. The new version has Mac OS X-only features like network render management software (Shake Qmaster) and unlimited network rendering licenses so you can distribute rendering tasks across a cluster of Xserves or Power Mac G4s. It’ll be interesting to see if this boosts Xserve sales. For Mac OS X, Linux, and Irix users, the software also adds motion-tracking effects and real-time broadcast preview. Oscar-winning films used Shake, so it’s great to see a significant update. And, hey, why don’t I run the pricing for the heck of it, even though this is clearly a “if you have to ask . . .” scenario: SRP US$4950 for OS X, US$9900 for Linux and IRIX (a hint to get a Mac?), and annual “maintenance” subscriptions of US$1485 a year. Here’s where that gets economical: it includes unlimited render licenses. With Xserves selling for US$2799, that means you can set up a network very cheaply. I knew I wanted an excuse to set up a distributed rendering network in my apartment.
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