Final Cut Pro 8 Announced Today? Things to Look For

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The rumors have been flying about Final Cut Pro 8 being announced today at the FCP user group Supermeet in Las Vegas.  It seems that a "special presenter" has bumped Adobe and Avid off the presenter podium, and it's a known secret it is Apple.  Reports I've read have been ranging from excited for the new program to offended by those who are big Adobe and Avid fans, which means it puts Apple in a very tight spot.  They have to deliver, and they have to deliver big.

But, personally, I don't care a whole lot about the software, as I'm not a video editor.  But I do set up a lab with Final Cut Studio installed, and our lab is started to show it's age.  So what really matters to me are the requirements for Final Cut Studio.  What are the hardware requirements?  What kind of a footprint will it represent?  And, most important, how easy will it be to deploy in a lab environment?  Historically Final Cut Pro has not been the best software for a Lab deployment.  I'm hoping that will change here in the near future.

I've also been told that the old Final Cut Pro has had a very dated core to it, coming from the old Mac OS 9 world (not sure how true that is), and making it very inefficient compared to what it could do.  That has caused part of the problems with deployment, but it also means you need more beefy hardware to run the thing (though rendering in general requires a lot of processing time).  So, based on what my Final Cut Pro instructors have wanted, here is what I would like to see (for their sakes):

  1. More Efficient Use:  Video editing shouldn't be too difficult, or take a lot of memory/CPU/GPU processing to work.  Instead it should dedicate as many resources as possible to rendering.  While I know most video professionals have Mac Pros, Xserves, or MacBook Pros, I would like to see software that could be installed and run easily on smaller iMacs, Mac Minis (which the current FCP can technically do), Macbooks, and even Macbook Airs.  It will give us more flexibility on hardware, which means the software can be more available.  It also makes planning for a new lab easier, and less expensive.  I'm just saying.
  2. Better Integration:  Apparently there are problems moving files from Final Cut Pro to, say, Motion or Color, and back again.  That kind of segmented view to video editing is not popular, because it means more work for the editor when it should be focused on less.
  3. Smaller Hard Drive Footprint: Currently, a base install of Mac OS X 10.6 and Final Cut Studio (with all the bells and whistles) is almost 60 GB of hard drive space.  That's huge, even on a computer with 250 GB of hard drive space.  While all the libraries are not technically necessary, it would be nice to have a full Final Cut Studio install that weighs in at about 30 GB.  It may not be possible, but that would be nice.
  4. Less Memory Usage:  While most modern computers come with 4 GB of memory, older computers are struggling to use Final Cut Pro with 2 GB of memory (like my current lab).  While more memory means faster rendering, that I understand, it shouldn't require a huge amount of memory to do the initial editing.  Of course, I could be wrong, but I would like to see a smaller memory footprint with the new Final Cut Pro.
  5. iPad Integration:  This is purely on the wish list, and as I said I don't use Final Cut Pro, so I don't know how useful it would be, but I think it would be awesome to see Final Cut Pro have some sort of integration with the iPad, or even the iPhone.  It would make a great toolkit that could be integrated with little effort, but make editing more efficient.  That, and it would be very impressive for those running a demonstration.

Those are the things I would like to see.  I fully admit much of it is geared to making life easier for me to deploy the software in the Lab, and to cut costs in lab maintenance.  I trust to those who use Final Cut Studio to worry about the actual functional bits.  After all, someone has to worry about how they are going get on the computer initially, and what computers are going to be needed to get the work done.