New Final Cut Studio released: Yawning and Gnashing of Teeth Ensue

Apple announced a major (i.e., “you have to pay for it”) Final Cut Studio upgrade yesterday. It doesn’t have a flashy name like “Final Cut Studio 3” or anything like that. They’re just calling it Final Cut Studio. Kinda like The Velvet Underground calling their third album… The Velvet Underground.

As most readers know, I’m a fan of Final Cut, so it’s a big deal to me when a major upgrade of the software is released. This new FCS has a lot of changes and new features. Like the upcoming Snow Leopard operating system many of the new features strike me as time-savers, not game changers. But after looking over the changes….I’m a little underwhelmed. Are there improvements? Sure. Am I going to stand in line for this release? No.

Disappointments? Sure. The biggest one is that there is still no fix for QuickTime’s gamma problems. (Google page count for: quicktime gamma problems: 3.2 million.) Supposedly the gamma problems will be fixed with the release of the Snow Leopard later this year (and, honestly, that’s probably the better place to address it — system wide). But it is distressing that it’s not even mentioned in Apple’s 66 page “product overview” discussing the new Final Cut Studio features.

Another disappointment — and one I’ve come to expect: DVD Studio Pro is not upgraded whatsoever. For anyone counting, DVD Studio Pro hasn’t had a true upgrade since 2005. Obviously, this means no Blu-Ray support.

The kicker?

Compressor now includes a setting that allows you to create Blu-ray–compatible H.264 files that can be imported directly into third-party Blu-ray disc authoring software.

So, Apple, you want me to buy Final Cut Studio so that I can compress footage and prepare it for Blu-Ray burning… but you want me to buy some other company’s video software suite so that I can actually author a DVD that takes advantage of Blu-ray’s capabilities? Sigh. Thanks a lot.

It’s no secret that Apple’s business model (e.g., iTunes store, Apple TV, etc.) is built around the premise that DVDs will soon be dead. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. But one way or another this is the clearest indication I’ve seen that DVD Studio Pro is marked for death. It makes you wonder why they even bother including it with FCS.


For a brief list of the changes, here’s Apple’s webpage regarding the new versions. If you want the full 66-page overview of changes, Apple has a PDF for you.

7 Responses to “New Final Cut Studio released: Yawning and Gnashing of Teeth Ensue”

  1. Scott Simmons Says:

    What I don’t get is why not just add those Blu-ray templates to DVD Studio Pro. It seems like the natural place to address the customizing of the Blu-ray disc which can be done by adding logos and things of that nature.

  2. Paul Says:


    You make a good point. It’s such a logical idea, in fact, that Apple’s NOT doing that further supports the argument that Apple is actively encouraging people to abandon DVD Studio Pro.

  3. Jason Scott Says:

    Oh goodness, why would ANYONE want to make something in Blu-Ray for the forseeable future?

  4. Paul Says:

    Here’s one reason: I was screening at a cinema recently with an HD projector. Their format only option was standard def DVD. It would’ve been nice to screen my work on Blu-Ray. Far cheaper than renting an HD deck and a lot easier to travel around with a BR player.

  5. Apple Introduces Final Cut Studio | Video and Film Production in Springfield, Branson and Southwest Missouri Says:

    […] impressions based upon the specifications announced. My favorite indie filmmaker read, over at Self-Reliant Filmmaking, also chimes in As most readers know, I’m a fan of Final Cut, so it’s a big deal to me when a major upgrade of […]

  6. Scott Hampton Says:

    Hi Paul.
    I come from Final Cut Express 4. I’m personally excited about this release. I was recently given a copy of Final Cut Studio 1 (2005!), and I didn’t bother upgrading because I thought FCS3 would be released in September with Snow Leopard. Even with the feature set that the new FCS offers (or does not offer), I’m getting it.

    What would be great is a Final Cut Express Studio with Final Cut Express, Motion, and Color. That would be amazing!

  7. Sara Tekula Says:

    I’ve been planning the purchase of a new Final Cut Studio license for my company, and I am SO glad I waited. Sorry to hear that DVD Studio Pro hasn’t changed, but that doesn’t stop me from being excited about those “time-savers” you mentioned. Nothing like saving time in post-production!

    About the theoretical “planned obsolescence” of the DVD, I won’t be surprised if that’s true. While I’m the type of filmmaker that wants a tape master of everything, that’s really all I need in tangible form. All the rest of it (including distribution/delivery) can go digital and I wouldn’t miss it for a second. All I’m waiting for is the consumer to go digital, as well…and there’s a significant digital divide still holding that back (especially in the U.S., where our average internet speeds are dwarfed by those in Europe). The rest of the globe is even slower than that (check out to get the latest data).

    Thanks to @Paul for posting this news and info about Final Cut Studio – much appreciated considering our company’s expansion plan. Thanks to Apple for the perfect timing!