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Issue: August 1, 2009

APPLE'S NEW 'STUDIO,' 'THE COLBERT REPORT' IN IRAQ

By: Randi Altman
Toward the end of July, Apple excited many jaded industry pros by announcing the immediate availability of a new Final Cut Studio, offering over 100 new features and new versions of Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, Color and Compressor. Oh, and they lowered the price $300 from the last version. The new Final Cut Studio can be had for $999, with an upgrade price of $299.

"I'm excited to see Apple working off of their own timeline with this release," comments Tor Johansen, an LA-based television producer and regular contributor to Post. "This whopper of an update comes out smack dab in the middle of... nothing. No NAB launch, no surprise announcement at the WWDC, and no 'one last thing' at the MacWorld keynote. It gives me more confidence in the shipping product, that it was put out when it was ready, not according to some fading industry calendar."

Independent video editor Jonathan Moser says, "It's not that there are any 'knocking it out of the park' features in the new FCP, it's just well thought-out enhancements and new features with increased dynamic interoperability between Studio's different products. Again, Apple scores more in vision and image than Avid, whose new releases also incorporate increased functionality and versatility but with much less fanfare."

Chicago-based Chip Eberhart, principal of High Level Productions, says, "FCP 1.0 came in as a strong rookie, but still young and at a distance. FCP 3.0 landed on solid ground. By 6.0 most would say it won the heavyweight title. With this new version, they've raised the bar, and possibly changed the game." Eberhart is working on a review for us as I type.

Changing gears, I just wanted to preview a story that will be coming in our September issue. Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, which will be upgrading to high def in 2010, went to Iraq in June to entertain the troops and viewers with four episodes taped in a war zone. The entire crew was excited about the opportunity and made sure they would be able to keep up the quality of the production even while shooting at Saddam's Al-Faw Palace, which is magnificent in scope, but no television studio. And because they couldn't bring a lot with them on their trip, gear was rented from a vendor in Kuwait... PAL gear.

Production manager Jeremy Tchaban laughs as he says, "I think we rented every piece of PAL equipment in New York for testing. We wanted to be prepared for everything." And it was that attention to detail that helped the show go off without a hitch. For more on their experiences in Iraq, see our upcoming September issue.