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For some of you who may be new to Final Cut Pro here is an introduction from Apple themselves. Final Cut Pro 6 works best with a MacPro Intel chipset but it will work on lesser specification machines but I would not recommend this, personally. If you want to view HD footage onto a monitor you will need a I/O box like the Matrox MXO or an AJA io HD, there are other options but the Matrox and AJA are the most popular.
Making the transition from an SD timeline to an HD timeline only requires you to adjust some preferences in FCP and as in my case the AJA box has to be set up via software. I use 7200 SATA drives in 3 DP500 Sonnet cases giving me 15 drives plus 4 in the Mac itself.
The main problems with HD is the fact that everything takes slightly longer to render, Motion a 3D graphics application is similar to ‘After Effects’ but I think it’s better. Motion 3 as it is officially known can give you some wonderful graphics but in 720 50P things get a little slower and rendering takes longer but you put up with it.
Final Cut Pro 6 on the other hand is fine with 720 50P using Apple ProRez but this means anything you bring into FCP must pass through the AJA first in order to transcode it to ProRez.
Apple ProRes 422 brings powerful new capabilities to Final Cut Pro editors thanks to its outstanding technical characteristics.
Stunning HD Quality
• Quality indistinguishable from the most pristine sources. Maintains superb quality even after multiple encoding/decoding generations.
• Full-width 1920-by-1080 and 1280-by-720 resolution. Offers the highest visual detail possible in any HD format.
• 4:2:2 chroma sampling. Provides precise compositing and blending at sharp saturated-color boundaries.
• 10-bit sample depth. Preserves subtle gradients of 10-bit sources (sunsets, graphics, and the like) with no visible banding artifacts.
• I frame–only encoding. Ensures consistent quality in every frame and no artifacts from complex motion.
Part THREE : HD Camcorders
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