In a surprising yet expected move, Apple has acquired Silicon Color. This is major news for all FCP users. There is no telling exactly what could happen, however, I think the future is obvious. Apple has cornered the editing market, and now needs to move onto he high end finishing world and really compete with Avid and Autodesk (discreet). Silicon Color’s Final Touch software is just what FCP needs to make this happen.
Final Touch is an incredible color grading suite that works with the FCP XML interchange. This brought a top of the line finishing workflow to FCP at somewhat of a reasonable cost. While not a common workflow Final Touch was picking up ground, and now that Apple has gotten involved I am sure we will see even better integration/inclusion with Final Cut Pro.
Almost a year ago rumors emerged about Final Cut Pro Extreme, and Final Cut Pro 6. It was my prediction that we would see a high end version of FCP, basically the equivalent of an Avid Symphony/DS, with 2K support at NAB 2006. Well, I was wrong. But now things are falling into place. Final Cut is resolution independent, and with the addition of the Kona 3 card, 2K is already possible with FCP. But what FCP is missing is high end finishing tools. This is what I think Silicon Color will bring to the table.
Here are my predictions:
So next year at NAB I think we can look forward to Final Cut Pro 6, maybe labeled as Final Cut Studio. I think it will stay much the same, although I think it will have a major face lift as well as a better code. There will be better integration between all of the Pro Apps. Maybe even one supper app based on the entire Final Cut Studio package.
I think that we will see Final Cut Extreme (don’t like the name, but that is what I am going with for now). Final Cut Extreme will be an Avid killer, a complete finishing system. Not something for every FCP user, and the pricing will be substantially higher than FCP. Maybe around 10K.
I believe that we will also get a sneak peak of Phenomenon, the replacement to Shake. Phenomenon will have the composting power of Shake, new from the ground up, combined with the motion graphics capabilities of Motion. I think it will sport an entirely new look, and give Shake the Mac interface that it never had. Hell, a graphics program should at least look nice, don’t you think.
And Finally I think that we will see some features that go hand in hand with Leopard. The Pro Apps have taken advantage of the core services in OS X, so Core Animation will definitely be taking a role. Remember that Steve Jobs said the are some feature that are not public yet, they may also have something to do with the future of FCP.
I think this is one major step for Final Cut, and the start of something new in the industry. Times are changing and I think Apple, like always, is keeping us on the edge. So those are my predictions, we will see if any of them come true. But I have to say that Apple is always good at surprising us, and usually in a really good way.
Here is more info about the Silicon Color acquisition:
Apple has acquired Silicon Color, the company responsible for producing FinalTouch color correction software. Apple will continue to honor maintenance agreements held by current Silicon Color customers until they expire, according to the company, and gains rights to all Silicon Color technology as well as its intellectual property. The announcement reads: “We are pleased to announce that all Silicon Color technology and intellectual property, including FinalTouch color correction software, was recently sold to Apple. Maintenance agreements held by current Silicon Color customers will be honored by Apple until they expire.” Financial details about the acquisition were unavailable. Silicon Color caters to video professionals via its FinalTouch 2K, FinalTouch HD, and FinalTouch SD packages.
FinalTouch 2K is designed for the demanding needs of professional film colorists, offering direct support for 10-bit, log-encoded Cineon and DPX files without requiring time consuming conversion or proxy-generation steps. FinalTouch 2K is priced at $25,000. FinalTouch HD features tight Final Cut Pro integration via XML and direct support for QuickTime media while offering many of the same features as its larger sibling, FinalTouch 2K. FinalTouch HD is available for $5,000. FinalTouch SD is the latest product from Silicon Color, designed for the production facility that hasn’t yet moved to high-definition. The software offers color correction for users working with DV-CAM, Digi-Beta, or any other SD format, and is available for $1,000.