Apple today announced Shake 4, a major upgrade to its compositing software used by independent artists and visual effects studios for film and television. Shake 4 features 3D multi-plane compositing, cutting-edge optical flow image processing and integration with Final Cut Pro 5. Apple says that artists can now composite live action and 3D CGI layers with added realism using Shakeís new OpenGL-accelerated 3D multi-plane compositing node. "Seamlessly integrated into the node view, 3D compositing works with the same flexible user interface as every other operation and is as fast and high quality as 2D operations. Shake 4 presents an entirely new dimension by offering the ability to position, rotate and animate unlimited layers and cameras in 3D space." Shake 4 for Mac OS X with unlimited render licenses will be available in June for $3,000. The cross-platform version is $5,000; upgrades are $1000.
Apple also updated DVD Studio Pro 4, the company's professional DVD authoring program, which it says is "the first" commercially available DVD authoring software that lets users burn their HD projects to high definition DVDs based on the latest HD DVD specification. DVD Studio Pro 4 will be demonstrated at NAB with a prototype consumer HD DVD player from Toshiba set to debut later this year. DVD Studio Pro 4 also features distributed encoding tools to harness the power of networked Macs, which can dramatically reduce encoding time for high definition projects. DVD Studio Pro 4 also includes support for mixed formats and advanced scripting for the most sophisticated commercial titles. It will be available in May for $500 with upgrades priced at $200.
Apple today also debuted Motion 2, the latest version of its realtime motion graphics software that allows editors to add motion graphics to projects in either DV, SD, HD or film formats. Apple says that Motion 2 is the world's first motion graphics software with GPU accelerated 32-bit float rendering for "true" film quality output. It also features Replicator, a unique new automated design tool to enable editors to easily animate any number of duplicated movies or graphics along user defined grids and patterns. Motion 2 also includes over 130 accelerated filters such as 3D rotation, vignette and caustics, and more than 50 new particle effects that automatically generate animations such as sparkles, bubbles and space clouds. Motion 2 will be available in May for $300 or as a $100 upgrade.
Apple today introduced Soundtrack Pro, a new professional audio editing application. Soundtrack Pro features a waveform editor with flexible Action Layers that allow users to instantly re-order, bypass or change any edit, effect or process. Find-and-Fix features quickly identify and repair common audio problems such as background noise, pops, clicks and hum. With full multitrack editing and mixing, over 50 professional effect plug-ins from Appleís award-winning Logic Pro 7, and more than 1,000 professional quality sound effects, Soundtrack Pro provides the most intuitive, yet precise way to create stunning audio. Soundtrack Pro comes with over 5,000 Apple Loops.
Apple today unveiled Final Cut Studio, a new HD video production suite that features Final Cut Pro 5, a major upgrade its editing software for DV, SD, HD and film. Final Cut Studio also includes Soundtrack Pro, a new audio editing and sound design application that makes video projects sound as good as they look; Motion 2, "the first" real-time motion graphics application with GPU accelerated 32-bit float rendering; and DVD Studio Pro 4, "the first" commercially available DVD authoring software that burns high definition DVDs to the latest HD DVD specification. Final Cut Studio will be available in May for $1,300; upgrades from any previous version of Final Cut Pro can upgrade are $700, while Production Suite customers can upgrade for $500. It is available for pre-order at the Apple Store.
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Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN