Apple has upgraded its Final Cut Studio package today offering major upgrades of Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Motion, Compressor; and Introduces "Color", ahead of Adobe's update to Premiere and its movie editing software applications later in the year.

Apple has said that Final Cut Studio 2 includes Final Cut Pro 6, Motion 3, Soundtrack Pro 2, Compressor 3, and DVD Studio Pro 4.2 for SD and HD DVD authoring.

Final Cut Studio 2 also introduces Color, a professional colour grading and finishing application for ensuring consistent colour and creating signature looks.

At the core of Final Cut Studio 2 is Final Cut Pro 6, the latest version of Apple’s editing software which includes a new Open Format Timeline that lets editors mix and match virtually any video format and frame-rate in a single Timeline without transcoding. ProRes 422, a new full raster, 10-bit 4:2:2 post production format used by companies including Panasonic, Sony and RED. Final Cut Pro 6 also includes optical flow based SmoothCam technology to remove unwanted or jarring camera movement with simple, easy-to-use tools. Deep integration with Motion includes the ability to edit Motion templates with video drop zones and editable text fields directly in Final Cut Pro.

New to Final Cut Studio is Color. The primaries in Color include advanced colour correction tools such as gamma, lift and gain adjustments, as well as custom R, G, B and luma curves, and the secondaries provide the ability to isolate specific areas of an image with soft-edged mattes and custom-shaped vignettes, which can be tracked with ease.

Professional scopes provide precise monitoring of chrominance and luminance values via waveforms, histograms and new 3D scopes. Color includes over 20 signature looks which can be customised to create a unique mood for any given project, and offers a seamless roundtrip workflow where projects can be sent from Final Cut Pro 6 directly to Color for grading, finishing and final rendering with 32-bit float 4:4:4 image processing.

Motion 3, the latest version of Apple’s motion graphics software, takes all the familiar Motion tools and extends them to a 3D environment. According to Apple, the new camera behaviours add depth and realism with drag-and-drop simplicity. Vector based paint tools allow editors to create brushes with colour, particles, video or pictures. A precise match moving tool promises to automatically map any image or effect to the path of any other object. New retiming behaviours enable editors to slip and slide retiming effects on the Timeline without keyframes, while new audio behaviours allow users to easily create animations that respond to soundtrack volume and frequency. Motion 3 includes over 1500 new design elements including professional stock imagery, beautifully animated line drawings and stunning vector artwork.

Soundtrack Pro 2, a brand new version of the audio editing application in Final Cut Studio 2, features new multitrack editing and recording tools in a streamlined interface that simplifies every aspect of the audio post production process. Soundtrack Pro 2 introduces a breakthrough heads up spotting display that lets editors precisely align effects and dialogue with picture. Stereo and surround mixing tools enable users to create 5.1 and stereo mixes in the same project, saving time and eliminating costly errors. Editors can work with a royalty-free library of over 5,000 professionally produced foley and sound effects, including over 1000 surround sound effects and evocative multi-channel music tracks.

Compressor 3, the latest version of Apple’s industrial strength encoding tool, comes with a new interface and simplified workflows that make encoding and delivering in multiple formats easier and more efficient than ever. Powerful batch processing and job chaining capabilities enable editors to create pristine quality output for a wide range of delivery formats with a single click. Compressor 3 extends support for industry-standard codecs such as MPEG2 and H.264 to include new drag-and-drop presets for delivery to broadcast television, web, iPod, Apple TV, DVD and mobile phones. Dynamic filters applied during pre-processing now support timecode overlays, audio/video fade in and out, and animated watermarks that can be applied directly from Motion projects.

Apple today also introduced Final Cut Server, a powerful new server application that works with Final Cut Studio 2 to provide media asset management and workflow automation for post production and broadcast professionals.

Final Cut Studio 2 will be available in May through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorised Resellers for a suggested retail price of £849 (inc. VAT). Registered users of the current version of Final Cut Studio can upgrade for £329 (inc. VAT) and registered users from any previous version of Final Cut Pro can upgrade for £449 (inc. VAT).