Reprinted from a Apple press release:

Apple today introduced Final Cut Express 2, the next major release of its digital video editing software. Based on Apples award-winning Final Cut Pro 4 professional video editing software, Final Cut Express 2 delivers powerful new features in an affordable, easy-to-use package for video editors who want a mid-level application that delivers professional results. Fine-tuned for Mac OS X version 10.3 “Panther”, Final Cut Express 2 features RT Extreme for real-time compositing and effects, an enhanced user interface, real-time color correction tools and enhanced audio editing capabilities.

“Final Cut Express 2 is truly professional video editing for everyone,” said Rob Schoeben, Apples vice president of Applications Marketing. “With its winning combination of powerful features such as RT Extreme and a simplified user interface, Final Cut Express 2 is the perfect product for everyone from aspiring film makers to educators.”

Final Cut Express 2 includes some of the most popular features of Final Cut Pro 4 within a simplified user interface. Its the ideal product for creative professionals who want a high-quality video editing solution but are not full time videographers; corporate and wedding videographers who handle multiple projects simultaneously but do not need to work with formats beyond DV; teachers and students who are using video more regularly as an educational tool; and video hobbyists who want to have fun while building the skills and techniques to create Hollywood-style videos.

With its integrated editing, compositing and effects tools, Final Cut Express 2 allows users to easily take a project from start to finish with professional results. Now featuring RT Extreme, Final Cut Express 2 provides instant editing gratification with real-time effects, transitions and video layers or the ability to composite up to five simultaneous DV streams. The enhanced user interface is more elegant with customizable buttons, dynamic window resizing, user-defined window layouts and a new timeline with adjustable track heights. The real-time color correction tools allow users to interactively adjust and correct color balance between shots and create unique color effects.

Featuring enhanced audio tools, Final Cut Express 2 provides multitrack audio support; real-time volume and audio filter adjustment; solo and mute controls in the timeline for auditioning individual tracks; and scoring markers for use with Soundtrack, Apples professional audio-looping software. The improved capture tool saves time by automatically capturing across time-code breaks and incrementally naming clips when recording breaks are discovered.

Final Cut Express 2 projects can be exported for use in Soundtrack, iDVD and DVD Studio Pro 2, saved back to tape or exported to any QuickTime format, including the industry standard MPEG-4. Final Cut Express 2 offers a smooth migration path to high-end video production because everything learned in Final Cut Express 2 is directly transferable to Final Cut Pro 4.

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