At NAB on Sunday, Apple introduced Final Cut Pro HD, a new version of its video editing software that supports the DVCPRO HD format. The new version of Final Cut Pro works using FireWire without requiring any additional hardware. Final Cut Pro HD is available as a free upgrade to registered Final Cut Pro 4 users and is available for retail purchase for £595 plus VAT.

Final Cut Pro HD can play back up to four streams of native DVCPRO HD video itself; adding an Xserve RAID into the mix, you can work with up to 10 streams in preview quality. "Digital Cinema Desktop" is a new feature that allows SD and HD monitoring on an Apple Cinema Display. Also included are LiveType 1.2, Compressor 1.2 and Cinema Tools.

The new of Final Cut Pro HD's support for DV-HD - the native video compression format of Panasonic's DVCPRO HD recording systems - elicited a separate statement from Apple and Matsushita, the company behind the Panasonic. Panasonic supports FireWire with its AJ-HD1200A VTR.

Panasonic's AJ-HD1200A VTR can be used with any FireWire-capable Mac running Final Cut Pro HD - even PowerBooks - to transfer 24fps or 60fps progressive scan material shot using a Panasonic AJ-HDC27 VariCam HD Cinema camera or 1080i footage recorded using DVCPRO HD VTRs, according to the companies.

The news earned kudos from National Geographic Channel's executive vice president of programming John Ford, who said that up until now, post-production of 720p footage was expensive and challenging. "Apple's Final Cut Pro HD tackles both of these factors head on. The ability to now edit footage from Panasonic's VariCam camera with original quality in the field, on a PowerBook or in the edit suite, could very well have a profound effect on how our producers create programming for the channel," he said.