In an unusual move for the secretive Mac maker, Apple has announced some of the new features that will appear in the next version of its Final Cut Pro video editing software. It's not new creative tools unfortunately, but news of partnership agreements that will see extra formats supported by the Mac-based NLE.

The future version - Apple was loathe to say 'next' - will support MPEG-2 IMX, and Panasonic's P2. MPEG-2 IMX is a form of the MPEG codec used in camcorders such as Sony's MSW900 and PDW530, which produces higher quality footage than conventional MPEG-2. Currently, only high-end systems such Sony's XPRI and Pinnacle's Liquid Blue support the format.

P2 is a camcorder media format designed to be more hard-wearing than tape. It's based around 2GB and 4GB PCMCIA media cards, which can record between 8/16 minutes of DVCPRO footage or 4/8 minutes of DVCPRO 50 footage respectively. When the AJ-SPX800 camera is connected, P2 cards in its five media slots appear as drives on the desktop, so conventional tape capture is unnecessary. The cards can also be inserted into a laptop PCMCIA slot, though the current drivers only support Windows 2000/XP PCs.

Being non-tape based, the format enables features such as looped recording and pre-rec, where the camcorder is permanently recording 15 seconds of footage. When the operator begins recording, the previous 15 seconds are included.

The P2 system is especially aimed at news gathering, where the its shock resistance and ruggedness counterbalance its relatively high price and low-capacity media. However, it could also be appropriate for documentary and film-/tv programme makers filming in adverse conditions.