Digital Heaven, a third-party developer for Apple Pro applications, has announced the release of Loader 2.0, billed as a major new version of the software that streamlines importing of media into Final Cut Pro.

Loader works alongside Final Cut Pro - launching and quitting automatically - and appears as a small tab on the side of the screen.

When tracks from iTunes or files/folders from the Finder are dragged onto the tab, it slides out to reveal a list of projects currently open in Final Cut Pro, Digital Heaven explains. After dropping the items onto the project, Loader copies them in the background to the assigned media folder linked to that project.

Audio file formats that don't aren't native to Final Cut Pro - including .caf, .m4a and mp3 files - are automatically converted to AIFF files before import. The copied files are then automatically sent to Final Cut Pro.

New features introduced in Loader 2.0 include:

* The Final Cut Pro destination for imported items can now be set. Options are 'Timestamped bin' (as in Loader 1.x), 'Top level of project' or 'Named bin' (Final Cut Pro 7 only).

* Ability to convert all audio files, regardless of original file type.

* Audio conversion settings for sample rate, bit depth and mono/stereo configuration.

* Ability to move original file(s) to trash by holding the Command key when dropping items on the Loader window.

Loader 2.0 costs £55/$79, while a fully working 14-day trial version is also available. Loader 2.0 requires Final Cut Pro 6.0.2 (or later).

Digital Heaven was founded in 2000 by ex-BBC Resources video editor Martin Baker, and currently offers 14 Final Cut Plug-ins and 6 broadcast related software applications.

(Visit our sister site MacVideo for in-depth details and analysis regarding all the features found in Final Cut Pro.)