Final Cut Pro the Apple of Oscar's eye

Many filmmakers at Sunday's Academy Awards used Apple's Final Cut Studio to edit their movies.

Jim Dalrymple Special to CNET News
Jim Dalrymple has followed Apple and the Mac industry for the last 15 years, first as part of MacCentral and then in various positions at Macworld. Jim also writes about the professional audio market, examining the best ways to record music using a Macintosh. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. He currently runs The Loop.
Jim Dalrymple
2 min read

Apple may not take the stage at Sunday's Oscars, but the company will be well represented by many filmmakers, directors, producers, and editors who will pick up awards.

Food, Inc.

In fact, 9 out of 10 of this year's nominees in the "Documentary Feature" and "Documentary Short" categories used Final Cut Studio to make their films. Final Cut Studio includes Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, Color, Compressor, and DVD Studio Pro, essentially giving filmmakers all of the tools they need to make a movie.

CNET caught up with a few of the people responsible for making some of this year's nominated movies including Matthew O'Neil, director of "China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province;" Kim Roberts, editor of "Food, Inc.;" and Dan Wilken, online editor of "Food, Inc."

"We switched over entirely to Final Cut Pro and forced any holdout editors to switch too, because it made the most sense economically and allowed us to do everything we needed," said O'Neil.

Roberts agreed. "I tend to work on a lot of independent documentaries and Final Cut Pro is affordable and a good application. It's been a natural choice for filmmakers," she said.

One of the big draws about Final Cut Studio for all of the people we spoke with is its ability to do a variety of tasks. Like most jobs, Filmmakers and editors are expected to do more tasks these days before the movie is handed off for post production.

Because Final Cut Studio includes so many tools, filmmakers are able to create very polished rough cuts. That allows the editors to present a great looking film right out of the box.

China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province

"You can do it all with Final Cut Studio and we can make it look close to finished all in-house," said O'Neil.

Of course, Final Cut Pro isn't the only product available for filmmakers, but it is the most popular now. According to market research firm SCRI International, Final Cut Pro has almost 50 percent market share in the nonlinear editor space, outperforming competitors like Avid.

Being a professional editor, Roberts said she feels equally comfortable using Final Cut Pro or Avid, but she said, "I prefer Final Cut--it's more intuitive and there are a lot of smart things about it."

Like most things these days, a lot of consideration comes down to price. Wilken said Final Cut Studio gives you almost everything you need.

"Final Cut Pro can do most everything that the million dollar systems can do and it costs you below $15,000 (this includes the cost of a Mac, Final Cut and video cards)," said Wilken. "The truth is, for several projects I've worked on, we can do everything with the same gear you use at home."