August 10, 2004 10:31 AM PDT

Apple puts edit tools in one basket

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Apple Computer said on Tuesday that it will start selling Production Suite--a bundle of three of its professional video editing programs.

The $1,299 package features the Final Cut Pro HD editing program, Motion special effects software, and DVD Studio Pro 3, a DVD authoring application. The bundle is about a $500 discount to the cost of all three products purchased separately, and users of Final Cut Pro can also upgrade to Production Suite for $699, the company said.

Apple also announced that it has started shipping Motion, which was unveiled earlier this year at the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas. Motion enables special effects using the animation of text, graphics and video, and features fluid motions and multilayered animations.

With Motion, Apple hopes to eliminate the trade-off between the ability to create motion graphics affordably or on a laptop computer and the ability to do truly top-notch work, said Rob Schoeben, the company's vice president of applications marketing.

"That's an innovation opportunity" for Motion, he said, comparable to the one Apple had when it introduced Final Cut Pro.

Before the release of that application, professional media editing had to be done in a rented editing bay, Schoeben said. "Now people are editing (high-definition video) on an airplane," he said.

Software companies such as Apple, Adobe Systems and others have been targeting the digital video markets with new products as the creation and distribution of entertainment media becomes increasingly digital.

Separately, Apple announced on Tuesday that its online music store, iTunes, now has a million songs available for download in the United States. The catalog includes music from the five leading recording companies and 600 independent labels.

Apple's online store is available to customers in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, and the company plans to expand it to more European countries later this year.

CNET News.com's Ina Fried contributed to this report.

 

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