Final Cut Express 4 - Technical Specifications

Final Cut Express 4 - Part Numbers 
Retail MB278Z/A
Upgrade from Final Cut Pro MA339Z/A
Academic MB279Z/A


Minimum Hardware Requirements to Install All Final Cut Express Applications

    • A Mac computer with a 1.25GHz or faster PowerPC G4, PowerPC G5, Intel Core Duo, Intel Core 2 Duo, or Intel Xeon processor
    • For AVCHD: A Mac computer with an Intel processor
    • 500MB of disk space to install Final Cut Express and LiveType
    • Additional 500MB to install LiveType content
    • 1GB of RAM or more
    • An AGP or PCI Express graphics card compatible with Quartz Extreme; or an Intel GMA integrated graphics processor in a MacBook or Mac mini computer
    • Some FxPlug filters are not compatible with integrated Intel graphics processors.
    • A display with 1024-by-768 resolution or higher
    • A DVD drive for installation

Minimum Software Requirements

    • Mac OS X v10.4.10 or later
    • QuickTime 7.2 or later

Universal Applications

    • Final Cut Express 4 and LiveType 2.1 are Universal applications; they run on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Mac computers.

Input and Capture

    • Plug-and-play support for most DV25-format camcorders and decks: MiniDV and DVCAM (NTSC or PAL)
    • Plug-and-play support for most HDV-format camcorders and decks: 720p, 1080i
    • Plug-and-play support for most AVCHD-format camcorders and decks: 720p, 1080i*
    • FireWire device control of most FireWire-equipped MiniDV camcorders from such leading manufacturers as Sony, Canon, Panasonic, and JVC
    • Capture window for naming, adding comments to, and organizing clips as they are captured
    • Log and Transfer window for naming, adding comments to, organizing, and transferring AVCHD clips
    • Incremental clip naming during capture when a recording break is discovered
    • Still image importing for PSD, BMP, JPEG, PICT, PNG, SGI, TARGA, and TIFF formats
    • iMovie ’08 file import with cuts and dissolve transitions
    • Bins for project file and sequence organization
    • Clip organization in the Browser using extensive search and sort capabilities
    • Clip labels for organizing and sorting clips
    • Master and affiliate clip relationship for automatic update of certain properties of a clip, such as clip name or reel name, within the current project
    • Up to 32 levels of undo

Editing and Timeline

    • Mix DV (NTSC and PAL) and HD formats in the same Timeline
    • Nondestructive editing references original video to prevent alteration of source footage
    • Editing palette for most-used functions, enabling one-click, pro-style edits
    • Drag-and-drop editing
    • Editing in the Timeline
    • Three-point editing model
    • 99 video tracks with support for nesting sequences
    • Support for multiple sequences and projects for creating alternative edits or breaking projects into smaller pieces
    • Insert and overwrite with or without transitions
    • Replace, fit to fill, and superimpose edits
    • Blade and Blade All tools for adding edit points to sequences
    • Extend and split edits for additional editing options
    • Sync detection and correction to compensate for audio and video tracks that slip out of sync
    • Active track targeting for specifying individual or multiple tracks to apply edits or protect from editing
    • Auto Select controls of specific tracks in the Timeline for track content selection via In and Out points in the Timeline or Canvas
    • Keyframe graphs
    • Track locking
    • Timecode or frames in the Timeline
    • Clip, sequence, scoring, chapter, and compression markers
    • Clip and sequence marker export to LiveType for titling
    • Chapter marker export to iDVD
    • Custom, independent track heights
    • Autosave Vault for saving projects at specified intervals to prevent accidental loss


    • Ripple, roll, slip, and slide
    • Asymmetric, multitrack trimming
    • Dynamic JKL trimming
    • Trim Edit window
    • Timeline trimming
    • Keyboard and numeric trimming


    • Print to Video command for recording a sequence or clip back to DV or HDV device
    • Footage looping for multiple outputs on the same tape
    • Sequence, scoring, chapter, and compression markers
    • Marker export to DVD Studio Pro for chapter and compression settings
    • Project export using any QuickTime file format, including MPEG-4, for distribution via email or the web
    • Digital Cinema Desktop for full-screen, real-time preview playback

Streamlined Workflow

    • Full Unicode support
    • Dynamic window resizing
    • Mode-free interface for workflow efficiency
    • Simultaneous opening of multiple sequences and projects
    • 99 audio and 99 video tracks with support for nesting tracks together
    • System and user preferences
    • Easy Setups for quick configuration
    • Customizable real-time effects settings
    • Customizable render settings
    • Customizable window arrangements
    • Customizable user interface buttons
    • Customizable Browser layouts
    • Customizable track layouts
    • Custom, independent track heights in the Timeline

Media Management

    • Extensive search and sort capabilities in the Browser
    • Clip labels
    • Custom comment fields
    • Master and affiliate clips
    • Move, copy, and transcode capability at sequence or project level
    • Autosave Vault

Transitions, Filters, and Effects

    • More than 200 transitions, filters, and effects
    • Unlimited effects favorites
    • Over 50 new FxPlug filters and effects from Final Cut Pro
    • Support for third-party FxPlug filters and effects
    • Copy and paste capability for motion and effect attributes
    • Bezier curves for motion paths
    • Keyframe control of all effects and filters for precise results
    • Precision numeric controls for effects and animation
    • RT Extreme for scalable, software-based, multistream real-time effects
    • Safe and Unlimited RT Extreme modes for customizing performance versus quality tradeoffs
    • RT Extreme quality settings: low, medium, high. Low setting for maximum simultaneous real-time streams and effects; high setting for full-resolution output for finishing directly to DV or HDV device
    • Dynamic RT for automatic adjustment of image quality and frame rate on the fly, optimizing playback, and scaling performance as processor power increases
    • Opacity overlays in the Timeline for adjustable, keyframable opacity
    • Direct-to-Timeline drag-and-drop integration of Motion projects
    • Auto Render option
    • Broadcast-safe filter
    • 2D and 3D titles with Boris Calligraphy
    • Composite and transfer modes


    • Standard and scrolling text generators for creating titles that crawl, scroll, or appear in the lower third of the screen
    • Option to combine titles with other filters, effects, and compositing for unlimited creative expression
    • Boris Calligraphy plug-ins for 2D and 3D titles
    • Non-Latin alphabet characters and symbols with full Unicode support

LiveType 2.1

    • Animated title and motion graphics creation
    • Unicode system font support
    • 500MB of royalty-free animated content, including over 50 background textures and objects
    • Sophisticated project templates
    • More than 200 customizable text effects
    • Keyframe animation
    • Real-time wireframe preview
    • Canvas RAM preview
    • Import capability for a wide variety of formats
    • Independent and scalable resolution
    • Dynamic individual character control
    • Animation for rolls and crawls
    • Type on a curve capability
    • FontMaker utility for creating custom LiveFonts
    • Drag-and-drop integration to Final Cut Express 4 Timeline with auto-updating


    • Nesting for virtually unlimited compositing layers for complex video effects
    • Adobe Photoshop file import, complete with layers for effects and motion graphics
    • Bezier curves with movable motion paths for animation application and control
    • Ease in/Ease out motion paths for smooth compositing animations
    • Time effects, including slow motion with frame blending, for smooth, time-altered playback
    • Accurate subpixel interpolation rendering for smooth, high-quality effects creation
    • Composite modes including multiply and lighten
    • Flicker filter for incorporation of still frames from video

Color Correction

    • Secondary (two-way) color corrector
    • Image control filters
    • Broadcast-safe filter
    • Correction for flesh tones and other key elements
    • Color mixing for visual style
    • Footage matching from different sources for consistency
    • Error correction in color balance and exposure


    • Up to 99 total audio tracks per sequence
    • More than 25 audio filters, including three-band and parameter equalizer, compressor/limiter, 60/120Hz hum remover, and noise gate for soundtrack quality control
    • New Soft Normalize and Gain filter
    • Real-time fader automation
    • Real-time audio filters and effects
    • Real-time audio filter adjustments during playback
    • Subframe audio keyframing to 1/100th of a frame
    • Sampling at 8kHz to 48kHz and 8 to 24 bits
    • Audio level meters
    • Mac OS X Audio Units plug-in support
    • Pan controls
    • Mute and solo controls
    • Audio waveform display in the Timeline
    • Logarithmic audio fades
    • Scrubbing with or without pitch shifting
    • Voice Over tool for adding narration directly to the Timeline
    • Audio level overlays viewable in the Timeline
    • No re-rendering required when muted tracks are reactivated


Published Date: Jun 26, 2009