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Spring 2011 Final Cut Pro Orientation

In order to learn FCP you can:

  • Play with it and use it. The more time you spend with it the better you will be.
  • Use the built-in Help
  • Check out creativecow.net. It has an amazing number of tutorials, article and forums.
  • Ken Stone has an incredible collection of FCP-related articles and tutorials on his website, http://www.kenstone.net/. Go there and click on the Final Cut Pro link at the top of the page.

If you master FCP, you can apply what you know to Avid or Premiere

FCP is a software-only program
But it can be easily configured to work with a wide variety of hardware (AJA, Matrox, Blackmagic, etc.). In our case we’ll use the Easy Setup to make sure it’s setup for either DV or HDV.

Purchase a small portable drive (Maxtor, LaCie or an iPod, etc) so you can take your work with you and use the other computer clusters. (I recommend drives with multiple connection options (firewire 800 & USB2).

Before you do ANYTHING:

Decide/remember where your Media/Scratch Drive will be. (For T351 students this will be your assigned folder or your own personal, portable media drive.)

Go to System Settings and select your Media / Scratch drive.

Every time you use & launch FCP – go to system settings/preferences and set the scratch drive to point to your designated Media folder. You need to check this every time you log onto the computer and launch FCP!

Go back and re-read this last section three times.

Every time you launch FCP you must do this or your media will go into the wrong place.

Before you start capturing footage:

Name your reel (E.g. "Stone Doc Reel #1") and name the clips (E.g. "Stone B-roll") before you start to capture. (Otherwise you  end up with clips called Untititled1, Untitled2, etc.) Ideally you should name each clip.

Setup: First you need to open the program and select the setup you'd like to use (it defaults to the last one) Easy setups can be used to quickly select an environment. Your work will most likely use the DV NTSC anamorphic or HDV – 1080i60 setting.

User Preferences (option - Q) let you set

  • Levels of undo.
    • Auto save every ___ seconds
  • Set trim feature preview and post-roll
  • Still frame duration

System Settings (Shift – Q) let you set

  • Scratch Disks
  • RT processing (unlimited or safe)
  • Video Quality

Audio Video Settings (Option – Apple – Q) let you set

  • Codec to work with (if you’re working with DV, stick with the DV NTSC 48 kHz)
  • Device control presets
  • Audio Video devices

Sequence Settings (Apple – O) let you set

  • Frame size
  • Pixel aspect ratio
  • Codec

Timeline Options.

  • Starting time code
  • Track size
  • Display
  • Number of tracks

Render control
Audio Output

Moving Media: Always maintain the same relationship of media to project file
If you are smart, save everything into your personal folder on the local media drive. NEVER PLACE ITEMS ON THE DESKTOP!!!! To back up your work, move your entire folder onto TCNetScratch, or your iPod, portable hard drive, etc.


Browser- Like a bin. Holds pointers to video clips, audio clips, sequences, titles etc.) Command 4 opens and closes it. You can also do this from the "window" menu.

Press Apple-9 to view the properties of an item.

Viewer- Command 1) Your source monitor. Can set in and out points for your source as well as apply filters and motion effects. You can also look at audio waveforms. You will find editing and transport controls at the bottom of the window. Also a shuttle and jog control.

Work through all the buttons (viewer & canvas are similar):

The Viewer & Canvas have two time code windows near the top.
The one on the left is duration.
The one on the right is current position.

Using playback & editing controls in viewer & canvas

Playhead / Time indicator
Previous / next edit (Up / Down Arrow keys)
Move one frame at a time (Left / Right Arrow keys. Hold down shift for one second.
Shuttle (cue/search) Keyboard shortcut: J, K & L (backward, stop & forward)
Jog (frame advance)

Pop up help: Hold your mouse over a button and a pop-up window tell you what it does

Canvas- (Command 2) The record monitor. Like the viewer with similar controls.
New sequence = Apple-N
To view/modify sequence properties:

    • Hold down control while clicking sequence or
    • Select setting from under the sequence menu

Timeline - (command 3) displays sequence. Up to 99 audio and 99 video tracks.

Like the Avid the timeline has visibility (monitor) switches and target track (record enable) buttons. You can lock a track and set track height and scale across.

Preferences settings: the settings for a timeline can’t be changed once a timeline has been created. Changes impact new timelines.

Tool palette

  • Selection tool (keyboard shortcut A)
  • Rolling edit (R)
  • Slip Edit (S)
  • Blade (B) for cutting clips
  • Pen Tool – used to make keyframes

Audio meters (option 4) digital not VU. Set 0 to BE -14 or -20.

Keyboard Shortcuts can be found under “Help” menu.

Moving around in clips, in the timeline, or shuttling the VTR:

  • Spacebar play/stop
  • J plays backwards
  • K pauses
  • L plays forward
  • Press keys multiple times to move faster

In & Out Points:

  • In and Out points can be cleared by pressing Option-I or Option-O.
  • Option – X clears both In and Out.
  • You can also access the pop-up menu and choose a selection


Scale, opacity, rotation, drop shadow of clips & graphics:

  • To manipulate properties, open clip in the Viewer. You can double click the clip in the timeline to do this. (You might have to drag graphics into the viewer)
  • Click on the “motion” tab
  • Just like After Effects. You create the first key frame, then move to another point and make changes in a parameter.
  • It’s sometimes useful to view wire frame

Log and Capture (under file menu)

  • More about it in manual or under Help menu
  • Log your tapes first to save time
  • There is a waveform monitor & vector scope (can’t adjust digital video)
  • Proc amp controls (brightness, black, sat, hue, etc. only work for analog video – not digital
  • If you just have a few clips use “capture now”
  • If you import a log file, or log a set of clips you can use “Capture Batch”
  • Logging is like the Avid in that you can give it a reel name and a clip name
  • Use the mark in and mark out (I & O) to set in points for the clip
  • When you press “log clip” in Final Cut, it creates a substitute clip to represent the real media
  • It’s easy to batch capture clips. Simply highlight and select “capture” from the pop-up menu.

Outputting a completed sequence

  • You must first render everything (like in Avid)
  • Export to a file or to tape
  • Choose Print to tape and you can select:
    • Color bars
    • Black
    • Slate
    • Black
    • Program (looping with black)
    • Tail
  • Edit to video. (under tools) You eed device control
  • Choose “Export Quicktime” to make a file


  • Media manager (under sequence) lets you move, copy and delete media files within Final Cut.
  • Render manager (under tools) delete unwanted rendered files

Contextual menus are available almost anywhere in the program. Press the control key while clicking with the mouse. If you have a two-button mouse, try right-clicking.

Tabs let you access multiple sequences (see timeline and canvas)

Useful Keyboard Shortcuts

Zoom in and out (Apple – or +)
Next / Previous edit (Up / Down Arrow Keys)
Match frame (F)
Mark clip (X)
Set selection In & Out (Shift-A)
Add keyframe (Control K)
Add Marker (M)
Mark In (I)
Mark Out (O)
Clear In (Option I)
Clear Out (Option O)
Go to In or Out (Shift I and Shift O)


Time code can be set under the Preferences -> timeline options
Starting time code (01:00:00:00) is good to use
Drop (broadcast standard) or non-drop

Time code navigation works like the Avid
You can enter +15 enter to move forward fifteen frames
You can also type in numbers directly
Use a period to represent 00

Use the up and down arrow keys to hop from beginning, in , out and end of clip.

Changing Layout of Windows
Deafult settings can be accessed under Windows -> arrange

Undoing and Redoing
Command Z
Command Y

Render sequence – What I do:
Select All (Apple – A)
Render all (Option R)


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