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Preparing your FCP timeline for export

From: Audio Post Workflow with Final Cut Pro X and Pro Tools

Video: Preparing your FCP timeline for export

Once our project goes to Pro Tools, the video will be completely separated from the audio. There are a few preparations we have to make to ensure that the transition is smooth between applications. These are the same steps you would take if you're handing off the project to an audio post-house, by the way, so they're good to know. So here we are in Final Cut Pro X. We're looking at the Project Library. As you can see, when I click the film reel in the lower-left to reveal the timeline, our initial edit is a fully realized sequence. It has many video clips, crossfades, volume adjustments, these were all made in Final Cut Pro during the video edit.

Preparing your FCP timeline for export

Once our project goes to Pro Tools, the video will be completely separated from the audio. There are a few preparations we have to make to ensure that the transition is smooth between applications. These are the same steps you would take if you're handing off the project to an audio post-house, by the way, so they're good to know. So here we are in Final Cut Pro X. We're looking at the Project Library. As you can see, when I click the film reel in the lower-left to reveal the timeline, our initial edit is a fully realized sequence. It has many video clips, crossfades, volume adjustments, these were all made in Final Cut Pro during the video edit.

First, to be safe, we should make a duplicate of our project so we don't screw anything up. So click to go back to the Project Library, then right-click on LDC Initial Edit, and choose Duplicate. Final Cut Pro will ask if we want to include reference events or clips and media. No, we just want to duplicate the reference to those things, just the timeline reference. Let's name it LDC Audio Export. Next, let's step into the timeline of the new project.

You'll notice that the timeline starts at zero hours, zero minutes, zero seconds, and zero frames. This is fine for working only in Final Cut Pro. But now we want to make it start at a timecode that's useful for working outside Final Cut Pro. The convention is to make the first frame of action of our project, or FFOA, start at timecode hour 01. But we want to back-time that a little bit to include a countdown leader before hour 01. You'll see why in a second.

So to change the project timecode, go back to the Project Library, make sure the project is selected, and click the Inspector button on the right. Just above the I there's a little tool button icon. Click this to go your project preferences and change the Starting Timecode to 00:59:50:00. That's 10 seconds before hour 01, just enough time for our 10-second countdown.

Now in your Farmers Market event, you'll have the LDC countdown file. This simple countdown video counts from 10 down to 2. Only the 2 lasts for exactly one frame and corresponds with a one-frame beep or pop of audio. This is what is known as a 2-pop, and it will be used as a reference until we get into Pro Tools to ensure sync was maintained between the two programs. If you loaded the sequence from the exercise files, the 2-pop and tail-pop might already be in your timeline, but I'm going to show you how to do this anyway.

Take the cursor to the beginning of the timeline and click the Insert Edit button. Now we have a leader, and the first frame of action begins at hour 01. Next, we want to make sure that the show is still in sync at the end so that no drift of any kind occurred during the transfer. So we'll insert a simple 1-frame video and corresponding audio beep at the end. This is known as a tail-pop. We have a tail-pop movie also available in the Farmers Market event.

Finally, when we reference the video in Pro Tools, it's really useful to have the timecode burned in to see visually what frame we are on as we work. This can be easily done with Final Cut Pro's generators. Click the Generator button on the right and choose Elements > Timecode. Now drag the Timecode event to the top layer of the sequence. This can be a little tricky, but it needs to be on the top layer.

Once it's in there, you can pull it out. It'll take a few minutes to fully render. And when you're done, you'll have a timecode burn that you can reference in Pro Tools as you're watching the video. Now our sequence is ready to export.

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