Join Abba Shapiro for an in-depth discussion in this video Adjusting essential preferences, part of Final Cut Pro 7 Essential Training.
Before we dig in and start learning to edit with Final Cut Pro, we need to change some essential preferences. Now what are preferences? It's the way you like to do something. What works with somebody else, doesn't necessarily work for you but there is a couple of preferences that when we change it, will make your editing life easier. To find the preferences in Final Cut Pro, simply move your cursor the menu bar, and click where it says Final Cut Pro. In the drop-down menu, you see a variety of options. You see User Preferences, System Settings, Easy Setups, Audio/Video Settings, there is a lot of things you can change in Final Cut Pro but we are going to just change a couple under User Preferences.
Click on User Preferences and you see a variety of choices and a lot of tabs. We are not going to go in and change everything. We are just going to change a couple of things. The first thing we want to change is Levels of Undo. By default, Final Cut has 10 levels or 10 actions that you can undo. You can change this number anywhere from as little as one to up to 99 actions. Now I personally can't remember 99 actions. 35 to 50 is a good number for me. The other thing to keep in mind is the larger you make this number, the more RAM Final Cut Pro may use and if you don't have a lot of RAM to start with, if you are really pushing your system, you don't want to pick a big number.
For this course, let's set our Levels of Undo to 35. The next thing we want to change is the Autosave Vault. The Autosave Vault basically is your emergency reserve. Final Cut will make a copy of your project file every X number of minutes and in this case X is every 30 minutes but we can change that. We can change this from every minute to every 120 minutes. Since, we are working on a shorter projects, we are going to have Final Cut save a copy or clone of our show every five minutes. Now keep in mind we are not copying on top of the original file.
That's all we save. We are making a backup in an Autosave location. Now the reason we are choosing five minutes is because we are going to be making a lot of changes very quickly. Much like if you are cutting a commercial that's a 30 or 60 seconds spot, you are probably making a lot of changes very quickly. So, five minute saves are good. On the flip side, if I was cutting a documentary, which might be an hour or two hours long, and I was cutting it over the course of several months, I don't need to save a copy every five minutes, I can save a copy every 60 minutes or every two hours.
The other thing we are going to change is the Keep at most per project. By default, it's 40. I always switch this to 100. This is the maximum number, the nice thing is it doesn't take up a lot of hard-drive space and it's nice to have that many insurance policies behind you. Once you have made these changes, go ahead and accept them by hitting OK and we are going to make one more useful change. If you notice the dock is still showing at the bottom of our screen and when you are editing, screen real estate is everything.
The more space you have to see your Timeline, to see the other windows, the better. So, we are going to actually hide the dock. Now to hide the dock, simply go to the Apple pull-down menu in the upper left-hand corner of your screen. And you will see there is an option for Dock and you simply want to turn Hiding on. Click on turn Hiding on and you will see that the dock will now recede into the bottom of the screen. So, we have gotten rid of the dock but how do we make use of that extra space with Final Cut Pro? Simply, go to the Window pull-down menu and you see there is a something that says Arrange and there is a variety of arrangement options and we are going to switch to Standard.
Now the keyboard shortcut for your standard window arrangement is Ctrl+U. And I use this keyboard shortcut all the time. Anytime my windows get out of control, I have moved them, I have closed them, I say to myself 'I Control U' and it gets the windows lined up. And you see now, we are using all of the screen real estate for Final Cut Pro. With these few preferences set, we are ready to use Final Cut Pro.
- Preparing for an optimal Final Cut Pro editing experience
- Taking control of the Timeline by mastering the interface and learning the best keyboard shortcuts
- Learning the best practices for bringing clips into the Timeline
- Refining the Timeline with Ripple, Roll, Slip, and Slide edits
- Performing quick and easy color corrections
- Understanding and using the new markers features
- Importing video and audio files from tape, P2 media cards, and music CDs
- Understanding how to shoot and edit with multiple cameras
- Sharing a finished project on DVD, an MP3 player, or YouTube
Skill Level Beginner
Q: Is there a course in the Online Training Library that teaches more about burning Blu-ray Discs? Is Final Cut Pro a good tool for Blu-ray?
A: Final Cut Pro’s ability to burn Blu-ray Discs is very limited. Apple markets the functionality more as the ability to "create a Blu-ray screener." A good alternative to Final Cut Pro for Blu-ray authoring is Adobe Encore. If you want to author a more complex Blu-ray Disc, check out Chapter 17 of the Encore CS5 Essential Training, and the movie “About Blu-ray Discs and HD Video.”
Q: What is the quickest way to set up hardware with Final Cut Pro?
A: The easiest way to set up hardware in Final Cut Pro (version 7 and above) is, fittingly, the Easy Setup. Go to the Final Cut > Easy Setup and select the options that best fit the hardware being used.
Q: How does one open the exercise files that come with the course? When trying to import the files in Final Cut Pro, they are visible, but not selectable/grayed out. What is the reason for this?
A: The project files cannot be opened from within the application. The Import command is only used for media files. Simply double-click on the exercise files from the Finder to open the files in Final Cut Pro.
Q: When attempting to import the exercise file in the "Fit to Fill" video, the clip icon displays properly and the video appears in the canvas. However, after going to the beginning of the Timeline and attempting to play the video, it displays as "Unrendered" in the Canvas window. How can this be fixed?
A: Make sure Unlimited RT is checked in the upper left corner of the Timeline window. Unlimited RT will push the computer as hard as possible. Playback may have dropped frames. This is normal and OK. Clips will automatically render on export.
The clip can also be rendered by pressing Cmd+R and will play without dropped frames and full resolution.
Q: Is there a setting in Final Cut Pro that will enable the use of the Log and Capture function when importing video from a digital camera, specifically, a Canon 5D Mark II? Despite following the instructions in the Chapter 14 movie “Preparing for log and capture," the Log and Capture function does not work.
A: First off, when importing tapeless media, the Log and Transfer function must be used, not Log and Capture. See “The Log and Transfer window” video in Chapter 14. Secondly, the media must be connected through a card reader, not the camera, in order to import the video. Lastly, make sure to install the Canon Final Cut plug-in as well as the latest Canon 5D Mark II firmware, which updates some of the video functions.
Q: At about 1:40 in the "Taking control of your timeline" video, the author states that by holding the Command key and adjusting the track height, all audio or video tracks will follow. However, this doesn’t work for me, but works with the Option key. Is this a custom keyboard shortcut the author uses?
A: This is an error in the video. The Option key is indeed the correct key to use to adjust the track heights, not the Command key.
Q: The author asks us to reassign some commands, using system preferences. When using the Mountain Lion operating system, the Exposé window is not available. Is there a workaround for this operating system? Will I have these kinds of compatibility problems throughout the training?
A: Mountain Lion uses "Mission Control" in settings. F9 and F10 no longer need to be remapped and F11 and f12 can be. There should be no other foreseeable issues following along with the course.