Join Abba Shapiro for an in-depth discussion in this video Learning the interface, part of Final Cut Pro 7 Essential Training.
The first time you launch any application and look at its interface, it can be kind of scary and Final Cut Pro is no exception. So, let's take a quick moment and get an overview of the main windows inside of Final Cut Pro. The first window, we're going to look at is our Browser in the upper left-hand corner. Now, the browser is where we organize all the media that we're going to use to create our show. And there are three basic types of media that you're going to work within your program, video files, Audio files, and Images. If we look at our Video file folder and in Final Cut Pro this is called the Bin and it goes back to the days of film.
So in our Video bin, we see a variety of clips and the icon next to them looks like a 35-millimeter filmstrip. If we move up to the top bin, they put Audio, we see a different icon. This icon looks like a speaker. But note that if you look at the names or the end of the names on each of these files, you see both WAV and AIF. Final Cut Pro can use a variety of audio formats. In this case we have a WAV file and AIF file and finally in our Images bin, you see yet another icon and this looks like the film clip with the letters a, b, c on it.
Now, if we look closely, we can see the Final Cut can use different kinds of still images. We can use a TIF image, PNG, as well as JPEGS. In addition to those types Final Cut can use any still image file type that Quick Time can read. You'll also notice there is a fourth item in here with a different icon and it's labeled .psd. This stands for a Photoshop document. Final Cut Pro can use Photoshop documents quite well as a matter of fact, if you've ever used Photoshop, you may have discovered that Photoshop can save each element as a separate layer.
When brought into Final Cut Pro, you can access these layers and modify them individually. The final element we're going to look at in our browser is the sequence or Timeline and has a similar icon to that of .psd file. Moving on to the Viewer, let's grab a clip, drag it into the Viewer and take a look at what happens in our Viewer window. Think of the Viewer window as a sandbox where you can choose what part of the clip you want to put into your show. You'll be marking an end point, an out point. You can also modify the clip by adding filters to change it's color, using a Color Corrector filter or maybe even modify in the audio, by making it louder, softer, or adding plug ins to give it an effect, such as Reverb.
To the right of the Viewer window is our Canvas window and the Canvas window represents what your viewer sees when watching your program. (Music Playing) (Narrator: It's the most unforgiving place on Earth.) (Narrator: Over 3.5 million square miles.) All the special effects, all your sound effects, all your titles are seen here in the Canvas window when you playback your show.
Now, in the bottom of the interface, you see it says Timeline. And the Timeline is simply a graphical representation of what is being shown in your Canvas window. It has 99 video tracks and up to 99 audio tracks and if you notice when I play the Timeline by hitting the spacebar. (Narrator: A vast wilderness. It's the Sahara Desert.) You'll notice, as I play this, you can see it graphically happened in the Timeline and then you can visually see what's happening in the Canvas.
Finally, the last two windows that we're going to look at are our Tool palette and you're probably familiar with the Tool palette for your Word Processing program. Here you can select different tools, so you can do different activities within your Timeline selecting all of the clips, selecting part of a clip, cutting clips in half. We'll go more into the Tool palette later on in the lessons and finally, we have our Audio meters. The Audio meters allow us to see the volume of our sound. If it's too loud, if it's too soft, or maybe if it's over modulated.
Let's go ahead and play the Timeline and you can take a look at the Audio meters. (Narrator: With people and cultures as unpredictable as the landscape.) Well, there you have it. A quick overview of the Final Cut Pro interface.
- 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.