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Jeff: January 2008 Archives

Much of the Library of production elements that are used in Motion, can be brought right into Final Cut Pro. My workflow often takes me into Motion to do a simple composite with something from the Motion Library, and then one day it hit me to just drag what I needed right into my Final Cut timeline. Many of the items are not able to be brought directly into Final Cut, but many can. Any of the Quicktime movies, or still images can be brought right into Final Cut. The route you must take to get to many of the elements is long, and if you don't use it often you may forget the route. A good practice is to drag the Motion folder to the side bar. Doing this will allow you to click on the shortcut that will take you right to the folder containing all of the production elements you may want to use.
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DVD Studio Pro allows the menu buton of your DVD player to have various control depending on what area of the DVD you are navigating from. A common mistake is to set Menu1 up as a short first play movie, but leave the overall disc control of the menu button to go to that menu, causing the viewer to have to watch the first play movie every time the menu button is pressed.

In the Outiline of a DVD Studio Pro project, select the Disc icon (at the very top), which as long as you have saved your project, will display the project name. Once the Disc has been selected, move your attention to the inspector, specifically the menu button destination. In most cases you will want to route the control of this button to the main menu, but you can certainly select anything you want.

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iWeb is an extremely easy way to bring your Final Cut Pro video to the internet. With drag and drop ease, you can have an iWeb page prepared in just seconds. .Mac users can utilize their account to publish the website, or if you are building th site for someone else, it would probebly make more sense to have the site hosted somewhere like Godaddy, and use a program like Fetch to upload it.

To transfer an iWeb site from one Mac to another, you need to get the Domain file that is located in a folder named iWeb. To get to that folder follow this path; User (the user that the site was created by)/Library/Application Support/iWeb. If you are creating a site for someone else, it is a good idea to create a new user on your Mac to create the site, otherwise all the sites you have built under that user will transfer in the Domain file.

A good setting in Final Cut Pro to output video for an iWeb site is the iPhone setting. To select this setting you need to export Using the Quicktime conversion, and then select iPhone. This compresses your project to Mpeg4 video, that will play in an iWeb site. During the five day Final Cut Pro/Studio class at GeniusDV, we take students through the process of using iWeb to deliver your video to the web. For more information on that class click here. To view a more step by step tutorial in developing an iWeb site click here.


The Final Cut Pro generators typically do not extend past 2 minutes once in the timeline. Often editors duplicate the generators in the timline to obtain the desired length. There is a easy way to be able to extend generators. When a generator is first opened in the viewer the default in and out points are set 10 seconds apart, but if you change the value in the  duration window you can extend your clip out as far as the value entered in the duration window. If you already have brought a generator into the timeline, you can double click on it, load it into the viewer, and make the change to the duration.

Using iPhoto with Final Cut is an effective work flow for managing still images. You can drag right from the iPhoto interface right into your Final Cut Pro sequence. iPhoto also responds to the still / freeze duration in the Final Cut Pro User Preferences. A very effective configuration is to have the Viewer, Canvas, and Timeline on your primary screen, and the Browser, iPhoto, and Finder on the second screen. The Configuration of the second screen is important, because you want to be able to access all of the different interfaces without having to hide or move one to get to another. First position your Project tab all the way to the left, next tear the effects tab off and position it next to the project tab, then position iPhoto in the center of the screen, so there is some space on either side of the interface, last of all position the Finder all the way to the left leaving a little space of the left side and at the bottom. Configuring your second screen in this way will allow you access any of the interfaces without having to hide or move one or more of them. This configuration promotes using iPhoto as your still image bin(s) (the term Bins comes from days ago when editors kept the individual clips of film in Bins under their workstation). With iPhoto it is much easier to sort and access images than using the Browser. You can apply effects, crop, or make image adjustments in iPhoto before taking the image to Final Cut Pro, but rotation will not be recognized. I highly recommend this workflow. One thing to keep in mind is that the photos that come out of iPhoto are coming from the iPhoto Library, so if you move the project file to another machine that does not have that iPhoto Library, the images will go offline, and will need to be reconnected to the images in your project folder that you originally had imported into iPhoto.


Ever wanted to connect one mac to another for the purpose of transfering contents? With a mac all you need to do is hold down the T key while it is booting up to be able to to use it as a hard drive. A hard drive icon will float around the screen, and you can just attatch it to another Mac the same way you would an external hard drive.


I find this very useful when editing on an airplane with my powerbook, and then connecting my Powerbook to my Power Mac to do transfer assets or finish the job.

This eliminates any relinking issues that can arise.

My Powerbook is three years old and is still a very useful machine, but does not encode nearly as fast as current models. I did a test where I encoded a project, and it took an hour and 22 minutes, then set my Powerbook to be a hard drive, opened the project same project file off of my Powerbook, with a newer Powerbook and the compression took only 19 minutes.

In Final Cut Pro to get a 16 x 9 sequence to output in a 4 x 3 space can be a very frustrating task, but it doesn't need to be. There is a very easy way to do this that most people overlook. All you have to do is open a DV NTSC 48 kHz sequence, and then drag the 16 x 9 sequence from the Browser window into the the timeline of the DV NTSC 48 kHz sequence. Final Cut Pro will see the sequence as a clip and will ask you if you want to change the sequence settings to match the clip settings, answer NO.


Using DVD Studio Pro instead of Powerpoint to prepare presentations for meetings or semiars is an option many people overlook. Wouldn't it be nice to not have to worry if the machine that you will be using to make your presentation is compatable with your Powerpoint project. Another concern is to be able to give people a copy of your presentatin without them being able to easily use the contents individually. With DVD Studio Pro you can creae a DVD that goes through a specific progression instead of being user driven like a typical DVD. Using slideshows and menus you create a presentation that goes from one to another. Slideshows are similar to an A typical Powerpoint, having many of the same functions. Menus will allow you to choose the route the prenentation will continue on with.

UPDATE: I've got some bad news for Windows fans who were hoping Final Cut Pro would run on a Windows operating system.  With the introduction of Final Cut Pro X, it's unlikely you will ever see a version that will run natively in Windows.  Apple has rewritten FCP using more than just modern coding techniques like 64-bit programming.  The new Final Cut Pro X accesses functions and technology that is exclusive to Apple's Mac OS X operating system.

If you're committed to editing on a Windows machine, Adobe Premiere is the most direct alternative to Final Cut Pro.  Avid Media Composer also runs on Windows.  It's popular in high-end workflows, but more expensive and more difficult to learn.  We teach Adobe Premiere and Media Composer classes for both Windows and Mac.

The good news is that moving to the most popular editing software in the industry is cheaper and easier than ever.  Even an entry-level MacBook Air ($999 at time of writing) will run FCPX, albeit slowly—and the price of Final Cut Pro has plummeted to just $299 for a license on every Mac you own or use.  There's even a free, full-featured trial available for your Mac if you want to test drive Mac OS and Final Cut.

button_drop_down_menu.gifWhen dragging assets to a menu button in DVD Studio Pro you are given five choices. They are all very similar, with specific differences.

Set Asset: This option places the asset within the button area. If it is a video asset you will be able to have it play within the button, or display a single frame of the video.

Set Asset and Create Track: This option does the same as the Set Asset option, and also takes the video asset and creates a track that is connected to the button, and also end jumps back to the menu.

Create Track: This option takes the video asset and creates a track that is connected to the button, and also end jumps back to the menu, but leaves the button area clear.

Capturing a live feed from your camera is as easy as capturing from tape. To do a live capture you connect your camera to your mac via firewire the same as you would if you were capturing from tape, and turn the camera on in camera mode. The Final Cut Pro Log and Capture will not recognize any timecode during a live capture, so you will have to set your device control at Non-Controllable Device. Selecting Capture Now will begin the live capture, and it will continue until the escape key is pressed. While the live capture is going on any camera movement will appear out of time, but when you playback the video it will be fine. During a live capture the camera does not need to be recording, but be careful that your camera is not set up to go to sleep. You can even change tapes as long as you don't disturb the firewire connection. One last thing to keep in mind is the Capture Now limit in the System Settings, you may want to turn it off or set it to the desired length of the capture.


Live Capture is great for doing long captures to be used for showing a time lapse. It is also perfect for a quick turnaround, not having to do a real time capture after you shoot. A perfect example would be recording a sporting event and being able to view or edit the game as soon as it was over.

To protect yourself when sending work to a client that hasn't been paid for we will often put a watermark on the video to keep the client from making a copy, and then refusing payment. If you embed the watermark into the video with Final Cut Pro, you will have to reexport the video without the watermark.


When installing Plugins into Final Cut Pro you will want to make sure you put them in the base level of the computer versus an individual user, if you want them to be available to anyone using the machine. The route to get to the Plugins folder is starting at the HD, then Library / Application Support / Final Cut Pro System Support / & then Plugins. After installing plugins you will need to restart Final Cut to see them in the Effects tab.




Check out this short tutorial on how to install a third party Final Cut Pro plugin.


To create a glow behind a piece of video, you only need to apply a matching shape behind the piece of video you want to glow. The shape will need to have softness that extends outside past the edges of the video.

In this example I applied a glow to a piece of video that had been cut out with a travel matte. By coping the shape of the matte, adding softness to it, and changing the color to orange, I was able to create this effect.



You have to be careful using your cell phone near digital video equipment. In production and post production some cel phones can cause interference. I recently captured 10 minutes of video, and when I brought it into Final Cut Pro I noticed that 3 minutes in the video was jittery, and the audio was crackled. I had noticed this a couple other times over the past year, but this particular time I remembered recieving a call when that portion of video was being captured. An Avid editor in Las Vegas told me of having the same problem, primarily with audio pops. This is easy enough to fix by simply recapturing, the real issue comes when the interference comes when shooting. Some cell phones can interupt the camera recording process, which embeds the distortion on the tape. Whenever possible turn your cel phone off, especially the the ones with the direct connect feature.

There are a couple things to keep in mind when adding DVD ROM content with DVD Studio Pro First there are two ways to add DVD ROM content to content. In the inspector at the Disc level, and during the Build/Format option. Both do the exact same function, but you need to be careful, because only adding content at the inspector updates the disc meter. When you add content during Build/Format setup, you won't find out that you exceeded disc capacity until you get an error message. The other thing to keep in mind is that everything you are putting onto the disc via DVD ROM content, must be in one base folder. Even if it is just one picture or movie file, it must be in a folder to be added as DVD ROM content with DVD Studio Pro.


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This page is a archive of recent entries written by Jeff in January 2008.

Jeff: December 2007 is the previous archive.

Jeff: February 2008 is the next archive.

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