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Final Cut Pro 7: January 2009 Archives

There is an easy way to turn the visibility off on all but one track, or lock all tracks but one, or even isolate a single auto select. Any of these actions can be performed by holding down everyones favorite Final Cut Pro key, the option key. By option clicking on the track visibility control, FCP will turn off the visibility of all tracks but the one you selected. By option clicking on a track lock, FCP will lock all but the track you selected. By option clicking on an auto select control, FCP will turn off all but the track you selected. 

This process can be reversed by option clicking on the same track again, or option clicking on any track twice. You can also switch to a different solo track by option clicking on a different track. This is a great tool when attempting to cut and paste to different tracks. It is also a great way to start when you need to select a number of tracks less than half of the total number of tracks. This function works separately in video and audio tracks.

The Track tool is a great way to select an entire track or tracks. There are 5 different combinations of the T key to activate the 5 different states of the Track selection tool. Hitting the T key once thru five times will toggle thru the five tools.


I tend to use the Select All Tracks Forward (pressing the T key four times) most often. Recently I discovered that by activating the Select Track Forward tool, and holding down the shift key, it will do the same thing. This works the same way with the Select Track Backward tool, and is a very useful modifier key to know.

Avid's DNxHD codec and Apple's ProRes are both riffs on the Cineform theme of high-quality digital intermediate codecs for editing.  Both offer more efficient compression than some competitors (especially at larger frame sizes), plus 4:2:2 chroma subsampling (which provides greater color fidelity than DV's 4:1:1 subsampling or MPEG's 4:2:0).  But the advantage of one of the other cool features -- support for 10-bit color depth -- has gone largely misunderstood or overlooked.  [Ed.: Some readers have asked me to emphasize that BOTH DNxHD and ProRes offer 10-bit color depth.  Apologies for any confusion.]

For starters, it's worth pointing out that each of the "extras" that ProRes confers may at first seem irrelevant: after all, broadcast NTSC still (for another month or so) uses YCbCr, and broadcast ATSC and DVB still use a variant of MPEG-2, with all the associated limitations.  Don't be fooled, though. 

Your post process almost inevitably involves changing the source image in some way or another, either through color correction, transitions, or any number of other processes -- and when you have all of the "extra" information in the ProRes picture, you're able to create an edited master that still has more information than you'd need for a "perfect" quality broadcast.  Similarly, you'd never edit in MPEG-2 directly (I hope) -- so using the higher-quality intermediate codec gives your compressor more "wiggle room" as the compressor tries to paint the highest-quality picture for the MPEG-2 transcoding step.

But enough of that ... more on bit depth specifically after the jump.
Most of us still deal in good ole 2 channel stereo audio for out projects. When the time comes to output 5.1 Audio, you will most likely do it in an application other than Final Cut, but you can do it in Final Cut, There are a couple of very important factors to keep in mind.

First of all how you actually make the switch. To change your audio from stereo to 5.1, you simply go into the Audio Outputs tab in your sequence settings, and load the 5.1 Monitoring preset. This will change your sequence to 6 channels of audio. Now it becomes very important to have the Tracks assigned to the correct clips. Channels 1 & 2 will be stereo, also known as Left & Right, or to some front. Channel 3 will be the Center channel, and this is where you will want any type of voice assigned. The channel will be defaulted -3 db less than Channels 1 & 2. Channels 5 & 6 are the Rear channels, aka surround. They too are defaulted -3 db less than Channels 1 & 2. The rear channels are often just a copy of some of the tracks also assigned to Channels 1 & 2. Channel 4 is the LFE (low frequency effect), this is what we hear out of our subwoofer. This is defaulted as off, and in most cases you won't be using it. Recievers are designed to send much of the bass into the subwoofer already.

In Final Cut -- in a lot of different video applications, for that matter -- you may have wondered about Import/Export functions based on XML.  In fact, Apple made a big deal about Final Cut's XML Interchange Format when it first released, and for good reason.

As studios and production houses and newsrooms shift to a digital workflow, more and more pieces of the production process have to "talk about" the same footage.  At one broadcast network where we recently conducted training, the entire workflow -- from ingest to scriptwriting, roughing, package editing, promos, and output -- relied on a central media repository. 

Needless to say, that's a whole lot of pieces of software that need to talk to each other -- and making a separate copy of the source media for every step in the process is inefficient (imagine the extra disk space to hold 6 different copies of the same full HD footage for a 24/7 broadcast), not to mention confusing.
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This page is a archive of entries in the Final Cut Pro 7 category from January 2009.

Final Cut Pro 7: December 2008 is the previous archive.

Final Cut Pro 7: March 2009 is the next archive.

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