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Final Cut Pro 7: September 2009 Archives

new_image_icon.gifA while back I wrote an article about making copies of DVD's by way of creating disk images.  Today I want to talk about another use for creating disk images; disk images of your software and/or applications.  (Also known as .dmg files)  Have you ever had the unfortunate event where your system completely crashed and you had to reinstall the software?  Or worse yet, realize you have to reinstall the software, but can't find the discs or have lost them completely?  We always talk about backing up our systems, files, and projects, but what about backing up the actual applications?  It's definitely a good idea to purchase an extra external hard drive just for this purpose, especially if you're working with several software applications.

Another scenario:  suppose you're upgrading your applications and have to upgrade several machines, say like in a school computer lab for example.  It could take you literally all day and night to accomplish such a task.  However, if you create disk images before your upgrade, and save them to an external hard drive, then just move the hard drive from computer to computer, you could save so much time and not have to "babysit" your upgrade or install.  Not to mention having to wait on the disk drive to eject and put in the next disk, and having to wait on a slow spinning disk drive.  The disk images will mount and install much quicker than actually doing it yourself.

When rough editing, you don't worry about the exact length of each clip.  You're working from the rough cut to the fine cut, and each time you edit, you're refining.  Final Cut Pro has lots of tools to help you get your work done faster.  Here is one to help you make your selections faster; the Edit Selection Tool.

edit_selection_tool.png

The Edit Selection Tool is located directly below the Selection Tool in the Tool Palette and actually consists of 3 separate tools:  The Edit Selection Tool, the Group Selection Tool, and the Range Selection Tool.  You can use the Edit Selection Tool by pressing the G key and click and drag over the ends of a clip to select it, like lassoing the end of a clip.  Suppose you have two clips making an edit on Track 1 and another 2 clips making a edit on Track 2 directly above the clips on Track 1.  You want to adjust the edit points between all of the clips at once.  By using the Edit Selection Tool, you can select the edit points and adjust; it will move both edit points at the same time.

Another way to use the Edit Selection Tool is if you wanted to add a bunch of transitions to stacked clips.  Select the end edit point for all of the clips using the Edit Selection Tool, and press Cmd+T; this adds transitions to every clip at the same time.  Cool.  You can also use the tool for selecting multiple tracks for an extend edit as well.

Ever see those Charles Schwab commercials that look like a cartoon, but you know it somehow came from live video?  It's called Rotoscoping, which is a technique where animators trace over live-action film frame by frame.

rotoscoped_image.gif

There's a great plug-in called Toon-A-Matic from Sheffield Softworks that can give you that same "cartoon style" effect with a simple filter.  It also has a caricatcure setting that allows you to distort, exaggerate, or minimize features.  The plug-in is compatible with Final Cut Pro 6 & 7.  Once applied, you're able to control Brightness, Line Level, Line Brightness, Line Contrast, Line Saturation, Caricature Level, and Mix to achieve a wide range of "toonish" possibilities.  Just click on the Filters Tab in the Viewer window to adjust the parameters.

viewer_filters.gif

I also used the filter on a still image to get the same effect. 

nasa_tam.gif

Like I always say...try it out and play with it...you might be surprised at some of the cool effects you can create!


expose_icon.gifIt's so annoying.  Forgetting to disable Expose' under your System Preferences settings, that is.  You may travel from computer to computer, workstation to workstation, edit bay to edit bay, and it never fails.  You try hitting one of those favorite keys of yours, like the Insert, Overwrite or Replace keys, only to find your screen going bonkers and splitting into pieces.  And, you forgot how to disable it. 

Expose' can be a useful tool within the Mac OSX, but when working in Final Cut Pro, the Expose' key commands will override a Final Cut Pro key command, and therefore needs to be disabled.  Go to your System Preferences Menu > Expose' & Spaces.

system_preferences_expose.gif 

Where you see F9, F10, F11, & F12 in the pull down menus, change them all to dashes.  This will now ensure your Insert, Overwrite, and Replace key commands to work rather than splitting your interface apart.

expose_preferences.gif

By checking and setting your System Preferences ahead of time you can save yourself a lot of headaches and time down the road!

Be sure to check out these articles for the benefits to using Expose, and actually using Expose to your advantage in Final Cut Studio.

New to Final Cut Pro 7 is the ability to tell the difference between a Project Tab, and a Bin Tab in the File Browser. In past versions you couldn't tell the difference by just looking at them. At GeniusDV we always taught our students to name your project in all capital letters, so you could tell the difference. For those of you still using previous versions of Final Cut Pro, this is still a good workflow. Everyone using Final Cut Pro 7, you can now just look at your tabs, and see the Final Cut clapper to know which tabs are Project Tabs, and which ones are Bins.

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To turn a Bin into a Tab you need only hold down the Option key, and double click on the Bin. This will add a Bin tab to the File Browser vs opening a new Browser window. Also new to Final Cut Pro 7 is when you color code Bins in the File Browser, and then open them as Tabs, the Tab is colored too.



Do you ever have trouble tweaking your still images in Final Cut Pro, or worse yet, not tweak them at all?  Last night I viewed a slide show for a friend (who is an amateur) that had several of these vertical images with the white showing on either side.  At the very least, if he did nothing else to improve his slideshow, he could figure out a way to utilize that space on either side of his vertical images.  I'm going to show you what I mean.  Here is an example of just one way to work with this image. 

portraitstill3.gif


As an editor I find one of the most useful functions in Final Cut Pro to be the Match Frame function. When you're moving through a sequence, Match Frame can really keep a good flow going. Instead of having to go look for a clip, we can use Match Frame to load a previous reference of the desired clip into the viewer.
 
By parking over a clip in the timeline, and performing a Match Frame, Final Cut will load the original source clip into the viewer. The name Match Frame comes from the fact that Final Cut will match the exact frame the playhead is at in the timeline, to the frame the playhead is at once it is loaded into the Viewer. In addition to matching the frame, Final Cut will also set the in and out point in the Viewer with the corresponding in and out point from the clip in the Timeline. Once the Source Clip is loaded into the Viewer, you can set new in and out points and bring a new reference into the Timeline. In other words if I have a 30 second clip, and I use the first 5 seconds as a clip in my sequence, then load 3 different clips into the Viewer. Now I can Match Frame the 5 second clip into the Viewer, and choose the last 5 seconds as a new clip. This may sound confusing, but it is without a doubt one of the most useful functions in Final Cut Pro. It is not the same as double clicking on a clip in the timeline to load it in the Viewer, because if you set new in and out points in the Viewer it will change the clip in the Timeline.

To perform a Match Frame all you have to do is park over a clip in the Timeline, and hit the "F" key. If you are not using the Match Frame function now try adding it into your workflow, you will be glad you did.

Here is another scenario that the Match Frame function can save you time and frustration. You bring a clip into your sequence without the attached audio. Down the road you decide you need the audio. Instead of trying to figure out the in and out points so the audio you bring in matches up with the video that is already there, you just press one key ("F") and then bring the matching audio right in.
You know how in some movies the actor is looking at an older film from the 60's or 70's and it has those black spots flickering throughout and maybe some vertical lines and the color is just totally off?  Well have you ever wondered if that's actual footage from the time, or if that's somehow computer generated?  Probably the latter in most cases; and here's a cool filter that can help you achieve that same look.  It's a free plug-in from CGM.

agedlookfilter.gifJust go to the website, and download CGM Aged Film LE v2.5.7.  Make sure you are putting your Plug-Ins in the right place.  When installing your plug-ins, follow this path:

HD > Library > Application Support > Final Cut Pro System Support > Plugins

This way the plug-ins will be available to any user who opens Final Cut Pro on your computer.  Don't forget that once you've installed the plug-ins, they're not just gonna show up in your Effects Tab right away; you'll have to restart Final Cut Pro in order for the application to recognize them.

Have you heard about this new "app" for the iPhone, FCP shortcutz?  It's like having a mobile cheat sheet in your pocket, or a quick reference guide at your fingertips for all Final Cut Pro editors.  FCP shortcutz categorizes and lists all of the Final Cut Pro Keyboard shortcuts.  It even includes a few shortcuts that Apple hasn't published.

fcpshortcutz.gifImagine working on-location in an edit bay that's not normally yours...your workstation back home might have sticky notes with shortcut tips on the wall or you may have a reference book sitting at your desk; but working in an unfamiliar surrounding, you're wishing you had memorized some of those quick key commands.  Now you don't have to worry; you have all those shortcuts right in your pocket!  Well worth the 99 cents, and I'm sure other editors will agree.
A marker is a marker, right?  Not so in Final Cut Pro; Chapter Markers, Compression Markers, Scoring Markers, Sequence Markers, Clip Markers, and the list goes on.  How do you keep them all straight?  Well I had to do a little research myself, but here is what I found out about Markers:

First of all, basically a marker, is a reference point that you can place within clips or sequences to identify specific frames.  You can use them for so many different things, and you can export them with your finished project.  Markers can be used for making comments, synchronizing multiclips, adding DVD chapters, and even making subclips.  Usually, markers are placed only on a specific frame, but you can also create a marker with a longer duration.

The biggest thing to understand when using markers is the difference between Sequence Markers and Clip Markers.  You add markers to a clip when you want to make note about something in the clip.  You can add markers to a sequence if you want to mark specific points say for example, in the audio track, or if you want to use them to snap the playhead to a specific point when performing an edit.  Another reason to add markers to sequences is so you can add compression markers and DVD chapter markers. 

The difference between the two, Clip Markers and Sequence Markers, visually, in the Timeline is Clip Markers are Pink, Sequence Markers are Green.  Clip Markers can be added and seen in the Viewer along with in the Timeline, whereas, Sequence Markers can be added and seen in the Canvas and/or in the Timeline.  Markers can be added, deleted, and commented on at any point while you are editing.

markers.gif

Other types of Markers: 

  • Our default marker is the Note Marker.  This is the marker that is created when you add a marker to a clip or a sequence.
  • Chapter Markers automatically become DVD chapter markers to be used in DVD Studio Pro
  • Compression Markers can be added to tell Compressor or DVD Studio Pro that it should generate an MPEG1-frame during compression.  You want to add these where there is an abrupt visual change from one frame to the next within a clip, to improve MPEG compression.
  • Scoring Markers are used to make visual cues to sync music to and can be exported to Soundtrack Pro
  • Audio Peak Markers, when you have them activated, can show you where in your clips that the audio level should be reduced at that point.
  • Long Frame Markers can be added if your clip has long frames that you might want to avoid using in your sequence.
Ok, so how are we adding these markers to our clips or sequences?  That's super-easy...it's distinguishing the differences that can get tricky.  We add markers to clips or sequences by hitting the "M" key.  To name your markers or add comments to them, simply hit the "M" key twice to open the Edit Marker Window.  Within the Edit Marker Window you can Name your marker, write a comment about it, change it's duration, and tell Final Cut if it is to be used as a Chapter Marker, Compression Marker, or Scoring Marker.  If you don't name your markers, the first marker you add is named Marker 1; the second is Marker 2, and so on.

editmarker.gif 

It's important to know there is more than one way to add markers.  Although, I myself, prefer to use the M key, you can also go to the Mark Menu > Markers and add them from there. 

markmenu.gif

You can also add markers in the Viewer & Canvas windows by pressing the Marker button shown here

markerbutton.gif

Now, when adding Chapter, Compression, and Scoring Markers, they can only be used for sequences; when exporting them to Compressor, DVD Studio Pro, or Soundtrack Pro, make sure these markers have been added to the sequence itself in the Timeline ruler and not in individual clips.  In other words, only your green markers in your Timeline are going to be exported when you specified what kind they were in the Edit Marker window; none of your pink markers will be exported.

What if I added a marker, and didn't mean to?  Simple, just place your playhead on the marker you want to delete, press the M key to bring up the edit window again, and click on Delete.  You can do this from the Timeline, Viewer, or the Canvas.  What if I want to delete all of the markers I've added to a clip or a sequence?  Go to the Mark menu > Markers > Delete All.

Now with the latest version of Final Cut Pro 7, you can even color-code clip and sequence markers of your own.

editmarkernew.gifYou can add notes while the clip is playing and when you export your marker list, your custom names are exported also.
 


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about.this

This page is a archive of entries in the Final Cut Pro 7 category from September 2009.

Final Cut Pro 7: August 2009 is the previous archive.

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

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.