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Configuring Mac OSX for Final Cut Pro


Disable system keyboard shortcuts
Mac OSX uses many of the same keys that control Final Cut Pro. Disable these keys in the System Preferences before you attempt to work in Final Cut Pro.

Configure the mouse

One of the first things you will want to do is configure the Mighty Mouse so it works with left and right clicking. Final Cut Pro contains many contextual menu elements that are available by (right) clicking the mouse. If you have the Apple Mighty Mouse, you may not realize there are actually four buttons that can be configured. Reveal the Mouse preferences by selecting Apple Menu --> System Preferences, then clicking the Mouse icon.

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The Basic MAC OS X desktop contains 3 main elements: The MAC OS X menu bar, the internal Macintosh hard drive, and the dock.

MAC OS MENU BAR

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The MAC OS X menu bar is located at the top portion of the screen.
Navigating to the Apple | About This Mac menu will display the basic information about your current version of MAC OS.

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The About This Mac dialogue box is an easy way to find out your current version of system operating software. This box will also show you the amount of RAM and the processor type installed. If you see a (2 X) next to the processor speed it indicates that the computer has dual processors.

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UPDATING FINAL CUT PRO

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After verifying the version of Final Cut Pro software that you are running, you may want to periodically check for updates. One of the nice features about updating the Macintosh operating system is that it will also update any of the professional applications that you have installed on your machine. This includes all of the updates for Final Cut Pro.

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EDITORS NOTE:

I recommend that you never update your version of Final Cut Pro while in the middle of a project. Always finish your current project before performing any updates.

I recommend leaving 'Automatically check for updates' turned off. I have found that leaving this feature turned on can become annoying. Especially if you haven't had time to verify that the latest version of OS X works correctly with Final Cut Pro.

MULTIPLE USER DESKTOPS IN OS X

When a new user is created in OS X, that user will not have the ability to access another user's home folder. Therefore it is important to recognize that each desktop is unique to an individual user.

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The example shows the directory path in column view. This shows where a user’s desktop is located.
It is also important to note that each user has a separate documents folder.

ADJUSTING AUDIO MONITORING LEVEL FOR FINAL CUT PRO

In the upper right corner of the MAC OS X desktop, there is a pull down slider that will allow you to adjust the audio monitoring level for the Macintosh.

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If you have the standard Macintosh keyboard that ships with a G4 or G5 desktop model, you can adjust the volume by pressing the two speaker keys located in the upper left portion of the keyboard numbered keypad. The keypad is not available on a Macintosh Powerbook. You can use the F4, F5, and F6 keys to access volume control.

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THE DOCK
The dock is a common location that allows easy access to commonly used items.

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Applications that are running in the background are indicated by a small black triangle. Be aware of this and close unnecessary programs to maximize the RAM available to Final Cut Pro.

The finder icon, which is the visual front end of the Macintosh operating system, should always be running.

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ADDING PROGRAMS TO THE DOCK

The dock can be used to store commonly used programs. By dragging a program icon into the dock, it will allow you to easily access it.

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THE TRASH CAN IN THE DOCK
Items can be deleted from your hard drive by dragging them to the trash icon located in the dock. Elements in the trash can still be recovered until this trash has been emptied. To empty the trash, control click on it and select Empty Trash.

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CHANGING THE MAC OS X SYSTEM PREFERENCES

Clicking on the system preferences icon inside the dock will launch the system preferences dialouge box. The system preferences box can also be found by navigating to the Apple | System Preferences menu.

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The system preferences box will display a list of features that can be modified. Remember, these changes will only affect the current user who is logged into the system.
The system preferences box is divided into five categories for easy reference, which are the personal, hardware, internet & network, system categories and other.

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ADJUSTING DOCK SETTINGS
To adjust the parameters for the dock, double click on the dock icon located in the personal section of the system preferences box.

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CHANGING DOCK PREFERENCES

Parameters that can be changed include; the size, magnification, position and animated effects. You may decide to change the location of your dock so that it does not pop up on the screen when working within the Final Cut Pro software.

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EDITORS NOTE:

Since the dock can interfere with the Final Cut Pro interface, some editors may choose to make the dock smaller, and move its position to the right or left side of the screen.

APPEARANCE SETTINGS


By default, the highlight color for MAC OS X is set to gray.

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This can be a problem, because most of the Final Cut Pro interface windows are also displayed in grey. It is recommended that you change this to a brighter color. The yellow or green colors seem to work fairly well. Clicking on the appearance icon, located within the personal settings row, will allow you to change the highlight color that the operating system uses.

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Changing the highlight color to something brighter will help when working within the Final Cut Pro application, so that you can easily see what elements have been highlighted.
If the highlight color does not change within Final Cut Pro, you must restart the computer for the highlight color changes to take effect.

RECCOMENED HARDWARE SETTINGS FOR FINAL CUT PRO

Verify that your display settings are set for optimal viewing when running the Final Cut Pro software.

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You will find when running the Final Cut Pro software, the higher the resolution, the better. For a 20 inch cinema display, the recommended resolution is 1680 x 1050, 1920 x 1200 for a 23 inch and 2560 x 1600 for the highly sought after 30 inch.

If you are running a G4 Powerbook, use Apple's recommended resolution for the LCD screen on your specific model. It is also recommended that the number of colors be set to millions for optimal viewing.

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TURNING OFF ENERGY SAVER

It is highly recommend that you turn off any energy saving features within MAC OS X when running Final Cut Pro.

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Set both sliders within the energy saver dialogue box to never. This is important, because if the computer falls asleep while the Final Cut Pro software is rendering it may not wake up properly. This can cause the system to crash and possibly corrupt your data.

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CHANGING MOUSE SPEED

If you have a large display, such as an Apple high-resolution cinema screen, you may wish to change the speed of your mouse.

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For large viewable display screens, it is recommended that you set the tracking speed to fast. This will help when navigating over long screen distances within the Final Cut Pro application.

EDITORS NOTE:

Although MAC OS X automatically supports any two-button USB mouse. However, not all OS X applications support the second mouse button. The good news is Final Cut Pro does support a two button mouse. Instead of having to (control click) throughout the Final Cut Pro application, you can simply (right click) to access the hidden contextual menus. You can also purchase a mouse that supports a 2X movement speed. This will increase the sensitivity of the cursor when dragging the mouse. This can be helpful on large cinema displays or a dual monitor configuration.

MAC OS TOOLBAR

The icon for the Macintosh internal hard drive contains your MAC OS X operating system and all of the programs that are installed on your computer. Double clicking on the Macintosh hard drive will open a MAC OS X window. The tool bar is located at the top of each MAC OS X window. If the toolbar is not visible, click the clear oval shaped button in the upper right corner of the window. This will show or hide the toolbar icons.

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Clicking on the minimize window button will shrink the window into the dock, which can then be brought back by navigating to the dock and clicking on the minimized window icon within the dock.

CUSTOMIZING THE TOOLBAR

Additional program icons or functions can be added to the MAC OS X toolbar for easy accessibility.

To do this, highlight any MAC OS X window, and navigate to the View | Customize Toolbar in the MAC OS X menu bar.

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You will then see a list of favorite items appear in the window. Simply drag a favorite item into the MAC OS X toolbar area and you will be able to easily access it at a later time.

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In this example, the eject icon has been dragged into the toolbar area. When finished, click on the blue done button.

NAVIGATIONAL WINDOW VIEWS

ICON VIEW

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Displays a list of files by using a picture icon

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Double clicking on a folder will replace the window contents with what is inside the folder.

LIST VIEW

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Displays a list of files and folders based on column headings. By clicking on a column heading the files will be sorted alphabetically.

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Columns can also be re-positioned by simply dragging the individual column heading to the left or right.

COLUMN VIEW

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Displays the hierarchy of files and folders within the hard drive.

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This view is useful for finding the exact path of a particular file

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