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Final Cut Pro Audio Video Settings

Before you begin editing, you should be aware of certain audio and video settings that may affect your Final Cut Pro editing system.

Within Final Cut Pro, navigate to the Final Cut Pro | Audio / Video Settings menu.

This will bring up the audio / video settings dialogue box.



The summary tab in Final Cut Pro will display a basic breakdown of all your audio / video settings.

The default settings are shown below. The summary tab displays a general overview of the current configuration.



There are four default presets that are locked. You cannot edit a locked preset. Final Cut Pro will automatically create a duplicate preset if you attempt to edit a preset that is locked.



In North America, Final Cut Pro users will most likely leave this setting alone. There are some exceptions for people who are using Final Cut Pro to edit an actual film. For Final Cut Pro users in Europe, use DV PAL 48kHz.

It is important to note: Sequence presets adjusted in this menu only apply to new sequences and not existing sequences.



Under the capture-preset tab, you can adjust the parameters for how Final Cut Pro captures video.

If you are using a basic Final Cut Pro system with the fire-wire connection for input, make sure DV NSTC 48 kHz is selected and checked in the capture presets column.


When using the fire-wire port on the back of the computer, the default DV NTSC 48 kHz preset will work perfectly fine. Unless you understanding what you are doing, it is not recommended that you make any changes to the available locked presets.


The default Final Cut pro setting under the capture preset tab is to have the external speaker turned off. This means when you are capturing DV clips, you will not be able to hear the audio as the system records. If you choose to edit the settings in the capture preset tab, you can turn on the external speaker while capturing.


To change this parameter you need to edit your current preset setting. An untitled duplicate preset will automatically be made. Make sure you label your new preset. An example would be 'DV NTSC 48 kHz with speaker enabled.'

The Final Cut Pro capture preset box has many different menus and controls. Be careful when adjusting these controls. For the most part, you can leave them set at their default settings.

To turn on the audio Speaker when capturing in Final Cut Pro, click on the advanced tab under the Quicktime audio settings box.


Change the speaker: pull down menu from off to on. You will then be able to hear the audio from your computers speakers when capturing within Final Cut Pro.


If you choose to enable the speaker, you will notice a delay when capturing through the fire-wire port. This is normal, because Final Cut Pro requires processing time to convert DV audio to analog audio that you can hear in real time. Don't worry, everything will be recorded in sync.


For advanced Final Cut pro users, there are a couple of options you may want to adjust in this window. If you choose to edit your locked preset, make sure that you give your new preset a name.



If you are experiencing problems in Final Cut Pro with a particular camera or dv device, one of the first options you may want to adjust is the firewire protocol. Try changing this option to Apple firewire basic.


The next option you may want to change is the default timecode: The default setting for Final Cut Pro is Drop Frame timecode. If you are unfamiliar with the caveats of timecode, I recommend that you do not change it.

Drop frame timecode compensates for the fact that color NSTC video plays back at 29.97, and not 30fps. To compensate for our real time clock, two timecode numbers are dropped every minute, except on every tenth minute. This method of counting was developed for broadcasters, because of our time system. By using drop frame timecode, an hour long program will be exactly 1 hour.

Drop frame timecode is displayed with semi-colons between the hrs;min;frames in the timecode display box.


Non drop timecode is useful for shows or programs in Final Cut Pro that will not be broadcast. By using non drop timecode, the counting method will remain consistent for the length of your sequence. This means that after 1 hour of playback, the timecode would read 00:59:56:12. It is important to remember that no actual video frames are lost. Only the numbering system is changed.

Non drop frame timecode in Final Cut Pro is displayed with colons between the hrs:min:frames in the timecode display box.



By default, this option is unchecked. Checking the auto record PTV option, Final Cut Pro will automatically engage a firewire compatible camera into record mode after using the Print to Video feature under the File | Print to Video menu in Final Cut Pro.

If you do not enable this feature, Final Cut Pro will remain inactive until you press the okay button to start the video recorder.

When using the print to video command, Final Cut Pro must render everything in your current sequence before it can play it back out through the firewire port.


The auto record and PTV option is important if you have a large sequence in Final Cut Pro that requires a long time to render.



If your Final Cut Pro system experiences performance issues, or if you have a slower system, you may wish to adjust the external video settings.

By un-checking Mirror on desktop during Playback, you will free up some of the computers resources that are required for Final Cut Pro to play back video on your computer screen.


Normally within Final Cut Pro, you would leave this option turned on, but some optional capture cards may require that you turn this option off in order to have real time effects enabled when viewing full motion video on a NTSC monitor.

Mirror on desktop during recording requires additional resources for displaying the video on the computer monitor while a sequence is being recorded back to tape. If your Final Cut Pro system is dropping frames when recording back to tape, you may want to uncheck this option in order to free up some processing power.


Once you have made adjustments to the audio / video settings, you can create an easy setup menu that will allow you and other users to easily access all of the same settings.


The summary tab within the audio / video settings window gives a quick view of the major presets. The next step is to click on the create easy setup button, and give your configuration a name.

Once you have named your Final Cut Pro easy setup configuration, click on the create button.



Navigate to the Final Cut Pro | Easy Setup menu and a dialogue box will appear showing all of the available easy setup configurations.


Under the Setup for: menu, you will see a list of selections that will automatically conform to their adjusted parameters. Each selection will display a summary of labeled changes.

Clicking the blue setup button will conform all of the audio / video settings to match the easy setup configuration.

Remember, changes made in the audio / video settings will not apply to existing Final Cut Pro sequences. They will only apply to new Final Cut Pro projects.


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Alpha Mattes In Final Cut Pro was the previous entry in this blog.

Avid Express Pro/Composer and Dupe Detection is the next entry in this blog.

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