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Final Cut Pro Interface Windows

Immediately after Final Cut Pro is launched a splash screen will appear showing the licensing information, and the current version of software that you are running.

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The very first time Final Cut Pro is launched, a 'choose setup' dialogue box will appear. This box will only appear once for each individual MAC OS X user. However, the setup parameters in Final Cut Pro can always be changed afterwards.

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For users in North America, the most common setup is DV-NTSC. For European users, change the setup to DV-PAL.

The primary scratch disk will be set to the MAC HD, which you can change later. The user mode should be set to standard. This means all of the features in Final Cut Pro will be available to you.

Each time Final Cut Pro is launched it will search to find a firewire compatible device. If no connection is found, a dialogue box will appear.

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If you do not plan on capturing immediately, you can click the continue button.

VERIFYING THE VERSION OF FINAL CUT PRO

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To verify the version of Final Cut Pro that you are running, navigate to the Final Cut Pro| About Final Cut Pro… menu. This will re-display the splash screen that shows the version of the software.

The default Final Cut Pro interface is shown here. There are four main interface windows. These are: the viewer, canvas, browser, and timeline.

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If your Final Cut Pro interface does not look like this, it is because someone else has already used the software under the current MAC OS X user.

EDITORS NOTE:

If you are going to log in as the same user each time you use Final Cut Pro the software will automatically return to it last known state. This means that you may not have a clean looking interface. This can sometimes cause confusion.

STARTING A NEW PROJECT

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To start a new Final Cut Pro project, navigate to the File | New Project menu.

UNTITLED PROJECTS

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When a new Final Cut Pro project is created, it will be displayed as a project tab in the browser window. By default, it will have a name 'Untitled Project 1.'

Make sure you get in the habit of saving your project immediately after launching Final Cut Pro.

SAVING A PROJECT FILE

Navigate to the File | Save Project As… menu and give the project a name. A dialogue box will appear. This is where you specify where your project will be saved.

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SAVING A PROJECT FILE TO THE DESKTOP

In this example, the project file is being saved directly to the desktop. For this example, ‘horsemanship promo’ is the name given to this project.

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EDITORS NOTE:

Even though Final Cut Pro has an auto-save feature, it does not update your current project. Instead, it saves a separate archive of projects files that can be manually recovered. Therefore, it is recommended to save your Final Cut Pro project every so often to avoid having to navigate to the auto-save vault.

THE PROJECT ICON

A project will contain all the program elements within Final Cut Pro. This includes all your bins, clips and sequences.

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EDITORS NOTE:

Once a project is saved, you can double click on its icon and Final Cut Pro will automatically launch with the project opening automatically. This will over-ride Final Cut Pro from opening in its last known state.

You may want to create a Final Cut Pro project that includes your preferred layout with no clips or sequences in it. You can use this blank project to launch a blank template. Then navigate to the File | Save Project As… menu to save a new project file.

LOCKING A PROJECT

A Final Cut Pro project can be locked with the MAC OS X operating system. Control click on a project icon, and select Get info.

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A dialogue box will appear allowing you to lock the file.

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Be careful, locking a Final Cut Pro project-file will not allow you to save changes to that project.

A locked file will have a small lock located near the bottom left of the icon.

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ACCESSING THE MAC OS X DESKTOP

You can use the keyboard shortcut (command + H) to automatically hide the Final Cut Pro application. This will allow you to access your MAC OS X desktop area.

If you hide the Final Cut Pro application, it will be hidden in the dock. To bring back Final Cut Pro, navigate to the dock and click on the Final Cut Pro icon.

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A small black arrow underneath the application icon within the dock denotes applications that are running and hidden in the background.

INTERACE WINDOWS

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Clip - A pointer or reference to raw media that is stored on a media drive

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Source Clip – This is a term that refers to an original unmodified clip.

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Sequence – A series of clips attached together that form a program. Sequences are represented as a series of edits that can be viewed in the timeline window.

FOUR MAIN INTERFACE WINDOWS

Four main windows make up the Final Cut Pro interface. Each interface window can be resized and repositioned anywhere on the screen.

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RESIZING THE INTERFACE WINDOWS

This example shows where to click in order to resize a Final Cut Pro interface window. To resize any interface window hold down the mouse button and drag the lower right corner of the window.

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Each Final Cut Pro interface window has a magnetic property that will allow it to automatically snap to any nearby window.

The red arrow shows where you can resize the viewer window.

EDITORS NOTE:

One of the first things you will want to do is to set up the Final Cut Pro interface windows to your personal preference.

You may wish to make the viewer and canvas windows a little smaller, and the timeline window a little larger. For laptops or small monitors, it is recommended that you make the viewer and canvas windows as small as possible. Since most of your work will be done in the timeline window, you will find that it helps to have a larger work area for your sequence.

Before you begin editing in Final Cut Pro, make sure you decide on a window placement that makes you comfortable. If you have two monitors, you can move any of your interface windows to the other monitor to give yourself additional working area.

WINDOW ARRANGMENTS

It is important to understand that the interface windows can be positioned anywhere on the screen. There are pre-built window arrangements in Final Cut Pro. To access them, navigate to the Window | Arrange menu, and select your preferred arrangement.

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Typically, a good choice is to select the standard layout.

CREATING A CUSTOMIZED LAYOUT

This example shows a Final Cut Pro custom layout that was created to give more room for the tracks in the timeline and for clips in the browser window.

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Plus, notice how there is room on the right side to access to OS X desktop.

EDITORS NOTE:

An editor may find it useful to arrange the Final Cut Pro interface windows so the internal hard drive or external media drives are visible. This leaves a convenient way to import files from a hard disk into the browser window.

Once you've arranged the Final Cut Pro windows in the positions that you prefer, you'll be able to set two distinct layouts that can be easily accessed from the Window| Arrange menu. The keyboard shortcuts are (shift + U) for Layout 1, and (option + U) for the Layout 2 menu.

SAVING A CUSTOM LAYOUT

In order to set a Final Cut Pro custom layout, you need to hold down the option key before you navigate to the Window| Arrange menu. Next, select the appropriate layout (hot menu), and release the mouse button before the option key. Otherwise, it will not save your layout.

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You may also save a layout directly to the hard drive as a custom layout file. Once the layout is saved, simply navigate to Restore Layout and find your file.

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TABBED WINDOWS

It is important to understand that a tab can be torn off from its original window. Notice, the effects tab has been torn off into its own window. This gives flexibility in setting up the Final Cut Pro interface. To re-attach a window, simply drag its tab back to its original position.

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CLOSING TABS

To close a tab, simply control click on the tab, and select Close Tab. If changes have been made to a project tab you are closing, Final Cut Pro will ask you if you wish to save the changes.

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If you accidentally close the effects tab within the browser window, you must navigate to the Window| Effects menu to recover the effects tab window.

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EDITORS NOTE:

One feature of Final Cut Pro is the ability to have multiple projects open at the same time. It is important to watch how many projects are open. If you have too many project tabs open it can become confusing and difficult to manage.

BROWSER WINDOW

The browser window is a place where you will store your bins, clips and sequences. By default, the browser window will have a project tab, and an effects tab. The browser window also contains a list of column headings, which give additional information about each element inside the window.

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Clips must be imported from a source containing raw media. This can be done by: Using the log and capture window to record clips, or manually importing them the hard drive.

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Remember, A clip is a pointer to the actual media.

You can import an entire folder of clips, or import individual files into Final Cut Pro.

IMPORTING CLIPS INTO BROWSER WINDOW

By navigating to a folder where raw media files are located, you can import these into the browser window. This will create clips that match the names of the raw media files.

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BROSWER TABS

Project Tab

This tab will display the name of your project. If you have not yet saved your project, this tab will read 'untitled project 1'. This should serve as another reminder to save your project before continuing on.

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The project tab can contain the following elements:

- Bins

- Clips

- Sequences

- Graphics

Effects Tab

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This tab will display a list of all filters and transitions available on your system. There is also a folder to store your own favorite filters and transitions.

The effects tab can contain the following elements:

- Video/Audio Filters

- Video/Audio Transitions

- Generators

THE VIEWER WINDOW

The viewer window is sometimes referred to as the source window. It is a place where you will view clips, and make edit decisions by marking IN / OUT points.

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Clips can be loaded into the viewer window by:

- Double clicking on a clip

- Highlighting a clip in the browser and pressing the return key

- Dragging a clip directly to the viewer window

VIEWER TABS

By default, in the top portion of the viewer window there will be a series of tabs. These tabs allow you to view elements that are embedded within a clip.

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Video tab: Displays the video image, including visual modifications made to the clip

Audio tab: If a clip within the viewer has audio, an audio tab will be displayed. The audio tab displays the audio waveform of a clip. Audio adjustments to the level and pan can also be made in this window.

Motion tab: Shows a list of motion parameters that can be adjusted for the clip.

Control tab: This tab will not be shown, unless you are working with an effect loaded from the video generator, or a title.

VIEWER CONTROLS

At the bottom of the viewer window, there is a play button that must be pressed to view a video clip in full motion. Pressing the play button again will stop a clip from playing.

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There are some important keyboard shortcuts that allow you to easily play clips without having to use the viewer controls.

L key - Plays forward (pressing the L key again will play the clip at 2X, 4X, and so on)

J key - Plays backward (pressing the J key will play the clip at 2X, 4X backwards, and so on.)

K key - Stops playing (holding down the K key while playing forward or backward will play in slow motion)

Space Bar Toggles between stop and play

USING THE ARROW KEYS

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Left / Right arrows: moves the position indicator 1 frame forward or backward

Shift + (Left or Right arrow): moves the position indicator 1 second forward or backward

THE TIMELINE WINDOW

The timeline window will show a graphic display of your edited sequence. A sequence represents the video and audio clips that make up an edited an editing program.

By default when Final Cut Pro is launched for the first time, a sequence is automatically created in the browser window and is loaded into the timeline window as a sequence tab.

TIMELINE TABS

Sequences are represented as tabs in the timeline window. You can switch between sequences by clicking on the appropriate tab. Double clicking on a sequence icon in the browser window will automatically load that sequence into your timeline represented by a separate sequence tab.

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Make sure you label your sequences in the browser window. Otherwise, by default your sequences will have labels that are 'Sequence1, Sequence2, and so on.'

It can become confusing if you do not have specific names representing individual sequences.

MULTIPLE TIMELINES

One of the nice features in Final Cut Pro is the ability to view multiple timelines at the same time. Below is another example of how tabs can be used to tear off an additional timeline window.

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EDITORS NOTE:

Using multiple timelines is an excellent way to copy elements from one timeline to another. If you have a project, and you want to experiment with a couple different versions, you can duplicate your sequence and compare one sequence to another. You can also incorporate elements from both sequences by dragging one portion of a sequence to the other.

CLOSING THE TIMELINE WINDOW

Clicking the red circle in the upper left corner of the timeline window will close the timeline.

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RE-OPENING A TIMELINE


If you accidentally close the timeline window, the only way to retrieve it is to double click on an existing sequence in the browser window.

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EDITORS NOTE:

It is possible to accidentally delete a sequence from the browser window. If this happens, immediately try to undo, using the keyboard shortcut (command + Z). In the strange event where you cannot recover a deleted sequence and there is no sequence within the browser window, you must create a new sequence in order to create a new timeline window.

THE CANVAS WINDOW

The canvas window displays the active sequence in the timeline window. It is sometimes referred to as your record side, or program monitor.

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It also contains functions that are related to three-point-editing, which will be discussed later.

The canvas window and the timeline window are linked together. Closing the canvas window will also close the timeline window.

If you accidentally close the canvas window, navigate to the browser window, find the sequence you were working on, and double click on the sequence icon.

RENAMING A SEQUENCE

When a new project is created, a sequence will automatically be created in the browser window. By default, it will be named as 'Sequence 1'

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You should make a habit of giving your sequence a specific name immediately after creating a new project.
Sequences are stored in your browser window. A sequence contains your edited program. When you double click on a sequence icon, its contents will be displayed in the timeline window.

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