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Managing Media in File Cut Pro

Managing Media in Final Cut Pro can be a tricky process. When managing media it comes down to two primary issues. The first issue is the amount of storage required for digital video, and the second issue revolves around the physical number of files. It can be much easier to deal with one large file, than thousands of small files.

If you are using DV video, it uses a fixed compression rate of 5:1. If you do the math, 5 minutes of DV video equals approximately 1 gigabyte of storage.

For HDV, it is trickier to figure out the exact data rate. This is because HDV uses a mpg compression scheme. What's amazing, is that even though HDV has over 4 times the quality of DV it can actually take up less storage than DV. It depends on how much movement and detail is within each frame. A static video image will use up much less storage than a moving image.

The cost of hard drive storage has come down in price dramatically the last few years. We now talk in terms of terabytes. Since storage is so affordable, I recommend recording your clip using the Capture Now feature within Final Cut Pro. Recording one long clip is a good way of saving the playback heads on your deck or camera. It also makes media management much easier.

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If you're capturing HDV footage, Final Cut Pro will automatically sub-divide the footage for you based on the each scene that you’ve recorded to tape. It uses special meta-data that records the date and time to determine where each clip starts and stops.

If you’re capturing HDV footage, Final Cut Pro will automatically sub-divide the footage for you based on the each scene that you've recorded to tape. It uses special meta-data that records the date and time to determine where each clip starts and stops. I therefore, recommend that you give your clip a name, before you begin the capture process. In this example, if you had a clip named 'Hawks Cay', Final Cut Pro would create a new clip and associated media for every scene change.

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If you're capturing DV footage, you will need to do this manually. Assuming you've captured a long DV clip. To do this, highlight the long clip within the Browser window and navigate to the Mark menu and select DV-Start Stop Detect.

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This will sub-divide your long master clip into markers that are based on the clips meta-data.

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Next, you need convert those markers into sub-clips. Highlight all the markers within the Browser menu, and use the keyboard shortcut (Apple Command + U) to create sub-clips from them.

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Creating subclips from a long master clip can be a blessing in disguise. This is because you can rename your subclips and they will always point back to one original master clip. Furthermore, you will only need to manage one QuickTime movie file that is located on your hard drive. This makes managing your media fairly easy. If you can afford the storage, you could have one large QuickTime movie for each DV tape. A 45 minute DV clip would only take up about 9 gigs of storage.

You do have the option to tell Final Cut Pro to disregard the media that you are not using. You can select clips that you want to keep and delete the media that you do not need. Keep in mind, you will end up with a new set of mediafiles on your hardrive that match the clips that you decide to keep.

Here is how it works:

There are 5 choices under the pull down menu that tell the 'Media Manager' what to do.

Copy - is the safest option, because it allows you to make sure everything worked correctly before you go and erase your original media.

You will want to make sure 'Delete unused media from selected clip' is selected so the media manager will discard the unused media. The media manager will show you a graph on how much space you will save.

media-manager.gif

When you press the 'okay' button, Final Cut Pro will warn you that you have some items that have not been selected. In this case, if you add those items to your selection, nothing will be processed. Final Cut Pro will also notify you that this process will be permanent. Therefore, I suggest you practice these techniques before trying this on a real job.

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After you press the 'continue button' Final Cut Pro will begin processing your files. In this example, since we have selected 4 clips, we should end up with 4 media files, and then rest of the media will be erased.

However, if you select clips that are next to each other in terms of their time-code, Final Cut Pro will create one clip instead of two separate clips. Therefore, in this example, Segment 1 and Segment 2 will be merged together.

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If possible, I suggest that you media manage everything before you begin editing. I realize this may not always be the case, but it will save you from a bunch of headaches later in the editing process.

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Final Cut Pro and Avid Tutorials was the previous entry in this blog.

Final Cut Express vs Final Cut Pro is the next entry in this blog.

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