DM Lab: Introduction to Final Cut Pro

mostly adapted from this site by David Han, Fall 2010 (updated Fall 2011)


Overview

Final Cut Pro (FCP) is "a professional non-linear editing software application developed" (www.wikipedia.com) by Apple. It "allows users to log and capture video onto a hard drive (internal or external), where it can be edited, processed, and output to a wide variety of formats." (www.wikipedia.com) FCP is a Mac-only application.

FCP is a popular, non-linear, non-destructive video editor used by both amateurs and professionals. It edits in any "QuickTime compatible video format including DV, HDV, P2 MXF (DVCProHD), XDCAM, and 2K film formats. It supports a number of simultaneously composited video tracks (limited mainly by video format and hardware capability); up to 99 audio tracks; multi-camera editing for combining video from multiple camera sources; as well as standard ripple, roll, slip, slide, scrub, razor blade and time remapping edit functions. It comes with a range of video transitions and a range of video and audio filters such as keying tools, mattes and vocal de-poppers and de-essers. It also has a manual 3-way color correction filter, videoscopes and a selection of generators, such as slugs, test cards and noise." (www.wikipedia.com)

FCP Settings

Since FCP can edit in many different formats and can be used in different ways by different users, the first thing you should do upon starting FCP is change your System settings.

Scratch Disk Settings

The Scratch Disk refers to the location that Final Cut will save the ingested media that is used when editing a project. It is always important to set your scratch disk before you begin editing or importing media on a project, otherwise you maybe importing media to an undesired or incorrect location on your computer.

Always set your scratch disks first

You need to configure Final Cut Pro so it will find the drive and the project folder where you will be capturing your video clips and creating your Final Cut Pro movie. The drive and project folder are called your "scratch disk." In the DM lab, you may receive a warning prompting you to set your scratch disk when you open Final Cut Pro for the first time.

  1. Start Final Cut Pro. (If you get a dialogue box that gives you a warning about being "unable to locate the following external device" just click on Continue.)
  2. One or both of the following windows may pop up when you launch Final Cut Pro. If the "Non-Writable Scratch Disks" window appears, click on "Reset Scratch Disks" and procede to step 4. (Click OK if another warning window appears.)

  3. In the menu at the top click on Final Cut Pro > System Settings
  4. Then select the tab for: Scratch Disk Settings
  5. Near the top of the screen that appears you'll see a series of checked boxes for Video Capture, Audio Capture, Video Render and Audio Render.

    These should be checked so you can set all of them to the scratch disk drive and folder for your project (so when you capture your video and audio it will be stored in the right folder, and when you do rendering of your movie it also will be stored in the right folder).
  6. To the right of those click on the button labeled Set and navigate to your Home folder in the left sidebar of the Finder window. (The home folder is always indicated by the house icon). Find and open your Documents folder inside your Home folder and create a folder called fcp scratch. (To create a new folder, click on the New Folder button at the bottom left corner of the Finder window.
  7. You should now be back at the Scratch Disk Settings screen. This time look further down on the screen for the other three buttons labeled Set:
    Waveform Cache Set
    Thumbnail Cache Set
    Autosave Vault Set

    These are three other FCP settings, each of which also should be set to the same scratch disk as the first one.

    It is especially important that you set the Autosave Vault Set button to the same scratch disk, as this is where FCP will periodically save copies of whatever you're working on so you don't lose your work if the computer crashes. You want to be sure that these automatically saved files are being saved to your scratch disk drive and folder.

    Make sure all three Set buttons have been set, and follow the same directions as above to use Choose a Folder to set each of these to the same scratch disk.
  8. When you're done and back at the Scratch Disk Settings Screen, leave the default settings for the other options, such as Minimum Allowable Free Space on Scratch Disks, Limit Capture...Size and Limit Capture Now.
  9. Now click on the button at the bottom labeled OK.

Now start a new project in FCP by clicking on File > New and click on Save Project As... Give your project file a name and then navigate through the directory tree to the same folder you used in the Scratch Disk Settings instructions above. Save the FCP project file in that folder.

Once you've completed these steps, they should be stored as your preference settings for FCP for the next time you use the application.

Audio/Video Settings

FCP edits a wide variety of video formats, from video formats used by professionals in the film and television industry, to video formats used by the camcorder you might have at home or the mobile phone that's in your pocket. It is important that you set your audio/video settings before you begin to work on your project, otherwise, you may waste needless amounts of time rendering from one format to another.

Always set your audio/video settings after setting your scratch disks

You need to configure FCP so it works in a video format appropriate for your project. For Assignment 3, you will be working in the standard definition, NTSC digital video format.

Note: If another user has been working in the lab using a different video format, their settings may be applied to your project if you do not explicitly alter the audio/video settings by following the steps below.

  1. In the menu at the top click on Final Cut Pro > Easy Setup
  2. Then select DV-NTSC from the Use: drop down menu. Then click Setup
  3. It's likely that there's already a sequence that has been created for you. If so, right-click on the sequence name (Sequence 1) in the Browser and select Settings... from the context menu. (If a sequence hasn't already been created, then go to the menu at the top and click on File > New > Sequence)

    In the Sequence Settings window, click on the Load Sequence Preset... button.

    In the Select Sequence Preset window, select DV NTSC 48 kHz from the drop down menu and click OK.

    This will take you back to the Sequence Settings window. At this point, you can give your sequence a meaningful name in the Name: field. Once you have given your sequence a name, click OK.

You're now ready to start editing!

Getting Video Into FCP

As mentioned earlier, you can import any number of video formats into FCP to work with them. However, we just set our sequence settings to DV-NTSC, meaning that video that is not in that format will need to be rendered in the DV-NTSC format before you can view it. Rendering can be incredibly time-consuming and frustrating, so to avoid this process, we recommend that you transcode all of your files in the DV NTSC format BEFORE you begin editing.

Transcoding Video

Transcoding simply means to transform or change a video file from one format to another. If you are taking video from an online source such as YouTube or Vimeo, you'll discover that these files will likely be in a different format. Video taken from YouTube, for example, is encoded in the Flash Video format (denoted by the .flv file extension). In order to work with a video downloaded from YouTube in FCP using the DV NTSC format, the video must be transcoded in the DV NTSC codec to avoid the hassle of rendering.

We recommend using an application named MPEG Streamclip (installed on all the computers in the DM lab) to transcode online video formats into the DV NTSC codec. In order to use MPEG Streamclip, follow these instructions:

  1. Launch MPEG Streamclip from the Applications folder.
  2. Click and drag your video file into the main MPEG Streamclip window. You can scrub through the loaded video by clicking and dragging the playback pointer. If you only want to export a part of the video, scrub to your beginning of the clip you want to export and click on Edit > Select In (keyboard shortcut: 'i'). That will set your in point, which will be reflected by the 'in' time at the bottom of the main window. Then find the point at which you want your clip to end and click on Edit > Select Out (keyboard shortcut: 'o'). That will set your out point (reflected by the 'out' time).
  3. To export a DV NTSC encoded file from MPEG Streamclip, click on File > Export to DV... In the MPEG Streamclip - DV Exporter window, use the following settings:

  4. Once you've entered the appropriate settings in the DV Exporter window, click on Make DV. In the Create New DV File window, make sure you give your file a name and save it to the Capture Scratch folder within your project folder you created in the FCP Scratch folder on the boot drive. If you can't see the folder view, click on the small arrow to the right of the Save As: field.

Importing Your Clips

Now that you've transcoded your clips into an editable video format agreeable to FCP, all that's left to do before you can begin editing is to import them into your project.

To import your video files, simply right-click inside the Browser window and click on Import > Files.

In the Choose a File window, navigate to the Capture Scratch folder in your project folder and click on the file you wish to import. If you wish to import multiple files at once, hold down Shift and click on more than one video file.

Parts of FCP (Browser and Viewer)

The FCP screen is divided into four main areas - Browser, Viewer, Canvas and Timeline.

Parts of the Final Cut window

There's also a floating Tool Palette with various tools you'll select to use in editing (positioned on the right bottom by default).

Note: to make sure you're displaying all the main sections of the FCP screen, click in the menu at the top on: Window > Arrange > Standard

The Browser

Browser window in Final Cut

The upper left of the screen is your Browser, which is like a file cabinet for your project within which you put your media files - audio, video, still pictures, etc.

You can create folders - which are called bins - within each project in the Browser to organize your media files.

To see what's in a folder, just click on the tiny triangle to the left of its name.

The files can be individual files, such as individual clips, or sequences, which are the sequences of clips you will create in the FCP Timeline.

You can get more details on the files in your Browser by dragging the lower right corner of the Browser window further to the right. The new columns will tell you which files are video, which are audio, which are both video and audio, how many tracks of audio there are, the duration of each clip, etc.

The Viewer

The viewer in Final Cut

Below is a closeup of the viewer.

Just to the right of the Browser is the Viewer, where you can display and play individual video clips you select in the Browser.

So if you double click on a video clip in the Browser directory, it will be displayed in the Viewer.

Just below the clip in the Viewer is the playhead, a small yellow triangle in the white horizontal box that you can click on and drag to the left or right to move or scrub through the clip.

Beneath the playhead is a Play/Stop button you can use to play or move through a clip.

You also can play a clip in the Viewer by pressing the spacebar on your computer. To stop playing the clip, just press the spacebar again.

To the right of the Play/Stop button is a jog control you can use to move very slowly or very quickly through a clip.

Click on the control and drag your mouse slowly to the right to move through a clip frame by frame. Click on the control and drag your mouse quickly to the right to move rapidly through a clip. If you click and drag to the left, it similarly will allow you to move backward through a clip either slowly or rapidly.

To the left of the Play/Stop button is a shuttle control you can use to vary the playback speed of your clip.

Click on and drag the control to the points just to the right of center to make a clip play very slowly. Click on and drag the control to points further to the right to play the clip at faster than normal speed. If you click on and drag the control to the left of center, it similarly will allow you to vary the speed of a clip playing in reverse.

Above the clip are time duration and time code boxes. The box on the left shows the duration of the clip currently displayed in the Viewer. The box on the right displays the time code - the time stamp showing where the current frame of the displayed clip exists on the mini-DV tape from which it was captured.

There also are tabs at the top of the Viewer that will change depending on the type of media you've selected in the Browser. Thus if you select an audio clip, or a video clip that has audio in it, you'll see an audio tab at the top of the Viewer.

You click on a clip in the Viewer, hold down your mouse and drag and drop the clip into the Timeline below to begin putting together a movie.

Later, when you're doing more editing ofyour clips on the Timeline, you can double-click on a clip there and it again will be displayed in the Viewer.

Parts of FCP (Timeline and Canvas)

Below the Browser and Viewer is the Timeline, where you assemble your video and audio clips into a sequence to create a movie.

On the upper far right is the Canvas, which will play whatever sequence of clips is in your Timeline.

The Timeline

The timeline in Final Cut

Below is a closeup of the timeline with some sample media.

You can click on and drag video and audio clips from the Viewer (or the Browser) into the Timeline.

The Timeline displays video tracks in blue and audio tracks in green. You can have up to 99 tracks of each stacked on top of one another.

Thus if you drag a video clip that also has two audio tracks from the Viewer into the Timeline, it will be displayed in the Timeline as a single blue horizontal video track, with two separate green horizontal audio tracks underneath.

If you then drag another clip down from the viewer you could drop it onto the timeline to the right of the first clip, so it would play after that first clip in your sequence.

You can continue this process to create a sequence of clips along your Timeline.

Just above the top video track in the Timeline is the playhead, a tiny yellow triangle you can click on and drag to the left or right to move or "scrub" through your sequence of clips.

To see the entire sequence of clips, on your keyboard press shift Z. FCP then will try to squash all the clips in your sequence together into a single screen view on the Timeline.

To the far left of each track are buttons that can be selected to turn off each individual track. Thus if you had a video track with audio, but wanted to substitute different audio to accompany the video, you could use the button to turn off the existing audio track. Then you could drag a new audio clip to a different green audio track in the Timeline to play instead of the original audio.

Also to the left of each track are buttons with tiny lock icons that can be selected to lock a track. This means you will not be able to edit or change it accidentally. Cliick on the icon again to unlock the track.

Linking and Snapping Clips

To the far right of the Timeline and above the top video track is a small light green button you can use to link or unlink video and audio tracks from each other (if you pass your mouse cursor over the button the words Linked Selection will appear).

If you want to unlink the tracks, in the Timeline select the tracks you want unlinked, and then click on the unlink button (which then will turn gray in color). This will allow you to separate the audio from the video, and then move them to different places in the timeline or delete one or the other.

Also the far right next to the link button is another small light green button that sets your playhead and clips to snap into place on the Timeline (if pass your mouse cursor over the button the word Snapping will appear).

With snapping on, your playhead will snap to the nearest marker point on the Timeline when you release the playhead. Thus if you release your playhead near the beginning of a clip on the Timeline, it will snap back to the beginning of the clip. If your playhead is near the end of the clip and you release it, it will snap to the end of the clip.

With snapping on, your clips also will snap together when you place them next to each other on the Timeline, so there's no empty space between them.

When snapping is similarly activated on an audio track, the playhead will snap to the nearest beat and the audio tracks will snap together.

You also can set markers within a clip so the playhead snaps to those points within a clip.

To turn snapping off, select a clip and click on the snaping button on the right (which then will turn gray in color). You then can place clips near to each other on your Timeline, but keep empty space between them.

The Canvas

The screen in the upper right is the Canvas, which will display whatever clip or frame is selected in the Timeline below. It also will play a clip in the Timeline, or an entire sequence of clips in the Timeline.

Just below the clip in the Canvas is the playhead, a small yellow triangle in the white horizontal box that you can click on and drag to the left or right to move or scrub through a clip in the Timeline.

Beneath the playhead is the Play/Stop button that you can use to play or move through a clip or through a sequence of clips.

You also can play a clip or sequence of clips in the Canvas by selecting them in the Timeline and pressing the spacebar on your computer. To stop playing the clip, just press the spacebar again.

To the left of the Play/Stop button in the Canvas is a jog control that you can use to move very slowly or very quickly through a clip.

Click on the control and drag your mouse slowly to the right to move through a clip frame by frame. Click on the control and drag your mouse quickly to the right to move rapidly through a clip. If you click and drag to the left, it similarly will allow you to move backward through a clip either slowly or rapidly.

To the right of the Play/Stop button in the Canvas is a shuttle control that you can use to vary the playback speed of your clip.

Click on and drag the control to the points just to the right of center to make a clip play very slowly. Click on and drag the control to points further to the right to play the clip at faster than normal speed. If you click on and drag the control to the left of center, it similarly will allow you to vary the speed of a clip playing in reverse.

Above the clip in the Canvas are time duration and time code boxes. The one on the left shows the duration of the sequence of clips in your Timeline. The one on the right displays the time code for the sequence at the point where your playhead is placed - in other words how many minutes, seconds and frames you are into your sequence at the point of the playhead.

If you would like to rearrange the Canvas or Timeline windows, click in the menu at the top on: Window > Arrange

Or to make sure you're displaying all the main sections of the FCP screen, click in the menu at the top on: Window > Arrange > Standard

Undoing Changes

Before we start describing how to edit clips, you should know how to undo any editing changes you make that aren't what you intended or that you change your mind about.

To undo any change either click on Edit > Undo in the FCP menu or press the Command (Apple) and Z keys on the keyboard simultaneously.

Editing in the Viewer with In and Out Points

You can edit clips in the Viewer so you don't have to load your entire clip into the Timeline when you want to create your movie.

You can choose a smaller selection to add by double clicking on the clip in the Browser so it displays in the Viewer. Then start playing the clip.

Press the I Key (for IN) at the desired point where you want your clip to start playing. Then hit the O Key (for OUT) at the point you want your clip to end. You will see arrows appear in the window at the points you pressed the I and O keys.

These points can be moved later by clicking and dragging on the arrows.

When you have the clip set with in and out points you want, you can click on the clip in the Viewer and drag the clip into the Timeline. Only the portion of the clip where you set your in and out points will be placed in the Timeline.

Moving Clips to the Timeline

You can move a clip into the Timeline by double clicking on it in the Browser, which then will display the clip in the Viewer window to the right.

Then click on the clip in the Viewer and drag it down into the Timeline below. If it's an audio-only clip, you need to click on the tiny hand in the upper right of the Viewer above the waveform, and then hold down your mouse button and drag the audio clip down into the Timeline.

If the clip is just video, it will be displayed in the Timeline as just a green segment in the upper video track area.

If the clip is video with one or more audio tracks, it will be displayed in the Timeline as a green segment for the video, with the audio tracks displayed underneath as blue segments.

If the clip is just audio, it will be displayed in the Timeline as just a blue segment in the lower audio track area.

If you want to add a second clip at the end of the first one on the same track, double click on the second clip in the Browser, which will display the clip in the Viewer window to the right. Click on the clip in the Viewer and drag it down into the track on the Timeline to an area to the right of the existing clip.

Destination Tracks

If you want to add clips to different tracks in the Timeline, a good way to ensure you place them on the correct track (and don't accidentally overwrite an existing clip in the Timeline) is to select a destination track in the Timeline.

To do that, first double click in the Browser on the video clip you want to place on a new track, so the clip is displayed in the Viewer to the right.

Now look on the far left of the Timeline below at the second column in from the left. There you'll see gray buttons labeled V1 (for the video clip you've selected) and possibly A1 and A2 (the A1 and A2 buttons will appear if the video clip you've selected has audio attached to it).

Drag the V1 button to the new Timeline track where you want to insert the video clip (and drag the A1 and A2 buttons to new audio tracks if there's audio with our video clip).

Now drag the playhead in the Timeline to the point where you want the new clip to begin.

Then click on the clip in the Viewer and drag it to the right to the Canvas and release it (see also the section on Insert vs. Overwrite Edits). The clip (and any attendant audio tracks) will be inserted onto the new track in the Timeline and at the point you specified with the playhead.

Adding Additional Video or Audio Tracks

If you need more tracks to move additional audio or video clips in the Timeline, in the Final Cut Pro Menu click on: Sequence > Insert Tracks

Then type into the boxes the number of additional audio or video tracks you want.

Working with Multiple Tracks of Video and Audio

If you have multiple tracks of video and audio:

If you want to stop the video from playing on the top track you can:

If you want to stop the audio from playing on a particular audio track you can either:

Insert and Overwrite Edits

Once you have some clips in your Timeline and you want to add more video clips or additional audio tracks to the tracks for your existing clips, there are two basic ways to do this.

In both cases you begin by clicking on the Playhead in the Timeline and positioning it at the point where you want to place the new clip.

Then there are several ways you can do an insert or overwrite edit of a new clip.

The easiest way is to click on the clip in the Viewer that you want to add to the Timeline, and hold down your mouse button. You'll see a small version of the clip appear where you've selected it.

Now drag the clip down to the track on the Timeline where you want to place the clip, and position it at the point where you positioned the Playhead.

If you see a downward pointing arrow appear, that means the clip will overwrite or replace the existing clip (that is, a portion of the existing clip will be overwritten by the new clip). Release your mouse button to do the overwrite.

If you see an arrow pointing to the right, that means the clip will be inserted into the track and then push the segments of the existing clip to the right and left (thus preserving all of the existing clip). Release your mouse button to do the insert.

The same principles apply if you're adding an audio track from the Viewer to the Timeline.

Note: Even if you're adding the new clip to an empty track above some existing video in the Timeline, you still have the option of doing an insert or overwrite edit.

If you see a downward pointing arrow, then the new clip will appear on a new track on top of the existing clip below, which means that when you play the video, the clip on top will be displayed, while the clip underneath will not play.

If you see an arrow pointing to the right, then the new clip will appear on a new track on top of the existing clip below, and the existing clip will be split in two and its segments moved to the right and left to make room for the new clip above.

Other Ways to do Insert and Overwrite Edits

Another way to do insert or overwrite edits is to first position the playhead at the point in the Timeline where you want to place a clip, and then select in the Viewer the new clip you want to place in the Timeline and drag it over to the Canvas area to the right. When you do this, you'll see several colored editing option boxes pop up on the Canvase screen, including Insert Edit and Overwrite Edit. Dropping the clip in one of these highlighted areas will then place the clip into the Timeline at the point where you've set the playhead, either inserting it between or within existing clips (if you drop the clip on the Insert Edit box) or overwriting a portion of the existing clips (if you drop the clip on the Overwrite Edit box).

As an alternative, you can again position the playhead at the point in the Timeline where you want to place a clip, then select in the Browser or Viewer the new clip you want to move into the Timeline and click on one of the small yellow or red colored icons that look like envelopes on the lower left of the Canvas screen. Click on the yellow icon to do an Insert Edit, or click on the red icon to do an Overwrite Edit.

As a third alternative, you can again position the playhead at the point in the Timeline where you want to place a clip, then select in the Browser or Viewer the new clip you want to move into the Timeline and press the F9 key on your keyboard to do an Insert Edit or press the F10 key to do an Overwrite Edit.

Note: If you choose one of these latter three alternate ways of doing an insert or overwrite edit, then you should be sure first to identify the destination tracks in the Timeline where you want the new clip to be placed.

Editing Clips in the Timeline with In and Out Points

You can edit clips in the Timeline to create a precise segment into which you can insert another clip - a process called three-point editing.

To do so, click on the clip in the Timeline so it also displays in the Canvas, then start scrubbing through the clip.

Press the I Key (for IN) at the desired point where you want an inserted clip to begin. Then press the O Key (for OUT) at the point you want the inserted clip to end. You will see arrows appear in the window at the points you pressed the I and O keys.

These points can be moved by clicking and dragging on the arrows, either in the Canvas or in the Timeline.

When you then drag a new clip from the Viewer into the Timeline and do an Overwrite Edit on the existing clip that has the set in and out points, the beginning of the new clip will be inserted at the in point of the existing clip, and the new clip will be cropped so it ends at the out point of the existing clip in the Timeline.

Splitting or Deleting Portions of a Clip with the Razor Blade Tool

If you want to split a video or audio clip in two or remove a segment of a clip (such as eliminating a sound gap in your audio), you can use the Razor Blade Tool to slice out the segment of the track.

It's called a razor blade because in the traditional film editing process a tape was literally sliced with a razor blade to remove unwanted pieces of the film or rearrange segments of a film.

To do these cuts in FCP, in the Tool Palette click on the Razor Blade tool, which is an icon that looks like a little razor blade (or press the B Key for "blade" on your keyhboard). Your cursor will change to a small razor icon.

If you hold down your mouse button when you click on the razor blade icon you'll be able to choose between cutting a single track or multiple tracks.

If you select single track you can just slice a single track of video at a particular point in your Timeline, while leaving accompanying tracts such as audio untouched. If you select multiple tracks the cut will apply to all the tracks in your sequence at that point in the Timeline.

With the razor blade tool selected you apply the cut by clicking on a clip at the point in the Timeline where you want to make the cut. That will split the clip in two.

If you click at another point in the clip and make a second cut, you create a segment of a clip between the two cuts that you then can remove.

You now need to decide whether you want to create a gap where you're about to remove the cut segment, or if you want the remaining segments of the clip on either side of the cut piece to slide together, with no gap between them.

If you want to leave a gap, just click on the section of the clip between your two razor cuts and press the delete key. A gray area will appear on the Timeline in place of the deleted piece of the clip.

If you don't want to leave a gap and instead want the clips on either side of the cut portion to snap together, click on the section of the clip between your two razor cuts and press the shift/delete keys. The remaining segments of the clip to the left and right of the deleted piece should now slide together. Your clips should butt up against each other in the Timeline.

If you change your mind about wanting a gap between the clip segments, you can move clips separated by a gap together using the Toolbar Palette.

In the Toolbar click on the icon that looks like an arrow. Hold down your mouse button and you'll see different options for moving clips.

For example, if you select track tool...all tracks forward, you then can click on the clip just to the right of the gap and drag it to the left until the gap is closed.

This will also drag with it clips in the rest of your tracks, such as audio tracks associated with the video clip you're dragging to the left. This way the audio and video in accompanying tracks won't wind up out of sequence.

And the track tool...all tracks forward option also will drag any clip segments further to the right on your Timeline to the left as well. Thus no gaps will be created elsewhere in the Timeline when you drag your clips to the left.

Note: Instead of deleting a segment of a clip that you created with the razor blade tool, you can instead save the segment for possible use elsewhere in the Timeline for your project.

To do this, select the unwanted segment of the clip, but instead of pressing the delete key, click on the segment with your mouse and drag it to the Browser in the upper right. It will be stored there with the rest of your clips for future use (you should rename it, so you can distinguish it from the original, full clip that's also listed in the Browser).

Adjusting the Audio Level of a Clip

Audio tracks, either those associated with your video or tracks that are just audio, are displayed as blue areas at the bottom of your Timeline.

If you want to stop the audio from playing on a particular audio track you can turn off the audio for a particular track in the Timeline by selecting the green hide or mute button to the far left. The audio then will not play as part of your sequence of clips.

You also can adjust the overall audio level for a track, making it louder or softer.

First click on the small icon that looks like a mountain on the lower left of the Timeline. This will display a horizontal purple audio level line in the middle of on your audio track.

Click on the purple audio level line and drag it down to lower the overall audio level or up to increase the audio level. 

You also can display the audio waveform - a visual representation of the audio that shows when the audio peaks.

To do this, double click on the audio track in the Timeline, which will open up the audio clip in an audio editing box in the Viewer above.

In the Viewer you also can click on the horizontal purple audio level line in the middle of your audio track and drag it up or down to change the audio level (you'll see the level simultaneously change in the audio clip in the Timeline).

Creating Multiple Audio Levels

To raise or lower the audio at multiple points in a track and create fades and crecendos in your audio, you should create keyframes in your audio clip using the Pen Tool.

First click on the small icon that looks like a mountain on the lower left of the Timeline. This will display the horizontal purple audio level line in the middle of your audio track and allow you to set multiple points or keyframes to adjust the audio level up or down.

Next activate the Pen Tool by clicking on the icon that looks like the tip of a pen on the Tool Palette (or press the P key on your keyboard). Your cursor will change to a pen-like icon when you move it over the horizontal purple audio level line in the Timeline.

With the Pen Tool, you create keyframes by clicking on the red horizontal audio level line at the points where you want the audio to change.

Then as you move the Pen Tool over a keyframe it will change to a cross. Click, hold down your mouse button and drag the keyframe point higher to increase the audio, or drag it lower to decrease the audio at that point.

Notice that the red line will slope up or down to the other keyframes you've created with your Pen Tool, so the audio will fade in or out between the keyframes.

You also can drag a keyframe to the left or right by clicking on it with the Pen Tool.

To delete a keyframe, click on it and press the Control Key. In the pop-up box that appears, select clear.

For more precise audio editing, you can display the audio waveform - a visual representation of the audio that shows when the audio peaks.

To do this, double click on the audio track in the Timeline, which will open up the audio clip in an audio editing box in the Viewer above.

You can use the Pen Tool in the same way in the Viewer to set keyframes and drag them up or down or to the left or right to adjust the audio levels (you'll see the levels simultaneously change in the audio clip in the Timeline).

Using the Pen Tool to Fade Video In or Out

You also can use the Pen tool to create similar fades in a video clip. Thus if you have two video clips stacked on top of each other in the Timeline, you can have the top clip fade out to reveal the video clip underneath.

To do this double click on a video clip in the Timeline so it appears in the Viewer.

Then click on the small icon that looks like a mountain on the lower left of the Timeline.

You'll see a black horizontal line appear at the top of the video clip in the Timeline.

Select the Pen tool as described above, click on the black overlay line to create keyframes in the video clip, and then drag a keyframe down to make the clip less opaque - fading out to display any clip underneath.

Transitions

Before you add a transition between clips, such as a dissolve to make your first clip gradually dissolve into the second, you need to make sure you have enough extra material or "handles" on your clips so Final Cut Pro has excess video to work with when it applies the transition.

For example, let's say you selected two clips in the Browser and then, without editing them (such as creating In or Out points), dragged them to the Timeline and put them next to each other on the same track.

If you then tried to apply a transition between the two clips, FCP would reject it. That's because there's no extra video to use for the transition, in which a portion of one clip overlaps with part of the other clip.

The only way FCP could apply the transition to these two unedited clips would be to try to somehow move them on the Timeline so they overlapped. But that would shorten the movie and disrupt the timing of audio on any adjacent track.

There's just no room for a transition to be applied to unedited clips.

This means you need to make sure before you add a transition that the first clip has enough extra, unused material at its end, and the second clip has enough extra, unused material at its beginning so FCP can apply the transition.

Thus if you want a one-second transition between two clips, you should have half a second or more of unused material at the end of the first clip, and another half second or more of unused material at the beginning of the second clip.

Adding the Handles for Transitions

If you know you want to apply a transition between two clips, you should add In and Out points to the clips in the Viewer before dragging the clips to the Timeline. Use the In and Out points to create enough extra, unused video for the duration of the transition you want to apply.

If your clips are already in Timeline and FCP is rejecting a transition between them, you'll need to double click on the first clip in the Timeline to display it in the Viewer. Then check to see if there's an Out point near the end of the clip and enough excess material after the Out point to accommodate half the transition. If not, then you'll need to drag the Out point to the left until the unused portion of the clip is long enough to accommodate half of the transition you're going to apply.

Repeat this procedure with the second clip in the Timeline. Double click on it to display it in the Viewer. Then check to see if there's an In point near the beginning of the clip and enough excess material before the In point to accommodate half the transition. If not, then you'll need to drag the In point to the right until the unused portion of the clip is long enough to accommodate half of the transition you're going to apply.

After you've edited the clips, you'll need to drag the now shortened clips back next to each other in the Timeline (editing the clips with the In and Out points in the Viewer, shortens them and creates a gap between the two clips in the Timeline).

Now you'll be able to apply your transition to the clips, because you've marked out enough excess video in your clips to be used in the transition.

Note: if you're editing clips that are in the Timeline, be sure to have linking and snapping turned on, so any audio associated with the clips remains in synch with the video and so the clips will snap together when you move them.

Addng Transitions Between Clips

To add a transition, such as a dissolve so the first clip gradually dissolves into the second, first click on the vertical line between two clips in the Timeline.

You should see a brown area, like a thick I appear between the clips.

Now select a transition in the Final Cut Pro menu at the top by clicking on: Effects > Video Transitions

Then click on a subfolder such as Dissolves. Finally click on the file for the transition you want to apply.

Or you can select a transition by going to the Browser window in the upper left of your screen and clicking on the Effects tab. Then click on the Video Transitions folder, and within that select a subfolder, such as Dissolves. Finally click on the file for the transition you want to apply.

For example, you might select the file for the Cross Dissolve, which is a common type of transition between clips, where the first clip will start to dissolve as the second clip begins to appear in the transition.

When you've clicked on the desired transition file, just hold down your mouse button and drag the file down from the Browser to the point between your clips in the Timeline and release your mouse button.

You should see the transition appear as a grayish area between the two clips in your Timeline.

You should see a green line appear just above the transition on the Timeline, which means the transition has been applied and you can view it by playing the clip.

(If there's a red line above the transition instead of a green line, that means you'll need to render the transition before you can play and view it.)

If you then move your playhead to a point on the Timeline prior to the transition and play the clip (you can press the Space key on your keyboard to play the sequence of clips, and press the space key again to stop playing the sequence of clips), you should see the transition between the two clips displayed in the Canvas above and to the right.

You also can make changes in your transition by double clicking on the transition in the Timeline.

For example, you can change the duration of the dissolve - that is how long the dissolve will last.

To do that double click on the transition. In the box that appears in the Viewer area at the top of your screen, just type a new number into the time box, which usually is set at a 1 second duration by default.

You can set a transition either in number of seconds or in number of frames or a combination of both.

If you don't like the transition you've created, you can click on it and press the delete key to remove it.

Or you can replace it with a different transition by clicking in the Browser window on the Effects tab. Then click on the Video Transitions folder and select a subfolder and file for another transition.

Now just hold down your mouse button and drag the transition file from the Browser down over the unwanted transition between your clips and release your mouse button. The new transition will replace the old transition.

Rendering Transitions

When you add a transition between clips, it still needs to be "rendered," or processed by the computer to permanently add it to your sequence of clips.

Sometimes when you add a transition, you'll see a green line above the transition, which means you can view the transition, but it still needs to be rendered.

Other times when you add a transition, you'll see a red line above the transition, which means you can't view the transition until it is rendered.

To render a transition, in the Final Cut Pro menu at the top click on: Sequence...Render Sequence

(which will render all the transitions you've added to your sequence)

Final Cut then will process your transition and permanently apply it to your sequence. The time it takes to render depends on how sophisticated your transition is. More advanced transitions could take up to a minute to render.

When the rendering is completed, the red or green line should be gone from above your transition.

Adding Titles and Text to Clips

You can add a title or some text to a clip, such as the name of a person who appears in the clip.

To do this, double click on a clip in the Timeline to display it in the Viewer at the top. Then at the bottom of the Viewer click on the button with a large A on it, which is the text button.

Hold down your mouse button and in the drop-down menu select: Text > Text

Then release your mouse button.

In the Viewer area will appear a screen with sample text in it.

To change the sample text, click on the tab entry at the top labeled: Controls

A box will appear on your screen in the Viewer area.

You change the text of the title by just typing new words into the box.

Below the box are selections for:

You also can add a drop shadow to the title by selecting the Motion tab and checking the box for Drop Shadow.

Finally, you can change the duration of the text (how long it will appear on your clip) by selecting the Video tab and then changing the time in the box at the top left.

Now to place the text on your Timeline, click on the Video tab.

Then move your playhead on the Timeline to the point in a clip where you want your text to begin.

Now click in the Viewer on the text you created, hold down your mouse button, drag it down onto the Timeline just above the clip and at the point of the playhead, and release it. The text will be placed on a new track above your clip.

You should see a green line appear just above the clip on the Timeline, which means the text has been applied and you can view it by playing the clip.

Move the playhead on the Timeline to a point prior to the clip and play the clip to see the text displayed.

(If there's a red line above the text instead of a green line, that means you'll need to render the text before you can play and view it.)

To make adjustments to your text, double click on it in the Timeline to display it in the Viewer, and then follow the steps above to make changes.

Positioning the Text

You also can change the position of the text - moving it anywhere you want on the screen - by creating a wireframe to drag the title to different points on the screen.

To do that, double click on the text you've created in the Timeline, to display it in the Viewer and in the Canvas.

in the Canvas area to the right, click on the the tiny box toward the top right that has a hole in it.

In the drop-down menu that appears, select: Image+Wireframe

A wireframe will appear over your title, with an image of the clip underneath. Click on the point in the middle where the lines intersect, and you can drag the title anywhere on the screen.

Note: You may want to activate the title safe guides, which indidcate a "safe" area on screen that guarantees that your titles will display on all monitors. To activate the title safe guides, click on the same drop down menu used to view the wireframe, and choose Show Title Safe

When you're done positioning the text, to place the new text on your Timeline, in the Viewer to the left make sure the Video tab is selected.

Then move your playhead on the Timeline to the point where you placed the beginning of your existing title.

Now in the Viewer above click on the new text you created, hold down your mouse button, and drag it down onto the Timeline to the point of the playhead and on the tack where your existing title is. Release your mouse button, and the new text will replace the old text on the Timeline.

Rendering Titles

When you add a title to a clip, it still needs to be "rendered," or processed by the computer to permanently add it to the clip.

Sometimes when you add a title, you'll see a green line above the clip, which means you can view the title, but it still needs to be rendered.

Other times when you add a title, you'll see a red line above the clip, which means you can't view the title until it is rendered.

To render a title, in the Final Cut Pro menu at the top click on: Sequence > Render Sequence

(which will render all the titles you've added to your sequence)

FCP then will process your title and permanently apply it to your clip. The time it takes to render depends on how sophisticated your title is. More advanced titles could take up to a minute to render.

When the rendering is completed, the red or green line should be gone from above the clip with your title.

Exporting Your Movie Sequence

Now that you've edited your video, it's time to export it for delivery on the web. In order to reduce the file size of your video, you will export the final video using a "finishing" or "delivery" codec. These codecs tend to use intraframe and interframe compression, meaning that they discard data which is then replicated using efficient compression algorithms. As a result, when using these codecs, the resulting encoded video is considered a "final" versions. If you want to make further changes, it's preferable to work with the original source video, rather than the compressed final version.

In order to export your final video, go to menu at the top and click on File > Export > Export Using Quicktime Compression... In the Savewindow that opens, give your video a name in the Save As: field and navigate to your project folder (in the FCP Scratch folder). Then click on Options.


In the Movie Settings window, click on Settings button.

In the Standard Video Compression Settings select H.264 from the Compression Type: drop down menu. Next, set your the Encoding: setting to Faster encode (Single-pass). Leave the rest of the settings at their default values and click OK.

Back in the Movie Settings window, click on Size button. In the Export Size Settings window, use the following settings:

Once you've set those settings, click OK. Back in the Movie Settings window, make sure Video and Sound settings are checked and click OK. Back in the Save window, click Save and after a few minutes, you're finished video will be ready to be uploaded onto the Internet.

Uploading Your Video

There are a number of online video communities you can join for free and use to share your video work. In the DM lab, we recommend using Vimeo to share video work. Go to Vimeo.com and sign up for a free account. Once you've logged in, click on the "Upload a video" link and follow the instructions to upload your video.

Other Final Cut Pro Resources