|last updated 21 Apr. 2002
|FCP 1.2.5 settings - PAL||
Basic settings for Apple's Final Cut Pro editing software
This is an old
page about those settings that make FCP work - or make you tear your hair when it doesn't.
These settings are for FCP version 1.2.5.
If you have FCP ver. 2 or ver 3.0 this page may not be of relevance
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|Basic settings, or, why doesn't my FCP work like it should ?
FCP (Final Cut Pro) was designed as
a general purpose editing software which could run with a variety of hardware or even with
an off-the-shelf Mac.
And, after capturing, before you start editing away with the shots you've captured, you need to create a sequence and make settings for that sequence. These settings need to be exactly the same as the video you've captured. Otherwise, you won't be able to play the edit. The shots themselves will play, but put them together, and nothing moves.
It needs to be said here that many if not most of these settings issues have been taken care of in version 2.0 of FCP.
|This settings thing in FCP is the most off-putting part of it and the single
factor why my mobile phone bills soar every time someone I know buys FCP.
And unfortunately FCP users need to be careful about settings at that point in time when they're newest to the software.
Thankfully, as you use FCP for a few weeks, you get used to the settings and it becomes second nature.
And then just when you think you've conquered FCP, setting up effects, and deleting media files gets you.
|The Mac itself
If you have a G4, a G4 cube, or a G4 PowerBook, then you've got the right Mac, and you can safely skip to the Mac OS section below.
If you don't have a G4, a G4 cube, or a G4 PowerBook, then here are some conditions...
PowerMac G3 beige -
PowerMac G3 (B & W) -
PowerBook G3 -
"Earlier" Macs -
|These "conditions" are not necessarily sacrosanct and some users have
used "lesser" Macs for FCP as well.
I'm planning to coax a 9500/132 to run FCP in a few weeks from now.
I've taken some of these "conditions" from Apple's web site.
These Mac requirements assume you are using or are planning on using FCP 1.2.1, or 1.2.5 or 2.0. FCP before 1.2.1 didn't work with PAL, so it won't do anyway. And since I'm from PAL-land, I'm not even talking about it.
|MacOS and system settings
MacOS needs to be ...
For FCP 1.2.1 MacOS 8.6 or later.
Better to use MacOS 9.0.4.
For FCP 1.2.5 MacOS 9.0.4 or later.
Better to use MacOS 9.1.
For FCP 2.0 MacOS 9.1 no more no
less. NOT MacOS X. Not yet.
For the new QuickSilver Mac G4 you must have MacOS 9.2.1
First, avoid loading unnecessary software in your FCP Mac.
Load QuickTime and FCP from the FCP CD and in the order.
Allocate 120MB to 150 MB to
|MacOS 8.6 or later means
MacOS 8.5, MacOS 8.0, etc won't do.
Wherever I've mentioned "International English" version of the MacOS, the French, German, or Japanese version will also do.
But if you happen to be using the French, German or Japanese MacOS, then you wouldn't be reading this page, right ?
Also, as on date, Mac OS X just
won't do for any FCP.
|QuickTime and Firewire
For FCP 1.2.1,
For FCP 1.2.5
For FCP 2.0
|QuickTime 5.0 "Public Preview" is a definite no-no. You might have
it lying around on a magazine CD.
Don't touch it.
Just get the latest QT 5.0.1 from Apple's web site.
Register your QuickTime to make it into QuickTime Pro. The reg. no. is on a sticker in the FCP box. QTPro gives you cool features like export to different formats, extract and delete tracks etc.
|The following sections are about settings in FCP 1.2.5. I began making it into
an interactive set of pages where you could see the actual setting screens and you could
click on a setting to see my description and recommendation.
But I figured, that to really use this interactivity, you'd need two computers. One to run FCP and the other to connect to the 'net and read all this stuff.
So I just ditched all that and wrote this long page. You can print it and use it while working on FCP. Low-tech all right, but it works.
|I haven't actually printed these pages to see how they look. So if they look ghastly, do let me know.|
Before you can edit in FCP you need to capture some stuff from your camcorder or deck. And it's not just plug and play. You need to make settings here, too.
There are two ways to get to these settings. One is in the Log and capture window. Click on the Capture button in the Preferences section to your right.
|Throughout the settings descriptions, where
I've mentioned stuff like
Edit > Preferences > Capture or words separated by the ">" sign, it means you need to go to the menu "Edit" select the option "Preferences" and then the option "Capture". These menu operations have been made green to differentiate then from normal text. So if you see green, go to the menu bar.
The greenies also indicate the exact words you should see in the windows.
|And the other is Edit > Preferences > Capture
Either way you get to the Capture settings section in the Preferences window.
Edit > Preferences > Capture
There is a
drop-down box at the top left that says "Offline Quality" or some other thing.
If you are working with DV footage taken from the FireWire input, don't bother with this
setting. With Analog cards like Targa, CineWave or some other, check with your manual.
Frame size - Select PAL DV (5:4) - Unless you're doing
There are some more settings here ...
On Dropped Frames : Abort Report
If you select Abort, capture stops whenever frames are dropped. If you select Report FCP reports that frames are dropped and stops capture anyway.
best thing to do is to select Abort, do a test capture and see if frames are dropped, and
if they aren't, to deselect both. After all, if frames are dropped you'd see them won't
you ? Why have a computer nag you about it.
Capture Card Supports Simultaneous Play Through and Capture Select
Always Turn Off AppleTalk When Capturing Select, even if you're on a network.
Edit > Preferences > General
Levels of Undo: make it 10 for general editing, 20 when doing effects, and 5 or less when just making dumps to tape or whenever you're not going to be experimenting much. Remember more the undos more the memory used.
List Recent Clips: 10 is fine, but can be
increased while editing.
Automatic Save Every: Deselect this. Just
get into the habit of saving every 10-15 mins. While capturing and dumping to tape,
definitely deselect this. If you have to, set it to 30 mins.
Multi-Frame Trim Size: I like
5. But set to taste.
Real-time Audio Mixing: Set to 4. Unless
you need more (rhymes well !) This also hogs memory.
Render Ahead: Deselect. Doesn't help.
Just slows everything down.
Still Image Duration: 10 sec is fine.
Unless you're importing stills that you plan to use for more than 10 sec.
Preview Pre-roll and Preview Post-roll: Set
5 and 2 sec. This is not preroll during capture, but pre-roll when you press the
"Play around current" button.
AutoSyncCompensator for movies: This
doesn't affect capture but seems to work for long clips captured with certain cameras.
Check if you need it else deselect it.
View External Video Using: Apple FireWire
PAL. OK This is the big one. If you select Apple FireWire PAL then you can see whatever
you're seeing in the Canvas, through the FireWire cable into your camcorder screen, or in
an TV or monitor connected to your camcorder or deck.
Mirror on desktop during Playback: Select.
This is big one no. 2. If you select you'll see video on the Mac monitor and through
FireWire. If this is deselected, the picture on the Mac monitor is frozen, and the one
through FireWire moves when you play.
Mirror on desktop during Print to Video: Deselect.
This opens a window on the Mac monitor that shows whatever is going to tape. Not very
Pen Tools Can Edit Locked Item Overlays: Deselect,
unless you can find a use for it.
Show ToolTips: Newcomers Select, old
Linked Selection: Newcomers Select, old
hands deselect. Whenever select or cut or trim a video clip, the accompanying audio also
gets equally modified. Just can't edit that way.
Snapping: Select when you're moving
entire clips around in a sequence and you want them to sit exactly at a cut point.
Deselect if you don't. Switch on and off by pressing "N" anytime. (Need not be
Fit Full Size: Deselect unless you can
find a use for it. What it does is if you import something that's smaller that your full
frame size, it will be automatically scaled up to full size for viewing.
Visibility Warning: Newcomers Select, old
hands Deselect. This shows a nag screen whenever you switch track visibility after
Report Drops: Deselect unless you're
checking out your system.
Thumbnail Cache (Disk) : 512 K is
fine unless you can find a good reason to increase or decrease it.
Thumbnail Cache (RAM) : 256 K is fine unless you can find a good reason to increase or decrease it.
|In these and the rest too, green and italic
means a menu item, and just green means what you see in windows and dialog boxes.
"Select" means there's a box where
you have to click and a cross appears. Americans call it "Check".
And when they pay you, they call that a "Check" too as also the bill in a restaurant.
Edit > Preferences > Device Control
First thing on the top left in this screen.
Enable Device Control: Select. Unless you're capturing with an
analog card from a VHS deck or a device that can't be controlled by FCP. Also if you're
capturing only audio from the audio in of your Mac you need to deselect this so that FCP
doesn't expect to control the device that it is capturing from.
Protocol:Apple FireWire for most DV camcorders or decks. Else
select Apple FireWire Basic. If you have a Keyspan Adapter or Stealth Port and an RS-422
cable connected to a Beta or DVCAM deck, select RS-422. If you don't those options don't
Time Source: DV Time for most DV camcorders or
Port:For DV this is greyed out and can't be used.
System:PAL unless you're in NTSC or SECAM land.
Use Deck Search Mechanism: For DV this is greyed out and
can't be used.
Pre-roll:3 sec unless the shot you're trying to capture is too
close to a time code break or reset. In that case make it 1 sec.
Post-roll:1 sec. Means how much the tape will continue playing
after a clip has been captured.
Timecode Offset: For DV 00:00:00 is fine. For Beta
through RS-422 you may have to find out and set this.
Handle Size: Keep this 00:00:00:00 as well.
Playback Offset: Keep this 00:00:00:00 as well.
If you are using a
DVCAM deck that has a RS-422 port, then better get a Keyspan USB-serial and serial -
RS-422 cable and control the deck with RS-422. It works better that way rather than use
FireWire to control the deck.
Pre-roll can be set to 2 sec if your deck gives you no problems. For batch capture
of hundreds of DV clips this saves time.
Handle size more than 0 makes things confusing. You can always set handles while capturing anyway.
Playback offset more or less than 0 is needed if you find the deck misses some frames or repeats some frames at the start of each "Edit to Tape".
Edit > Preferences > Sequence Presets
is where you set the settings for the sequence (the edit) you will be working on. You can
make these settings whenever you make a new sequence. These settings have to match exactly
the setting of all the video you capture. Else, your sequence will not play.
the left you see the presets (a set of settings) that come as standard with FCP. You can
create your own as well. But if you plan to work with DV, select DV PAL from the list.
you are planning on working with DV only, you can also click on DV-PAL in the left box and
then on the "Set default" button. Also, if you're sure you're not going to need
the other presets - like "Targa 640x480 PAL" "~EXPORT Lossless 24 bit"
and others, click on them one by one and Delete them - by pressing on the
a box at the bottom that says "Prompt on new sequence". Select this (means click
till the cross appears) so FCP will always show this screen whenever you make a new
the right is a list of you settings. See if they match your capture settings.
If you are working in DV PAL the box on the right should read
Editing Timebase : 25 fps
Frame size : 720 x 576
Field dominance : Lower (Even)
Pixel Aspect Ratio : PAL - CCIR 601/DV
Compressor : DV - PAL
Millions of Colors (24 bit)
Quality : 100
16-bit 48.000 kHz stereo
There are other lines present but I've omitted them as they are not
Edit > Preferences > Sequence Presets > Sequence Settings >
If any of the above lines don't tally with the settings you have used for capturing video - in Edit>Preferences>Capture Presets, you can change these by clicking on the setting you need to change in the left box - say, "DV-PAL" and then clicking on Edit.
This takes you to the "Sequence Settings" window where you can make the necessary changes. For working in DV, set "PAL DV (5:4)" "Lower(Even)" and PAL - CCIR 601/DV"
"QuickTime Settings" on the right and click on Video and Audio if you need to
Edit > Preferences > Sequence Presets > Preset Editor >
General > Video
Set as in Capture
Edit > Preferences > Sequence Presets > Preset Editor >
General > Audio
Set as in Capture
Edit > Preferences > Sequence Presets > Preset Editor >
Here you setup what your timeline looks like. These settings are set to taste.My favourites are ...
Starting Timecode : 01:00:00:00 normally, and set to some other value if I need to "Edit to tape" at a certain point on tape. More on that later.
Track Size : Small
Thumbnail display : None. Uses memory.
Audio track labels : Sequential (A1, A2, A3, A4)
Show filter and motion bars : Yes
Show keyframe overlays : No
waveforms : No
Note that some of
these settings can be changes in the timeline window as well with the help of the small
buttons at the bottom of the screen.
Edit > Preferences > Scratch Disks
This where you set up where your video goes. Very important. For you and FCP to know where things are located. And for you to be able to clean up your disks after a project is complete.
First off, deselect the "Capture Video and Audio to separate files" for DV. I used to work with video and audio to separate files but it got too confusing and I didn't see much of an advantage over "combined" files.
What you do after that depends on how many hard disks you have.
Say you have only one hard disk.
Then you go out and quickly buy another one. A 20 GB costs about Rs 9000 so there's no excuse for working with just one hard disk. FCP works better when you capture to the drive that doesn't have the MacOS and FCP loaded on it.
So then you have
two hard disks.
Then in the first line of the Scratch Disks screen select "Video"
In the second line select "Render"
Then on the right press "Set"
In the window that opens, set select the drive that you want your captured video to go to. I usually create a new folder called the project I'm working on and select it as the place for video files to go to.
So also for "Render"
Remember this settings "stays" Means if you open a project ,make this setting, then capture video to a specific folder, then close that project and open another, then in that project too video goes to the folder last set.
So it's a good idea to make these settings every time you open a new project or even switch projects.
organised, and you know what is where.
Just a recap intoclips and QuickTime files or media.
When you capture a
shot to hard disk, a QuickTime movie file is created on your hard disk. You don't actually
see this file in FCP. You see a "clip" in the browser. The "clip" is
not the actual shot or QuickTime movie, but only a graphical representation, a sort of a
shortcut to it.
So, in the Edit > Preferences > Scratch Disks if you have been very particular to select the right capture folder for
the right project always, you can safely delete all files present in that project's
capture folder after that project is over and done with.
Don't bother deleting clips in the project browser window, or even sequences or the whole project for that matter. The QuickTime files outside are where the meat is.
|As of Apr 2002,
I've stopped updating this page. There don't seem to be too many people who use FCP 1.2.5
anyway. But this page will be kept here for as long as I feel it can be useful.
If there's something that you didn't quite understand, or if you'd like to see something on this page, or even if you want to just say thanks to me, do mail me.
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