Final Cut Pro 3 and the Art of Film Making

Overview

Despite its intuitive interface, Final Cut Pro still requires craft and skill to use well.

This full-color book provides a hands-on, practical guide to all aspects of editing digital movies, with an emphasis on the kinds of tips, tricks, and shortcuts that professionals rely on to quickly get polished results.

Whether you're approaching Final Cut Pro from a purely creative angle or from a more corporate perspective, whether you're an emerging ...

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Overview

Despite its intuitive interface, Final Cut Pro still requires craft and skill to use well.

This full-color book provides a hands-on, practical guide to all aspects of editing digital movies, with an emphasis on the kinds of tips, tricks, and shortcuts that professionals rely on to quickly get polished results.

Whether you're approaching Final Cut Pro from a purely creative angle or from a more corporate perspective, whether you're an emerging filmmaker or a seasoned vet, Final Cut Pro 3 and the Art of Filmmaking gives you the insights, information, and lessons you'll need to complete tasks that film editors face every day, including:

* Mastering Final Cut Pro 3's new features, such as Voice Over, G4 Real-Time Effects, Titling, QuickView, and more

* Editing clips in the Timeline

* Creating transitions and complex overlays

* Adding effects, applying filters, and working with text

* Using the audio tools to make your film sound as good as it looks

* Readying your finished product for delivery—on the Internet, on videotape, or on DVD

In the course of this book, you'll learn shooting tips designed to help later in the edit room. You'll also hear from experienced editors on how they're using Final Cut Pro to capture the immediacy that digital video makes possible, while meeting the twin challenges of limited time and money.

Note: Our thanks to Ken Stone for his Final Cut Pro expertise. Ken has an excellent online resource center that we encourage you to visit: www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/fcp_homepage_index.html

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Every once in a while, a software package revolutionizes an entire industry -- and changes lives in the process. PageMaker did it for desktop publishing in the '80s, enabling mere mortals to create professional-quality publications and extending the discipline of graphic design to people who never imagined they'd be part of it before. Final Cut Pro and Premiere are doing it in the '00s -- transforming folks who wished and dreamed they could make movies into folks who are actually doing it.

Of the two programs, Final Cut Pro -- with Apple's lineage of simplicity -- may be the more accessible. That doesn't mean it's easy: a glance at that gigantic manual will tell you right off the bat that there's a lot to learn. But you can relax. Final Cut Pro hews to the 80/20 rule: you'll spend 80 percent of your time with 20 percent of its features. If you practice, those features will become second nature. The real issue for those who want to master Final Cut Pro isn't learning features, anyhow. It's learning what it really takes to get a film made with Final Cut Pro. How the workflow feels. How the features fit together. And above all, how the program can be used to support your own personal creativity.

These are the areas where Final Cut Pro and the Art of Film Making shines. This full-color guide to Final Cut Pro walks you through the entire process of making a film with Final Cut Pro. You'll start by setting up both your Mac and Final Cut Pro for maximum efficiency, then learn some essential techniques for creating your footage -- including how to keep a camera log, how to shoot video so that it can edited most efficiently, and how to use an external microphone. David and Jason Cranford Teague next walk step-by-step through logging your footage -- including how to prepare for efficient batch capture.

If you're following along by shooting your own video, super. If not, the book comes with a DVD full of clips you can use to walk through every procedure that follows. In Part II, you dive into editing, starting with the basics. The Teagues introduce the classic "three point editing" system, and show how Final Cut Pro enables you to set the "in" and "out" points it requires. You were introduced to the Timeline and Canvas earlier in the book. Now you'll get serious about using them: adding blank tracks, dragging, dropping, pasting, and performing slick Overwrite Edits, as you begin to shape your footage into a film.

Gradually, through step-by-step procedures, you'll master all the essential skills you'll need in day-to-day editing: creating insert edits, linking audio and video clips, making roll edits, ripple edits, slip and slide edits, and more. There's a full chapter on adding and tweaking transitions -- including trimming, changing durations, adding audio transitions, and more. If you're using the Teagues' DVD footage, the book's hundreds of illustrations will show you exactly what you should be seeing at any time. You'd have to be pretty contrary to go astray.

There's a full section on Final Cut Pro's extensive special effects toolset -- static and moving titles, filters and color correction, blurring and distorting images, changing perspectives, creating "negative" images using Invert, even copying and storing the complex sets of effects you've generated through experimentation, so you can easily use them again. While you may not use it all right away, Final Cut Pro and the Art of Film Making also contains advanced chapters on compositing, motion controls, key filters, and keyframing.

In our favorite chapter, the Teagues bring together everything they've taught, showing how an editor can compose a film's total effect -- making direction, acting, camera work, lighting, sound and music into something that's far more than the sum of its parts. Follow along, and you'll see how real editors approach the juxtaposition of shots, use match cuts, edit for rhythm, work with B-rolls, and manage continuity. There's no better way to learn what editing -- and what Final Cut Pro -- are really about. (Bill Camarda)

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer with nearly 20 years' experience in helping technology companies deploy and market advanced software, computing, and networking products and services. He served for nearly ten years as vice president of a New Jersey–based marketing company, where he supervised a wide range of graphics and web design projects. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780782140279
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Edition description: Book & CD-ROM
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 396
  • Product dimensions: 10.19 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Jason Cranford Teague is an expert in broadband, DVD, and other new media formats. He has written two best-selling computer books and numerous articles on new media for the Apple Developers Connection, Tripod, and other publications.

David Teague is an editor, cinematographer, and director who lives and works in New York City. He has edited numerous projects on Final Cut Pro for clients such as Atlantic Records, Nonesuch Records, Knoll Design, Bombay, Sapphire, and DVD Int'l.

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Read an Excerpt

Final Cut Pro 3 and the Art of Filmmaking


By Jason Cranford Teague

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7821-4027-0


Chapter One

Setting Up Your Workstation

Every writer needs just the right desk, every painter needs just the right easel, and every editor needs just the right editing station to work efficiently and creatively. There are many choices to make when setting up your work area. These range from technical concerns such as how to hook up your speakers to making sure you're working in an area where you can think creatively without distraction. Installing Final Cut Pro is just the first step. You'll need to take a little time to hook up all your equipment correctly and in such a way that you're not tripping over cords. It's important that everything you need is right in front of you and configured to meet your needs. In this chapter, we'll go over how to tailor your workstation for your special needs and how to set up your editing station for the two types of video capture: digital video (DV) and analog.

Overview

While even the finest equipment cannot make up for a lack of skill, skilled professionals always seek out the best tools available to them. Final Cut Pro offers excellent capabilities bundled within an easy-to-use interface. However, although Final Cut Pro does offer a multitude of features, it is only part of what you will need in order to create your video.

This chapter will help you set up your workstation for capturing and editing with Final Cut Pro. This chapter assumes that you have successfully installed Final Cut Pro, following the instructions provided by Apple. We will show you how to set up your machine to capture digital footage from an exterior video source such as a DV deck or analog sources like VHS and Beta-SP. We will also cover how to set up an exterior reference monitor and speakers. If you can afford this solution, it's highly recommended. The image you see on the computer monitor will not give you a true sense of the definition and color of the image, so a reference monitor is imperative if you're editing anything for professional use or broadcast. This chapter will help you understand how to set up your system for capture from either digital or analog source tape.

The Computer

The most obvious additional element you will need is the computer. Although Final Cut Pro 2 can theoretically run on any Macintosh computer with OS 9.1, it runs best on Macs using the G4 chip, also known as the "Velocity Engine," and optimally on dual-processor G4s. The G4 chip was designed with the number-crunching required for high-end graphics in mind. So, while Final Cut Pro will putt right along on a G3 PowerBook, you will notice a significant increase in speed if you are using a G4 (Titanium) PowerBook, and it will really purr with the dual-processor version of the desktop Power Mac.

However, don't be afraid to use Final Cut Pro on an older machine if that is what you have. There are several things that you can do to improve your performance, such as adding additional RAM. 256MB is suggested, but the more RAM, the happier your machine (and you) will be.

At bare minimum, you will need a Mac with a G3 or G4 chip running at 300MHz or faster, OS 9.1, 20MB or more of unused disk space, and at least 192MB RAM. Final Cut Pro 1 and 2 will not run in OS X-not even in the "classic" environment (which can normally run OS 9 applications). Final Cut Pro 3, however, runs fine in either OS X or in OS 9.2.2, although the interface will vary slightly. If you are using a version earlier than Final Cut Pro 3 and you need OS X installed on your computer, it is a good idea to partition your hard drive and use one partition for OS X and the other strictly for OS 9 and Final Cut Pro.

External and Internal Hard Drives

In addition to the computer, you will need a lot of hard drive space. A single minute of uncompressed (high quality) DV-format video requires 216MB. While the storage size of internal hard drives is going up-most Macs ship with hard drives between 20GB and 80GB-you may want to consider using an external FireWire hard drive to store footage and dedicate the internal drive to run Final Cut Pro. You can also purchase additional internal hard drives if your system has the physical space. It's important to remember that if you are capturing analog using the capture card (this doesn't apply to a media converter box), you must capture to a SCSI drive over a SCSI PCI card, and not the ATA drive that comes with the standard G4s.

The reason for this is quite simple. Video editing requires precise timing, and a delay of even a few milliseconds can throw your video out of synch. If you are using the same hard drive both to run Final Cut Pro and store and access the video footage, this may require the hard drive to be, essentially, in two places at the same time. Playback may suffer, frames may get dropped, and the audio may stutter as the hard drive switches back and forth. Adding an internal or an external hard drive-using the FireWire connection -and placing all of your DV footage on this additional drive will alleviate this problem and improve the overall performance of Final Cut Pro.

An external hard drive is also a much better idea if you will be working on several different projects concurrently or if you are sharing a workstation with other editors. You can hook and unhook the hard drive to switch between projects and not have to worry about filling up the fixed hard drive space.

Monitors

While Final Cut Pro can display your sequence in the Canvas window on the computer monitor, it is highly recommended that you have a reference NTSC or PAL monitor on which to view your edit because NTSC and PAL handle color differently than the way a computer monitor handles color. The Canvas window will certainly give you a usable image, but an external reference monitor will help you make important decisions about contrast, color, and brightness that the computer screen cannot. If you're going to be doing heavy image control effects or color correction, a reference monitor is crucial.

You can hook up Final Cut Pro to any external reference monitor, including most regular, consumer-grade TVs, as long as the TV input plugs are compatible with your system. You can also buy adapters if your monitor's inputs are not compatible. For professional use, you should get a reference monitor with S-Video or Component inputs so that the image quality is at the highest grade.

It is also helpful, but not necessary, to have a second computer monitor. Final Cut Pro uses four main windows to navigate the interface, and these can sometimes be cramped on one screen even at a high resolution. If you have a second computer monitor, you can open up your space and divide your palettes between the two screens, keeping your viewer in one and your controls and browser in the other. If you are using the Matrox converter card, note that its port for a second monitor is not compatible with the Apple flat-panel monitor. If you desire a second flat-panel, you must also purchase an additional Radeon PCI card.

The DV Deck or Camera

Most likely you will be using a digital video camera to shoot footage for use in Final Cut Pro. If the footage you are capturing was shot on a DV camera, a DV camera can also be used as a DV deck system (basically a mini-VCR that plays and records DV tapes). This is sometimes a financial necessity, but we recommend that you purchase a separate professional DV deck, such as the Sony Mini-DV VCR Walkman or the Panasonic DV Compact Recorder/Player, if you are working on a lot of projects that require a hefty amount of digitizing. The strain of capturing, especially batch capturing, is not good for a DV camera's internal transport mechanisms, and DV cameras can run slower than DV decks when cueing up clips for capture. Also, if you're using the camera as a capturing deck as well as for shooting, it can cause greater wear on the camera's head, which will inevitably lead to poorer video quality when recording.

Other Peripherals

The rest of this chapter will teach you how to hook up different peripherals that you may find helpful when using Final Cut Pro. These include different capture setups for analog and digital source tapes, as well as speakers for optimal sound.

LESSONS

Hooking Up to a DV Deck or Camera

The most common setup for a Final Cut Pro station is with a digital video deck. As stated earlier, a DV deck is a like a mini-VCR that plays and records digital videotapes and can output that signal to your computer via a FireWire cable. It can also receive video through FireWire, so that you can record your sequences onto DV tape. Many people use a DV camera as a deck, but if you're doing a lot of capturing as well as using the camera for shooting, it's a good idea to invest in a deck so as not to wear out the heads on the camera. In this section, we'll go over the best ways to hook your DV deck or camera up to your computer. Make sure you've got all the necessary equipment in front of you. The bare bones here are your computer, a FireWire cable, and the DV deck. You may also have a reference monitor and external speakers. Hooking up your system with a FireWire connection to a DV deck ensures device control, which means you can control the VCR functions of the deck from within Final Cut Pro and also mark In and Out points on the raw footage to log your clips (see Chapter 4).

1. Plug in one end of the FireWire cable into the FireWire port on the deck. Plug in the other end into the FireWire port on your computer. If you are using a DV camera, make sure it is in VTR mode, not Camera mode. There are two different kinds of FireWire plug: 4-pin and 6-pin. Computers and external hard drives generally use the 6-pin configuration while DV cameras and decks use the 4-pin configuration, but it is fairly easy to tell the difference as the 6-pin plug is larger. If you are purchasing a FireWire cable, make sure you get type that has a 4-pin configuration on one end and a 6-pin configuration on the other.

2. If you have an exterior reference monitor, first identify what kind of inputs your monitor can accept. This could be Composite, S-Video, or another kind of video signal cable. Most DV decks and cameras have Composite and S-Video outputs. High-end professional DV decks, like the Sony DV Studio Player/Recorder, use Component Video outputs. Once connected with the appropriate cable, your monitor will now display whatever you play in your deck, and also what plays in the Timeline and Canvas within Final Cut Pro as long as the FireWire cable remains connected to the computer.

3. If you are hooking up external speakers, you can do a number of things. If you are using a deck, find the Audio Out jacks, determine what type of cable they require, and route a cable between the deck and your speakers. If you are using a deck that does not have RCA audio output, plug a mini cable into the Headphones output of the deck and attach the other end to your speakers. You can, of course, just use actual headphones here if you prefer.

If you plug in your speakers through the camera or deck, your sound will be synched with the exterior monitor and not with the image on the computer monitor. There is a time delay of a few frames, so you should only hook up your speakers through the deck if you have an external reference monitor. Otherwise, use the internal computer sound via the headphone jack on your computer.

4. Now boot up Final Cut Pro. Make sure your DV camera or deck is on and the FireWire cable is plugged in or the program will not register the deck. If it's not, you can plug it in after you've booted the computer. If there is a problem, the program will alert you that there is no device hooked to the FireWire (see Running Final Cut Pro for the First Time in Chapter 2). Otherwise, you'll see this screen, which means you are ready to start exploring the Final Cut Pro interface, which is the main focus of Chapter 2.

FAQ What is FireWire?

FireWire is the trademarked name Apple Computer uses to refer to the input/output (I/O) industry standard known as IEEE 1394. Apple originally developed this standard to allow high-speed connections between peripherals (such as hard drives and DV cameras) and computers, with data transfer rates of up to 400Mbps. This speed is FireWire's most important advantage for video applications.

In addition, FireWire allows hot swapping. That is, you can plug and unplug peripherals without having to turn your computer off, and the device will be immediately available to your computer with no further effort on your part.

Using FireWire you can connect as many as 63 independent devices to a single computer, where each device hooks into the previous device, and these devices can be seen by any other computer on your network. So, you can hook a hard drive to one computer, and use it over an office Ethernet with no difficulty.

Sony also uses the IEEE 1394 standard in most of its DV cameras; however, they call their product i.LINK instead of FireWire. Don't worry, though; whether you see FireWire, i.LINK, or IEEE 1394, these names all refer to the same thing and will use similar (if not always identical) cables and plugs to allow various peripherals to talk to each other.

To find out more, visit the 1394 Trade Association (1394ta.org) or the Apple FireWire web site (apple.com/firewire).

Hooking Up to a Media Converter Box

If you are capturing from an analog source (such as VHS, 3/4-inch tape, or Beta-SP) instead of mini-DV, you will need either a media converter or a special internal capture card. A media converter-such as the Matrox RTMac or the Sony Media Converter-is a device that converts an analog signal to digital and vice-versa. It uses a FireWire cable to connect to a computer and S-Video and Composite analog video cables to connect to a video deck. This section will outline how to hook up your system so that you can successfully digitize from analog source material with a converter box. A converter box is a cheap way to translate your footage, but you should use a capture card if you want the more professional transfer via Component. Using a media converter can affect the color quality of the image, and also degrade the audio. The biggest disadvantage is that the media converter box will not capture your footage with source timecode through FireWire, and therefore does not allow device control, logging, or batch-capturing.

1. Hook the FireWire cable into the FireWire port on your converter box. Attach the other end to the FireWire port on your computer. Remember that there are two different kinds of FireWire plugs: 4-pin and 6-pin.

2. Determine what audio and video outputs are available on your analog deck. Most media converter boxes can accept S-Video, Composite, and RCA stereo cables. Hook a cable from the video output on your analog deck to the video input on the converter box. Do the same with the audio; hook the outputs on the deck to the input on the converter box.

3. When you boot up Final Cut Pro, make sure the converter box is on so that the program will recognize the FireWire connection and can communicate with the converter box. Also make sure you configure the converter to import analog, as the signal you are inputting is analog and the signal you are bringing into your computer is digital. This means you'll want the Input source within Final Cut Pro to be set to DV.

This setup will allow you to capture from your analog source deck and convert the video and audio signals into digital files that will work with the DV codec in Final Cut Pro. If you want to go the other way and export digital files onto the analog deck (for example, to make VHS dubs of your work), configure the converter to input digital. If necessary, change the cables between the analog deck and converter box so that the audio and video signals come from the output of the converter and go into the input plugs of the analog deck.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Final Cut Pro 3 and the Art of Filmmaking by Jason Cranford Teague Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Setting Up Your Workstation 3
Getting to Know Final Cut Pro 17
Creating Your Footage 47
Logging Your Footage 59
Capturing Your Footage 77
Working with Your Footage 105
Making Smart Edits 127
Adding Transitions 145
Adding Titles 167
Using Image Control 187
Manipulating the Image 207
Compositing and Alpha Channels 225
Using Motion Controls 243
Creating Special Effects with Key Filters 257
Fine-Tuning Your Audio 271
Making Keyframes Work for You 291
Putting It All Together 307
Managing Your Media 329
Printing to Video 345
Compressing Video for the Web, CDs, and DVDs 357
Glossary of Terms 374
Index 382
Using the Companion DVD 396
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