CS 325 and Film 385: Apple Final Cut Pro


Highlights of this lab:

  • What is Apple Final Cut Pro?
  • The Interface
  • Editing your Movies
  • Titles, Transitions, and Effects
  • Exporting to Quicktime
  • Assignment

:: Working File ::

We will be using this video for the in-lab discussion. Right click on it and save it to your folders.


:: What is Apple Final Cut Pro? ::

Right from the Apple website, "Final Cut Pro delivers powerful and precise editing tools that work with virtually any format, from DV and native HDV to fully uncompressed HD. With a real-time multistream effects architecture, multicam editing tools, advanced color correction and intuitive integration with other Apple professional video and audio applications, Final Cut Pro gives you more creative options and technical control than ever before.


:: The Interface ::

On first glance, Final Cut Pro's (FCP) interface can appear daunting. Although this is the case, learning what everything is on the interface takes no-time at all. Keep in mind that learning what everything does on the interface is another story ;-). Since FCP is one of the foremost choices in movie editing software we will only brush on the movie editing functions and possibilites within this lab. Below is a screen shot of the interface:

To import movie and audio clips and images you must first import them into the browser. The browser can be seen here:

To do this you simply select "file"->"import"->"files" and then choose the moive you want to import. Your files will be imported into the browser. To preview your imported clips you can double click the clip you wish to preview in the browser or you can right click the clip and choose "Open in viewer".

Hit the play button and you will be able to see what is in your clip. The Viewer is used to play clips, locate and mark specific frames, set in and out points, and change audio, video, and effects settings for the clip. The viewer contains Tabs at the top which are used to organize clip controls. These are (may not include all of these):

The Canvas is the window that acts as your workspace for a sequence. It looks very similar to the Viewer. However, the canvas is the window you use to edit clips into your sequence and view results. You can use the player controls or drag the playhead to navigate in your sequence, set in/out points, markers and keyframes. Each sequence you have open is contained in a tab on the top of the Canvas window for ease of navigation.

The Timeline displays the layers of video and audio tracks. You use the timeline to view the layout and timing of your sequence components, navigate between media clips, select specific points in your sequence, and select tarket tracks. The Timeline mirrors the Canvas so that if you move the Timeline's playhead, the Canvas display also moves simultaneously.


:: Editing Your Movies ::

To edit your movies in FCP you can do so in the Viewer or the Timeline. In the Viewer you will notice tabs at the top. When your sequence is loaded in the Viewer you will be able to edit various things as listed in the tabs such as Audio, Filters, Motions, etc. Here you can insert markers and adjust the values accordingly.

As well, you can edit your sequence in the timeline using the toolbox pallete items. The primary items you will use is the pointer tool and the cut tool.

For this lab, we will introduce how to set in and out points in viewer. It's quite similar to the function of Crop Marker in iMovie.

Set in and out points

Render your movie

If there's a red line on the top of timeline, it means your movie doesn't fit the Final Cut Pro's presettings. Sometimes, you can't preview your sequence if there's redline on the top of timeline. One possible way is to render your movie to make it fit the settings.


:: Titles, Transitions, and Effects ::

Creating Titles

To create titles in FCP, in the Viewer you can click on the button located in the lower right corner and select the appropriate selection. This button is called the "generator pop-up menu"

Split clips

To split a clip into several parts, you may use the "Razor blade tool" in the toolbox pallete located in the right side of timeline.

Inserting Transitions

To add a transition between clips in your sequence you can go to the Browser and select "Effects" and than "Video Transitions". To apply a transitions between clips you simply drag and drop it in the timeline. To change the properties of the transition, double click on it and in the Viewer, you can adjust the properties accordingly. Note, you can only add transitions to the clips in track 1.

Adding Effects

To insert effects into your clips, you:


:: Import audio track into Final Cut Pro (New Added)

To import audio into Final Cut Pro is quite similar to importing video.


:: Exporting to Quicktime ::

There are 2 ways you can export to Quicktime. The first method is if you are exporting to quicktime with the goal of burning your video on DVD. To do this, you:

The other way to export to quicktime is to export the file for the web (which may be better for your lab submission). To do this, you:


:: Assignment ::

For this lab assignment I want you to edit the movie that we worked on in the lab movie, similar to what we did last week in iMovie.

Submit your .mov or .mp4 file on Web-CT, in the assignments folder using the link for this lab assignment. Note, your movie files may tend to get quite large so please keep this in mind when you are editing your movie (Nothing over 25mb please..or at least try ;-). Due date is November 17th at the beginning of your lab. Have fun!


:: Online Source(s) ::