In Features, Issues


1. Buy Lisa Brenneis’s book Final Cut Pro (FCP) for Macintosh. It makes learning FCP a lot easier and is a great reference once you already know the system.

2. Buy a color-coded keyboard at It may seem pricey at $179.99 but we’ve found that people learn FCP almost twice as fast with it.

3. If you are editing a feature, for a little extra you can buy external Firewire drives instead of internals. Save your media and projects to the external drives. If your computer crashes you can quickly swap in another computer and have no downtime. Even if you’re working on a souped-up G4, while it’s in the shop you can keep working on your project with an iMac DV or an old G3. You can also have an assistant log and digitize on a different station and then carry the drive over and connect it to the main system.

4. If you’re editing a feature shot on film and will need to go back and cut the negative, use FilmLogic ( You load your flex files and your FCP EDL’s into FilmLogic to create a negative cut list with keycode numbers for the negative cutter. You can now also cut at true 24FPS on FCP using the Aurora Igniter Card (

5. If you’re editing from Beta SP – rather than buy expensive analog cards and drives – just buy a $300 Sony analog to Firewire converter box and an RS-422 to serial cable attachment. It allows you to load from Beta SP with RS-422 time code control. The picture quality is not quite as good but it works fine and if you need perfect picture take your EDL and do an on-line elsewhere.

6. You can use the mark in and mark out buttons to trim on the fly using the J-K-L keys in trim mode.

7. The extend key works very well and in many cases is much faster than going to trim mode. Just remember, that after you’ve selected an edit and pressed the extend button it will extend the edit to where the cursor is parked, not the mark in or mark out.

8. If you matchframe a clip in the timeline, you are taken to the timeline copy of the clip. But if you shift + matchframe, the clip you are taken to is the source clip.

9. If you are exporting stills or using a freeze-frame effect, apply the de-interlace filter to the clip. It will often make the still look significantly sharper.

10. If you need to sync up video clips with sound that was recorded separately, start by putting the video clip in a sequence. Then take the matching audio clip and sync it up with the video clip in the timeline. Select them both and go to the "modify" menu and choose "link." The two clips will now be "joined." Select them all (if they aren’t already) and drag them back into the clip browser window as a new clip with synced audio. It’s a good idea to make a new folder in the browser window to put these new clips into. When you finish, delete the original video only and audio only clips from the browser window.

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