This is Final Cut Pro tips by Corey Frey:
The first thing you need to decide when beginning post (after filming) work on a project within Final Cut Pro, or any non-linear editing system, where is the primary location for viewing this project? Movie Theater? Home Theater? HD TV? Standard TV? Web? iPhone?
Each one of these viewing platforms brings many different viewer experiences. So ask the question, how is the viewer experience in a movie theater? Sitting in a seat in a dark room on a very large screen with large theatrical surround sound speakers. On the other side, what about a phone? Usually on the move, quick, very small screen, and sometimes headphones or the tiny speaker on the phone, and typically in daylight or indoor lighting. If you produce a project that has quick edits and flashy cuts, someone in a movie theater may not enjoy it as much as someone on a phone, and vise-versa with a slow LONG project on a phone. Same thing for size, a project sized at 640 x 480 (4:3 aspect ratio) would not look optimized for a theatrical viewing. It would be too pixelated, muddy. A project sized at 1920 x 1080 (HDTV) would be overkill for an iPod or phone.
Once you’ve decided on how the project will be presented, you must decide on your workflow. Workflow can make or break getting an edit done by a deadline. If you know your presenting it on a phone, don’t edit it in full 1080 HD. This is where sequence settings within FCP (Final Cut Pro) make your workflow.
Setting a sequence setting to your intended presentation settings will render your project as you edit it to that intended size. If you’re making a project for the iPhone, set your sequence settings for the iPhone and edit in the lower resolution instead of editing in HD, each edit may need to be rendered and you would be rendering in full HD resolution versus rendering in the lower iPhone resolution. Say you have a 15min render for HD versus 5min render for the iPhone. You save 10min. You may have multiple renders through your editing process, in fact YOU WILL. So those “10min” saves add up.
The next important step is to create a central location on your hard drive for all files associated with the project. You want to remain as organized as possible with all assets so that you don’t lose time trying to find a file or accidentally delete a vital file because it was in a random folder on your system. Final Cut Pro gives you a great tool for doing this under the system settings preference in the main drop down menu. You can set a folder for all assets to save to; capture files, audio files, render files, etc… Anything you capture off a tape will save in that folder. Every render you do will save a render file in that folder.
Once you have your asset folder assigned and you know what sequence settings you’ll be using for your project, you will be ready to begin editing your project. However, you don’t want to just jump into tossing clips in the timeline, you still need to do some more organizing within your project.
Final Cut Pro uses “bins” to organize your clips that share attributes but it doesn’t do it for you, you need to set up your bins. For example, if you shot a scene in your project that consists of many other scenes, you can create a bin for an individual scene and place each take you shot of that scene within that bin. Then create another bin for the next scene. This organizes your takes/clips into easier to find groups.
That is the basics of setting up yourself for editing a project. This will ensure you an easier, safer workflow for starting out editing projects.
The most important advice however for learning to edit is to just jump in and start making projects, try things out, play with tools and settings. You will NEVER learn the system correctly by reading a manual… it’s hands on.
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