Category Archives: final cut studio

Learning Final Cut Pro

I am slowly working my way through the Getting Started book, using my own video clips. I decided to do a short movie featuring wildlife clips from Corkscrew Sanctuary, which we visited in January 2004. I found the CD of still images to supplement the video clips. I have two observations about my learning:

Sometimes things have to just percolate. I read the section on three-point edits a few times but just didn’t seem to get it. This morning, as I was writing, it came to me exactly what it was. Place in and out points on your clip, place at least an in point on your timeline, then use the buttons or the overlay to either insert or overwrite the clip into your sequence. I hadn’t been dreaming about FCP, which has happened when I am in the midst of a coding project, but I guess I just had the quiet time to let it sink in. And that’s what I’ve found after nearly six years of doing the morning pages. A lot of what I write is crap–to do lists, quotidian details such a laundry, the usual “diary” kind of stuff. But when I let the writing flow less self-consciously, I am sometimes able to access more deep knowledge and understanding that has been building even while I am involved in the daily grind.
Continue reading Learning Final Cut Pro

First Steps in Final Cut Pro

I got to the section in the Getting Started book about logging and capturing clips and decided to hook up the camera and get started.  It was relatively easy to figure out how to mark clips and then capture them.  I was a little confused with the way it automatically names the next clip once you’ve logged one, but you just type a different name in the description field and that change the name.

The tape I put in is from the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We took a long driving tour on a rainy day and shot lots of video.  A lot of it is very bad, jumpy because we’re zoomed in too far without a tripod, too dark, unfocused.  But then there will be a brief glimmer of quality, when the bird comes into focus and does something interesting.  I’m already mulling over an idea for how to put these clips together and make a short travelogue.  I’ll include some of the outtakes to show just how much bad video you have to shoot in order to get something good.  That seems to be the rule of reality cinema…lots of video.

So, I’ll run the questions:

What have I learned?  How to log and capture clips in Final Cut Pro

How did I learn it? I read the manual and followed the directions.

How could I have learned it better or differently?  I don’t think I could have.  I find I am taking a systematic approach to this, something I don’t always do when it comes to learning a software program.   And by reading the manual, I discovered the log/capture feature that makes identifying and capturing clips easy.  I’m a little impatient to at least make some kind of movie but maybe tomorrow.

How could I use what I’ve learned to benefit someone else?  Does my learning always have to benefit someone else?  Sorry, didn’t mean to be flippant but I think this a hard question to answer.  Since I am planning to try different methods of logging and capturing, I suppose I can review them to find the method that I like.

It’s Here!

My new computer was waiting for me when I got home.  I was a little concerned about the big hole in the side of the box but all seems to be fine.  True to all the Macs I’ve ever used, this was easy…got it up and running in just a few minutes.  I’m installing Final Cut Pro right now.  I’m actually working on the second installation since I accidently cut the power during the first installation…oops!

I’ve read through the first chapter of the Getting Started book and I think I have the basic idea of the process of using the program to organize and create video.  Final Cut Pro is part of the post-production process, and the book suggests there is a lot that goes on before you start post-production.  But since I’m working in the cinema verite mode and using already existing footage that was shot without any plan in place, I’m going to go right to the logging/capturing step.

I would really like to do something with the Lewis and Clark footage but it’s analog.  I’m going to start with some digital footage until I get comfortable with the process of logging and capturing clips.  I pulled a few tapes out of the drawer to get me started.  With a 500 gig hard drive just for storage, I have the luxury of grabbing as much tape as I want.  The manual, in fact, suggests that it is more typical for people to simply capture an entire tape because hard drive space has gotten so cheap.  I’ll log after I capture and look for some emergent theme for my first sequence.

I like the Final Cut Pro manual.  Several places they discuss the idea of getting your own workflow together and give several different ways of doing things like logging and capturing.  Software in general is pretty amazing in terms of allowing different users to interact with it in different ways.  And in this case, effective personal use of the software will make the project creation easier and potentially better.