Thursday, August 24, 2006

Final Cut Pro: Keyboard shortcut and neccessities

Most users of Final Cut Pro for any substantial length of time will likely know all of the following, but if you are just beginning the following is indispensable, especially if you are editing in the presence of your boss or your client that is waiting to tell you directions.

There are many more shortcuts than these, but if you don’t know these, you are not being as productive as you could be. I very, very much wish someone had forced me to learn the “JKL”+ “IO” + “F9” workflow when I was editing back in college.

Cueing/logging footage
I: Mark in
O: Mark out
J: Reverse (press repeatedly to increase speed)
K: Pause
L: Forward (press repeatedly to increase speed)
F9: Insert from Canvas to Timeline

Tools on Timeline
A: Arrow
H: Hand
B: Blade
N: Snapping
S: Slip
SS: Slide
R: Roll (single tracks)
RR: Roll (both tracks)
T: Select this track, from this point forward
TT: Select this track, from this point backward
TTT: Select all tracks from this point forward
Cmd+A: Select all tracks
P: Pen (Adjust sound and opacity on the Timeline Overlays (Opt+W))
M: Marker (I don’t mark often though)

I used to log footage on paper and log clips via FCP’s Log and Capture window, but with the price and size of hard drives these days. It’s easier to capture all your footage--yes, just let it sit there and eat up your disk space. If you are short on space, then--at the end--use the File>>Media Manager.

So once you’ve captured all your footage, add all the usable footage to a Sequence via the “Cueing/logging footage” keyboard shortcuts listed above. You won’t even need to use the mouse--which is always a great benefit. To start your actual timeline, duplicate the rough timeline and start moving your items around, if you need a certain cut, go back to your initial rough timeline and Copy (Cmd+C) and Paste (Cmd+V) it. If you have any additional tips to make an editor’s life easier, please post them.

--Stephen M. James

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lack of an Apple Option [is] Key in buying a computer

I use a Mac for 8 hours everyday at work and they have definitely grown on me. Except for the simplicity of Finder (all 3 viewing modes are awful because they are not easily navigated by the keyboard) and lack of 10 million free programs that you can get off the net to run on Windows--I'd say I like it more (that's a big step, btw).

So I'm in the market for a new PC and I actually thought about an Apple, but once I realized the options (or lack of), I didn't look back and bought parts for a PC.

There are only 3 models of Mac: Mini ($500+), iMac ($1500+), MacPro($2500+). I am a media designer, and I will need 1GB+ to run Photoshop, Flash, and Illustrator at the same time. The only one that can do that (that also doesn't require buying a monitor) is the MacPro which costs five times as much as I'm making my new PC for. I'm only buying a motherboard, 2GB of memory, a mATX case/power supply, and an AM2 processor for $500 from, since I already have hard disks and 2 DVD drives and an LCD monitor.

I know that building a PC from scratch is nothing compared to listening to the OS-X installation background music :-), but I'm sure I could get a Dell with enough processing power and upgrade the memory for $150. And anyway why would I need 4 Xeon processors (Mac Pro) if I'm not editing video? My work's dual G5's are fine. I think Apple just wants a pretty profit margin for their top of line system--one that I'm not willing to fill with my money.

Sorry, Steve, you need more options.

--Stephen M. James