A second way to record videotape from your computer is to use the File, Print to Video command (you also can press Ctrl+M). Using this method, you still manually put your recording device into record and then proceed, but you gain the ability to have Final Cut Pro prepare and add elements to the recording with the options shown in Figure B.1. You are prompted to start the recording when the computer is ready.
Figure B.1. The Print to Video window.
The Print to Video command, as seen in Figure B.2, includes a window of options you select for the entire recording, adding elements such as black video, color bars (and tone), a slate, a built-in or standard countdown, and some post program options such as black, and even looping the program. Again, you do not have to have device control to use this command. These options appear in the order they are in this window and for the selectable durations. Thus, the rest in the list follow Color Bars (which always include Tone).
Figure B.2. The Print to Video window.
Print to Video Leader Options
All the check boxes in the Leader section of the Print to Video window (refer to Figure B.1) are relatively self-explanatory. By checking them, you can add color bars and tone, black (which would follow those bars), then a slate from text, a file (which needs to be a still file, such as a PICT or TIFF file) or the first clip's name as selected from the pop-up menu, then another option for black to follow the slate, and a countdown. There is an entry field next to each of these items for you to change the lengths of most of these elements except the Countdown. You can change the Countdown using your own QuickTime movie.
The Countdown can either be Final Cut Pro's built-in countdown or a custom one created from a file you select from the pop-up menu. In the case of the built-in countdown, the sequence begins 2 seconds after the countdown's last visible frame, so it's important to start your sequence on the first frame of the Timeline window when you use a countdown. If there is space in the Timeline window before the sequence starts, unless you have selected the actual start by setting an In and Out point for its playback, you record black video for the duration of this open space.
When you select File for the countdown's playback, a button with a file folder on it allows you to select the QuickTime movie file of your choice for this function. A custom countdown can be created for this use and stored on your computer in any location. If this QuickTime movie matches your sequence settings, it doesn't need rendering.
Note that you can loop playback, which is great for preparing tapes for trade shows, where you don't want to continually rewind a tape. You can also select how much black will be played between each instance of the repeated program or not. A trailer of black can be added, and a Duration Calculator keeps track of the math for you as you add the different extra options for your videotape to record, allowing you to make sure your tape has room on it for your recording.
After you've set the Leader options the way you want them, click OK. After Final Cut Pro creates the appropriate media files and mixes down your audio (if you have not done this already), a window opens, instructing you to start recording manually to your videotape machine or camera.
If you perform a Mixdown Audio command before you record your program back to tape, Final Cut Pro uses this mixdown when doing a Print to Video or an Edit to Tape. It's very handy to do this first if you record multiple copies of your program, because you don't have to wait for this mixdown each time you record another copy. Performing an audio mixdown (by selecting Sequence, Render Only, Mixdown or by pressing Opt+Cmd+R) also opens up bandwidth and relieves your disk drives of searching for more than one audio file. You'll find that this creates a more reliable playback of your program.