If you are upgrading from an earlier version of Final Cut Pro, you must have purchased a full version of Final Cut Pro in any release. When you install the upgrade, you'll be asked to enter the serial number of any full version of FCP you have previously purchased.
I strongly suggest that you run Software Update from your System Preferences to make sure you have the very latest versions of QuickTime and Mac OS. Final Cut Pro 4 requires 10.2.5 or later and QuickTime 6.1.1 or later. If Final Cut Pro 4 has an update posted on the Apple web site, be sure to run it. Be sure to check Apple's Final Cut Pro discussion group , or http://www.creativecow.net in the Final Cut Pro forum, or http://www. macfixit .com for reports of any problems or software updates. You never know when a new bug might be introduced with an upgrade that fixes other problems.
In this regard, if you are using any third-party capture card or device, you should check that you have the latest drivers for the device if necessary. DV cameras and video machines don't require this check, but a capture card does.
When you are ready to run Final Cut Pro, check your hardware setup. You need to be able to capture and play back video in the format you are working in.
You might be using a capture card, Io converter, camera, deck, or other A/D converter. If so, you might need to check the literature that came with your equipment for the exact settings you need to use. These capture cards' settings are supplied by the card manufacturers. You can access them by opening the Audio/Video Settings window found on the Final Cut Pro menu or by pressing + +Q. Click the A/V Devices tab and select the appropriate output for your setup.
If you are bringing your video in and out via your computer's FireWire port, you can simply set your playback output to be Apple FireWire NTSC for this tutorial's files. Make sure that your device that converts to and from analog signals, such as a DV camera, is connected to your computer and powered up. You need to restart Final Cut Pro to recognize this FireWire device. Connect cables to the analog outputs of your conversion device (even a DV deck or Digital 8 camera), and run them to your external video monitor's inputs. Don't forget to select the proper input on your monitor for the inputs you are using.
Now that you are running an NLE, you will find that it will serve you well to become fairly computer-savvy. Knowing your software's capabilities is one thing, but not running an optimal system setup will quickly make your editing life an unhappy one.
It's been said that if you are working with state-of-the-art video editing on a computer-based system, you are constantly working in beta software. I tend to believe this is true. Keeping this in mind, a book on OS X and general Mac maintenance is a wise thing to keep around. You really must know your tools hardware- and software-wise to be a competent video editor. Otherwise, you need to work in a facility or environment where a technician is nearby who understands your system's setup. More than one client I've worked with expected me to know all about my tools. When I did, I was definitely admired. Can't have too much of that, now, can you?
Getting to know the most efficient way of utilizing customer support from the manufacturer of any given part of your editing system is something to investigate. Each manufacturer handles customer support differently, and the more you understand a manufacturer's methods , the quicker help can come your way. Remember that luring help with a kind attitude will go a long way toward getting you help quickly. Be sure to visit Apple's online support system at http://www.apple.com/support. It contains thousands of articles on solving hardware and software problems that stem from known issues, or common problems stemming from faulty installation or settings.
If you can't get fast-enough help directly from the manufacturer, another user probably has experienced your problem. The solution might be posted at http://www.creativecow.net in the FCP forum or in Apple's discussion group. The Creative Cow has dedicated forums for AJA, Pinnacle, and Aurora system users and more. You'll find me helping at the Cow and in the discussion group in Apple's support area. I'm always happy to help a new user optimize his or her system for a stable and effective setup.
I suggest that you investigate these sites and become part of the best virtual group of users on the Internet. They offer wonderful free help on learning your system's finer points, and they are very helpful and eager to see that you are editing and not troubleshooting .
It's impossible to cover every scenario or use of Final Cut Pro 4 in one book, but I've tried to write a book that will more than get you well on your way to a lifetime of happy editing. Hang in there. You don't learn how to edit on an NLE overnight. But if you have a desire to learn, I'm confident you will be able to use your software in short order, and have a great time getting there!