Final Cut Pro is resolution-independent . That means that it can work with DV, Photo JPEG, and quite a few other formats, including NTSC and PALeven in uncompressed formats right through to various HDTV formats.
The more third-party equipment you add to the software, the more video formats FCP will be set up to handle, but it comes ready to accept and work great with DV and a Photo JPEG format that FCP calls OfflineRT, as long as you have a G4 and a FireWire port. In fact, the files you are using for this chapter are OfflineRT, so you need to learn how to set up sequence presets correctly and so forth just so you don't render everything you put in the sequences you are building.
Because of this resolution independence, you need to tell Final Cut Pro what format you will work in. The strategy to think about here is that you don't want to do much, if any, rendering, which in this case is the processing and render file creation that the computer must perform to change the images from one file format to another. In other words, if you set your capture presets to be one format and your sequence presets to be another, you have to render each edit as you make it in the Timeline. This isn't too efficient.
Even if you eventually will compress the video to another format for another medium, such as the web, you should edit your project in its native format for best results . If you are editing from DV material, you want to select the capture and sequence settings to be DV. If you are editing another format, you need to do the samematch your sequence settings to your capture presets.
If you are working with more than one source material format, choose the format that the majority of the source material is in.
Most users use DV as source material. The settings for this are presets already included in FCP 4. They are the DV NTSC (or PAL) Capture and Sequence presets. If you set up your system this way, you should be able to quickly start using your software for DV work. For the tutorial files included with this book, though, the presets should be OfflineRT NTSC for your sequence settings.
Preferences are settings files that store how you last worked with their associated application. This includes things such as capture presets, sequence presets, Favorite effects, media disk (scratch disk) settings, and more. Final Cut Pro stores these files and opens a new project with the settings as each OS X user left them last as the default setting. These files are stored in User>Library>Preferences>Final Cut Pro User Data>Final Cut 4.0 Preferences.
These files are changed each time you change a setting or preset. Each time you start Final Cut Pro, it is set up the same way you last saved it. This behavior doesn't present a problem or require any action on your part after you've set up your "normal" working environment, unless you're getting ready to work on a new project, which might need to be handled differently from the previous one you worked on.
Let's say you last worked on a project that was DV NTSC, and now you want to work on a project that is based on a Photo JPEG compression such as OfflineRT. You need to check your Audio/Video Settings to be sure that everything is set up to be what you need it to be. For example, you'll want to set a capture preset to capture OfflineRT-quality media files and create sequences that match these settings.
Another problem might arise if you open Final Cut Pro after a different editor has been working with the same computer and the same user's account in OS X. Another editor could have set up the preference files differently from the way you need to work with them. If you work in this sort of environment, check your settings each time you begin working on a current or new project. Otherwise, you could do things such as capture to the wrong scratch disk or type of media file.
Different preference files can be saved for each individual user if you set up a Mac OS X user account for each user. The preferences for each user are found in User>Library>Preferences>Final Cut Pro User Data>Final Cut Pro 4.0 Preferences. These preference files can become corrupted or might occasionally need to be reset to the factory settings. Simply trashing them from the desktop results in the factory settings being reestablished when you launch Final Cut Pro again.
Final Cut Pro has many settings for capturing and editing and interfacing your video equipment.
A setting adjusts a specific feature of Final Cut Pro, such as a sequence's frame rate.
A preset is a predefined group of settings that configure a particular function in Final Cut Pro. There are three types of presets: sequence presets, capture presets, and device control presets. A device control preset consists of approximately 10 settings for controlling your video equipment. When you select a device control preset, all 10 settings are automatically selected.
To change a preset, you change the settings in that preset.
An Easy Setup is a group of settings that includes all three presets plus the settings found in the A/V Devices tab. When you choose an Easy Setup, Final Cut Pro automatically adjusts all settings of all presets so that you don't have to adjust them individually.
To change your Easy Setup, select Easy Setup from the Final Cut Pro menu and pull up either a predefined set that comes with Final Cut Pro or a custom Easy Setup you've created.