Before you begin to capture material, consider your project specifications. Determine what you will capture, by complete tape or by selection.
Determine the codec, and remember to calculate the storage space requirements. (See Lesson 9 for more information on these calculations.) Also, test the first captured media files to ensure they are at the quality and resolution you intended.
The following strategies have been gathered through experience and discussions as common practices. There are numerous variations and personal preferences to the steps listed. Some of the following methods may work best when your project has specific circumstances, but use these examples as starting points and veer from the steps as appropriate.
Planning and Capturing
Source material may arrive on two different mediafor instance, video tapes and DAT tapes. This is an area where many people make small mistakes that adversely impact the final delivery, so we will first detail the process of capturing picture and sound separately, then cover synching them in Final Cut Pro.
Source material may also arrive on a single mediumfor example, when picture and sound were recorded simultaneously on tape or if sync was achieved during the telecine process. Toward the end of this lesson, we will cover single-source capture.
New Project Settings
When you create a new project, you can either use an appropriate Easy Setup, or you can independently set the sequence, capture, and device control presets along with the video/audio playback. A preset in Final Cut Pro is a preconfigured group of settings. For example, the device control preset has 12 settings that control your video deck. When you select a device control preset, all 12 settings are automatically configured. When you select an Easy Setup, Final Cut Pro automatically configures the settings of all the presets. The Easy Setup stores the sequence, capture, device control, and audio/video settings.
The Easy Setup is a great shortcut for many of the standard project configurations. However, if you need more granular control, and you configure an alternate sequence preset, save the modified setup as an Easy Setup so you can recall the settings in other areas of Final Cut Pro, such as the Sequence Settings window.
Here's how to modify an Easy Setup preset:
Capture Media by Complete Tape
If your picture and sound are recorded on different media, you will need to capture each one separately. (See Lesson 2 for information on sound capture mediums.) Often, the easiest method for syncing picture and sound can be logging and capturing an entire source tape.
When you capture an entire source tape, you will capture one long clip instead of logging and capturing a tape as individual clips. Syncing picture and audio from an entire tape clip is sometimes easier and faster because the sync points in smaller clips can be unclear. This is especially true if you are not supplied with any sound recording location notes. Sound recording location notes will often identify start/stop timecodes and scene or take numbers along with general comments about the quality of a recording. Without this information, capturing the entire tape and breaking it down inside Final Cut Pro is often easier, especially since you will have the audio waveform to assist you visually. The same applies to picture. If there are no location notes or SMPTE clapboards, finding the sync points by capturing an entire tape will often be easier.
After capturing entire tapes, the long clips will be broken into more manageable lengths through marking, subclipping, and merging.
Here's how to log and capture an entire tape:
For picture or audio delivered as files, see the "Importing Media" section later in this lesson.
Speed Clip Logging
If your final sound is recorded with picture or transferred and synced during the telecine, preparing your media is much easier.
Even though your audio and picture are synced on tape, whether to capture your media as one long clip or smaller clips is more a matter of personal preference. Generally, editors will log a pre-synced tape prior to capture. The following exercise will increase your logging speed.
It's a good idea to get into the habit of saving your project. Press Cmd-S to save your project before and after capturing.
The Batch Capture dialog opens.
From the Batch Capture dialog, you can verify your capture settings and capture multiple clips at once. The Batch Capture dialog is useful because it allows you to view the total media time and disk space required based on the duration of the selected clips and the codec setting in your capture preset.
Marking Sync Points
If you have captured the entire source tape, each clip is one long file. In order to make it manageable for editing and syncing, you need to break it down into smaller segments. The segments can be scenes, like cinéma vérité, or individual takes a lá script style. The beginning of either a scene or a take is a natural place to begin syncing because the picture and audio probably began roughly at the same place. The method of location recording will determine how you identify sync. If the location sound was recorded with a SMPTE clapboard, or the timecode of the source video matches the timecode of the audio, then your syncing process will be more straightforward.
If your picture was recorded with a clapboard, you would identify the sync point as the moment the clapboard closed. If your picture was recorded with event sync, like a hand clap, you would identify the sync point as the moment the hand closed. If your location sound was recorded without identifiable sync references like timecode or event sync, then your sync point will vary depending on your given set of circumstances. However, the goal is to find a moment in the picture that will be easily identifiable in the audio.
The best way to begin is to load the master clip into the Viewer and use markers. Markers allow you to easily add a new name value to a clip. If a marker is used in a sequence or copied to another location in the Browser, it becomes a subclip. A subclip made from a marker keeps the name of the marker and adds the name of the master clip as an appendage.
A marker placed on a master clip
After you move or copy the marker, it maintains a name reference to the master clip.
Remember, Final Cut Pro can link a clip to its QuickTime file on the hard drive even if you change the clip name in the project file after capturing.
You need to mark only the head of each take. The end of a marker is either the frame before the next marker or the end of the clip, whichever comes first. If you have any material you don't want, such as a long tail at the end of the tape, simply place a marker at the head of the unused portion, and name it something like long tail.
Let's cut down a single video and audio clip by applying a marker to the closed clapboard in the picture and find the audio event that matches. If you had captured an entire tape, you would continue to place markers on the long clip to identify all the sync points.
Prepare a Sequence for Combining Picture and Audio
After marking the clips, you will create a sequence that can act as a base for both the picture and audio clips.
Often, editors will match the video source-tape timecode to their sequence timecode to visually help identify a loss of sync. You can check the integrity of your clip timecode by placing the playhead over any given frame of video and make sure the sequence timecode matches the clip timecode.
Follow these steps to match the video source to sequence timecode:
It's common to name the sync sequence by the source tape name. This is especially useful if you plan to use the sequence not just as a means of syncing the clips but also as an assembly of synced clips. The sequence then quickly identifies the original tape.
Once you have prepared a sequence, you are ready to edit the marked clips. Final Cut Pro will automatically create subclips from the markers.
Once you've edited the picture and audio into the sequence, check the synchronized result. Checking sync will require you to play some, if not all, of every scene. Play the sequence, find dialogue or an identifiable picture and audio event, and make sure it looks and sounds correct. If you recognize a loss of sync, simply slip the video or audio by one frame at a time and play back the result. Continue slipping the video or audio until the clips look in sync.
Merged clips are a fantastic resource because they can link to multiple QuickTime media files while maintaining a single clip icon inside Final Cut Pro. You can merge 1 video clip with up to 24 audio clips. This is a perfect solution for projects shot on dual recording systems such as film and DAT.
Before actually merging two or more clips, you first need to decide your method. You have five options: merge by lining up the In or Out points, Timecode, Auxiliary Timecode 1, or Auxiliary Timecode 2. If you slated all your shots at the beginning with a clapboard, you could use the In points to line up the shots. If you tail slated the shots, you could use the Out points. If the timecode of your video and audio clips was synchronized during the shoot, you would choose timecode to merge and sync. The method you choose depends on your project conditions; in this example, you will merge using the In points.
If you merge using In or Out points, trim your clips in the Timeline or Viewer as needed to make sure you line up the In or Out points so that the merge will work appropriately.
Here's how to merge clips from the Timeline:
Merging clips directly from the Timeline is convenient, but there will be times when you will need to merge clips directly from the Browser. Merging clips from the Browser allows you to choose from multiple sync points.
All merged clips maintain their relationship to the individual QuickTime files, source tape, and timecode.
There may be instances when you can import some, if not all, of your media directly from files. If you're fortunate, a lab or post facility will do the capturing for you overnight, and you will simply import the files. You can import individual files, multiple files, an entire folder or a group of folders. Alternately, you can drag files or folders from the Finder window directly to the Final Cut Pro Browser or bin.
Import Files by Other Methods
If you import files from any removable storage media (CD, DVD), make sure you first copy the files to your media hard drive. If you don't, the clips will become offline when you remove the CD or DVD from your drive.