Working in Final Cut Pro

Decisions you make regarding the telecine transfer and how you work with audio affect how you use Final Cut Pro during the editing process.

Setting the Editing Timebase for Sequences

In Final Cut Pro, you must set the editing timebase for sequences to match the frame rate of the captured clips.

Important: Do not place clips into a sequence if the clips and sequence have different frame rates. If you do, the resulting film list is likely to be inaccurate. For example, if you want to edit at 24 fps, make sure your clips’ frame rates are all set at 24 fps (either by using the Reverse Telecine feature or the Conform feature).

See About Easy Setups and Setting the Editing Timebase and the Final Cut Pro documentation for details about setting the editing timebase for sequences.

Outputting to Videotape When Editing at 24 fps

One of the benefits of editing at 24 fps is that you get a one-to-one relationship between the film and video frames, allowing for very accurate cut lists. A drawback is that you need a 24p VTR to directly record video as 24 fps—you cannot easily record the video on standard NTSC or PAL video equipment. This can be a problem if you want to record a videotape of the edited project, either to show others or to give the negative cutter a visual reference to use along with the cut list, but there are solutions:

  • If you’re working with NTSC video: You can use the pull-down insertion feature in Final Cut Pro to apply a pull-down pattern to the video, thus outputting it at 29.97 fps. See Pull-Down Patterns You Can Apply to 23.98 fps Video for details. There are also third-party cards and applications that can perform a 3:2 pull-down on the video, allowing it to run at the NTSC 29.97 fps rate.
  • If you’re working with PAL video: If you know that you will want to record a videotape when finished, it’s easiest to edit at 25 fps (with the film having been sped up to maintain the one-to-one relationship).

Using Effects

Final Cut Pro provides extensive effects capabilities, including common film effects such as dissolves, wipes, speed changes, and text credits. Keep in mind that the video output of Final Cut Pro is not intended to be transferred to film, and these effects must be created by a facility specializing in opticals, or created digitally using high-resolution scans of footage to be composited. See Using Effects, Filters, and Transitions for more information, including an outline of the basic workflow for including effects and transitions in your digitally edited film.