Determining How to Prepare Source Clips for Editing

The steps you need to take to prepare your clips for editing depend on the telecine speed, whether you have NTSC or PAL video, and which frame rate you plan to use for editing.

Your main goals are to:

Note: See Working with 24p Video and 24 fps EDLs for information about working with 24p video.

Choosing an Editing Frame Rate

In general, it’s a good idea to edit at the frame rate at which the picture was originally filmed and recorded. For example, if you film, record, and edit at 24 fps, the audio, the video, and the original sound and picture are at the same rate. When you edit at the same speed at which you filmed and recorded, you can digitize directly from the original sound recordings because the picture and sound are in sync. No adjustments need to be made for synchronization purposes.

There is an exception to this recommendation: in an NTSC environment, where you need to use NTSC equipment and output to NTSC tapes, you may prefer to edit at 23.98 fps because then you can take advantage of the Real-Time Effects pull-down feature in Final Cut Pro that lets you output your 23.98 fps video to an external FireWire device as 29.97 fps video. You can choose from three different pull-down patterns (2:3:2:3, 2:3:3:2, and 2:2:2:4). These pull-down patterns are not available with 24 fps video.

Note: Additionally, Final Cut Pro includes two pull-down options for 24 fps PAL video that allow you to output the 24 fps video to an external FireWire device as 25 fps video.

See Adding Pull-Down to 23.98 fps Video for more information about adding a pull-down using Final Cut Pro. See the Final Cut Pro documentation for more information about using the Real-Time Effects pull-down feature.

Keep in mind that if you record at 24 fps and then convert to 23.98 fps, your video is running at a speed slightly slower than that of the original recording. Because it is slower, it is called pulled down. When video is pulled down, the digitized audio also needs to be pulled down, either by slightly slowing down the playback of the original audio source while digitizing (for example, in the telecine transfer process), or by adjusting the speed of the clip to 99.9 percent after capturing.

Ways You Can Prepare the Source Clips

There are a few different ways to adjust your source clips to the frame rate at which you want to edit:

  • Use specialized hardware to capture at your chosen frame rate: If you have the right equipment, you can use it to convert the frame rate in real time while the clips are captured and adjust the audio speed to match. When you do this, the clips are already in sync and do not require the Cinema Tools Reverse Telecine or Conform feature for frame rate conversion.
  • Use the Reverse Telecine feature: If your clips have the NTSC standard frame rate of 29.97 fps, you can use the Reverse Telecine feature to reverse the 3:2 pull-down that was used to convert the clips to 29.97 fps, thus removing the extra fields created by the pull-down and converting the clips to 23.98 fps or 24 fps. When clips contain both audio and video, the Reverse Telecine feature also adjusts the audio speed so that the audio and video remain in sync after the frame rate is changed.
  • Use the Conform feature: If your clips have the PAL standard frame rate of 25 fps, you can use the Conform feature to convert them to the frame rate at which you want to edit. When clips contain both audio and video, the Conform feature also adjusts the audio speed so that the audio and video remain in sync after the frame rate is changed.

Note: If the audio is separate and not contained in the source clips, you also need to sync audio and video clips and merge them together as one clip in Final Cut Pro. See Synchronizing Separately Captured Audio and Video for more information.