Methods for Output to Tape in Final Cut Pro

There are three main ways you can output your video from Final Cut Pro to tape:

Edit to Tape

The Edit to Tape command supports both assemble and insert editing, which are two forms of traditional videotape editing (these are not related to overwrite or insert editing in the Timeline). The Edit to Tape command requires device control to remotely start and stop the VTR. For more information about assemble and insert editing, see Assemble and Insert Editing Using Edit to Tape.

Edit to Tape is the only command that supports insert editing. Use this option when you are creating a master tape from a Final Cut Pro online system, when you want to replace a single shot on a preexisting master tape, or when you want to replace specific tracks (such as several audio tracks) on tape.

Print to Video

In most cases, the Print to Video command doesn’t use device control, so it is useful when your deck can’t be controlled remotely (such as a VHS deck). You can’t specify timecode In and Out points for recording on the tape, so you can’t use this method for output to a precise location on your tape. You also can’t choose which audio or video tracks are recorded on tape—they are all recorded.

Note: Some camcorders and VTRs can be triggered to record automatically as soon as you begin the Print to Video operation. You need to connect a FireWire (for DV) or RS-422 device control cable between your computer and video deck to use this option.

The Print to Video command allows you to begin recording wherever the tape is currently cued, and without timecode accuracy. You also can’t set a precise Out point on the tape, so there is almost always a break in the video signal on tape at the Out point after recording. To prevent your movie from cutting off abruptly as soon as it ends, you should include some black after your program, either by adding slug to the end of your sequence or by including some trailing black, which is an option available in the Print to Video dialog.

If you don’t require a precise In or Out point on the tape, then Print to Video is generally the best option. You can even use Print to Video with a completely blank tape, since it doesn’t require timecode or video signal information from the tape before it begins recording. Unless you need to output your video to a specific timecode number on tape, or replace a shot on a tape that already has video on it, Print to Video should suit your needs.

Record to Tape Directly from the Timeline

This method allows you to record whatever signal is currently playing on your editing system, regardless of the quality. Simply connect the video output of your computer (FireWire or third-party video interface) to a VTR or camcorder, turn on external video monitoring in Final Cut Pro, and press the Record button. Whatever happens in the Timeline is recorded to tape. This is useful for recording rough cuts directly from the Timeline or when you want to record any real-time adjustments you make in the Viewer, Canvas, or Timeline.

This method is convenient for quick output at any time, but may display low-quality video and unrendered sections of the Timeline. The quality of video output is based on the real-time settings of your editing system and the current Timeline, so high-quality video is not guaranteed. Use this method to quickly create work-in-progress tapes when you aren’t concerned about output at the highest quality.