About Device Control Presets

A device control preset is a group of settings (protocol, connection port, frame rate and timecode information) that define how Final Cut Pro controls a device such as a camcorder, VTR, or audio player. Remote control communication between Final Cut Pro and your video deck allows you to log tapes, automatically batch capture multiple clips, and output video to specific portions of a tape. The remote device control connection is also the interface for sending and receiving timecode information between a computer and a video device.

In most cases, creating your own device control preset isn’t necessary. You can usually choose a device control preset whose name matches your equipment. However, if you want precise control over each detail of how your device and Final Cut Pro communicate, you can adjust each device control setting and create your own custom presets.

Viewing Settings for a Device Control Preset

Settings in a device control preset are used during logging, capturing, and output to tape.

To view or edit a device control preset
  1. Choose Final Cut Pro > Audio/Video Settings, then click the Device Control Presets tab.

  2. Click the preset you want to modify, then click Edit.

    Figure. Device Control Preset Editor dialog.

Settings in the Device Control Preset Editor

The following section describes the settings in the Device Control Preset Editor.

  • Name: Enter a name for the preset. This name will appear in the list of available device control presets, available in several places in the application, such as the Log and Capture window and whenever you create an Easy Setup.
  • Description: Enter a brief description, or summary, of what the preset is to be used for. Use this as a convenient reminder of which decks you use the preset for. This can be particularly helpful if you are setting up a system for multiple editors and assistant editors.
  • Protocol: Choose the protocol your camcorder or deck uses. You can choose from the most commonly implemented remote control protocols in the video industry. The two most common are FireWire (for DV devices) and RS-422 (for almost all other professional equipment). RS-422 uses a serial data connection.
    • If you’re using FireWire: Choose Apple FireWire or Apple FireWire Basic, depending on your connected device. The Basic version is a simplified device control protocol for camcorders and decks that aren’t fully compatible with Apple FireWire. Choosing the Basic protocol will not affect the video or audio quality of your captured media.
    • If you’re using serial device control: Choose an option based on the equipment you’re using. To find out which device control protocols are supported, see the documentation that came with the equipment. For more information on serial device control, see Using Serial Device Control.
  • Audio Mapping: This pop-up menu determines how many audio tracks are available in the Audio Insert pop-up menu in the Edit to Tape window. You should choose a track mapping that corresponds to the number of tracks available on your audio or video deck. The options available depend on the device control protocol you’ve selected.
    • If you’re using FireWire: When you’re using one of the FireWire device control presets, the Audio Mapping pop-up menu is not available. All DV devices support two audio tracks at 16-bit resolution, and many support up to four tracks at 12-bit resolution.
    • If you’re using RS-422: Many third-party video or audio recording devices are capable of insert editing more than two tracks of audio when using RS-422 device control. The Audio Mapping pop-up menu does not automatically detect the number of audio tracks your video or audio recording device is capable of recording to, so you need to manually choose an audio mapping for your deck. Check the documentation that came with your video or audio recording device for information on the number of audio inputs it supports. For more information about when to use audio mapping, see Using Edit to Tape to Output Multichannel Audio.
  • Time Source: Some tape formats can have more than one kind of timecode track. You can choose which track you want Final Cut Pro to read timecode from, and in the case of LTC and VITC, you can let Final Cut Pro read either one depending on what’s available.
    • LTC: Because LTC is audio, it can be interpreted by a timecode reader even when the tape is fast-forwarding, but it can’t be read when the tape is paused or moving extremely slowly.
    • VITC: VITC can be read at very slow speeds, but it breaks up when fast-forwarding or rewinding.
    • LTC+VITC: This setting is best if your tape has both VITC and LTC. If you choose this setting, Final Cut Pro looks at both timecodes so that accurate timecode can be read no matter what speed the tape is playing (LTC is used for normal and high-speed playback; VITC is used for slow motion and pause).
    • Timer: A clock-based counter. This option is useful for decks that support device control but not timecode, such as some VHS decks.
    • DV Time: Choose this when capturing or outputting to a DV device.
  • Port: Choose the port to which your device control cable is connected. If you’re using DV timecode, this option is not available, because FireWire is used automatically. If you’re using serial device control rather than DV device control, choose the port that you have connected to your serial device control. This may be your built-in modem port, or a USB-to-serial adapter connected to a USB port.
  • Frame Rate: Choose the timecode frame rate of the video you’ll be capturing, such as 29.97 fps for NTSC, 25 fps for PAL, 59.94 fps for DVCPRO HD 720p, and so on.
  • Default Timecode: This option affects the timecode mode (drop frame or non-drop frame) of fields in the Log and Capture window when no device is connected, or before a tape begins playing. Once a tape is playing, Final Cut Pro determines the timecode mode from the tape, not this pop-up menu.

    The timecode mode chosen here is useful when you log clips without a tape in your VTR. Before you press play on the deck, Final Cut Pro doesn’t know what the timecode mode is on the tape, so it uses the default timecode.

    When no device is connected, you can change the timecode mode of the In and Out point and Timecode Duration fields by Control-clicking these fields in the Log and Capture window and choosing a default timecode mode.

  • Use Deck Search Mechanism: Select this option to use a deck’s internal search mechanism to cue a tape to a specific timecode value, if available. Decks with serial device control may have this option. Do not select this option if your deck has problems moving the playhead to a specified timecode value during capture. For more information, see the documentation that came with your video equipment. This option is not available for DV devices.
    Figure. Device Control Preset Editor dialog showing the Capture Offset field.
  • Capture Offset: Because timecode and video are often captured by Final Cut Pro via two separate channels (device control connection and video input, respectively), there may be a small, but consistent, offset between when a video frame and a timecode number are captured to a media file. You must calibrate your timecode by determining its frame offset from the video and entering it in this field. For more information, see Determining and Entering the Timecode Offset.

    Note: This is not an issue when you capture DV video via FireWire, since both timecode and video data are transferred via the same FireWire cable.

  • Handle Size: This setting only has an affect when you batch capture clips. The value in this field tells Final Cut Pro to automatically capture additional footage, or handles, at the head and tail of each batch-captured clip. For more information about batch capturing, see Capturing Video from Tape.
  • Playback Offset: This option allows you to compensate for latency between Final Cut Pro device control (the number in the Current Timecode field) and your video interface output, since some video interfaces take some time to process the video signal. This is only an issue when using separate connections for device control and video output, such as serial RS-422 device control and a PCI video card.

    Enter a number to compensate for delays between the start of playback and the start of recording on your deck when editing to tape. This is normally set to 0. Enter a positive number to start playback before recording begins; enter a negative number to start playback after recording begins.

    Note: If the first frame is duplicated over several frames when you’re editing to tape, enter the number of duplicated frames in this field to eliminate the problem.

  • Pre-roll and Post-roll: Because VTRs and audio players are mechanical devices, it takes a few seconds for the device’s motor to stabilize and reach a steady speed after starting from a stopped or paused position. The pre-roll time sets how far in advance your camcorder or deck starts playing back your source tape before capture or output. In most cases, the 3 second default is sufficient. Both pre- and post-roll values are used when you click the Play Around Current Frame button in the Log and Capture window, and when you preview an insert edit in the Edit to Tape window before committing the edit to tape.
  • Auto Record and PTV after: Check this box to have Final Cut Pro automatically put your DV camcorder or deck in Record mode when using the Print to Video command. Specify the number of seconds you want Final Cut Pro to wait before going into Record mode and printing to video (after you click OK in the Print to Video dialog). If this option is not selected, when you print to tape, you’re prompted to insert a tape and manually press record on the VTR. This checkbox is also available in the Print to Video dialog.