Opening Final Cut Pro and Choosing Your Initial Settings

The first time you open Final Cut Pro after installing the software, you’re prompted to choose an Easy Setup (a collection of settings that determines what format you want to capture and edit) and a scratch disk (the hard disk where you’ll store your captured media files).

Choosing an Easy Setup

Final Cut Pro comes with predefined Easy Setups based on the most common video formats and devices, such as DV NTSC and DV PAL. The Easy Setup you choose applies to all new projects and sequences until you choose another Easy Setup.

If you always use the same type of camcorder or video deck, you may never have to change your Easy Setup. If you do change the device or the format you are using for capture and output, you should choose a matching Easy Setup.

To choose an Easy Setup
  1. Choose Final Cut Pro > Easy Setup.

    Note: If this is the first time you’ve opened Final Cut Pro, the Easy Setup window appears automatically after the application opens.

  2. From the Format pop-up menu, choose a format that matches the footage you want to work with. You can select one of the following:

    • A video system, such as NTSC, PAL, or high definition (HD)

    • A specific codec, such as DV or HDV

  3. Click the Use pop-up menu to see all of the Easy Setups related to your choice in the Format pop-up menu.

    You can further refine the list by choosing a specific frame rate from the Rate pop-up menu.

  4. Choose an Easy Setup from the Use pop-up menu.

    Figure. Easy Setup window showing Easy Setup options and the Use pop-up menu.

    Note: Make sure you choose a device control preset that uses FireWire so Final Cut Pro can control your camcorder or deck. Both the DV-NTSC and DV-PAL Easy Setups use a FireWire device control preset. For more information, see Device Control Settings and Presets.

  5. Click Setup.

The corresponding capture, sequence, and device control presets are loaded, as well as A/V device settings.

The selected Easy Setup applies to all new projects and sequences. Settings for existing sequences do not change. For additional information about Easy Setups, see Audio/Video Settings and Easy Setups.

If this is the first time you’re setting up Final Cut Pro, you’ll now need to specify your scratch disk.

Specifying Scratch Disks

A scratch disk is a hard disk, internal or external to your computer, where Final Cut Pro stores captured digital video and audio, as well as rendered media files created during editing. (Rendering is the process of creating temporary video and audio render files for portions of your sequence that Final Cut Pro cannot play in real time.) By default, Final Cut Pro uses the hard disk on which the application is installed.

You use the Scratch Disks tab in the System Settings window to choose where you want to save the video and audio files that you capture and the render and cache files that Final Cut Pro creates. You can also specify other settings related to the size of captured and exported files and the minimum available space allowed on scratch disks.

To specify one or more scratch disks and associated settings
  1. Choose Final Cut Pro > System Settings, then click the Scratch Disks tab.

    If this is the first time you’ve opened Final Cut Pro, this window appears automatically after you’ve chosen an Easy Setup.

    Figure. System Settings window showing the Scratch Disks tab options.
  2. To specify a disk or a folder on a hard disk as a scratch disk:

    1. Click Set.

    2. In the dialog that appears, locate and select the disk you want to use.

      Only connected external disks or installed internal disks are listed. If your hard disk doesn’t appear, make sure that it’s connected properly and correctly initialized and mounted. For more information, see the documentation that came with your computer, your hard disk, or your disk-formatting software.

    3. Click Select (the button includes the name of the disk you selected).

      The specified disk is listed next to the Set button, along with the amount of available disk space.

  3. To capture video and audio to separate files, select the Capture Audio and Video to Separate Files checkbox.

    Note: For capturing DV media, it’s usually best to leave this checkbox unselected. For more information, see Capturing Video and Audio Separately.

  4. Select the checkboxes corresponding to the type of files you want to store on each scratch disk: Video Capture, Audio Capture, Video Render, and Audio Render.

  5. To choose a folder where Final Cut Pro will automatically save copies of your project for backup purposes:

    1. Click Set next to Autosave Vault.

    2. In the dialog that appears, locate and find the disk you want to use, then click Choose.

  6. Specify additional settings for capturing and exporting files:

    • Minimum Allowable Free Space On Scratch Disks: Enter a value to set the minimum space you want to keep available on a scratch disk. The default value here is usually sufficient. If you have limited scratch disk space, you may want to set this to the amount of disk space you want available for render files. If you use most of your disk space for captured clips, you may run out of space when rendering.
    • Limit Capture/Export File Segment Size To: Select this option only if you’re capturing or exporting clips that may be used on other systems with a file size limitation. Any files that are larger than the limit entered here (which defaults to 2 GB) are written as separate files, in which the end of one file contains a reference to the next (so the first file appears to be a continuous file).
    • Limit Capture Now To: This option limits the duration of media files captured using the Capture Now command. For more information, see Limiting the Duration of the Capture Now Process.
To remove a scratch disk
  1. Choose Final Cut Pro > System Settings, then click the Scratch Disks tab.

  2. Click Clear next to the scratch disk you no longer want to use.

About Scratch Disk Capture Order

Final Cut Pro lets you specify up to 12 scratch disks at one time. Final Cut Pro always uses the disk with the most space first. When that disk is full, Final Cut Pro uses the disk with the next most available space, and then the next one, and so on, until all disks are full.

When Scratch Disks Become Unavailable

Scratch disks you’ve set can become unavailable for a number of reasons: they might be turned off, disconnected, or temporarily unmounted. Also, if the scratch disk folder you selected has been moved, deleted, or renamed, Final Cut Pro might not be able to find it.

When you open Final Cut Pro and one or more of your scratch disk folders cannot be found, a dialog appears with three options:

  • Quit: Lets you quit without changing the scratch disk preferences.
  • Set Scratch Disks: Opens the Scratch Disks tab in the System Settings window so that you can change the current set of scratch disks. Any disks that are missing are removed from this list. You must choose at least one scratch disk to continue.
  • Check Again: Allows you to reconnect or start up your scratch disk, wait for it to mount, and then proceed as usual.

Assigning Search Folders for Reconnecting Media Files

After you specify which volumes and folders you want to use to capture media, you may want to assign these same locations as search folders for the Reconnect Files dialog. This allows Final Cut Pro to limit its search for media files if they become offline. For more information about assigning search folders, see Choosing Settings and Preferences. For more information about the Reconnect Files dialog, see Reconnecting Clips and Offline Media.