Offline/Online Editing Workflows

The offline/online editing process in Final Cut Pro consists of the following steps:

  1. Stage 1: Setting Up and Ingesting Media at Reduced Quality

    You can log and ingest your footage directly to offline-quality media files. Alternatively, you can log and ingest your footage at full quality, and then use the Media Manager to create reduced-quality media files for offline editing. The latter method is useful if you want to have both full-quality and reduced-quality media for two different systems simultaneously.

  2. Stage 2: Editing with Offline-Quality Media Files

    You edit just as you would with any other footage. Because you are using reduced-quality footage, you can fit much more footage on your hard disk and use a portable computer editing system.

  3. Stage 3: Creating a Sequence for Reingesting Media at Full Quality

    When you finish editing your reduced-quality sequence, you use the Media Manager to create a copy with full-quality settings. For this step, you choose the Create Offline option in the Media pop-up menu.

    Important: It is important to understand the difference between clips and media files when performing this step. This option creates a new sequence with new sequence clips at full quality, but no new media files are created. Once you have a sequence with full-quality settings, you can reingest your media files at full quality. Also, the word offline in the Create Offline option actually refers to creating clips whose media files are offline, and doesn’t actually relate to the offline/online editing process. For more information, see Clips Described by Their Properties.

    You can restrict your new sequence clips so that only the media necessary to create your finished edit is required, instead of the entire length of the original media files. This saves time and disk space when you reingest.

    If you are doing online editing on a non-Final Cut Pro editing system, you need to export your sequence to a project interchange format such as an EDL, AAF, or the Final Cut Pro XML Interchange Format. Third-party plug-ins are available for converting Final Cut Pro projects directly to other nonlinear editing system formats.

    At this stage, you also export your audio to an audio interchange format, such as OMF, or separate audio files for audio mixing in a separate application.

  4. Stage 4: Reingesting Necessary Media at Full Quality

    You open the full-quality sequence on a Final Cut Pro editing system capable of reingesting and finishing your project at full quality, and then ingest your footage.

    Note: Post-production professionals use the term conform to describe Stages 3 and 4. In other words, you are “conforming” the media to the highest available quality of the source media.

  5. Stage 5: Adding Final Color Correction, Effects, Transitions, and Titles

    Once you have full-quality footage, you can use Color to accurately grade and color correct and use Motion to add final titles and effects. At the end of this process, you render your effects in preparation for output. Your final audio mix is created in Final Cut Pro or Soundtrack Pro, or the audio mix is imported from a separate audio application.

  6. Stage 6: Outputting Your Project

    You output or export your final sequence as you would with any other project.

    You can output your finished program to videotape or send it to Compressor for transcoding. You can also use Share to quickly create and deliver output media files in iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, MobileMe, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and YouTube formats.

    • For more information about outputting to tape, see Preparing to Output to Tape.

    • For more information about sending to Color, see the Color User Manual, available in Color Help.

    • For more information about Share, see Using Share.

    • For more information about sending to Compressor, see the Compressor User Manual, available in Compressor Help.