Here's a quick and dirty little series on the very basics of non-linear editing. If you're not using FCP, don't worry, every ...
non-linear editing software package functions in more or less the same way.
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Non-Linear Editing Basics in Final Cut Pro
Hey, are you making a movie or what? Maybe you’re too freaked out by all the technology to even start. But come on, don’t be a vain. It couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is grab a camera, shoot some footage, get that footage into your computer and mess around with it a bit and export a DVD or something. It’s so easy.
The first part is really basic. Any idiot can get their hands on a camera that’s decent enough to make a movie. Whether it’s attached to their phone or there’s even the compact video thingy that are on the rage and they’re pretty affordable or you can even borrow the camera from your communications class in school. And then you go shoot some stuff, whatever.
But then, and this is the part that seems to freak people out. You have to edit your footage in a computer. And that’s what I’m here to show you today. So buckle up friends because here comes part one of the beginner’s guide to editing video in a computer using in our case, Final Cut Pro.
Naturally, you’re going to need a computer that has non-linear editing software. Now, once upon a time here in the substream.com, I did a video about non-linear editing and you should probably go back to check that out. But rest assured that pretty much all computer software that does editing does so in a non-linear fashion.
More on this in part two. So you have a computer and you have the software installed. Great! I just happened to be using Final Cut Pro on an Apple Macintosh computer system. But trust me, most programs will function in more or less the same way. So use what I do as a guide and apply it to your own situation.
First, open up the program, create a new project or movie and then save that sucker. What this does is it automatically creates folders in your computer where your footage and your project files are going to wait.
Then you have to figure out what kind of camera you’re using and what kind of footage it can shoot. This camera shoots on DV tapes and since we’re in North America, the video standard is NTSC. This camera, however, shoots HDV footage, which is kind of different even though the tapes you put in it are exactly the same. Either way, I’m going to have to go in the Final Cut Pro’s audio/video settings and adjust the capture preset accordingly.
This tells Final Cut Pro exactly what kind of footage it’s going to get once I get going. Since I’m shooting DV and it’s NTSC, I’m going to choose DV-NTSC 48 kilohertz, which just means that the audio sampling rate is 48 kilohertz. No big deal. And since I’m connecting the camera to the computer by way of Firewire cable, I’ll set the device control preset to Firewire NTSC. And of course, I’m going to click “Okay”.
Chances are you’re going to have to play around with these settings until you find a combination that works. Maybe your camera has different specifications that aren’t easily determinable. Just do a quick Google search on the making model of your camera and you should figure it out eventually.
Once you saved your captured presets in Final Cut Pro, you can get started. Plug your camera in, change it to the VCR setting then open up “Log and Capture” in Final Cut Pro. You’ll see a little window popup that allows you to control playback using your computer, which is handy. You’re practically ready to go. But before you actually get started, you have to tell Final Cut Pro what to do with the footage once it’s captured. It's going to take the stuff that’s on your tape and turn it into little tiny movie files and shove them somewhere on your computer.
And since you’re the boss of this scenario, you need to tell it where to shove those files. So in capture settings, you need to set what’s called the scratch disk. Just pick a folder on your computer where all your footage, your render files, and all the other junk that your project will create is going to live.
Once you do that, then you’re ready to go. Now, of you want to get fancy, you can watch all the footage and based on your camera assistance notes, you can select which shots you actually want to capture and only capture those by inputting the in and out points of just those shot and then doing what’s called a batch capture. But for purpose of this demonstration, we’re just going to capture the whole shebang. And how you do that is just by hitting “Play” and the clicking on “Capture Now”. Easy!
Now the computer is basically making a digital copy of your footage and turning it into a handy dandy movie file that you can use to edit. Once it’s done, you’ll see the clip appear as an icon in your browser or project menu. Now you’re ready to start cutting. See, it wasn’t so hard, was it?
Do you want to know what’s even easier? Devices like this little video camera or your phone captures footage onto a hard drive or flash memory so that there’s no -- This means that when you plug them into your computer, you can already see the different clips as digital movie files, which you can just drag and drop into your project folder easy-peasy.
Holy crap, the future! So now you’re ready to start cutting, which we’ll get to in part two of our series. So check back because it’s going to be probably the best part of this series. Bye.