90 Percent of Problems are Cable Problems

Most people assume the worst when their edit system starts acting up. If you’re getting a signal or device control problem, it might not be your machine (or even your software). A $10 cable can tear down an entire edit session. Follow these steps:

  1. Shut down the computer to avoid any improper dismounting of media drives.
    2 Isolate the suspected “problem” device.
  2. Be sure to reseat both ends of the cable.
    4 If that doesn’t work, try swapping out the cable.
  3. Continue to add devices until the problem recurs. Then repeat this cycle.

You might be surprised how many times this works.

Remember, there’s more than just FireWire cables; there are USB cables, RS-422 cables, monitor cables and extensions, and fiber-optic cables. Even your audio and video cables (RCA, BNC, XLR) could be culprits. “What, no video? Oops, my RCA came unplugged.”


Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.

What’s That Exclamation Point?

A lot of new users call us up asking about that exclamation point or nice green check mark on their image. We tell them that Final Cut Pro has an Artificial Intelligence engine, and it’s approving of the shot or edit. Or, if there is an exclamation point, then there’s content that’s inappropriate for people younger than 18. They thank us and hang up the phone.

After about five minutes, they call us back and ask if we were pulling their legs. Well, Final Cut Pro does have a secret AI engine. If we told you more, we’d be put on double-secret probation, but the exclamation point and checkbox actually mean something

They’re used to determine if your video is broadcast safe/legal. An exclamation point means you’re not broadcast safe, and a green checkbox or one with an up arrow means you’re okay. Now how did this get turned on? Well, the keyboard shortcut for this is Control + Z, so people often accidentally hit it when trying to do an Undo (Command + Z) or a Fit to Window (Shift + Z).


Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.

Better Drop Shadows

04-06.Better Drop2
When placing type against a moving background, a contrasting edge is a necessity. This is often accomplished by using a drop shadow. But sometimes a drop shadow isn’t enough.

1 Use Outline Text from the Generators well.

2 Set the line width to a narrower setting (somewhere between 10–25).

3 Crank the line softness up (40 or higher).

4 Combine with a Drop Shadow from the Motion tab.

5 Reduce the Offset value so the shadow is tighter. Increase the Opacity and Softness to taste.


Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.

Inside Out (Marks You Need)


A fundamental keyboard shortcut is using I to mark an In point and O to mark an Out point. In fact, three-point editing is the key to quickly (and accurately) assembling your rough cut. Want to really speed your way through the Viewer and Canvas? Try the following advanced keyboard Options. Combine the modifier key with I for in or O for out.

Shift – Go to In Go to Out Quickly jump to the set mark.
Useful for checking points before making an edit.

Option – Clear In Clear Out
Quickly clear a mark to change an edit. You don’t need to clear a mark if you’re going to make a new mark.

Control – Set video In point Set video Out point
Useful for performing a split edit. Only visible if a separate audio In point is set.

Command + Option – Set audio In point Set audio Out point
Allows you to make a split edit where the audio and picture change at different points.


Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.

Hum Remover

Ch09_Hum Remover

This is a great little filter to remove AC noise from a track. Usually this happens because a power line was running parallel (as opposed to perpendicular) to your audio cable when you recorded your scene.

  • Leave the frequency set to 60 (as in 60 cycles) if you were shooting in the U.S. or set it to 50 if you were shooting in a country where the power is 50 cycles.
  • Q adjusts the filter resonance. Higher values result in a narrower but stronger resonance, which limits the frequencies affected by the filter.
  • Gain is essentially the sound pressure level (a.k.a. how loud the audio is).

What about all those harmonics? Think of them as reflections or echoes of the original 60-cycle hum. Use only the harmonics you need because you may start removing frequencies you want in your audio.


Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.

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