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Introduction: Getting Started

Introduction: Getting Started

Welcome to the official Apple Pro training course for Final Cut Pro, Apple's dynamic and powerful non-linear editing package. This book is a comprehensive guide to all versions of Final Cut Pro 4 and HD. It also provides an introduction to three of the programs that come bundled with the application: Soundtrack, LiveType, and Compressor.

Please note that this book was previously published under the title Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro 4. If you previously purchased that book, there is no need to purchase this revision: all the project files and exercises in the previous edition can be used with Final Cut Pro HD. For this edition, we have made minor revisions for the HD interface, but it is otherwise the same book.

Whether you're a seasoned veteran or just getting started in the editing field, Final Cut Pro can serve all your editing needs. So let's get started.

The Methodology

This book is first and foremost a hands-on course. Every exercise in this book is designed to help you begin editing in Final Cut Pro at a professional level as quickly as possible. Each lesson builds on the previous lesson and continues to step you up through the program's functions and capabilities. If you are new to Final Cut Pro, it would be helpful for you to start at the beginning and progress through each lesson in order. If you are familiar with an earlier software version of Final Cut Pro, you can pop into a specific section and focus on that topic, since every lesson is self-contained.

Course Structure

This book was designed to get you up and running with the basic Final Cut Pro editing and trimming functions, then give you a broader understanding of how to customize and use the program for your own purposes, and finally to immerse you in the more advanced features of Final Cut Pro effects and titling. The lessons fall into the following categories:

Lessons 17Basic editing and trimming
Lessons 810Customizing, capturing, importing, and exporting
Lessons 1114Audio mixing, video transitions, Soundtrack composing
Lessons 1518Final Cut Pro effects
Lessons 1920Titling with Final Cut Pro and LiveType
Lesson 21Final outputting

Each lesson begins with a Preparing the Project section where you can see what you will create in that lesson. In addition to the exercises contained within each lesson, most lessons include a section called Project Tasks. Each Project Tasks section gives you an opportunity to stop and practice what you've learned before moving on to new material.

Copying the Final Cut Pro Lesson Files

The Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro HD book comes with a DVD containing the files you will use for each lesson (called project files) as well as files containing sound and visual media (called media files). Each lesson has its own project file, and they are so labeled. In the Media folder, you will find two primary audio/video media file folders titled Sahara and Titanic. In the Music and Sound Effects folders, you will find the music tracks and sound effects used throughout the book. The Exports and Graphics folders are used for specific lessons only. And the Render Files folder holds the transitions, effects, and title files that were rendered for a smoother playback. Once you load the files onto your hard drive, each lesson in the book will guide you in the use of all of the project and media files.

To install the Final Cut Pro Lesson files

The Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro DVD-ROM includes a folder titled FCP4 Book Files. This contains two folders, Lessons and Media. These folders hold the lessons and media files you will need for this course. The important thing is to keep these two folders together in the FCP4 Book Files folder. If you keep them together on your hard drive, you should be able to maintain the original link between the lessons and media files.

Insert the Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro DVD into your CD-DVD drive in your computer.

Drag the FCP4 Book Files folder from the DVD to your hard drive to copy it. The Media folder contains about 3.7 GB of media.

To begin the course, you will open a project file after you have launched Final Cut Pro.

Reconnecting Media

In the process of copying the media from the DVD in this book, you may break a link between the project file and the media file, meaning your audio or video will go offline. If this happens, a window appears asking you to reconnect the project files. Reconnecting the project files is a simple process that is covered more in more depth in Lesson 10, in the “Reconnecting Media” section. But should this happen when opening a Lesson, just follow the steps below.

When the Offline Files window appears, click the Connect/Reconnect button. When the Reconnect Options window appears, click OK.

A Reconnect window appears and one of your missing files is selected.

Make sure the Reconnect All Files in Relative Path box is checked and click Choose.

Continue to click Choose as prompted until reconnection is complete. Final Cut Pro will find your media files, one by one, and reconnect them to the clips in your project.

System Requirements

Before beginning to use Apple Final Cut Pro Apple Pro Training Series, you should have a working knowledge of your computer and its operating system. Make sure that you know how to use the mouse and standard menus and commands and also how to open, save, and close files. If you need to review these techniques, see the printed or online documentation included with your system. For the basic system requirements for Final Cut Pro, please refer to the Final Cut Pro documentation.

About the Apple Pro Training Series

This book is part of the official training series for Apple Pro applications developed by experts in the field. The lessons are designed to let you learn at your own pace. If you're new to Final Cut Pro, you'll learn the fundamental concepts and features you'll need to master the program. If you've been using Final Cut Pro for a while, you'll find that this book covers almost all of the new features found in Final Cut Pro.

Although each lesson provides step-by-step instructions for creating specific projects, there's room for exploration and experimentation. It is recommended that you follow the book from start to finish or at least complete the first seven chapters before jumping around in a haphazard manner. Each lesson concludes with a review section summarizing what you've covered.


Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro HD is not intended as a comprehensive reference manual, nor does it replace the documentation that comes with the application. For comprehensive information about program features, refer to these resources:

  • The Reference Guide. Accessed through the Final Cut Pro Help menu, the Reference Guide contains a complete description of all features.

  • Apple's website: www.apple.com

Apple Pro Certification Program

The Apple Pro Training and Certification Programs are designed to keep you at the forefront of Apple's digital media technology while giving you a competitive edge in today's ever-changing job market. Whether you're an editor, graphic designer, sound designer, special effects artist, or teacher, these training tools are meant to help you expand your skills.

Upon completing the course material in this book, you can become an Apple Pro by taking the certification exam at an Apple Authorized Training Center. Certification is offered in Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro 3, Shake 3, and Logic Pro. Successful certification as an Apple Pro gives you official recognition of your knowledge of Apple's professional applications while allowing you to market yourself to employers and clients as a skilled, pro-level user of Apple products.

To find an Authorized Training Center near you, go to www.apple.com/software/pro/training.

For those who prefer to learn in an instructor-led setting, Apple also offers training courses at Apple Authorized Training Centers worldwide. These courses, which use the Apple Pro Training Series books as their curriculum, are taught by Apple Certified Trainers and balance concepts and lectures with hands-on labs and exercises. Apple Authorized Training Centers for Pro products have been carefully selected and have met Apple's highest standards in all areas, including facilities, instructors, course delivery, and infrastructure. The goal of the program is to offer Apple customers, from beginners to the most seasoned professionals, the highest quality training experience.

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