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About Projects

Project files store disk location information for all the media files used in a program, along with the sequencing information for your edited program plus the settings for special effects applied to any clip in the project. The data stored in a project file is used to re-create the timing, sequencing, and transitions and effects you specify for a particular cut, without altering or changing the storage location of your original source files. (Note: If you haven’t read the sidebar “What Is Nonlinear, Nondestructive Editing?” in Chapter 1, please do so now. It’s key to understanding how Final Cut Express works.)

To get started in Final Cut Express, you create a new project and then start adding clips and sequences to the Browser window as you shape your project. Sequences can be exported independently as movies or clips, but they can’t be saved separately from a project.

To create a new project:

  • Choose File > New Project (Figure 4.3). or press Command-Shift-N.

    Figure 4.3. Choose New Project from the File menu.

    A new project tab appears in the Browser window (Figure 4.4).

    Figure 4.4. The Browser window with a new, untitled project. Sequence 1 appears automatically when you create a new project.

To open a project:

1.
Choose File > Open; or press Command-O.

2.
Locate and select the project file you want to open (Figure 4.5).

Figure 4.5. Locate the project file you want to open.


3.
Click Choose.

To save a project:

  • Choose File > Save Project; or press Command-S.

To save a project with a different name:

1.
Choose File > Save Project As (Figure 4.6); or press Command-Shift-S.

Figure 4.6. Choose Save Project As from the File menu.


2.
In the dialog box, type a name for the project in the Save As field.

3.
Choose a destination folder.

4.
Click Save (Figure 4.7).

Figure 4.7. After you’ve typed the new name for your project, click Save.


To save all open projects:

1.
Choose File > Save All (Figure 4.8); or press Command-Option-S.

Figure 4.8. Choose Save All from the File menu.


2.
If you created one or more new projects that haven’t yet been saved, type a name for the first one in the dialog box.

3.
Choose a destination folder.

4.
Click Save.

Repeat steps 2 through 4 for each new project that you want to save. Previously saved open projects are saved automatically.

Using Save As to Protect Your Work

Opening, modifying, and then saving the same project file day after day increases the chance that your precious project file will become corrupt and unusable.

Use the Save As command to back up your project file every day or so. Save As makes a fresh copy of the current version of your project file.

Give the original project file a version number, revert the name of your fresh duplicate to the base name of your project, and then continue working in the new duplicate version.

FCE automatically creates a new, separate capture folder every time you change the name of your project. For this reason, to avoid the complications that arise from changing the name of your project file (multiple capture folders), you’ll need to add an identifying version number to your older project file and then be sure that your active project file always has the same original name (Figure 4.9).

Figure 4.9. Rename your older project file with an identifying version number and use the original project filename for your fresh copy.


FCE’s vault system, which automatically saves and then archives multiple versions of your project, provides you with a fail-safe backup, but some editors still prefer to retain control over the process. Good habits are hard to break.


To close a project:

Do one of the following:

  • In the Browser, Control-click the project’s tab (Figure 4.10); then choose Close Tab from the shortcut menu (Figure 4.11).

    Figure 4.10. Control-click a project’s tab to bring up the shortcut menu; note the special pointer.


    Figure 4.11. Control-clicking the project’s tab will result in only one choice; choose Close Tab to close the project.


  • In the Browser, click the project’s tab to bring it to the front (Figure 4.12). Then choose File > Close Project.

    Figure 4.12. Click a project’s tab to bring it to the front of the Browser.


  • In the Browser, press Command-W. For all projects you’ve modified, Final Cut Express will ask which projects you want to close.

Tip

  • To close all open projects, close the Browser window.


Viewing and setting project properties

Each project has a set of properties that are saved with it. The project’s properties apply to all sequences in a project and are independent of the project’s Sequence presets.

To view or change the properties of a project:

1.
In the Browser, click the Project tab.

2.
Choose Edit > Project Properties (Figure 4.13).

Figure 4.13. Choose Project Properties from the Edit menu.


3.
In the Project Properties window (Figure 4.14), do any of the following:

  • Display project durations as timecode or as frames. Choosing Frames displays the total number of frames for clips and sequences in the Browser’s Duration column, as well as in the Timeline, Canvas, and Viewer.

  • Set the time mode of all project clips to Source Time (which matches the timecode rate of the clip’s source media file) or Clip Time (which starts with the timecode value of the first frame in the clip, then calculates and displays timecode based on the current frame rate assigned to the clip). Source Time and Clip Time are identical in most cases; a speed-modified clip is an example of a clip whose Source Time and Clip Time do not match.

  • Edit the heading labels for the Comment columns that appear in the Browser window.

    Figure 4.14. You can rename Comment column headings and choose the timecode or frame display format from the Project Properties window.


4.
After you make your changes, click OK.

To revert a project:

1.
Choose File > Revert Project.

2.
In the warning dialog box, click OK (Figure 4.15).

Figure 4.15. After you choose File > Revert Project, you’ll see a dialog box warning you that your unsaved changes will be lost.


Final Cut Express reverts the current project file to its condition at the last time you saved the file.

To restore a project:

1.
Choose File > Restore Project (Figure 4.16).

Figure 4.16. Choose Restore Project from the File menu.


2.
In the Restore Project dialog box’s pop-up menu, select the archived project file you want to restore (Figure 4.17).

Figure 4.17. Select the archived project you want to restore; then click Restore.


3.
Click Restore.

Final Cut Express opens the selected archived project from the Autosave Vault.

Tip

  • If you want to replace the current version of your project with this dated archived version, you should save the archive copy with the same project name as your current version. This will maintain continuity in capture folders and Autosave archives.


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