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How2 Upgrade to Final Cut Pro 4 -- the Right Way!

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A Creative COW "Final Cut Pro 4" Tutorial



How2 Upgrade to Final Cut Pro 4 -- the Right Way!
Philip Hodgetts
philip@intelligentassistance
Intelligent Assistance, Los Angeles, California USA

© 2003 Philip Hodgetts and Creativecow.net. All rights reserved.

Article Focus:
In this article, Philip Hodgetts walks you step by step how to upgrade to Final Cut Pro 4 -- the right way so that you'll save yourself mistakes and headaches.

Make sure you have the right system

• Don't upgrade to Final Cut Pro 4 if your system is not up to specification. Final Cut Pro 4 has much higher system requirements than any earlier version. You cannot upgrade if:

  • You have a G3. Final Cut Pro 4 requires a G4 at least 350 MHz, although in reality you will want a faster G4 than that. The 350 MHz G4 is the slowest G4 every released.
    • Soundtrack and RTExtreme require a G4 500 MHz single or a 450 MHz or better dual processor. To use these slower computers you'll need a system with at least 1 MB of level 3 cache. You also need an AGP graphics card.
    • On a PowerBook you'll need a 667 MHz processor better to run RTExtreme and Soundtrack.
      Don't know if your computer is up to spec? Check the details of your specific model at http://www.info.apple.com/support/applespec.html#desktop before you upgrade.

Final Cut Pro will run on a system with only the bare minimum G4 but you won't be able to get RTExtreme or Soundtrack to run without the higher processor speed, AGP Graphics card and Level 3 cache. These are crucial to the enhanced performance of RTExtreme. Although Final Cut Pro has used the graphics card for some functions in the past, they have been mostly display related, which is why the Canvas and Viewer must be on the Apple supplied graphic card, not one in a PCI slot. With Final Cut Pro 4 even more of the processing power of the graphics card is used.

Don't upgrade to Final Cut Pro 4 if you are not running OS X 10.2.5 or later or cannot run QuickTime 6.1 or later due to some legacy application. Final Cut Pro requires the improvements in OS X 10.2.5 and QuickTime 6.1. QuickTime 6.3 is recommended and will be installed with Final Cut Pro 4 if not already installed. If you need to run an earlier version of QuickTime, you cannot install Final Cut Pro 4.

If you need to upgrade your operating system, see the instructions below.

Don't upgrade to Final Cut Pro 4 if you do not have at least 384 MB of RAM - that's the absolute minimum. In practice, don't upgrade if you don't have at least 512 MB of RAM. OS X loves RAM and its performance will improve with more RAM. RAM is so cheap these days that there's no reason not to have at least 512 MB of RAM.


Don't upgrade to Final Cut Pro 4 if you do not have at least 10 GB free on your internal system drive if you want to do a default install. You will require that amount for the full install of LiveType fonts, textures and objects. See later in this article for options if you do not have that much space available. Soundtrack Loops can be installed on any convenient drive, but LiveType's data will install on the internal drive by default. If you do not have sufficient internal drive space, do not worry, there is a workaround that lets you put LiveType data anywhere you want. See the area later in the article.

Don't attempt to upgrade to Final Cut Pro 4 if you do not have a DVD-ROM drive. The installers and data are provided on 4 DVDs with a 5th disc for Bias Peak. No DVD-ROM drive, no Final Cut Pro 4. The drive does not have to be internal or Apple supplied and it does not have to be a Superdrive (DVD-R). It just has to be capable of reading a DVD-ROM disk for installing.
Note: If you borrow an external FireWire DVD-ROM drive for the install be sure to install all the LiveType and Soundtrack Loops during the initial install. If you have a built-in DVD-ROM drive, or own an external FireWire DVD-ROM drive then you can install LiveType data as you use it. LiveType installs proxy/preview files during the initial install and will requires the install DVD-R when you render or generate a preview if it does not have the data file installed.

Do install Final Cut Pro 4 if you have a computer with the required system configuration. As always with digital video software, a faster processor with a fast graphics card and lots of RAM is preferred. Hard drive speed will also affect the amount of RTExtreme you will get with your system: dedicated SCSI RAID drives will let you get more real-time than with simple ATA internal drives or FireWire drives.

Preparing to Upgrade

Upgrading to Final Cut Pro 3 is the easiest part - put the DVD-R in, run the installer, enter your registration details and run the installer. Optionally install the Soundtrack and LiveType data. More information on installing Soundtrack and LiveType data is to be found later in this article.

IMPORTANT: If Final Cut Pro 4's installer detects an existing OS X install on your system you will not require your earlier serial number. If there is no Final Cut Pro install on the computer you will be prompted to enter the serial number of your earlier version during the install. It is not necessary to have an earlier install in order to upgrade but you will need the full serial number. (The display on startup is missing the last three digits so you will need to find your original serial number from the documentation.)

You will need your OS X Administrator's password to install new software.

That's the simple part. Unless you're really prepared to upgrade it might not go smoothly and you'll regret it. Successful upgrading is in the preparation, and the sequence of events is very important. This is particularly important if you are going to upgrade to OS X 10.2 for the first time.

In these follow items I'll be ranking the steps according to this scale:

•••• These are items you must to do successfully install Final Cut Pro 4 - like actually install the upgrade!
••• Are items you should do they are highly recommended.
•• A wise person would do items marked with two bullet points, but if you're really in a hurry and feeling lucky, you can skip over this step without any consequences.
• If you really want to be as sure as possible that you'll avoid all problems, do this step as well. Most people will not do this step and won't be affected by it. It is only for the paranoid.

To be honest, I did my upgrade with the 3 and 4 bullet point items only and have had no problems in the weeks I've been using Final Cut Pro 4.

When to Upgrade

The best time to upgrade is not the very moment you get the box from Apple or from your dealer! You should upgrade when you have no project under way and when the Media Drives are empty.

Since that's set of circumstance are almost never likely to happen, at least wait until you are between projects. Final Cut Pro 4, like earlier versions, is backward compatible. Project created in version 3 or earlier will open in version 4.

IMPORTANT: Projects from version 4 will not open in any earlier version. Before opening a Project in version 4, save a copy of the file and label it as version 3. That way you will be able to return to version 3 should there be a reason, however unlikely that is.

I recommend keeping version 3 of Final Cut Pro on you drive if you have it already installed and use it to complete any current projects that were started in Final Cut Pro 3. There are some subtle changes to the data that is stored with a Clip in Final Cut Pro 4 that will not be present for a Project started in Final Cut Pro 3. That said, I have successfully worked on many projects from Final Cut Pro 3 in Final Cut Pro 4 but I have not attempted a batch capture of those projects. I have expect batch capture of an Final Cut Pro 3 Project in Final Cut Pro 4 will work at least as well as it did in Final Cut Pro 3, probably better, but I haven't needed to capture during the time I've been working with Final Cut Pro 4.

Backup your System (internal) hard drive & Reformat the drive (for the most cautious only)

This is NOT recommended. OS X, being a Unix based system does not need periodic re-installs. I do not recommend wiping the hard drive clean and reinstalling the operating system. These instructions are for those who feel they have to go down this path. I repeat it is not recommended.

IMPORTANT: This will delete all information off the internal drive. Be sure to back up all other data - Projects, documents, graphics etc - and have all install disks for your software available after you reformat the internal drive.

Backing up an OS X system folder is not as easy as it was with OS 9. OS X has tens of thousands of invisible files that are not copied unless you use a piece of software called Carbon Copy Cloner. It's a free utility available from http://software.bombich.com/ccc.html. Use Carbon Copy Cloner to make a copy of your System Folder or Partition to a FireWire drive. You might run Repair Permissions on the System disk first.

To repair permissions, run the Apple Disk Utility normally found in System>Utilities and choose the First Aid Tab. Select the OS X boot volume in the list at the left (the actual named volume, not the device) and click Repair Disk Permissions. Let it run until it is finished.

  • Use Carbon Copy Cloner to make a clone copy of your System partition.
  • Leave the FireWire drive connected and, in the System Preferences, Startup Disk pane, select the FireWire drive as your startup System.
  • Reboot off your new System on the FireWire drive.
  • Reformat the main hard drive. Use the Disk Utility and choose the Erase Tab to reformat.
  • Re-install the Operating System from the OS X 10.2 install disks.
  • Reboot to the new, clean Operating System.
  • Run Software Update from the System Preferences, Software update pane and accept all operating system updates. Keep running Software Update until there are no more system updates available.
  • Create a new user for yourself (and as many other users as you require). Use Carbon Copy Cloner to copy the contents of your user folder back to your user folder. Copy the contents of the user folder: Documents, Desktop, Picture etc, NOT the user folder.

You are now ready to proceed with the install. If you are this cautious you will want to install Final Cut Pro 4 and make sure it is working for a week before you start installing additional software.

••• Run Repair Permissions

Before installing your Final Cut Pro 4 update and associate programs, run Repair Permissions from the Disk Utility.

To repair permissions, run the Apple Disk Utility normally found in System>Utilities and choose the First Aid Tab. Select the OS X boot volume in the list at the left (the actual named volume, not the device) and click Repair Disk Permissions. Let it run until it is finished.

•••• Backup your Projects folder

There are two reasons to back up your Projects folder, particularly your Final Cut Pro projects. The first reasons is so you'll have a backup if anything goes wrong, but the second reason is that Final Cut Pro 4 will update the Project file so that it will no longer open in Final Cut Pro 3 or earlier. Having a backup means you can go back.

I should explain that I do not believe there will be problems, but when it comes to my hard work I'm a 'belts and braces' kind of guy - just in case the belt breaks, I've got the braces to hold up my pants!

•• Create a copy of your Favorites to get them to Final Cut Pro 4

Favorites are saved with Preferences. Final Cut Pro 4 will not share preferences from Final Cut Pro 3. Both applications retain their own preferences so they can continue to work in parallel. In order to make your Final Cut Pro 3 Favorites available for Final Cut Pro 4 you'll need to use this workaround.

Create a new Project in Final Cut Pro 3 and call it something like "Favorites Exchange". You'll need some Clips but in reality a Slug, a Gradient and something with audio will be fine. What you'll need depends on what Favorites you have.

Filters: Add all your favorite filters to one Clip. It can be in a Bin, the Browser or a Sequence, doesn't matter. If the Clip has audio it will take all your audio and video favorites.

Transitions: Alternate a Slug and a Gradient Clip in a Sequence and add one favorite transition each time they meet, until you've applied all your favorite transitions.

Motion Tab Settings: Add one motion tab setting to each Clip - those Clips in the sequence that you've used for your Transitions favorites would be good candidates. You can only have one set of Motion tab settings per Clip, and they're the most work to restore so only keep the ones you really need - but it's not that difficult.

Save the Project and you're done.


•••• OS X 10.2.5 Upgrade and Update

Before you can use Final Cut Pro 4 you must have updated to OS X 10.2.5 or later. OS X 10.2.6 is safe to user with Final Cut Pro 4. If you do not already own OS X 10.2 you will need to purchase the retail upgrade and install it.
RECOMMENDED: Use the Archive and Install option in the OS X 10.2 installer to keep a "safety" copy of the pre-install hard drive just in case you have a problem. Problems are not common and should not be expected.

OS X 10.2 is a completely new operating system, despite the apparent incremental naming.

Once OS X 10.2 is installed, there are 3 more steps required to prepare for Final Cut Pro 4.

  1. Open system Preferences and click on the Software Update icon. Install any updates you are offered.
  2. Restart and check for additional updates, repeating until all updates are installed. This will bring your system to OS X 10.2.6 or later.
  3. Once you have finished your OS X updating, run Repair Permissions again.

To repair permissions, run the Apple Disk Utility normally found in System>Utilities and choose the First Aid Tab. Select the OS X boot volume in the list at the left (the actual named volume, not the device) and click Repair Disk Permissions. Let it run until it is finished.


Upgrading

•••• Install Final Cut Pro 4

Finally you're ready to install Final Cut Pro 4.

Put the DVD in your DVD drive and do a standard install. You can only install to the OS X boot disk.

If Final Cut Pro 4's installer detects an existing OS X install on your system you will not require your earlier serial number. If there is no Final Cut Pro install on the computer you will be prompted to enter the serial number of your earlier version during the install. It is not necessary to have an earlier install in order to upgrade but you will need the full serial number. (The display on startup is missing the last three digits so you will need to find your original serial number from the documentation.)

The standard install will install:

  • QuickTime 6.3,
  • Final Cut Pro 4,
  • Soundtrack,
  • Cinema Tools,
  • LiveType and LiveType's previews for Textures, LiveFonts and LiveObjects
  • Compressor, and
  • Pro Services - the XML services that let the ecosystem applications talk to each other.

A restart is required after installing.

••• To install or not install - LiveType data and Soundtrack Loops?

After upgrading Final Cut Pro will prompt you to install the Soundtrack Loops and LiveType data by running the installers on those DVD-Rs. This will take up 12-13 GB in total, and the LiveType data must install on your internal hard drive, in Library>Application Support>LiveType.
You have options. You do not necessarily have to install everything at once and you do not have to use the default locations.

••• Soundtrack Loops

Soundtrack Loops can be installed anywhere, so feel free to install them on an external drive or convenient location in your internal drive, wherever you have space. Soundtrack will index the files when you add the location. You add the location by clicking into the Search Tab inside Soundtrack and then click on the Setup button. A window opens where you can add an additional directory, or remove directories. When done, click on Done and Soundtrack will index and remember the location.

Tip: All Loops compatible with Sonic Foundry's Acid are also compatible with Soundtrack. There are many sources of Loops in a variety of collections.

••• LiveType Data

LiveType data takes up a lot of space if it is fully installed - around 8 GB in total. If you have plenty of space on your internal drive you can do the default install and not worry. Otherwise choose one of these two options. They are not mutually exclusive.

1) You can install only the material you want, as you want to use it. I would recommend NOT installing all the LiveType data unless you have plenty of disk space. If a LiveFont, Texture or LiveObject are not installed you can still preview them in the Media Browser and apply them to a track. You can click on the "Install LiveType Data" button in the Media Browser (at bottom left) or you will be prompted to insert the appropriate LiveType install disc when you attempt a render or a preview.The file will be installed then. It means you have to keep your LiveType install discs handy.

2) Create a folder where you want to store your LiveType Data - on a FireWire drive, or internal drive that isn't the boot drive. This folder must be called "LiveType Data" (without the quotes). Create an alias of the folder and put it inside drive>Library>Application Support> LiveType. If the folder has the word "alias" remove it from the name and remove the space at the end. The alias must be called "LiveType Data" without the quotes.

Now any data that's installed, either as a complete install or an 'as needed' install, will go to the external location but be fully accessible from within LiveType.


•• Update your Media Drives to HFS +

If you have been running OS X you will have already had to update your Media Drives to HFS + a.k.a. Mac OS Extended. OS X will not recognize the older format. You will need to reformat any drives that have not been updated. Use the Disk Utility and choose the Erase Tab to reformat.

After Upgrading

Repair permissions. Run the Apple Disk Utility normally found in System>Utilities and choose the First Aid Tab. Select the OS X boot volume in the list at the left (the actual named volume, not the device) and click Repair Disk Permissions. Let it run until it is finished.

Install 3rd party drivers If you are working with a hardware unit then you should install the drivers for the hardware. After installing it would not hurt to repair permissions again.

Test Final Cut Pro 4

•••• First things first. Test Final Cut Pro 4. Start a new Project, assign Scratch Disks and do some test captures. Add Clips to a Timeline and render some effects and transitions and test any G4 real time preview effects. Be sure everything is working as intended before going beyond this point.

Do the LiveType, Soundtrack and Compressor tutorials to make sure they are working as expected.

• Work with Final Cut Pro 4 for a couple of weeks or at least a few days before adding other applications. Extensions and Control Panels back. Most people can't live with this option (myself included) but hold out as long as you can to prove that all is working well before adding additional software. This is overly cautious and you can continue working with your new software immediately.

•• Restore your Favorites

Open the Favorites Exchange Project in Final Cut Pro 3. It will update the Project format when opened. You want it to do this. Once open, restore your favorites by:

Filters: Open the Clip with the Filters applied, in the Viewer. Select the Filters - all of them if you like - and drag them to the Favorites folder. They'll be immediately added with the original names.

Transitions: Open the Sequence that has the Clips with the Transitions between them. Drag each Transition to the Favorites Folder. It will be added with the original name.

Favorite Motions: A little less easy but not too bad. Open each Clip in the Viewer from the Timeline in turn. While the Clip is in the Viewer, choose the Make menu and select 'Favorite Motion'. The Motion Tab settings will be saved as a Favorite Motion again, under the name of the Clip so you'll have to rename the Favorite Motion again, but that's easier than redoing the settings, including any keyframes you might have had.

And if it doesn't go smoothly?

So far the only report of an install problem has been a DVD-R for LiveType that would not install correctly. The solution is to simply drag the files from the DVD-R to the hard drive. The files are not encrypted or in the package. Double click on LiveType Data and you will find all the files on the DVD-R. Copy the files to the default or your chosen location.

One person has reported that Final Effects Complete appears not to be compatible with Final Cut Pro 4. That has not yet been confirmed.

But it will go smoothly, and you'll love Final Cut Pro 4 and it's ecosystem.
Philip@IntelligentAssistance.com


Philip Hodgetts is the author of the The Intelligent Assistant for Final Cut Pro and co-developer of the Intelligent Assistance approach to "Training when you need it: just enough, just in time, while you work." Other Final Cut Pro products include The Troubleshooter for Final Cut Pro and GREAT visualFX for Final Cut Pro #1.

Philip has had his own video production company since 1980 and worked on everything from long form documentary to corporate video to national TV commercial (Australia) with a strong emphasis on education and training video production. Having worked with Non-Linear Editing since 1994, Philip fell in love with Final Cut Pro when he saw an early alpha at NAB in 1998. He recognized the potential and has worked with Final Cut Pro since before it's formal release in 1999.

As well as continuing (yes, still continuing) to edit a documentary 'trans-Pacific' from Los Angeles by sharing Project files with a producer in Sydney, he is currently busy updating the The Intelligent Assistant for Final Cut Proto add in all the new features of Final Cut Pro 4 and to develop other Intelligent Assistants for LiveType, Compressor and Soudtrack. In his business life he's developing the concept of Intelligent Assistance even further and in his spare time developed an new concept in 'documentary' deliver for demonstration at QuickTime Live in February 2002. Every Thursday 6pm Pacific Philip co-hosts an Internet talk show for digital stortellers called DV Guys.



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