LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

The Ultimate Real-world FCP FAQ, Part 3

The Ultimate Real-world FCP FAQ, Part 3
A Creative COW Final Cut Tutorial/Feature Article

The Ultimate Real-world FCP FAQ, part 3
Shane Ross, Creative COW leader Shane Ross
Los Angeles, CA US
©Shane Ross and

Article Focus: Creative Cow Leader Shane Ross is one of a very small handful of the world's most respected FCP experts. Over the course of years answering questions, he's compiled a real-world list of the questions that are truly the most frequently asked. He calls them Shane's Stock Answers. We call them the information you really need for working with FCP. Here in Part 3, he covers QuickTime issues, timecode management, P2 tips and much more, including one of the most frequently questions of all: how to open new projects in older versions of FCP.

Shane's Stock Answer #31: How to monitor audio while Capturing

In the Log and Capture window, go to the Clip Settings tab right hand side, lower "Audio" pane, there is a checkbox called "Preview," make sure it is checked.

Or monitor it from your capture device...deck, camera, whathaveyou, through a mixer or directly through your monitor.

FCP Log and Capture



Shane's Stock Answer #32 - Outputting Timecode to a DSR-11 DVCAM Deck

Since FCP 4 we have been unable to stripe a new TC such as 00:58:00:00 or 01:58:00:00 to a DVCAM tape with the DSR-11. NO MORE!! I think I found a solution.

Get the free SimpleVideoOut from the Apple Developer Connection. Just download and install the .dmg.

Then create a QT Movie in FCP, Avid Media Composer or Xpress Pro from a sequence which has the starting TC you want on the tape. I tried it with 00:58:00:00. In the timeline, I just put Bars & Tone for 90 seconds and a black slug for 45 (to take me over 01:00:00:00). You could create a sequence with whatever combination you wanted with the TC set to start at whatever timecode you need for your choice. But the Timeline TC must be set to your desired starting code. The exported QT file will have this TC in it.

Then load this DV QT movie into SimpleVideoOut (having selecting Firewire / Apple Firewire PAL or NTSC when you open the app).

Now load a fresh DVCAM tape and set your DSR-11 to:



(Have the TC display turned on for this first test so you can verify it has worked.)

Then just hold the REC and PLAY buttons together on the DSR-11 and press play in the SimpleVideoOut app and the new TC will be recorded to your DVCAM tape.

Hey presto! You are now able to stripe a tape with what ever timecode you want using a DSR-11.

Remember to turn 'DV IN TC' back to INTERNAL on the DSR-11 when you come to record your edit to tape.

The problem with the DSR-11 is that it is not the best deck and starting recording at the exact TC, but playing with the pre-rolls should eventually get it spot on. I have had some success with FCP's 'Edit to Tape' and very good results with Avid Xpress Pro after a few tweaks.

Also, if you just had a black QT file, you can change the starting TC to suite the tape; i.e. 00:58:00:00 or 02:58:00:00 etc without going back into FCP or Xpress Pro/Media Composer, and rendering out another QT. To do this, just use Sebsky Tools to alter the starting TC of the file.

It's a set of freeware utilities (PayPal donations greatly appreciated) designed to move projects between Avid Media Composer (and Xpress Pro) and Final Cut Pro. One of those utilities, “TC Player,” lets you manually add or delete timecode data.



Shane's Stock Answer #33 -FCP Capture created several quicktime files, with av-0, av-1...etc...why is this?

This is due to an improperly formatted Scratch Drive. Many drives out of the box are formatted Fat32, a PC format with a 2GB file size limit. When you capture to this drive, it will break up your footage into smaller 2GB chunks, and label them CLIP-av-0, CLIP-av-1, and so on....but in FCP, it will show up as one file. All of these files are needed in order for FCP to see the footage properly, and they cannot be opened independently, except for the one labeled -av-0.

To fix this, you need to format your Scratch Drive as MacOS Extended (journalling off) by going into the DISK UTILITY and selecting your scratch drive and hitting ERASE. This will erase the drive, so back up anything on it that you don't want to lose. This format doesn't have a file size limit, and will keep the clips as one file.


Reformat a Mac hard drive for FCP capture


Or because some drive formats do not recognise files over 2GB, there is an option in FCP to break captured or exported files into 2GB chunks. It could be that you have this option enabled. In FCP go to System Settings > Scratch Disks > and make sure that ‘Limit Capture / Export File Segment Size’ is not ticked. Note that the default is 2000MB, or 2GB.


Here's how to set unlimited capture for your FCP disk



Shane's Stock Answer #34 - Internal system drive cannot be used as media drive.

It is not recommended that you use your internal system drive to capture video to.

Your internal drive contains the Mac operating system, and it is very busy constantly loading or referencing system resources. This causes you to drop frames while capturing or playing video files.

For best results, you need either a secondary internal drive (if using a Mac tower), or external drive, like a firewire or eSATA drive. Never USB.*

(*See Shane's Stock Answer #43)



Shane's Stock Answer #35 - FCP 4.5 and Quicktime 7.3 and 7.4

Final Cut Pro 4.5 is incompatible with Quicktime 7.3 and higher. The last version of the operating system that Apple recommends for FCP 4.5 is 10.3.9 (Panther) and version of QT is 6.5.2. People have had success in using the Mac OS 10.4 (up to 10.4.11) with FCP, and even later versions of Quicktime (7.1, 7.2)...although some people have reported issues. But QT 7.3 and 7.4 is incompatible with FCP 4.5.

To fix this you have two options.

1) The best option would be to back up your files and erase and install your operating system from scratch. This way you ensure that you have a nice, proper working system. Again, OSX 10.3.9 and QT 6.5.2 are the best versions for FCP 4.5, but you can go as high as OS 10.4.11 and QT 7.2.

2) Buy the $20 shareware application “Pacifist” to remove QT 7.3 or 7.4, and install a previous QT version. The instructions for doing this can be found on the <a href= target=_blank>here.</a> website. Several previous versions of the Quicktime Installers are still located on Apple's website. A full list can be found <a href= target=_blank>HERE.</a>

Some versions of Quicktime cannot be downgraded if you are running certain OS versions. For example, 10.4.11 and later cannot be downgraded to a QT version earlier than 7.3. To get back to 7.2, you have to downgrade the OS. And the only way to do that is an Archive and Install, or to erase and install.



Shane's Stock Answer #36 – Panasonic HVX200: "One or more clips failed to import..."

Very often in the field with this camera the camera operator will delete clips from the P2 card that they just don't like. That is the beauty of this camera. But, the still for that video file (located in the CLIP folder in the CONTENTS folder)...the still that you see when you are in the P2 Import not deleted. So you will see the image, and the name, but the video file would have been deleted.

What you can do it compare the file names in the VIDEO folder and CLIP folder and see if anything is missing. If something is, then you know what the problem is. You can then just import the rest a few at time, skipping that one. the P2 Import the P2 Browser, there is a little sprocket drop down menu. Click on that and choose PREFERENCES. Uncheck REMOVE PULLDOWN and then try importing again.

ALSO...make sure your file names aren't too long. Try shortening them and see if that works.

P2 Import sprocket for Final Cut Pro



Shane's Stock Answer #37 - P2 imported footage jitters when rendered

This is due to running FCP 5.1 and working with footage imported with FCP 5.0.4.

The solution is to re-import the footage with FCP 5.1.1 and replace all the footage that you already have imported.



Shane's Stock Answer #38 P2 - Missing LASTCLIP.txt file

When you offloaded the P2 cards, you forgot to get the LASTCLIP.tct file? No worries, not all is lost. Much like the six million dollar man, we can rebuild him.

Lastclip.txt can be generated by any text editor, on either platform. If you are using a Mac then open up textedit.

Create a new txt file. It will have 3 lines to it.

The first line is the name of the last clip that was recorded.

Back to the finder. Open up your CONTENTS folder. In there, open up your VIDEO folder. Organize the folder by Date Last Modified. Find the name of the last file in this folder. If you have 16 clips in the folder is will be 0016ag.mxf or something like that. Four numbers and two letters followed by .mxf.

Take this name and place in the first line of your text file. On the next line of the text file type in "1.0" (don't include the quotes).

The third line is the number of clips in the folder +1. If you have 16 clips then the third line should read "17" (again no quotes).

I'm not 100% sure if the number on the third line is the number of clips left in the folder (after any on-set deletions) or if it is the total number of clips generated during this session with the card. Try both. Remember to add 1 to that number.

Your txt file should like something like this:




That's it. You should be good to go. Put your CONTENTS folders in separate folders with separate LASTCLIP.txt folders and import them as separate P2 cards.

The annoying thing is that all of the various .mxf files in these 6 folders are locked items and they must all be unlocked manually to erase them.

It's much easier to import direct into FCP 5.0.4 or higher. It does so without leaving all of these locked files on your computer.

Credit for this solution goes to Randy Wedick.



Shane's Stock Answer #39 - How to uninstall and reinstall FCP 5

Here's the Apple Doc on how to uninstall FCP:


Open the Applications folder.

  1. Drag the Final Cut Pro application to the Trash.

  2. Go to /Library/Receipts.

  3. In the Receipts folder, select the "FinalCutPro.pkg" file.

  4. Choose View > as List to view the contents in a list.

  5. Click the Date Modified column header so you can easily see all of the receipts that were installed at the same time as Final Cut Pro.

  6. Drag the FinalCutPro.pkg receipt to the Trash, as well as any other items that have the same modification date within 3 minutes of the FinalCutPro.pkg's modification date.

  7. Click the Name column header to sort the list alphabetically.

  8. Drag any other receipts whose names begin with "Final Cut Pro" to the Trash.

  9. Insert your Final Cut Pro installation disc and install Final Cut Pro.

  10. When finished, use Software Update (under the Apple menu) to update your software to the latest version.

Thanks to Apple for this one.


Shane's Stock Answer #40 - FCP 5.x crashes all the time. Why?

Among the most frequent causes is having more than 64 QuickTime components installed. This is most likely due to installed third-party QuickTime Components.

In the Finder, navigate to /Library/QuickTime/. The components made by Apple will be marked with Apple copyright information.

Drag any third-party (non-Apple) components to the desktop.

If you're not sure whether a component is made by Apple or by a third party, you can check its version info to see if Apple made it.

Select the component in the Finder.

Choose File > Get Info.

In the Info window that appears, look at the Version info.

Note: The following components are definitely not third-party components; they are installed by Apple software, and should not be removed.

FCP Uncompressed 422.component

This is another from Apple.


Shane's Stock Answer #41 - Pre-blacking a tape to avoid timecode breaks

Pre-blacking a tape to avoid timecode breaks doesn't work. It is an urban video myth. All it does is prevent your footage from starting over from 00;00;00;00. But if you record, then stop the camera to review, then stop AFTER the recorded footage, you will have a timecode break. Video cameras don't INSERT EDIT onto the tape, they ASSEMBLE EDIT. That is, they write over everything that was recorded before, including timecode. So blacking a tape does nothing, really. Only give you better chances to incur tape dropouts as you are now recording on the tape twice.

The best option is to leave the camera rolling for a few seconds after your shot so that when you review your footage, you stop the tape while you still have an image. This way, the camera will pick up where it left off.



Shane's Stock Answer #42 - David Roth Weiss' Secret Quick and Dirty Way to Author a DVD

The absolute simplest way to make a DVD using FCP and DVDSP is as follows:

1. Export a QT movie, either a reference file or self contained using current settings.

2. Open DVDSP, select the "graphical" tab and you will see two little monitors, one blue, one green.

3. Select the left blue one and hit delete.

4. Now, select the green one, right click on it amd select the top option "first play".

5. Now drag your QT from the broswer and drop it on top of the green monitor.

6. Now, for a DVD from an HD source, look to the right side and select the "general tab" in the track editor, and see the Display Mode, and select "16:9 pan-scan."

7. Hit the little black and yellow burn icon at the top of the page and put a a DVD in when prompted. DVDSP will encode and burn your new DVD.



Shane's Stock Answer #43 - Types of hard drives and how they compare when working with video

Drive types and how good they are when it comes to dealing with video...


Firewire = GOOD

e-SATA = more GOOD

Internal SATA = more better GOOD

eSATA RAID = more MORE better GOOD

4 gig FIbre = Just about the best you can get! (great for SAN networks)

External PCIe = Da Bomb! 5 times faster than Fibre



Shane's Stock Answer #44: FCP 4 or 5 is acting weird or unusual. Just not like is normally should

If the program was working fine, and now isn't, or just isn't working the way it should, the first things to do are:

1) Trash your FCP preferences. And if you have FCP 4 or 5, download the appropriate version of FCP Rescue, freeware from Patrick Sheffield at Pistolera Post, and run it.

2) Open the Disk Utility and Repair Permissions.

3) Shut down for 10 min. Go for a quick walk around the block and get SOME exercise today. Come back, turn on the computer and see how things are.

4) (optional) Do the Hokey Pokey and turn your self about. Results may vary.



Shane's Stock Answer #45 - How to export your project to work with earlier versions of Final Cut Pro

Versions of Final Cut Pro aren't backwards compatible. So a project created with FCP 6 cannot be opened with FCP 5...and this even goes into the dot-updates as well. A project created with FCP 5.1.4 cannot be opened by FCP 5.1.1.

Nope, for this you need to use XML. Export your sequence as an XML sequence and import that in the other version of FCP. XML v3 if for FCP 5.1 4 and FCP 6. XML v2 is for FCP 5.0, and XML v1 is for FCP 4.5. So if you need to go from FCP 6 to FCP 5.0.4, you'd use XML v2.

To export an entire project, select ALL the bins in the Browser and then choose FILE>EXPORT>XML.

Using XML to open new FCP projects in older versions



Need more answers? Here's Part 1 of The Ultimate FCP FAQ!

And here's Part 2!


Buy Getting Organized in Final Cut Pro



The Ultimate Real-world FCP FAQ, Part 3
by joe mcsweeney
I'm not grasping the difference between option #3
If I buy a PCIe eSATA card and plug it into an eSATA drive(option#3), isn't that essentially the same thing I'm doing in option#7. Obviously There is something I'm not understanding something because I can buy a PCIe eSATA control card relatively inexpensively and an eSATA drive also for a fairly affordable price, whereas; when I googled option#7 I came up w/this:
What am I missing here?
The Ultimate Real-world FCP FAQ, Part 3
by Tim Wilson
I love this list, man. I'd give it more than 5 stars if I could.

Not to go down a USB tangent, but I have to add my respectful experience: I captured to it plenty. It's not just me. Ikegami uses USB 2 as the primary interface for the Editpak. One of my favorite demos was capturing direct to DNxHD 145 onto the USB Editpak, then plug that USB drive straight into my *laptop* to play it back. No worries, no dropped frames for either capture or playback.

Not that I actually recommend capturing to a USB 2 drive myself. Just that I've done it :-) and that Ikegami is doing it too.

Also worth mentioning that the Viper has 1 FW port...and 3 USB ports. Unlike Ikegami, theirs is used more for file transfer than capture...but their assumption is that as many as 3 USB drives transferring their HD media *at the same time* is a good thing.

Who knows? Even though I started using USB 2 on a Mac, I haven't heard anybody on the PC side of the aisle (like Ikegami and GVT) complain about USB 2. Of course, I'd rather not see anybody capture to a pocket drive at all, but...

Anyway, that's the last thing I have to say on the issue. I think this series is amazing. I haven't seen anything like it on the web, and I doubt there ever will be. You're the man!
The Ultimate Real-world FCP FAQ, Part 3
by Shane Ross
This was a series of questions from someone who e-mailed me directly...I thought that I would share them and my answers, as many people ask me this every time I post the Stock Answer #41, Pre-Blacking tapes:

"I'll call blacking a tape, option #1 and starting the tape where you have previously recorded footage option #2.

My question is this: what is the difference between the two options? Why would one work and not the other?"

Blacking a tape means recording something on the ENTIRE tape first, then trying to film over that, THINKING that that will make your TC not jump or break...and that simply isn't the case. This is designed for laying back to tape from a tape to tape or NLE edit system...doesn't work for cameras. Recording a little more, then when you re-wind and replay...then stop BEFORE the picure ends, means that your camera will pick up the TC from that point and continue break.

"If by stopping the tape in a place where you have an image and recording again from that point the camera will pick up with timecode continuous from where you start recording again, why will it not do the same thing when the "image" on the tape is just black with timecode?"

Because when a camera records, it does what is called an ASSEMBLE completely ERASES what is on the tape, then records a new signal. It does not record on top of the previously recorded signal, so if you black a tape, that black is being wiped away by what you are now recording. Same thing happens when you start recording where you left off...only this time it will pick up the TC. If you black a tape, then record the image, then go a bit far and land back into the black and start again, there will be a big timecode break.

"Or are you saying that neither technique is really a guarantee of success but you might as well go with option #2 since you won't be putting the tape through a complete pass and will therefore have less chance of dropouts?"

#2 is the only way to go really...the only way to ensure that you don't break TC. Blacking a tape just makes it more prone to dropouts. Just like re-using a tape you already shot on does.

"I've had success avoiding timecode breaks with both techniques but I usually recommend to new students that they pre-black their tapes. I do this because when they are just getting started with video they become absolutely paralyzed if they have timecode problems (this can be a valuable learning experience for some people, but others just implode at this obstacle). By the time they either give up and dub the footage to a clean tape or wrap their head around logging and capturing from each timecode "section" (and making sure that the pre-roll doesn't back you into another section of timecode) they have much less time left to finish their projects and have drained valuable mental stamina that I would rather have them apply to learning to edit."

THis blacking a tape only helps with making sure that timecode doesn't start at 00;00;00;00 again. Other than that, it is pointless. No profession camera operator has ever blacked a tape...and it is a bad habit to get the students into. If they go into a professional enviroment and either pre-black a tape, or ask why they aren't, they will get odd looks and respect levels will drop. I don't know where this myth started, but the Internet is good at spreading such things and making it seem like a viable truth, when in fact, it isn't.

The Ultimate Real-world FCP FAQ, Part 3
by Shane Ross
NOthing is absolute...this is just the recommended way to work. MANY people cannot get USB drives to work for them. And by many I mean 80% of the people who try to use them cannot play back the footage without dropping a frame. So we (forum leaders) recommend against that. The format is unreliable.

Another thing that always works for me, but is spotty at best for others...capturing directly to your system drive. I have never had an issue with dropped frames doing that...I mean NEVER. But most people do, so better safe than sorry, recommend against it.

I also daisy chain camera to drive to computer. Frowned upon because it isn't reliable. Ethically I cannot recommend un-reliable methods of doing things. Well, I might, but I will put huge caveats on the post.
The Ultimate Real-world FCP FAQ, Part 3 - #43
by Billy Mabou
Thanks for posting this list. Just want to clarify that #43 is also a myth. You say USB-2 is bad for video. For DV25, it works just as well as FireWire. I've been using USB-2 drive with FCP and Avid Media Composer for over year now without issue. Just stick to decent brands, like Seagate FreeAgents.

One note about the FreeAgents: they're set to sleep after 15 minutes. If you have access to a Windoze machine, though, use the included software (it's on the drive) to set your drive's sleep interval to whatever you want. I do 2 hours.

Related Articles / Tutorials:
Apple Final Cut Pro Legacy
FCP Quick Tip - Creating the ROCKY effect

FCP Quick Tip - Creating the ROCKY effect
  Play Video
Creating the "ROCKY" video inside text look in Final Cut Pro is almost as easy as it is to create inside of Avid's Media Composer, and there's no need to go into Apple's Motion to do it! Just use FCP.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Kevin P. McAuliffe
Apple Final Cut Pro
Controlling Final Cut with an iPad

Controlling Final Cut with an iPad
  Play Video
This video tutorial demonstrates how to set up an iPad with the AC-7 Core app to control Final Cut Pro.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Sam Mcguire
Apple Final Cut Pro
Get: Dialog and metadata search for Final Cut Pro editors

Get: Dialog and metadata search for Final Cut Pro editors

In this review, Los Angeles based director, editor, colorist, and Creative Cow Contributing Editor, David Roth Weiss, takes a look at a product aptly named "Get," from AV3 Software. It's a speech recognition search app for Final Cut Pro editors that will undoubtedly help get your projects completed faster and on the screen sooner.

David Roth Weiss
Apple Final Cut Pro
FCP Tip: Broadcast Safe in Final Cut Pro

FCP Tip: Broadcast Safe in Final Cut Pro
  Play Video
It is possible to achieve true broadcast safe using only the tools in Final Cut Pro if you follow the right steps. In this quick tip, Walter Biscardi, Jr. shows you how he has delivered shows to broadcasters worldwide using only the built in FCP filter

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Walter Biscardi
Apple Final Cut Pro
Final Cut Pro Quick Tips

Final Cut Pro Quick Tips
  Play Video
Learn how to get things done in Apple's Final Cut Pro faster with contributing editor Stephen Smith. In this video tutorial he'll show you how to find un-used clips fast and easy. Plus, cut down your render time and learn how to play un-rendered clips in real time. If that's not enough, he'll show you how to work with thumbnails, nest clips and how to access the text editor quickly. With these FCP quick tips you can save time so you can spend it doing more important things like learning Klingon.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Stephen Smith
Apple Final Cut Pro
Editing Tip: Still Image dpi vs. pixels

Editing Tip: Still Image dpi vs. pixels
  Play Video
There is much confusion about dpi vs. pixels when it comes to still images and video editing. In this short tip, Walter Biscardi, Jr. helps to take some of the mystery out of the process.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Walter Biscardi
Apple Final Cut Pro
Multiclip Editing in Final Cut Pro

Multiclip Editing in Final Cut Pro
  Play Video
Rob Mize demonstrates the use of Final Cut Pro's Multiclip feature to cut or switch the cameras of a multicam shoot in real time. Rob also demonstrates techniques to synchronize the cameras prior to the edit, as well as how to revise and adjust the Multiclip camera selection decisions on the timeline.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Rob Mize
Apple Final Cut Pro
Fixing Assets in FCP using XML

Fixing Assets in FCP using XML

In this FCP tutorial, Matt Lyon will provide a step by step guide for fixing a major issue with the way Final Cut Pro imports audio and still image files using a FCP XML file and TextEdit. Incorrectly imported assets can lead to serious problems down the road, especially with Media Manager. Matt also provides a guideline for re-importing audio and still image media correctly, as an alternative to the XML fix.

Matt Lyon
Apple Final Cut Pro
Copying Sequence Content in FCP

Copying Sequence Content in FCP
  Play Video
In this FCP video tutorial, Shane Ross shows how to get a section of cut footage from one sequence to another in Final Cut Pro.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Shane Ross
Apple Final Cut Pro
Smooth Slow Motion with Cinema Tools

Smooth Slow Motion with Cinema Tools
  Play Video
This tutorial shows you how to convert 720p60 footage into very smooth slow motion using the CONFORM option of Cinema Tools.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Shane Ross
© 2020 All Rights Reserved