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Final Cut Pro Tips - Logging and Editing Return to Bruce Hornsby:
Students Produce Concert DVD
and DIRECTV Programs
by Thomas Luehrsen, Elmwood Studios

Make the logging process as uniform as possible, especially with a large postproduction crew. For example, it's important that the reel (tape) name is always entered exactly the same way, so that all the shots logged for a particular tape can be captured and grouped together, if necessary. On the Hornsby project, the same was true for exactly entering the song name for shots from each song, since we divided up the editing tasks by song among the four editors.

To make sure that the reel (tape) names, song names and other info were entered without any discrepancies, we used the Auto_Naming feature of Final Cut Pro to build the first part of every clip name in our logs. To do this in an even more streamlined way, I created an FCP project that had all the reel names and song codes already (partially) pre-entered.

Lognote MarkerThe logging crew then only had to control-click on the various fields in the Logging window to choose the correct reel name or song code from a pop-up menu. Best of all, our resulting log (database) had consistent information that was very searchable and sortable.

Thomas Luehrsen and student editor using Final Cut Pro

Director/Producer Thomas Luehrsen has more than 15 years experience in video and multimedia and a unique combination of expertise in both traditional television and interactive multimedia. He is an acknowledged expert on digital video editing and multimedia design, particularly Web video. His credits include award-winning CD-ROM titles such as Exploring the Lost Maya," "OceanLife" and "I Photograph to Remember." Luehrsen has produced, edited, and compressed hundreds of digital video pieces for multimedia projects and Web sites. He owns Elmwood Studios, a digital media production company, and is also involved in the SFSU Multimedia Studies Program as an instructor and a mentor. His past includes filmmaking in Europe, Asia, and Hollywood.

File-naming Tips
  • Avoid duplicate filenames

  • Use an "increment" number or more descriptive information to make each filename unique.

    Clip Naming Convention for Hornsby Project
  • Make your filenames succinct yet descriptive.

  • If you use too many abbreviations, such as "01f_koh4_cuBr&gui&PNtoaud" for "close up bruce & guitarist and pan to audience" then no one is going to understand it. Whole words are generally a good idea, with one exception being the Camera-Framing abbreviated terms below.
  • Use Common-Camera Framing Terms

  • ES - Establishing shot
    CU - Close-up (the face or hands)
    WS - Wide shot (opposite of the close-up)
    MS - Medium shot (a person or persons from the knees up)
    MCU - Medium close-up (a shot between a MS and a CU. For example, a person from the chest up)
    ECU - Extreme close-up (may contain only the eyes or mouth or fingers of the person.) 
  • Use Standard Camera-Move Terms

  • Some common ones to use are: "zoom," "pan," and "tilt."
  • Allow for Extra Frames on Both Ends of the Shot

  • Be generous with the "in" and "out" points. Overlapping adjacent shots is OK. There's nothing worse than having to go back and re-capture to just get a couple of frames.

Editing Multi-Camera Shoots
One major issue when editing a multi-camera shoot like the Hornsby project is how to keep the video and audio synchronized when you have many different camera angles for the same scene (or in our case, song). In this project, we used FCP's capacity for many video and audio layers and its excellent Markers feature to accomplish this.

We simply laid down each camera angle on a separate video track and then synchronized them by adding markers to each track (the "M" key) at a common (and obvious) sync point. Then we simply slid the clips in each track until the markers "snapped" together. Choose View>Snapping (or use the "N" key) to toggle Snapping on or off. Then, by turning tracks on and off, we would compare tracks (two at a time) and use the Razor tool to build the master track.

  • Mark Very Precise Audio Sync Points

  • To find (and mark) very precise audio sync points, open the audio track in the Viewer and zoom in (with the Zoom tool, or the "CMD +" keyboard shortcut).
  • Make Audio Waveforms Viewable in the Timeline

  • Similarly, to make audio waveforms viewable in the Timeline, choose Edit > Preferences > Timeline Options, and click the "Show Audio Waveforms" checkbox. Then you can use the same Zoom commands on the audio track in the Timeline.
  • Take Advantage of Final Cut's G4 Realtime Effects

  • FCP's G4 realtime (RT) effects came in very handy since our students like to experiment with effects quite a bit as they edit. The transitions and filters will automatically appear in bold if you are working on a fast-enough G4. If you aren't seeing the effects and you think you should be, choose View>External Video> Off to enable RT effects.
  • Edit Simultaneously, Then Combine Your Work Using Nested Sequences

  • Since we had several different editors working at once, we needed to eventually combine everyone's work into one final program. To do this, we loaded each edited song sequence (i.e., edited timeline) and its source clips onto a single G4 edit station. Then, using Final Cut Pro's ability to open multiple projects and sequences at once, we were able to combine everyone's sequences (edited timelines) into a master timeline. Since these were simply "nested sequences," they were still very flexible and adjustable for the final stitching of the different segments.

Return to Bruce Hornsby:
Students Produce Concert DVD and DIRECTV Programs

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