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Final Cut Pro 3

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Be sure to see the special Tips section.

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Final Cut Pro 3 is a professional video editing suite that can be used for video capture, compositing, editing and special effects. Final Cut Pro 3 is limited to Macintosh operating systems, OS 9 and OS X and above.
Final Cut Pro 3 creates broadcast-quality video that can be compressed for the web, CD-ROM or delivered kisok-mode. Final Cut Pro can export video to all QuickTime formats, NTSC, PAL and .avi for PowerPoint presentations.  

Final Cut Pro 3 also offers OfflineRT, a format that holds up to five times as much footage as the DV format.  Providing over 40 minutes of video per gigabyte of hard drive space, OfflineRT is an ideal format for editing across multiple computers. Using a FireWire connection, editors can capture and transcode DV footage to OfflineRT. Thus editors can work with large amounts of high-quality, timecode-accurate video that can be reconnected to the original source material, without having to take up inordinate amounts of space on a hard-drive or external storage solution. OfflineRT can also be used when working with standard definition or high definition formats.

Other Final Cut Pro 3 features:

  • Voice-Over tool for audio capture directly to the timeline from a built-in or external microphone;
  • Auto-Save Vault, which saves and time-stamps projects at user-specified intervals;
  • Three-point editingkeyboard navigation (see table),  match frame, extend and split edit functions, multiple and nested timeline project support, and timecode overlays;
  • Integrated compositing, including Adobe AfterEffects plug-in support;
  • 3D titling and effects from Boris and CGM,  2D and 3D animated titles and advanced transitions; 
  • PeakDV audio editing tool from Bias, providing VST plug-in support and time compression/expansion for fitting audio to video.

Final Cut Pro 3.0.4 addresses performance and reliability issues in Final Cut Pro 3. These fixes and enhancements include: 

  • effects are now represented correctly in exported EDLs, 
  • EDLs with clips containing speed changes are now imported correctly, 
  • clips from reels with timecode occurring during hour 23 now capture and import correctly, 
  • incorrect sync in Exported OMF files are eliminated. 

Final Cut Pro not only provides non-linear digital editing, but also provides a interface that organizes your media for easy use. The Browser Window tracks your media, The Viewer Window lets  your view, edit and apply effects. While the Timeline  displays your edited media as clips arranged in a time sequence.  Because this software has so many options and functions, each window must do triple duty, so there are tabs to access the multiple functions.  There is also a small Tool Palette that can be moved around the desktop. This tool palette contains access to navigation, selections, and perform different edits in the Timeline and Canvas. 

Learning Final Cut Pro is a daunting task and this web page will only get you so far.  I strongly encourage you to take the time to complete the tutorial that comes with the software. The Help feature in Final Cut Pro is context- sensitive. Some of the items in Help are not in the manual, so it may be helpful to start with this feature.



Terminology and Quick Guide  


The Browser, the Viewer, the Canvas and the Timeline windows form the core of Final Cut Pro. These interfaces provide access to features and functions of the software and help you stay organized through the editing and compositing process.

Viewer The Viewer appears in the upper left corner of the desktop as a default (although all windows can be rearranged).  The Viewer acts as a source monitor for capture and editing. You can review video and audio clips and mark edit points in the Viewer. You can also drag clips from the timeline into the Viewer to apply effects, create titles or edit the sequence.  The Viewer window has three tabs: Video, Filters and Motion.

Canvas- The Canvas appears in the upper right of the desktop to the left of the Viewer window.

Browser-The Browser appears in the lower left of the desktop under the Viewer. The Browser organizes and provides easy access to all the media elements in your current project.  These may include still shots, titles, audio and video files. The Browser window has three tabs: the Current Project, Effects and Demo tabs.  The current project tab provides access to your bins (the places your offline media are stored).

Timeline- The Timeline appears in the lower right of the desktop under the Canvas window.  The Timeline displays a chronological view of your edited media. Clips appear on multiple tracks depending upon their composition: stereo audio, video, . Transitions appear in the tracks with the sequences to which they were applied. Each open sequence will appear as a separate tab in the Timeline. Click on a tab and drag the playhead (upside down triangle) along the ruler to browse through (scrub) a sequence.

Tool palette

Tabbed windows- Final Cut Pro uses tabs in the Viewer Window, Timeline and Browser to give access to functions and features. 

Viewer Tabs

Video Tab


Controls Tab


Filters Tab


Motion Tab






 Final Cut Pro is designed to work with DV and firewire standards. When hooked up with firewire, Final Cut Pro can control most DV cameras thus creating an easier interface for batch or single capture.  Using a digital media converter (digital to analog) device, such as a Sony  or Dazzle media converter, you can import and convert analog video to digital. Analog can only be imported through the use of one of these hardware devices or a special capture card installed in your computer. Final Cut Pro cannot control an analog VHS deck, so the tape must be started and stopped manually.  


Connect a DV camera to the firewire port on the Macintosh. 


1.  Connect your DV device (camera, DV deck) to the computer before installing Final Cut Pro.  When you install Final Cut Pro, it will automatically receive setup information from the camera or deck.

2. Always connect and disconnect  the equipment only when the computer is off. 



  Setting Preferences    


Final Cut Pro has several methods to access editing tasks.  You can use the Pull-down Menus, Short-cut Menus, Keyboard Navigation (shortcuts) or  the Tool Palette.  The Short-cut Menus are accessed using the Control key and a mouse click. Control-click on an item in one of the four windows (Canvas, Viewer, Timeline or Browser) and select from the list of functions that pops up (these will be specific to that particular menu).

Keyboard shortcuts provide many of the same functions as the pull-down menus and short-cut menus.  Print out the tables at the end of the web page as a reference. 




Connect a DV camera to the firewire port on the Macintosh.  Final Cut Pro is




Connect a DV camera to the firewire port on the Macintosh.  Final Cut Pro is




Connect a DV camera to the firewire port on the Macintosh.  Final Cut Pro is


  Visual Effects


Connect a DV camera to the firewire port on the Macintosh.  Final Cut Pro is

  Exporting to Video 
  Exporting as QuickTime 
  Helpful Hints 

    Keyboard Shortcuts (Hot Keys)

     Apple key = Command key. Hold keys down simultaneously.

General Controls: 

Function Key Command
Open File Apple + O
Open in a New Window Apple + Return
Close Window Apple + W
Help Apple + ?
Quit Apple + Q
Save Apple + S
Save all Option +S
Undo Apple + Z
Redo Apple + Y
Preferences Option  + Q
Cut Apple + X
Copy Apple + C
Paste Apple + V
Duplicate Option + D
Make In/Out Selection Option + A
Select All Apple + A
Deselect All Apple + D
Play/Stop Space bar
Play Every Frame Option + P
Play Here to Out Shift + P
Play in Reverse Shift + Space bar
Play In to Out Shift + \ (backslash)
Capture Now Shift + C
Print to Video Apple + M

To Open Application Windows

Function Key Command
Viewer Apple + 1
Canvas Apple + 2
Timeline Apple + 3
Browser Apple + 4
Effects Apple +  5
Favorites Bin Apple + 6
Trim Edit Apple + 7
Log and Capture Apple + 8
Items Properties Apple + 9
Sequence Settings Apple + 0 (zero)

Navigation Functions

Function Key Command
Forward 1 Frame
Back 1 Frame
Forward 1 Second shift +
Back 1 Second shift +
Next Edit Shift + E
Previous Edit Option + E
Next Gap Shift + G
Previous Gap Option + G
To Beginning of Media Home
To End of Media End
To Next Edit or  In/Out Point
To Previous Edit or  In/Out Point
To Next Marker Shift +
To Previous Marker Shift +

Working with In and Out Points 

Function  Key Command
Set In Point I
Set Out Point O
Clear In Option + I
Clear Out Option + O
Mark clip X
Go to In Point Shift + I
Go to Out Point Shift + O


Function Key Commands
Select A
Roll Edit R
Slip S
Razor Blade B
Crop C
Distort D
Pen P


Function Key Command
Insert Edit F9
Extend Edit  E
Overwrite F10
Superimpose F12
Fit to Fill Shift + F11
Select Closest Edit V
Trim Backward One Frame , (comma)
Trim Backward # Frames Shift + , (comma)
Trim Forward 1 Frame . (period)
Trim Forward # Frames  Shift + . (period)

Compositing and Effects

Function Key Command
Add Motion Keyframe K
Next Keyframe Shift + K
Previous Keyframe  Option + K
Make Still Frame Shift + N
Render Effect Apple + K
Render Selection Apple + R
Render Sequence Option + R
Zoom In Apple + = (equal sign)
Zoom Out Apple + - (minus sign)


1. Set your scratch disk to your start-up disk.
2. Store your in-progress files on the start-up disk and your media and rendered files on a separate partition or an external firewire hard drive.
3. De-fragment external partitioned and external drives regularly. After each project is completed if you are doing large projects.
4. If you started a project in iMovie and have decided to move up to Final Cut Pro, you cannot open the iMovie file in Final Cut Pro.  However, use iMovie to export the media into QuickTime, then import the QuickTime file into Final Cut Pro.  Be sure to save the file as Full Quality, Large during the export function.
5. Use the Tool Tips feature to access info about the icons in the Viewer and Canvas windows as well as the Tool Palette.  Tool Tips can be turned on through the General Tab of the Preferences window.
6. The F1 key opens Context Sensitive Help.








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Page last revised on Tuesday, April 29, 2003.