Video Editing with Final Cut Pro, Avid, Premiere, iMovie

Final Cut Pro: Project Management & Workflow

Q: How are the Final Cut Pro projects and media managed?

A: When you start a new project, you should always save it in a master folder with your project name. Save either in Work in Progress or on your external drive. In the labs, Final Cut Pro automatically saves captured clips in a default Capture Scratch folder within your master folder. Always back up your files. Files stored in Work in Progress are only temporary and may be deleted by the next person to use the station. When backing up data or moving your project, be sure to include all contents of the master folder. This way, you will be organized and not misplace media clips. If you are working with an SD card and want to keep your original HD files, make sure to copy them to your external hard drive.

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Q: I have heard Final Cut files sometimes get corrupted. How can I avoid losing my files?

A: Activate the Autosave Vault in your system setting to generate a regular copy of your project. Under the FCP main menu, click on System Settings > Scratch Disks and set the Autosave Vault to Work in Progress or to your external drive.

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Q: How can I create Final Cut Pro files to burn a DVD?

A: You will need to export your project as a Quicktime movie. To do so, go to File> Export> Quicktime Movie and then select Current Settings.
Select Include Audio and/or Video Files and Markers, if any. If you uncheck the box Make Movie Self Contained, you will be exporting a reference movie which contains pointers to the current media that your project is using. You may want to do this when you are running out of space in your drive and/or if you want to continue editing your project later on. A reference movie takes very little disk space, it is fast to create and it does not affect the quality of the image.

 If you check the box Make Movie Self Contained, you will be exporting a final movie that can be played independently of your project and contains a new copy of all your media.
Now you are ready to burn a DVD: drag the final movie to iDVD project or Import Asset in DVD Studio Pro.

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Q: What is the best compression for digital video editing?

A: We recommend ProRes 422 to provide compatibility across stations and platforms in the labs. Please note that H.264 was originally designed and intended as a final delivery codec - not intended for editing. Hence, H.264 should be converted to an edit-friendly codec prior to importing into FCP.

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Q: What are audio and video codecs?

A: Codecs are compression /decompression algorithms that let you transmit and receive pictures when producing digital audio and video. Some codecs are more appropriate for certain kinds of work than others, depending on the operating system, the platform and capture card. Configuring your codec will determine the types of editing modes while setting up for digital A/V editing and playback.

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Q: Which codecs are available when editing digital audio and video?

 A: During project setup, editing, import or export digital video, the available codecs are determined by the file type you choose in the Export Movie Settings dialog box. Not all codecs are compatible when you import/export files cross-platform. You can evaluate codecs by their intended uses, compression methods, and how they handle different kinds of pictures or sound. Check out accepted file types between the software programs you'll be using for compatibility.

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Q: Can I capture HDV in the labs?

 A: The video decks installed on the 8th floor of Arnhold Hall can playback and record DV and HDV format, as long as the input in the deck is consistent with the tape format. Final Cut does support HDV codecs, so, you may be able to log , capture and print to video to and from HDV, after you match the Audio Video Settings capture preset in Final Cut to the codec being used. You will be able to transfer HD footage stored on an SD card or similar media by using the card readers at Arnhold Hall 8th fl. open lab stations or transferring directly from your camera using steps in the Capture section.

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Q: Can I capture HD using the decks in the labs?

 A: The Arnhold Hall 8th floor decks will NOT playback or record HD, which is an entirely different video format, not to be confused with HDV (mpeg 2 compression). You will be able to transfer HD footage stored on an SD card or similar media by using the card readers at Arnhold Hall 8th fl. open lab stations or transferring directly from your camera using steps in the Capture section.

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Q: Can I capture HD and HDV using my camera in the labs?

 A; If Final Cut supports the format and your camera is connected to the computer via FireWire 800 or USB 2.0, it is possible to capture and output HDV or even HD. Make sure the Audio Video settings in Final Cut are set to that format.

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Q: How do I monitor audio and video while digitizing, outputting and working with Final Cut Pro?

 A: While editing, monitor sound using the earphone jack in the front of the CPU tower, and monitor video in the Viewer window of your station's desktop. To hear sound while editing make sure that Audio Playback is set to Built In Audio. While working with a lab DV deck (inputting or outputting), you can monitor video on the local monitor. The monitor shows whatever is playing or being recorded on the deck.

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Q: How do I view my project on the video monitor in the open lab?

 A: Make sure both the deck and the monitor are turned ON before the computer station.

  •  Make sure the Monitor input is set to AV (once the DV deck is ON, AV input should display a black background with the current DV deck settings). If you see a blue screen instead, this means the AV input in the monitor is set incorrectly. To fix it, keep pressing the input button on the monitor until you see the black screen/AV input.
  •  To reset monitor to default: on the monitor's front panel, click on MENU > toggle the Right or Left button until you find and select the RESET option > Click on MENU to enable the RESET option > toggle the Right or Left button until you find and select the EXIT option> click on MENU to enable the EXIT option.

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Q: On which Final Cut Pro stations can I use my own USB or FireWire drive?

 A: All Final Cut Pro stations in the Arnhold Hall 8th fl. lab have an open USB and FireWire 800 port in the front of the CPU tower. Be sure to bring your cable with your drive. If your drive is FireWire 400, it is still possible to purchase a 400-to-800 adapter cable at a local electronics store.

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Q: Can I open my Final Cut Pro project in Premiere or iMovie?

 A: It is possible to export an XML file from Final Cut Pro into Premiere. You can import entire projects, selected clips, or selected sequences. For more information, see Final Cut Pro or Premiere Help. Final Cut Pro project files cannot be opened in iMovie, and vice versa. Your media clips, exported as Quicktime files of a common, non-proprietary compression like DV, can be imported and edited across different applications.

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Final Cut Pro: Capture

Q: Do you have any visual examples to help me with Final Cut Pro?

A: Refer to the Final Cut Pro Tipsheet for step by step instructions.

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Q: How do I capture my audio and video from MiniDV-format tape into Final Cut Pro?

A: Follow these steps:

Using a DV deck: Power on the rack, and make sure the DV deck is on. You can monitor your audio and video from the headphone socket and local monitor above the DV deck.

  • Set the INPUT SELECT on the MiniDV deck to HD/HDV.
  • Click MENU, Click EXEC.
  • Select either DV or HDV on the monitor depending on your tape format by clicking EXEC again.
  • Click MENU again to leave the menu. 

Using a DV camera: Hook it up to the front port in your station using your own FireWire cable.

  • Launch Final Cut Pro and open your project.
  • In the Final Cut Pro menu, click on Audio/Video Settings and confirm Input/Output settings: Sequence Preset = DV NTSC 48kHz; Capture Preset = DV NTSC 48kHz; Video Playback = Apple FireWire NTSC (720x480); Audio Playback = FireWire DV. You can also save your project settings by clicking Create Easy Set Up.
  • In the Browser window, create a Bin: File > New > Bin. In the File menu, click on Log and Capture. In the Log and Capture window, define your clip settings and capture settings (located in the tabs in the upper right hand corner).
  • Under Capture Settings, make sure scratch disks are set to the project folder that you created in Work in Progress or your FireWire drive. Check deck communication: VTR OK.
  • Play your tape and click on Capture Now.

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Q: How do I transfer my audio and video from an SD card reader into Final Cut Pro?

A: Follow these steps:

  1. Insert the SD memory card into the SD card reader on the DV deck. The contents of the SD Memory Card will appear as a removable disk icon on the desktop.
  2. Launch Final Cut Pro. Go to File > Easy Setup. In the "Easy Setup" window, select either "Apple ProRes 422" or "Apple Intermediate Codec" as Format. Set the video resolution and the frame rate according to your footage. example: 1080i60, 720p30, etc.
  3. In Final Cut Pro, go to File > Log and Transfer.
  4. Drag and drop media files you want to transfer to where it says "Drag media here", or click on the "Automatic Transfer Button" at the bottom of the Log and Transfer window to transfer all of the clips. Once files are loaded, they will appear as clips in Final Cut Pro.

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Q: How do I transfer my audio and video from HD AG-HMC150 Camcorder into Final Cut Pro?

 A: Follow these steps:

  1. Insert the SD Memory Card, and move the POWER switch to ON.
  2. Press the mode button to illuminate the PB lamp, and hold the button down again (for at least 2 seconds). The PC lamp will flash, and the camera will change to PC mode.
  3. Turn on the computer power. Connect the camera to the computer with the USB connection cable.
  4. The contents of the SD Memory Card will appear as a removable disk icon on the desktop.
  5. Launch Final Cut Pro. Go to File > Easy Setup. In the "Easy Setup" window , select either "Apple ProRes 422" or "Apple Intermediate Codec" as Format. Set the video resolution and the frame rate according to your footage. example: 1080i60, 720p30, etc.
  6. In Final Cut Pro, go to File > Log and Transfer.
  7. Drag and drop media files to where it says "Drag media here". Once files are loaded, they will appear as clips in Final Cut Pro.

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Q: How do I set the HD Camcorder to regular camera mode after transferring from SD Memory Card?

 A: Follow these steps:

  1. Eject SD Memory Card from the computer by dragging its icon to the trash.
  2. Press mode button to for 2 seconds
  3. Disconnect USB cable
  4. Press mode button again for 2 seconds; camera will go into PB mode

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Q: How do I transfer my video from the Canon SLR to Final Cut Pro?

 A: Follow these steps:

  1. Insert the Compact Flash Memory Card into the card reader (See image below).
  2. The contents of the SD Memory Card will appear as a removable disk icon on the desktop.
  3. Copy the content (MOV) files you need to the Work In Progress drive.
  4. Launch Final Cut Pro. Drag the MOV files from the Work In Progress drive into the Browser window in Final Cut Pro. When you see the clips shown in the browser window in Final Cut Pro, they are ready to be edited.
  5. Eject SD Memory Card from the computer by dragging its icon to the trash.

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Q: Why can't I hear sound when capturing?

 A: To monitor your audio via the computer during log/capture: Go to the Log/Capture window; under the "Clip Settings" tab, check the preview box in Audio session.

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Q: How do I save my captured clips?

 A: In Final Cut Pro 7, each clip will show on the Browser window as you capture it. Each clip is automatically saved within your project folder in the Capture Scratch folder. Tip: Name your clips as you log or capture them. Simply type a clip name and, if you prefer, a description.  

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Q: Why is my media off-line and I can't relink it?

 A:  If you saved only your Final Cut Pro project and didn't save your original source clips (QuickTime files), all you have is the project itself but not the original captured media.

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Q: How do I batch capture in Final Cut Pro?

 A: Launch Final Cut Pro and open your project. Choose Batch Capture from the File menu. Then choose the type of clips you want to capture from the Capture pop-up menu, either as off-line or all items. When you're ready to capture, click OK. You'll be prompted to select a reel from your reel display. Final Cut Pro captures all of the clips on that reel, and then prompts you to select another, until all the clips you've specified have been captured.  

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Final Cut Pro: Outputting

Q: What is the difference between Print to Video and Edit to Tape?

 A: With Print to Video, the recorder is not controlled remotely. With Edit to Tape, you use machine control and can assemble-edit to tape. Edit to Tape will only work for DV with timecode already on the record tapes. Before doing Edit to Tape, you have to black your tape to make sure you have clean timecode in the tape.

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Q: How do I output to MiniDV-format tape using Final Cut Pro open lab stations?

 A: Follow these steps:

Using a DV deck. Power on the DV deck, and make sure the green light is on. To monitor your audio and video from the DV deck, turn on the local monitor.

  • Set the INPUT SELECT on the MiniDV deck to HD/HDV.
  • Click MENU, Click EXEC.
  • Select either DV or HDV on the monitor depending on your tape format by clicking EXEC again.
  • Click MENU again to leave the menu.

Using a DV camera. Use your own FireWire cable and hook it up to a front port at your station.

  • Launch Final Cut Pro software and open your project.
  • In the Final Cut Pro menu, click on Audio/Video Settings. Confirm: Video Playback = Apple FireWire NTSC (720x480); Audio Playback = FireWire DV.

To output using Print to Video: Go to File > Print to Video. The following message will show on the desktop: "Ready for playback, start video recorder and click OK to begin." Press record button on your DV deck. On your station, click OK to start playing your sequence. To finish recording, press stop on the deck. You can also save your project settings by clicking Create Easy Set Up.

To output using Edit to Tape: In the Final Cut Pro menu, click Audio Video Settings > Device Control Preset, set device control to FireWire NTSC. Go to File > Edit to Tape. You will be prompted to indicate the time in and out on your destination tape.

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Troubleshooting & Error Messages

Q: I created a project in the labs but I cannot open my Final Cut project on my personal computer. What can I do?

A: Final Cut is not backwards compatible; however, the workaround is: export your Final Cut Project file as an XML in order to work interchangeably between different software versions.

  • Go File > Export > XML, then select "Apple XML Interchange Format, version" 1-5, depending on your project's specific needs. Use the FCS tutorial or help online to learn more about exporting XML files.

Here are a few other links that may be useful to understand xml file format:

Q: Why do I get error messages on playback or outputting?

 A: Memory may be low. Exit all programs other than Final Cut Pro. Also, you may try to lower your Final Cut Pro project's playback resolution (that does not affect output resolution). Under Final Cut Pro > System Settings > Playback Control, adjust the Video Quality to a lower resolution. If outputting, under Final Cut Pro Menu>Audio/Video Settings>A/V Devices, uncheck the boxes "Video: Mirror on Desktop".

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Q: In Final Cut, when I capture from FireWire DV my picture is pixelated or poor quality?

 A: If you are working on a large project and/or on a project with a lot of real-time effects, you may have to lower the playback resolution by clicking on the RT pull down menu on the timeline. You also can lower the playback resolution: Final Cut Pro > System Settings > Playback Control, adjust the Video Quality to a lower resolution. Otherwise, it may be your tape; check it on another deck. If it looks okay on another deck, report the problem to the reception desk.

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Q: Why can't I change the editing timebase for my sequence in Final Cut Pro?

 A: A sequence preset determines its editing timebase or sequence frame rate, e.g., 29.97fps, 30fps, 24fps, etc. Once a sequence is created, its editing timebase can be changed only if it contains no clips. Once a sequence contains a clip, its editing timebase cannot be changed. In your project workflow, keep in mind to check project settings before you start working. You may edit a sequence timebase: under Final Cut Pro > Audio Video Settings > Sequence Presets > Edit and choose the timebase.

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Q: Why do I have to consider timecode?

 A: All clips you use must match the sequence timecode, whether drop or non-drop. Everything must be consistent or you will get errors.

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Q: Why do I get dropped frames and/or sound problems when outputting from Final Cut Pro?

 A: To avoid dropped frames, sound problems or output errors while working on large projects, you may want to do a mixdown of your video and sound tracks before the final output. First, select all clips in your sequence. Then, under Sequence, select Nest Item, keep the same aspect ratio of your original sequence and name your new clip. If you want to mixdown the audio to the video for that specific clip check the Audio Mixdown box. After that, your sequence is ready to print to video.

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Q: Can I import my audio files from Final Cut Pro into an audio editing application?

 A: Yes. Save your audio files as AIFF to import directly into Pro tools, for instance. If your audio is already edited in Final Cut Pro, you can even bring in these embedded descriptions and further edit in Pro tools. Save your audio file as an OMF. OMF files contain not only the descriptions of the IN and OUT points you made in your edited sequence, but also the source audio embedded in the exported file. You can reimport AIFF and OMF files back into Final Cut Pro. You cannot import MP3 or QDesign files into Final Cut Pro. If you want to use MP3 files, you must convert them first to AIFF audio files.

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Q: How do I convert MP3 files to AIFF audio files?

 A: Open your audio file in QuickTime Pro 7. Go to File > Export; ensure that you select AIFF and that your audio is at a rate of 48kHz. 

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Q: When outputting my project to tape, I don't have sound. Why?

 A: When outputting, the sound is sent through the FireWire. Make sure you have your sound output setting set to DV four-channel mix. You can monitor the sound via the headphone jack in the rack.

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Q: Where can I find more information on troubleshooting and support for Final Cut Pro?

 A: In Final Cut Pro, go the Help Menu and Launch Final Cut Pro Help. You can access information through the contents or perform a keyword search.

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Avid

Avid: Project Management & Workflow

Q: Why do I receive a message stating "Please stand by as Avid is activated" when I launch Avid?

 A: This is the normal part of the Avid start-up process in the labs and classrooms. No action is needed on your part - simply simply stand by while the system automatically completes the activation process. When you're finished using Avid, please remember to quit the application and allow it time to complete the deactivation process, so that the license will be available to other users. You can find a video walk-through of this process under Apple dock menu > Manuals & Resources > Application Manuals & Extras > Avid Media Composer 6.

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Q: How are the Avid projects and media managed?

 A: If you create a PRIVATE or SHARED, your project files automatically save to Work In Progress > Avid Projects > Your project name. For more control over how your media is managed, we recommend that you create an EXTERNAL project with custom save locations using the following steps:

  1. When the Select Project dialog box opens, Select EXTERNAL (Don't select PRIVATE nor SHARED).
  2. Click the Browse button (icon with a folder shape in the upper right corner). Set the FOLDER path to Work In Progress > Avid Projects.
  3. If you are using your own external drive, set the FOLDER path to Your Drive Name > Avid Projects.

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Q: What are Audio and Video Codecs?

 A: Codecs are compression /decompression algorithms that let you transmit and receive pictures when producing digital audio and video. Some codecs are more appropriate for certain kinds of work than others depending on the operating system, the platform and capture card. Configuring your codec will determine the types of editing modes while setting up for digital A/V editing and playback.

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Q: What is the best codec for editing standard definition in the labs?

 A: We recommend capturing and editing SD footage in Avid's native DV 25 411 MXF format.

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Q: What is the best compression for HD editing in the labs?

 A: We recommend the DNxHD175 codec.

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Q: What user profile do I use?

 A: You should create your own profile under the Project window. The user profile can then be found for backup at: Hard Drive > Users > Shared >AvidMediaComposer> Avid Users > Newschool > Profile Name.

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Avid: Capture

Q: To where should I digitize/capture my media?

 A: You should create your own profile under the Project window. The user profile can then be found for backup at: Hard Drive > Users > Shared >AvidMediaComposer> Avid Users > Newschool > Profile Name.

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Q: How do I import my footage from my MiniDV tape using an installed MiniDV deck?

  1. Power on the DV deck, and make sure the green light is on. To monitor your audio and video from the DV deck, turn on the attached video monitor (where available) and verify input.
  2. Launch the Avid software and open your project.
  3. Create a bin. In the bin, right-click and select "Go To Capture Mode."
  4. By default, the Avid stations in the classrooms, open labs and suites have the correct deck machine control configuration. If the deck cannot be found, choos Auto-configure from in the Capture Tool window.
  5. Click on Tape Name and type or select the tape you want. Enable video, audio and time code tracks. Select video resolution at the Capture Tool window. You are now ready to capture.

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Q: How do I import my footage from my MiniDV tape using a MiniDV camera?

  1. Use your firewire cable to hook up the camera up to a front port in your station.
  2. Launch the Avid software and open your project.
  3. In the Project Settings window, click Deck Configuration: Set channel Firewire on OHCI to Generic Edit-Deck-NTSC. Click Apply in the Deck Configuration window. NOTE: If you are using your own DV camera as a deck, make sure that the DV deck in the rack is off.
  4. Create a bin. In the bin, right-click and select "Go To Capture Mode."
  5. Click on Tape Name and type or select the tape you want. Enable video, audio and time code tracks. Select video resolution at the Capture Tool window. You are now ready to capture.

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Q: How do I import my footage HD footage from a SD/CF card?

  1. Insert the SD card into the SD card reader on the rack. The card should launch on the desktop like any other hard drive.
  2. Launch Avid and set up your project.
  3. Create a bin. Go to File, and choose "Link to AMA Volume." Choose the mounted SD card as the root of the virtual volume.
  4. Select the files you want to import. Under Clip, choose Consolidate/Transcode. Make sure Transcode is selected, then choose Work in Progress (or your hard drive) as Target Drive. Under Target Video Resolution, we suggest you use DNxHD145 MXF.
  5. Click Transcode.
  6. Note: Make sure your project in Avid matches the settings of the footage on your SD card. If your project has different settings, your media will not be available to edit.

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Q: How do I make sure I am capturing audio?

 A: The audio tracks must be highlighted in the record window. After capturing, look on the clip window to see if it has A1/A2 listed in addition to Video (V). You can pull up the AUDIO TOOL window, play the clip and see if the level indicators move. Or you could put your clip on the timeline, select SAMPLE PLOT on the timeline fast menu. If you only see a flat line you did not record any audio.

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Premiere

Q: How are the Premiere projects and media managed?

 A: When you start a new project, you should always save it right away, in a folder with your project name, either in Work in Progress or on your external drive. Make a master folder and save your project file, all project settings, clips and render files within this folder. Premiere automatically creates a preview folder to store your rendered clips and preview files as edited in your timeline browser. This way, your media will be organized. Always back up your project. Files stored in Work in Progress are only temporary and may be deleted by the next person to use the station.

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Q: How can I make sure I am saving my files to Work in Progress?

 A: Go to Edit> Preferences > Scratch Disks , and select or create a folder in Work in Progress.

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Q: Can I open my Premiere project in Final Cut Pro or vice-versa?

  A: Export your Premiere File project following this path Export > Final Cut Pro XML. You can also export an XML file from Final Cut Pro into Premiere.You can import entire projects, selected clips, or selected sequences. For more information, see Final Cut Pro or Premiere Help.

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Q: How do I capture my audio and video into Premiere?

 A: Follow these steps:

  1. Use your own 4-pin FireWire cable to hook up your DV Camera to a front port at your Windows PC station. Turn on the camera. Camera should be in VCR mode.
  2. Launch Premiere. This should prompt a Project Load Preset/Custom Settings window. When the New Sequence window prompts set Available Sequence Presets to DV NTSC/ Standard 48 kHz. (If you don't see the window, go to Sequence > Sequence Presets.)
  3. Go to Sequence > Sequence Settings > Playback Settings, in the Export area, choose DV 29.97i as your External Device. Press OK to confirm your changes..
  4. To capture, go to: File > Capture, under Settings, make sure your Device Control is set to DV/HDV control. If you need to check more advance settings for your Device Control, press
  5. Option to get into the Device Control settings window. Press the record button on your station and press play on your camera. To end recording, press the Esc key located on the uppermost left button on your keyboard.

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Q: How do I output my video from Premiere?

 A: Follow these steps:

  1. Use your own 4-pin FireWire cable to hook up your DV Camera to a front port at your Windows PC station. Turn on the camera. Camera should be in record mode.
  2. Launch Premiere. This should prompt a Project Load Preset/Custom Settings window. When the New Sequence window prompts set Available Sequence Presets to DV NTSC/ Standard 48 kHz. (If you don't see the window, go to Sequence > Sequence Presets.)
  3. Go to Sequence > Sequence Settings > Playback Settings, in the Export area, choose DV 29.97i as your External Device. Press OK to confirm your changes.
  4. Your computer is now ready to export your sequence directly to tape. You can make sure by checking if the sequence is now playing back on your camera. To output simply press record on your deck and start playback on your computer. To finish recording, press stop on the camera.

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Q: What do I do if my project is freezing or crashing while editing in Premiere?

 A: Save your project, then quit out and relaunch your Project. Make sure you're working off of the Work in Progress or your FireWire drive, and there's enough memory to work on your project. Working from flash drives slows performance and the station eventually crashes. If you are working on a large project, uncheck Playback on Desktop. Also, make sure you don't have other programs opened that require a lot of memory while working with Premiere. Quit out of these extra programs to improve performance.

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Q: How can I hear my audio playback in Premiere?

 A: Check that your system sounds can be heard on the desktop: Go to Sequence > Sequence Settings > Playback Settings, in Realtime Playback area, check Desktop Audio, in Realtime Playback area, check Desktop Audio. You should now be able to hear your audio playback.

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Q: In Premiere, I only hear sound when I scrub in the time-line, not when I play my sequence?

 A: Your internal playback sound settings are incorrect. Go to Sequence > Sequence Settings > Playback Settings,. In Realtime Playback area, uncheck External Device Audio box and check Desktop Audio instead, and return to your project.

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Q: Can I import my audio files from Premiere into an audio editing application?

 A: Yes. Save your audio files as AIFF to import directly into Protools, for instance. You can re-import AIFF files back into Premiere.

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iMovie

Q: How does iMovie compare with Final Cut Pro and Premiere?

 A: iMovie is a simpler consumer-oriented application, meant for easy and quick use. Project Management & Workflow, Digitizing, Outputting and Timecode apply in similar ways, so you can use the tips for Final Cut Pro and Premiere.

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