The Top-Ten Things I Wish I Knew About Final Cut Pro…Ten Years Ago.

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I’ve been an editor for a while now at several different shops. Through those days and places I have mostly been self taught until I ended up here with SuiteTake. At SuiteTake training and skill development is not just encouraged, it’s part of our daily responsibilities. Therefor, in the recent past my learning curve has increased dramatically.

The Top Ten things I wish I knew:

10. Shift and option dragging

9. Quick Ken Burns effect

8. QuickTime vs Quicktime Conversion.

7. The Black and code button.

6. Option 1,2,3 for transition alignment

5. Esc, tab, spacebar to navigate windows

4. Apply normalization to audio in FCP

3. Disable dropped frames warning.

2. Disable rendering with caps lock.

1. Map your keyboard.

The SuiteTake Take?

If you’re an experienced editor you probably know most of these already, however, if you’re just starting out like me so many years ago you’ll be putting yourself ahead of the game by learning these tricks now and not 10 years from now.

The following video tutorial demonstrates a list of 10 efficiencies and workflows with Final Cut Pro that I wish I had known from the start. If I had these often simple tricks in my pocket from day 1 I would have saved myself countless hours and heaps of frustration.

Leave Your Edit Suite On Time, Finish From Home – For FREE!


Back in 2003 when I converted my basement to full blown edit suite (a year long process), it was both a blessing and curse all at once. Gone was the commute and fighting with Chicagoland traffic. I could sleep in later and “get home” from work earlier. Sounds great! But the flip side of that, if you don’t have a serious commitment to putting up work/personal life barriers, you are always at your office and always working. And clients know that too. So what’s to stop you from working late into the evening or over the weekend? As I found out, not much.

First home edit suite, 2003
Basement edit suite, 2004

Luckily, the home edit suite was short lived. In less then a year my wife and I had outgrown it and had to get office space or we would lose some of the larger jobs. The separation of work from home life was back in balance. However, there have been times that I wished the suite was back at home. It’s one thing to stick around the office to edit, but it’s another to stick around watching a render bar or compression bar just so you can finish and upload a file. What if you could do this from home? And what if it was free to you assuming that you already have a high speed internet connection at your home and office? Well, I’m hear to tell you that the solution is not only out there, but it’s a lot easier to get setup then you might think.

I’m sure by now everybody knows about MobileMe and Back To My Mac on the Macintosh (just try to get Back To My Mac working reliably though) and services like GoToMyPC.com (now supporting the Mac platform). There is also a client/server based service called HamachiX for Mac, but I could never get that to work reliably and it would often get very frustrating. About a year ago I found a free service called LogMeIn.com, which supports both Mac and PC. They’re goal is to get you hooked on their free service, and then have you upgrade to one of their paid accounts. But for what i use it for the free version is perfect. I now have several computers registered with them and use it at least weekly, sometimes every day. It has become an important tool in my toolbox.

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Multi-Language DVDs, So Easy Grandma Can Do It

Well, for this post I thought I’d show you how simple it is to create DVDs in DVD Studio Pro that utilize multiple audio tracks. We use it around here for making DVDs with multiple languages, so you could watch the same video in French, German, Portuguese, etc. This same theory can be applied to putting in director’s commentaries, or maybe you’re doing something awesome with audio tracks that I’ve never even heard of! I’m sure some of may think it’s really easy to do this, while others may have never attempted it so they don’t know where to begin, but the truth of the matter is that it is extremely easy.

There’s that saying that “it’s so easy that my grandmother can do it!”, well, I’m gonna prove that theory correct, as I have actually brought my Grandma Shirley here to the office on my lunch break to prove that even she can create multi-language DVDs!

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The Emergency Boot Drive, Your New Best Friend


Several times a year I find myself on the road editing on-location with clients. These travel jobs are usually a convention, corporate conference or incentive trip. The locations can be as close as Chicago (20 miles away) or as far as Thailand and Hong Kong. I have a travel system that’s in cases and ready to go at a moments notice, and each year this part of our business at Edit Creations has grown.

One concern I always have when doing these jobs is having a system go down while being far away from the office. Part of my safety net is having a second laptop with me on every trip. I learned my lesson the hard way when a few years ago one of our editors was doing a job in California and the a AJA IO box stopped working. It was a Saturday so I couldn’t get in touch with tech support at AJA and no amount of google searching helped find a solution. By Monday the job was going to be all over, videos laid off or not. So in that case, after troubleshooting all night on the phone and realizing it was not going to be fixed, with only a 4 hour window I had to shower, head to the office and make a second system from one of our edit bays, stop and Home Depot and buy a hand truck and head to the airport. I made it in time to save the day, but it burned though all of the profits for the job.

While having 2 systems is great security, I always want to have the ability to troubleshoot, test or rebuild a machine with all of the needed software on site, should the need arise. In my worst case scenario that I play back in my head (rehearsing it like a fire drill) I imagine running to a local Apple Store, buying a new machine on the spot and reinstalling everything I need to get the job done.

Up until recently I’ve always brought with me a small selection of DVD’s. Everything from all of the original FCP and Adobe install disks, to Disk Warrior and a system restore disk. While this would obviously work, there is a better way. Why not buy a new, small portable FW drive (or even better, use one of those old drives that you have laying around) and created a multi-partition boot drive that contains everything? Then, not only do you have everything you need in one place, booting and running off of the FW drive will be much faster then working off your DVD drive.

The rest of this post will show you how to create your own emergency boot drive that is the perfect companion to your travel system.

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