APRIL 03, 2002
Final Cut Pro 3
Voice Over and cross platform capabilities
If you are working on a documentary, or news story, at some point you will want to lay in a V.O. or narration track. Final Cut Pro 3 includes a new Voice Over Tool that allows the editor to playback a section of the timeline (or entire sequence) while simultaneously recording directly to an audio track on the timeline. For most users, this option may not be used very often, but if you are a news person and are editing on a laptop, then this feature makes finishing a piece for air a snap and will probably be used quite often. The Voice Over Tool allows you to use a microphone on a DV camera, or an external mic. Unfortunately, current configurations of Macs (both tower and laptop) don’t have an audio input jack, so off the shelf mics are not going work as is. To make the necessary connection, you’ll have to purchase a USB audio device. Then, it is a simple matter of doing some timing tests to determine an offset and your good to go.
Since we are not all one-take-wonders, the V.O. Tool allows you to do multiple takes. Each time a new take is recorded, the previous take moves down a track, which gives the editor the option of picking and choosing from the best takes.
Probably the biggest reason that I like Final Cut Pro 3 so much is in the format it uses to encode the video. Unlike other NLE systems, which use proprietary codecs, formats, and naming conventions, the QuickTime format can be opened on the desktop and the name you give your clip is the name the file is stored as. When it comes to moving footage (from Mac to PC - "gasp!"), deleting clips, or opening a clip in another application (like Adobe After Effects), it can all be done using the Final Cut Pro 3 native format.
This not only works when identifying or moving clips, it also helps when exporting footage or effects from other packages. If you are using an application like Adobe After Effects or NewTek’s LightWave 3D, you only need to encode using the QuickTime codec. The clip imports without a problem and without the need for further rendering from the timeline. Try that easily with Media100 or Avid. At least once a month I see someone asking for the Avid codec so they can install it on their After Effects system so they can import the clip back into their Symphony, or Xpress systems. The codec isn’t readily available from the Avid site, unlike the QuickTime codec which is installed on nearly every computer with the QuickTime player.
Because you are working with a QuickTime format, and it accepts other layers of information, Final Cut Pro 3 markers can be embedded in the final output. This is extremely valuable if you are going to burn a DVD with Apple’s DVD Studio Pro (which I’ll be reviewing in the near future). Even if you don’t have chapter markers, exporting in the QuickTime format with MPEG compression makes it a snap to generate a DVD with iDVD 2.
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