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Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #38

Timecode Reader for window dubs By Stephen Schleicher

While we as editors may work in a specific format (DV, Digi, HD, etc.) and have decks capable of playing back these formats at a moments notice, chances are your client/producer only has access to that old fangled VHS deck.  While it may be simple process to record a copy for them to take home and view/critique, that person has no way of seeing the Timecode data needed to determine when and where trims and/or edits need to take place.  This is where the ?window burn comes in to play, and fortunately, Final Cut Pro has a Timecode Reader and Generator built in.

The Timecode Reader and Generator effects do exactly as the names imply; they read and generate Timecode data.

Step 1:  In your Final Cut Pro Timeline, select a video clip.

Step 2:  To this clip apply the Timecode Reader effect.

The good news is this is a real-time effect that requires no rendering.  When you scrub through the clip in the Timeline you will see the TCR data displayed in the Canvas Window.

To apply this same effect to the other clips in the Timeline, select the clip, and use the Last Effects option.

Well, that was simple enough, but there are a number of options you can do with this effect in the Filters Tab.

For example, if you are simply burning an entire tape, you can use the Label property to display the tape name or number. This allows the assistant to go through and log the shots.

If you want a small burn, or need to make it larger for the hard of seeing, Size adjustments will allow you to do this.

The Center property allows you to place the window burn exactly where you want it on the screen.  Perhaps you want it at the top of the window if you have a lot of action happening in the lower third.

If you want to get rid of the window, leaving only the Timecode, lower the opacity to 0, and turn off the Ignore Opacity property.

Finally, if you need the window burn to stand out, you can easily change the color of both the box and the font.

Timecode for editing
Instead of a window burn, what if you actually just need to see the Timecode for each frame of your video while you are editing?  For example, if you are working with audio recorded separately from the video track, but both have the exact same Timecode, being able to display this information would allow you to line the sources up quickly and easily.

You can do this in Final Cut Pro by turning on Show Timecode Overlays.

This gives you all the Timecode information for all tracks in your composition at the current Timeline Indicator.

If you have multiple tracks, those are also displayed and are color coded to easier identification.  It should be noted that Show Timecode Overlays is for editing purposes only.  When you play the Timeline the overlays disappear, and they can not be recorded to tape as a window burn.

Hopefully this Final Cut Pro Quick Tip saves you the next time your client/producer says they need a window burn to take home for the evening.

For a complete list of all Final Cut Pro Quick Tips, visit my website at www.mindspring.com/~schleicher.


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Stephen Schleicher is a well known writer, visual effects artist and media guru! You can see more of Stephen at
www.majorspoilers.com and www.stephenschleicher.com
Related Keywords:timecode, window burn, final cut pro, quick tip, schleicher, tutorial, exercise

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