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Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #44

Chapter Markers By Stephen Schleicher

If you plan on exporting your Final Cut Pro HD project to DVD (and who isnt these days), youll probably want to place Chapter Markers to help the user navigate easier.  In this Final Cut Pro Quick Tip, well go through the process and show how easy it is to do.

Chapter Markers are one of the most valuable ways to aid in navigating a DVD.  Without them, the DVD becomes nothing more than a glorified videotape requiring the user to fast forward or rewind endlessly until they find the information they are looking for.  Chapter Markers allow us to navigate between scenes, sequences, or in the case of training DVDs, important information points on the disc.

In Final Cut Pro, Markers are nothing more than points of reference in clips or sequences.  Markers can be used to add comments for the editor or graphic designer, or to quickly jump from one area of the sequence to another.

Chapter Markers are really no different than a regular Marker, the only difference is when you export the sequence as a QuickTime movie.  When exported as a QuickTime movie, the Chapter Markers become a separate text track embedded in the movie file that can then be read by DVD Studio Pro or iDVD.

Creating Chapter Markers is a breeze.  I suggest you wait and place your Chapter Makers after you have completed your final locked sequence.

Step 1:  Open your final sequence in the Timeline or in the Viewer Window.

Step 2:  Move the play head to the point where you want to place your maker.  Press the M key on your keyboard to drop the Marker.  Right now this is a regular Marker.

Step 3:  To create the Chapter Marker, press the M key again to open the Marker Window.

Step 4:  With the Marker Window open, give the Marker a name.  I like to name the marker something the user will understand.  If you are exporting to iDVD these Chapter Marker Names will be exported and used in the iDVD menu.

Step 5:  Click the Add Chapter Marker button and then click OK.

Because it is so easy to place Chapter Markers in your Timeline, you can get carried away.  Before that happens, keep these five items in mind:

1. No Chapter Marker can be closer than one second of the beginning or end of the sequence.
2. No Chapter Marker can be closer than one second from any other Chapter Marker
3. When exporting a sequence (from the Timeline for example), only the sequence markers are exported, if you have markers in an individual clip they will be ignored.
4. When you export from the Browser Window clip markers are exported
5. Finally, you can only have 99 Chapter Markers per sequence.

If you need to remove a Chapter Marker, move the play head to the Marker, and press the M key to open the Edit Marker Window again.  From there you can click on the Delete button to remove the Marker from your clip or sequence.

After you have placed all the Chapter Markers, export the sequence.  You can either export a self contained movie or a reference movie.  I prefer using the reference movie because it references the original QuickTime files and does not create an overly large file.  Make sure you have Chapter Markers selected from the Markers drop down menu.

Finally, launch iDVD and select your theme or template.  Then drag the exported movie to the interface and release.  Because iDVD recognizes the Chapter Markers, it will create the necessary buttons (Play Movie and Scene Selections) for you. 

By clicking on the Map button, you can double check to make sure all of your Chapter Markers have imported correctly.

With this easy understanding of how Chapter Markers work in Final Cut Pro HD, you have in your hands a way to create dynamic navigable DVDs for your next project.

For a complete list of all Final Cut Pro Quick Tips, be sure to 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:Final Cut Pro, Chapter Markers, schleicher, dvd, idvd, editing, NLE, tutorial, final cut pro quick tip

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