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Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #46

Capturing Audio or Video only By Stephen Schleicher

Sometimes you need to capture just the audio or just the video from your tape for use in Final Cut Pro.  In this Quick Tip, Digital Media Nets Stephen Schleicher shows you how to do it and explains why you might need to do it for your project.

Occasionally, you may have shots that dont require the accompanying audio, or you may have a voice over that doesnt require you to capture the video.  Final Cut Pro allows you to capture just the audio or just the video from your tape.  Why might this be useful you ask?  Suppose you have recorded a voice over for your commercial or documentary using your video camera.  You only need the audio.  If you captured the video as well you would be filling your hard drive up unnecessarily.  Remember for every 5 minutes of DV video, you will be using up 1GB of hard drive space.   By capturing audio only, you will be freeing up more space for rendering or graphics work.

Even though audio takes up significantly less space than video, if you have a video clip that does not need the accompanying audio, it makes no sense to record it as well.

The benefit of capturing only video or only audio is when it comes time to edit the clip into the Timeline, you wont have to worry about detaching the Audio or Video source tabs in the Timeline.

So how do you capture one or the other?

Step 1:  Open the Log and Capture Window by pressing Command+8 on your keyboard.

Step 2:  Click on the Clip Settings Tab.  This is where you can adjust phase and hue if you are working with an analog source.  If you are working with DV this upper area will be ghosted out.

The lower section of the Tab contains the Capture and Audio Format selections.

If you only want to capture Video, change the Capture from Aud+Vid to Video Only.

If you want to capture Audio, change the Capture to Audio Only.

It seems pretty simple, but I have seen a large number of people who simply pop their tape in and begin capturing without thinking of the long term ramifications of their actions.

There is one other consideration you may want to make when you are digitizing audio into your system.  This concern relates to how you recorded you audio in the field.

Most of the time if you are recording a stand up for your commercial or an interview for your documentary, you will record that audio on one audio channel only.  In the case of a sit down interview you may have your interviewer audio on Channel 1, and your interviewee on Channel 2.  To make editing these clips easier, you should let Final Cut Pro know how it should handle these tracks.

By default, the Audio Format is set to Ch1+Ch2.  This means audio from Channel 1 will be captured into Audio Track 1 and Channel 2 will be recorded on Audio Track 2.  In essence you end up with separate audio tracks.  This is perfect for the interview situation I just mentioned.

However, what if you were doing a news standup or commercial and recorded your audio only on Channel 2?  From the Audio Format drop down, select CH 2 (Right).  This will only capture the audio from channel 2 and you will only have one audio track to work with in the Timeline.

If you only recorded audio on Channel 1 you would select CH 1 (Left).  You can use this method in many instances, even in the sit down interview where you only want to capture the audio from your interviewee.

If you have recorded your audio on both channels, there is no need to capture the audio as two separate tracks.  Instead, you should switch the Audio Format to Stereo.  This captures the two tracks but treats them, and links them, as a single stereo pair.  If you have to edit the levels for this type of audio later, if you make an adjustment to one track, it affects the other as well.

The final Audio Format selection is Mono Mix.  This takes the audio from both channels and mixes them into one track.  At the moment I can not think of too many times you would want to do this, especially since it is not easily undone.

For the greatest flexibility, I would certainly select Ch1+Ch2, but you should use the one that is best for your project.

By selecting the correct Capture and Audio Format options before you log and capture your video clip, you will not only be saving valuable disk space, it will also help you later on when you are editing your clips in the Final Cut Pro Timeline.

I hope this Final Cut Pro Quick Tip has been useful for your.  If you want to read all 46 Quick Tips, you may find them by visiting 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, audio capture, video capture, audio channel, schleicher, final cut pro quick tip, fcpqt, apple, mac, steve jobs, charlie white, david nagel

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