I'm new, everything.



I'm a 3rd year traditional animation student at SVA. When i was deciding majors i wasn't sure which to pick. Film or Animation. We are both in the same department.

Anyway i choose animation and i try to learn film stuff on the side. And i'm drawing comics to. I just love storytelling. And i hope to get into acting for fun.

Anyway I got a G5 Dual 1.8 Ghz 1.25 Ram

i got Final Cut Pro 4.0

i got tons of questions, I hope i can get them answered here. Cause i dont know who to turn to! i have no film friends. Or any knowledgeable film friends. Also note, i read through the help files, and they sort of say what i'm suppose to do but they use vocabulary i dont understand.

Also i know how to use aftereffects really well but i dont know how much of those skills can be applied to here.

1. When my mac recommended an upgrade to final cut 4.5, i thought okay why not. After the upgrade was done. When I open FCP it asked for a serial number, my original serial number didn't work. Where am i supppose to get this serial number? pay for it? why didn't they ask me to pay for it before i did the upgrade.

anyway so i deleted FCP 4.5 and just installed final cut pro 4 again.

2. I borrowed a mini DV Deck from school. Where can I get one of my own? cause i checked online and i can't find it. And do you think its worth getting it? is the quality good enough?

3. Sometimes when i'm using FCP it says can't "initilize with video deck" but that is something i dont understand. Because it says that after i reocrded like an hour worth of footage. I just dont get it. It seems to happen randomally. What settings should i be checking?

4. do i make my subtitles with FCP or DVD studio pro?
what type of dvd do i buy? DVD-R?

5. i'm planning to make a dvd of all of the footage my family took on our mini dv camcorder. I have over 40 gig of footage, my comp has a 160 gig. How much can a DVD hold? And if i make a dvd will i be able to access the data files from it?

6. How do i organize all my files? do i capture the whole 60 min tape. Then in the Bin mutiple that file but create different ins and out point to show different sections.

Or do i record with different Ins and Outs into seperate files? is that more convient?

7.When i insert a new tape they say i should change my reel settings. Why should i change my reel settings and where are they?

8. How do i stablize footage? or can i? (in after effects you can)
and how can i create titles?

9. quality, i'm worried that when i make this dvd that the video quality will be very bad, and that it will look grainy. there is no point to making this dvd if the quality goes down.

My setting in the RT is
Safe RT
Playback - Medium
Record to Tape - Full Quality

What is safe RT? And i'm recording from my mini DV Deck to Final Cut Pro. the preview in final cut pro shows mmy video looking very graining but i think thats probably just to save memory on the comp. to make sure that when I output back to mini DV or burn a DVD the quality remains the same.

10. I'm basically editing family taken footage. So the camara is shaking, heads are getting cut off, things are in the way. There is just so much bad taken footage. I might just have voice over stills but anyway.

Any tips to make it better?

My goal is to learn final cut pro. And making this family dvd is sort of my practice.

With the video footage my goal is to keep most of the footage intact, i want to to stabilize the footage, Cut out the boring stuff. And maybe get alittle creative with audio.

Make a DVD with a coherent menus and options where you can choose which family member or which event you want to see.

Thanks for reading help a guy who wants to learn. Or just direct me in a good direction.


Ok... first off... WOW, long post... I thought I was king of that.

Anyhow... onto the answers.

#1 - As for upgrading to 4.5 (aka "HD")... everything should have worked fine... I recommend attempting it again... as 4.5 inproves quality of all transitions & FX... though there will be a noticed increase in render times... if it dosen't work... perhaps you should contact apple... as this is clearly not your fault.

4.5 is, or at least it was, a free upgrade.

#2 - You can buy your own MinDV deck from lots of places... but they're not cheap. From experience, I'd recommend staying away from JVC's decks... they aren't rugged enough for lots of use... but if it's what you can afford, then they'll do... as for quality, DV is DV... the only things that effect quality on DV are the camera you shot with & wether the tape is Consumer, Professional or Master grade tape.
You can find the decks by visiting the professional sites for sony, jvc, & anyone else who makes them... they can point you to local re-sellers.

#3 - When FCP "can't initilize with video deck" it's just a problem of the communication between your computer, FCP & the deck... sometimes this is caused by certain types of decks... I know that sometimes when a deck's head's are very dirty there can be issues... as well, when you're logged into networks sometime the resources overlap & the computer will become taxed &/or confused. Also... you don't want to be recording in footage that is an hour long... unless of course you're bringing it in in clips... super-large files like that aren't good to edit with, or create... importing is a taxing job for computers... so bringing in clips & segments is much easier on the computer... I've had bringing in too much footage at once cause a communications error... also, you don't want to be using external hard-drives or other fire-wire devices when importing... as they will sometimes create a communications problem... also, never import to an external drive... always bring it into a local drive... it's better to work locally... but you can always transfer it to a portable/external for storage.

#4 - To be honest, I haven't a clue... I haven't had to subtitle for DVD Studio Pro just yet... however, I would suggest checking out the DVD SP manual for information on that... I would right now, but i'm exhausted... squatting for 10 hours to look at a 9" monitor for an HD camera to check the frame & continuity has taxed me beyond bringing out my gigantic manuals.

As for types of DVD's to buy... Macintosh will only write to DVD-R, +R will not be recognized by the G5.

#5 - A DVD can hold upto 4.5 gigs... if you're buying the standard kinds... How much footage it can hold at quality depends on your bit-rate settings, and how long the files are...
as it stands, I'm assuming you have a LOT of time to put on DVD... I would recommend spacing it out over several DVD's... but let DVD SP tell you when the DVD's are too full... there is a meter for that... just watch it as you're importing them into projects.

#6 - Like I said earlier... never capture 60 minutes all in one file... instead... import the tape in clips... then, if you didn't do it from inside the importing menu, you can organize those clips in your bin afterwards... using whatever method you prefer.

Separate files... never 60 minutes in one file... TOO BIG!

#7 - It's not saying to "CHANGE" your reel settings... but to "RENAME" your reel... change your reel name. For instance, in the import menu, you have a variety of clip labeling lines... one of them is Reel, or Reel #... it wants to let you know that FCP remembers the tape info, if you loose that imported file, but still have the FCP project file, you can always re-import the footage... so, if you change the reel name to something that will identify that particular tape... & the timecode is good... FCP can go in later and find that footage again & automatically import the footage for you.

#8 - Stabilize footage... Honestly, in all my experience with FCP, I've never had to look into that... so I don't know if the program has that option... check the help file, search the help files... if it's not in there or the manual... then I suggest trying slow-motion... unless there's important synched audio... then your SOL.

#9 - I have made literally hundreds upon hundreds of DVD's with DVD SP from FCP. All of the footage originated on Beta SP converted to DV or DV... and all of it came out as beautiful as it looked in FCP...
In DVD SP, you can always play with your bitrate settings... to save you some time, the video bit-rate where video maxes out is 8.0/s... the highest I've ever burned at is 7.8... just to give myself some space... also... the lower the bitrate, the lower the quality... however, between 5 and 7 you'll get good to great quality... if you want to save space, you can keep around 5 to fit more on the DVD... and your footage should still look pretty good...
Just remember
******** When you want to mess with the bit-rate... you must do that before you import footage into DVD SP... otherwise, it will not create the footage at that bit-rate... start a new DVD or delete all your imported files & re-import them if you wish to change the bit-rate.

I have a G5 dual 2ghz with 1gig of ram (wish I had 8)... I can get by with DV footage and unlimited RT with playback in HQ... it just wont do the higher-end effects in RT, I have to render first (an issue of ram).

RT stands for Real Time... it means that it will play back certain things in real time without stopping to render them first... like simple motion FX & transitions... safe RT will play some things... Unlimited RT will play everything... if it skips frames or can't play it, you'll know... in the end... only the rendered timeline will show you EXACTLY how it will look in the end.

When you import with FCP... the image always looks grainy... and also only runs at 12 to 15 frames per second... this is, as you suspected, to save system resources and let the computer concentrate on recording the footage instead of showing you how it looks... which you would know if you had an NTSC monitor, or an LCD on a camera or deck... so, never fear with this! (unless you get digital noise... then it's your tape :()

#10 - My tips for home footage... is to edit it for the best... if you don't need the audio to be synched with the image... slow it down a bit, that'll help with minor things... if it's really terribly shaky, then you're kinda screwed. Color correction will go a long way... if there's something in the picture you know should be white, don't hesitate to color correct and tell the computer what's white.

As for the DVD menu... that'll be up to you to design...
I recommend keeping it simple... simple is easiest...
even something that sounds complicated can be simple with the right menu design...

you could draw it out as a menu tree on paper... showing how pages link back & forth... it'll help you decide if it's too complicated or simple enough for a 5 year old to run. (links to the main menu are very helpful throughout).

I'm starving now...

Good luck with all this...

And for future posts... please take FCP questions to the FCP forum... but feel free to post about DVD SP & other post production general questions in here... we're just trying to keep the forums neat.

Editing isn't about knowing when to cut... it's about knowing when not to.


thanks alot, you really gave me alot of insight on what to do. I been reading alot of the manuel and FCP has some sections where they show you procedure and how to approach the edits.

if you can recommend some links that would be great so you dont havae to spend so much typing time. Thanks

I will continue to post this in the FCP forum.