Final Cut Pro/Introduction

A Word before We BeginEdit

This book is intended to be a guide for anybody who wants to learn more about Final Cut Pro. It is a tutorial, and an alternative to a typical book that one might find on a brick and mortar bookstore shelf for approximately $50. Ideally, it is part of a series of computer manuals that will increase the technical capabilities of individuals interested in all forms of electronic and computer media.

Anybody is welcome to add their thoughts to this book. Newbies, amateurs, and professionals all have content that will help flesh this book out and make it complete.

A wikibook is a community project. This is a book that requires a substantial amount of time and energy to complete. It can benefit greatly from even modest contributions from readers and editors. For example, even as a reader, you can fix bugs and typos in the text in order to improve the book. If you find an opportunity to make a correction or improvement, simply click "edit," make your changes, and click save. Other users, especially those who have devoted large amounts of energy and time to this book and the wiki world in general, will eventually review your changes and confirm their appropriateness.

If you are unsure of how you can help, you can visit the "discussion" page and ask there. In general, to make a small change, you don't need to ask first, and you can just use common sense to determine if your change is appropriate. We trust your judgment.

A large portion of this book will eventually utilize screen captures. As you contribute, please don't let your lack of screen captures deter you from contributing portions of text that would benefit from eventual images.


Please see the wikipedia entry for Final Cut Pro for a short history of Final Cut Pro and how the software came to be.

Linear EditingEdit

In the early days of film, editors literally made cuts in film when performing an edit. They would then tape or splice another segment of film onto the cut. Film editing was originally non-linear, an editor could place any amount of film in between any two frames and it would still be playable. When editing moved to video, the process became linear. One could only edit in one direction in the timeline. The editor would start with a clip, then add a second clip to the end of the first clip, then add another to the end and so on until the video was completed. If the editor wanted later to add a clip between the second and third clips, for instance, he would have to record everything again after the newly inserted clip, for this clip would be over the original editing.

Just think about using a typewriter (if you remember those) instead of a text-editing software: You should either retype the whole page again or erase the third and subsequent paragraphs, insert the new one, and then rewrite everything from the third paragraph on. A typewriter would be a "linear" writing machine where any computer with a text editing software (where you can cut, copy, paste, edit your text easily) would be "non-linear".

Now, the non-linear process is available to video as well as film.


This book will begin by focusing on the DV (miniDV and DVCAM) format, as it is the most common format used by Final Cut Pro users. The firewire 400 cable that connects a DV deck or DV camera to an Apple computer enables users to edit without any additional hardware. Eventually, we will compose additional chapters or supplements to chapters that will encompass additional formats.

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