This document covers the step-by-step process for starting a new Final Cut Pro X project on Mac OS X.  Final Cut Pro is a full-featured video-editing suite and is only recommended for those familiar with video editing.  For video editing beginners, the Digital Media Commons recommends starting out with iMovie or Adobe Premiere Elements.

Note:  Final Cut Pro X projects are not compatible with the older Final Cut Pro 7 and Final Cut Express nor vice versa.  iMovie ’11 projects can be opened in Final Cut Pro X, but not vice versa.  Final Cut Pro X projects have no compatibility with Adobe Premiere Pro or vice versa.

Before you get started

  • GroundWorks does not have any means of long-term storage for your files.  User files on a GroundWorks computer are not safe from deletion.  It is highly recommended to bring an external hard drive on which to store all your files.  External hard drives are available for purchase at the Computer Showcase.
  • It is recommended that you work on your project from your external hard drive.
  • Final Cut Pro X natively supports uncompressed SD and HDV, uncompressed HD, RAW camera formats, Panasonic P2, DVCPRO HD, and Sony XDCAM HD.
  • There is no manual save feature in Final Cut Pro X; everything is saved automatically to your specified locations when you create a new project and event.
  • Learn everything you need to know about Final Cut Pro X by using the tutorials at Lynda.com on any GroundWorks computer.

Step 1:  Set up your preferences

  1. Open Final Cut Pro X by clicking the icon on the Dock or by searching “Final Cut Pro 10” in spotlight.
  2. Click Final Cut Pro > Preferences…
    How to Start a Final Cut Pro X Project - 01 preferences
  3. Under the Editing tab

    • Transitions
      Select “Full Overlap” for “Apply transitions using.”
  4. Under the Playback tab

    • Rendering
      • Make sure the “Background render” box is checked.
    • Playback
      • Select “Use original or optimized media.”
      • Make sure the “Warn when dropping frames during playback” is unchecked.
  5. Under the Import tab

    • Organizing
      • Make sure the “Copy files to Final Cut Events folder” box is checked.
      • Make sure the “Import folders as Keyword Collections” box is checked.
    • Transcoding
      • Make sure the “Create optimized media” box is checked.
      • Make sure the “Create proxy media” box is checked.
    • Video and Audio
      • It is recommended to uncheck all of the boxes in these two sections.  All of these options can be applied later during the editing process if needed.
  6. Click the red “X” button at the top of the Preferences window to save and close.

Step 2:  Start a new event

  1. In the top-left Event Library panel, make sure your desired save location, such as your external hard drive, is selected from the list by clicking on it.
  2. Click File > New Event.

  3. A new event will be added to the list and a Final Cut Events folder will be created on the root of your save location.  You can change the name of your event within the Event Library panel.  Do not edit or move your event folder in Finder.  Everything must be changed within Final Cut Pro X or risk data loss.

Step 3:  Start a new project

  1. In the bottom-left Project Library panel, make sure your desired save location, such as your external hard drive, is selected from the list by clicking on it.
  2. Click File > New Project…

  3. In the New Project window

    • Name
      • Change the name of your project file.
    • Default Event
      • Select the new event you created.
    • Video Properties
      • It is recommended to select “Set automatically based on first video clip” if you are only editing footage from a single source.
      • Select “Custom” and adjust the “Format,” “Resolution,” and “Rate” to choose specific video settings so that all videos will conform to the specified settings.

Summary and last steps

You now have a Final Cut Pro X project that is ready for editing your specific videos!  Again, be sure to take all of your files with you when you leave GroundWorks.

This tutorial was written by GroundWorks Consultant Stephen Ratkovich.

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