Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro

name = Final Cut Pro
logo=| developer = Final Cut Pro.png|48px|
latest_release_date = June 26, 2008
operating_system = Mac OS X
genre = Video editing software| license = Proprietary | website = [ Final Cut Pro Home Page] |
Final Cut Pro is a professional non-linear editing software application developed by Apple Inc. The application is only available for Mac OS X version 10.4 or later, and is a module of the Final Cut Studio product. The software logs and captures video onto a hard drive (internal or external), where it can be edited and processed. The current version of Final Cut Pro, version 6.0.4, runs on both Intel and PowerPC processors (minimum G4/1.25 GHz). It is compatible with many hardware interfaces.

From the early 2000s, Final Cut Pro developed a large and expanding user base including many independent filmmakers. It has made inroads with film and television editors who traditionally use Avid Technology's Media Composer.Fact|date=November 2007 According to a 2007 SCRI study, Final Cut made up 49% of the professional editing market, with Avid at 22%. [] This has been a function of a hugely expanding professional editing marketplace rather than a large reduction in installed Avid users.


Final Cut Pro provides non-linear, non-destructive editing of any QuickTime compatible video format including DV, HDV, P2 MXF (DVCProHD), XDCAM, 2K, and IMAX film formats. It supports an unlimited number of simultaneously composited video tracks; up to 99 audio tracks; multi-cam editing for cutting video from multiple camera sources; as well as standard ripple, roll, slip, slide, scrub, razor blade and time remapping edit functions. It comes with a range of dissolve, iris, distortion and basic 3D transitions and a range of video and audio filters such as keying tools, mattes and vocal de-poppers and de-essers. It also has a manual 3-way color correction filter, videoscopes and a selection of generators, such as slugs, test cards and noise.

The latest version of Final Cut Pro (version 6) claims better integration with Apple's other Pro applications and improved codec support for editing HD, DV and SD video formats, along with Panasonic's new solid-state recording technology, P2. A new technology called DynamicRT built on the RT Extreme technology was released with Final Cut Pro 4. DynamicRT allows a real-time multistream effects architecture, which can be set to automatically adjust image quality and frame rate during playback to maintain real time effects. For example, when there are a large number of video streams playing simultaneously, it will change, on the fly, to a mode that reduces the quality of the playback so that all of them can be seen in real time; when the computer is capable of it, it will automatically return playback to native quality (that is, when there are fewer simultaneous video streams). Final Cut Pro 6 now also supports mixed video formats (both resolution and framerate) in the timeline with real time support.

Final Cut Pro 6 uses the included application Cinema Tools to keep track of original film sources through the telecine editing processes. Calligraphy 2 from BorisFX - a plug-in that works natively in Final Cut Pro - is included for higher quality titling and is a subset of the Boris Graffiti titling technology. Final Cut Pro 6 is part of the Final Cut Studio 2 suite, and also has the ability to edit natively in HDV.

Final Cut Express

In 2003, Apple launched Final Cut Express, a less expensive version of Final Cut. It uses the same interface as Final Cut Pro, but it lacks all of the film-specific tools and other advanced options, pruning the feature set for amateur producers.!

In January 2005, Soundtrack and LiveType, previously only available with Final Cut Pro, were added to Express, and features were added to edit HDV.

Soundtrack was removed with Final Cut Express 4.


The Final Cut (Pro and Express) interface has four main windows: the Browser, where source media files are listed; the Viewer, where individual media files can be previewed and trimmed; the Timeline, where media can be cut together into a sequence; and the Canvas, where the edited production in the timeline can be viewed. The positions and sizes of these windows can be changed, but by default, the Browser is at the top left, with the Viewer and Canvas to its right, in that order, and the Timeline below. There is also a small Toolbox window and two audio level indicators for the left and right audio channels.Both the Viewer and Canvas have a shuttle interface (for variable-speed scanning through a clip, forwards or backwards) and a jogging interface (for frame-by-frame advancing). The standard J, K and L keys can be used to play the video at full speed backwards, to pause the video, and to play it at full speed in a forward direction, respectively. The I and O keys can be used "'to set in and out points for a clip, or for the entire sequence.


. It is an entirely virtual space in which references to clips (aliases) are placed, for easy access, and arranged in folders called 'bins'. Since they are only references to clips that "are" on the media drive of the computer, moving or deleting a source file on the media hard drive destroys the link between the entry in the Browser and the actual media. This results in a 'media offline' situation, and the media must be 'reconnected'. Final Cut Pro can search for the media itself, or the user can do this manually. If multiple clips are offline at the same time, Final Cut can reconnect all the offline media clips that are in the relative directory path as the first offline media clips that is reconnected.

The browser has an 'effects' tab in which video transitions and filters can be browsed and dragged onto or between clips.


The canvas outputs the contents of the Timeline. To add clips to the Timeline, besides dragging them there, it is possible to drag clips from the Browser or Viewer onto the Canvas, whereupon the so-called 'edit overlay' appears. The edit overlay has seven drop zones, into which clips can be dragged in order to perform different edits. The default is the 'overwrite' edit, which overwrites at an in point or the space occupied after the playhead with the incoming clip. The 'insert' edit slots a clip into the sequence at the in point or playhead's position, keeping the rest of the video intact, but moving it all aside so that the new clip fits. There are also drop zones to have the application automatically insert transitions. The 'replace' edit replaces a clip in the Timeline with an incoming clip, and the 'fit to fill' edit does the same thing, but at the same time, it adjusts the playback speed of the incoming clip so that all of it will fit into the required space [in the Timeline] . Finally there is the 'superimpose' edit, which automatically places the dropped clip on the track above the clip in the Timeline, with a duration equal to the clip below it. Unless an in or out point are set, all edits occur from the position of the playhead in the Timeline.

Using the wireframe view on the canvas, the clip can be manipulated directly - dragging it around in the canvas to change its position, for example, or resizing it. Precise adjustment controls for these things are in the viewer.


and time remapping properties of the clip. Mini-timelines to the right of each parameter allow the property to be keyframed.


Clips can be edited together in timelines called sequences. Sequences can be nested inside other sequences, so that a filter or transition can be applied to the grouped clips.

The timeline in Final Cut Pro allows 99 video tracks to be layered on top of each other. If a clip is higher in the timeline than another, then it obscures whatever is below it. The size of a video clip can be altered, and the clips can be cropped, among many other settings that can be changed. Opacity levels can also be altered, as well as animated over the course of the clip using keyframes, defined either on a graphical overlay, or in the Viewer's 'motion' tab, where precise percentage opacity values can be entered. Final Cut also has more than a dozen common compositing modes that can be applied to clips, such as Add, Subtract, Difference, Screen, Multiply, Overlay, and Travel Matte Luma/Alpha.

The compositing mode for a clip is changed by control-clicking or right-clicking on the clip and selecting it from the cascading contextual menu, or by selecting the mode from the application's 'modify' menu. For either matte modes, the clip that will perform the key is placed underneath the fill clip on the timeline.

For more advanced compositing Final Cut Pro roundtrips with Apple's Shake and Apple Motion software.


Randy Ubillos created the first three versions of the first popular digital video editing application, Adobe Premiere [] , before being given a team. Before version 5 was released, Randy's group was hired away by Macromedia to create KeyGrip, built from the ground up as a more professional video-editing program based on Apple QuickTime. Macromedia could not release the product without causing its partner Truevision some issues with Microsoft, as KeyGrip was in-part based on technology licensed from Microsoft to Truevision and then in turn to Macromedia. The terms of the IP licensing deal stated that it was not to be used in conjunction with QuickTime. Thus, Macromedia was forced to keep the product off the market until a solution could be found. At the same time, the company decided to focus more on applications that would support the web, so they sought to find a buyer for their non-web applications, including KeyGrip; which, by this time (1998) was renamed as Final Cut.

Final Cut was shown in private room demonstrations as a 0.9 alpha at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) exposition in 1998 after Macromedia pulled out of the main show floor. At the demonstration, both Mac and Windows versions were shown. The Mac version was working with a Truevision RTX dual stream real time card with limited real time effects. * [ 1] When no purchaser could be found, Apple purchased the team as a defensive move. When Apple could not find a buyer in turn, it continued development work, focusing on adding FireWire/DV support and at NAB 1999 Apple introduced Final Cut Pro. ProMax was the first vendor to demo FCP on the show floor. Apple had only a small booth nearby when compared to their NAB booth in 2006. An interesting note is that both Apple and Avid choose to not have booths at NAB in 2008.

With the introduction of Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere's market share remained strong on Windows but began to decline on the Mac, [] since its older codebase was more difficult to maintain and enhance. In 2003, Apple announced a program for Premiere users to trade in their discs for a free copy of Final Cut Express or a $500 discount on Final Cut Pro [] . Later that year, Adobe introduced the successor to Premiere, Premiere Pro, a Windows-only product with a modern codebase.

A contributing factor to Final Cut Pro's initial success was Apple's appointment of Ralph Fairweather as web evangelist for Final Cut Pro. Along with other pioneers like [ Lawrence Jordan] , film editor and founder of * [ 2-pop] , Josh Mellicker of * [] and Philip Hodgetts of * [ Intelligent Assistance] and the weekly DV Guys (now * [ Digital Production BuZZ] ) podcast, the presence of knowledgeable Final Cut Pro users online and in email groups helped smooth the path for users to adopt Final Cut Pro. There was a weekly "Golden List" sent around via email detailing configuration insights, developer news and editing tips. Charles McConathy of ProMax consistently wrote white papers and answered questions in online forums like DV-L.

FCP benefited tremendously from the relative maturity and stability of QuickTime together with the new FireWire technology as it was applied to video editing. Sony started the DV/FireWire ball rolling with the VX-1000 video camera as it was the first to have 1394/FireWire ports. Panasonic and Canon then built their DV25 cameras. ProMax (Brad Pillow) made and sold PCI cards that added FireWire to a Mac, but Apple soon had FireWire (IEEE-1394) ports on every Mac. FireWire now handles HD and higher resolutions, but they are still in a compressed format - as DV was to SD resolutions.

In late 2001, the studio motion picture "The Rules of Attraction" was edited on beta versions of Final Cut Pro 3, proving to the film industry that successful matchback to 24fps could be achieved with a consumer off-the-shelf product. Roger Avary, the film's director became the spokesperson for Final Cut Pro, appearing in print ads worldwide. His advocacy of the product gave confidence to mainstream editors like Walter Murch that the product was ready for "prime time."

In 2002, the application won a Primetime Emmy Engineering Award [] for its impact on the television industry.

Version 4 of the application was announced in April 2003. It included three new applications: Compressor, used for the transcoding between video formats; LiveType for advanced titling (such as the creation of animated lower thirds); and Soundtrack, for royalty-free music soundtrack creation. It also bundled Cinema Tools, which was previously sold separately for filmmakers working with telecine.

In April 2004, version 4.5 of Final Cut Pro was introduced, and rebranded by Apple as "Final Cut Pro HD" (even though the software has been capable of HD editing since version 3.0). Final Cut Pro HD did not support the burgeoning HDV format, however. Its "scaled-down" cousin, Final Cut Express, gained support for HDV 9 months after the release of Final Cut Pro HD. Native HDV support was later added with the release of Final Cut Pro 5.0 in May 2005 (which was first announced at a pre-NAB event in April).

In January 2006 Apple stopped selling Final Cut Pro as a stand-alone product. In March 2006 the Universal Binary version was released as part of Final Cut Studio 5.1. The upgrade was performed by sending the original source discs back to Apple with a fee. One noticeable difference is that the Intel versions of Final Cut and Motion no longer recognize After Effects plug-ins. Instead, Apple released its own universal plug-in architecture FxPlug.

On Sunday April 15, 2007, Apple revealed Final Cut Pro 6.0, as the cornerstone of the Final Cut Studio 2 bundle.

File format

A Final Cut Pro Project technically consists of separate files:

* Project File
* Media Source Files
* Render Files, Cache Files

The location of the Media and the Render/Cache Files is not standardised. Final Cut Pro can be configured where to store them. Some users have a central directory where they store all their Source/Render/Cache files, some set those file paths to their specific project directory, so that they have all project files at one place.

After having finished a project, one can erase everything but the project file, to save disk space, and at a later time Final Cut Pro can re-capture/re-link all source data and recalculate all render and cache data, provided it can access all linked sources.

Project file

A binary file which contains all montage information such as timecode information, clip's in/out-points, size/crop/position, composition nesting, filter settings, automation data, Etc.

It does not have a file suffix, rather it uses the Creator code KeyG and the Type code FCPF and it starts with the magic byte sequence 162 K e y G (0xa24b65790a).

Later editions of Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express use the file extension .fcp.

Media source files

Either captured from tape or loaded/imported from the file system.

Render Files, cache files, etc

Files which are generated by Final Cut Pro display, filter effects, etc.

Major films edited with Final Cut Pro

*"The Rules of Attraction" (2002)
*"Full Frontal" (2002)
*"The Ring" (2002)
*"Cold Mountain" (2003) (Academy Award nominee for Best EditingWalter Murch)
*"Intolerable Cruelty" (2003)
*"Open Water (film)" (2003)
*"Napoleon Dynamite" (2004)
*"The Ladykillers" (2004)
*"Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" (2004)
*"Super Size Me" (2004)
*"Corpse Bride" (2005)
*"" (2005)
*"Happy Endings" (2005)
*"Jarhead" (2005)
*"Little Manhattan" (2005)
*"Me and You and Everyone We Know" (2005)
*"The Ring Two" (2005)
*"Black Snake Moan" (2006)
*"Letters from Iwo Jima" (2006)
*"Happy Feet" (2006)
*"Zodiac" (2007)
*"The Simpsons Movie" (2007)
*"No Country for Old Men" (2007) (Academy Award nominee for Best EditingRoderick Jaynes)
*"Reign Over Me" (2007)
*"Youth Without Youth" (2007)
*"Balls of Fury" (2007)
*"" (2008)
*"Sasha Shagi's Alinka in The City (2008)
*"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (2008)
*"Where the Wild Things Are" (2009)
*"Art by accident (2008)

ee also

*Final Cut Studio
*Final Cut Studio - Release history
*List of video editing software
*Comparison of video editing software


*cite web
last = Hodgetts
first = Philip
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Apple Final Cut Pro Archives - 2003
work =
publisher =
date = 2003-09-07
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-01-20

External links

* [ Apple: Final Cut Pro 6]
* [ Final Cut Pro 6 User Manual] (PDF)
* [ RU Mac Users Wiki Final Cut Pro Reference]
* [ Apple Final Cut Pro discussion and support community]

Official Final Cut Pro Usergroups

* [ Final Cut Pro Usergroup Boston, USA]
* [ Final Cut Pro Usergroup Chicago, USA]
* [ Final Cut Pro Usergroup Los Angeles, USA]
* [ Final Cut Pro Usergroup San Francisco, USA]
* [ Final Cut Pro Usergroup Sweden]

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