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About Projects

Project files store disk location information for all the media files used in a program, along with the sequencing information for your edited program plus the settings for special effects applied to any clip in the project. The data stored in a project file is used to re-create the timing, sequencing, and transitions and effects you specify for a particular cut, without altering or changing the storage location of your original source files. (Note: If you haven't read the sidebar "What Is Nonlinear, Nondestructive Editing?" in Chapter 1, please do so now. It's key to understanding how Final Cut Express works.)

To get started in Final Cut Express, you create a new project and then start adding clips and sequences to the Browser window as you shape your project. Sequences can be exported independently as movies or clips, but they can't be saved separately from a project.

To create a new project:

  • Choose File > New Project (Figure 4.3); or press Command-Shift-N.
    Figure 4.3

    Figure 4.3 Choose New Project from the File menu.

    A new project tab appears in the Browser window (Figure 4.4).

    Figure 4.4

    Figure 4.4 The Browser window with a new, untitled project. Sequence 1 appears automatically when you create a new project.

To open a project:

  1. Choose File > Open; or press Command-O.
  2. Locate and select the project file you want to open (Figure 4.5).
    Figure 4.5

    Figure 4.5 Locate the project file you want to open.

  3. Click Choose.

To save a project:

  • Choose File > Save Project; or press Command-S.

To save a project with a different name:

  1. Choose File > Save Project As (Figure 4.6); or press Command-Shift-S.
    Figure 4.6

    Figure 4.6 Choose Save Project As from the File menu.

  2. In the dialog box, type a name for the project in the Save As field.
  3. Choose a destination folder.
  4. Click Save (Figure 4.7).
    Figure 4.7

    Figure 4.7 After you've typed the new name for your project, click Save.

To save all open projects:

  1. Choose File > Save All (Figure 4.8); or press Command-Option-S.
    Figure 4.8

    Figure 4.8 Choose Save All from the File menu.

  2. If you created one or more new projects that haven't yet been saved, type a name for the first one in the dialog box.
  3. Choose a destination folder.
  4. Click Save.

    Repeat steps 2 through 4 for each new project that you want to save. Previously saved open projects are saved automatically.

To close a project:

Do one of the following:

  • In the Browser, Control-click the project's tab (Figure 4.10); then choose Close Tab from the shortcut menu (Figure 4.11).
    Figure 4.10

    Figure 4.10 Control-click a project's tab to bring up the shortcut menu; note the special pointer.

    Figure 4.11

    Figure 4.11 Control-clicking the project's tab will result in only one choice; choose Close Tab to close the project.

  • In the Browser, click the project's tab to bring it to the front (Figure 4.12). Then choose File > Close Project.
    Figure 4.12

    Figure 4.12 Click a project's tab to bring it to the front of the Browser.

  • In the Browser, press Command-W. For all projects you've modified, Final Cut Express will ask which projects you want to close.

Viewing and setting project properties

Each project has a set of properties that are saved with it. The project's properties apply to all sequences in a project and are independent of the project's Sequence presets.

To view or change the properties of a project:

  1. In the Browser, click the Project tab.
  2. Choose Edit > Project Properties (Figure 4.13).
    Figure 4.13

    Figure 4.13 Choose Project Properties from the Edit menu.

  3. In the Project Properties window (Figure 4.14), do any of the following:
    • Display project durations as timecode or as frames. Choosing Frames displays the total number of frames for clips and sequences in the Browser's Duration column, as well as in the Timeline, Canvas, and Viewer.
    • Set the time mode of all project clips to Source Time (which matches the timecode rate of the clip's source media file) or Clip Time (which starts with the timecode value of the first frame in the clip, then calculates and displays timecode based on the current frame rate assigned to the clip). Source Time and Clip Time are identical in most cases; a speed-modified clip is an example of a clip whose Source Time and Clip Time do not match.
    • Edit the heading labels for the Comment columns that appear in the Browser window.
    Figure 4.14

    Figure 4.14 You can rename Comment column headings and choose the timecode or frame display format from the Project Properties window.

  4. After you make your changes, click OK.

To revert a project:

  1. Choose File > Revert Project.
  2. In the warning dialog box, click OK (Figure 4.15).
    Figure 4.15

    Figure 4.15 After you choose File > Revert Project, you'll see a dialog box warning you that your unsaved changes will be lost.

    Final Cut Express reverts the current project file to its condition at the last time you saved the file.

To restore a project:

  1. Choose File > Restore Project (Figure 4.16).
    Figure 4.16

    Figure 4.16 Choose Restore Project from the File menu.

  2. In the Restore Project dialog box's pop-up menu, select the archived project file you want to restore (Figure 4.17).
    Figure 4.17

    Figure 4.17 Select the archived project you want to restore; then click Restore.

  3. Click Restore.

    Final Cut Express opens the selected archived project from the Autosave Vault.

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