A Final Cut Pro project is more than a collection of media files. The real power of Final Cut Pro lies in the way the media is controlled by the intelligence of the program's data structuring. To take advantage of that power, you must take control of the data.
This chapter introduces Final Cut Pro's system of organizing your video projects. You'll get an overview of Final Cut Pro's organizing frameworks—projects, sequences, and clips. You'll also learn how to manipulate that organizational framework so that your projects, sequences, and clips stay sound and organized.
"FCP Protocol: Clips and Sequences," found later in this chapter, explains the rules you really need to know in order to understand how this program constructs edits.
Anatomy of an FCP Project
A Final Cut Pro project breaks down into the following key components.
- Project file: The top level of the FCP organizing framework, a project file stores references (file location information) to all the media files you use to complete a particular program, along with the sequencing information (your "cut") and all settings for special effects you apply to any clip in the project. The project file contains no media—it's strictly the "brains" of your project—but this one file is your project's most valuable asset. All your editing genius is stored in this modest data file.
- Sequence: The middle level of the Final Cut Pro organizing framework, a sequence is an edited assembly of audio and video clips. A sequence is always part of a project, and you can have multiple sequences in a project, but you can't save a sequence separately from a project. However, you can copy a sequence from one project and paste it into another project.
- Clip: The ground level of the FCP organizing framework, the clip represents an individual unit of media in Final Cut Pro. A clip can stand for a movie, a still image, a nested sequence, a generator, or an audio file. Clip types appear in the Browser's Type column, and each type of clip displays an identifying icon.
Figure 4.1 diagrams the FCP organizing framework.
Figure 4.1 The project file is at the top level of FCP's organizing framework. You organize multiple clips and sequences inside a project file.
Figure 4.2 shows how the FCP project structure plays out in the Browser and Timeline windows.
Figure 4.2 The Browser (top) and Timeline (bottom) interfaces provide a variety of information about your project.
Project item types
On a project's Browser tab, you'll find quite a few different clip types, but you'll also find containers for holding clips—sequences and bins. The Browser's Effects tab contains other types of non-clip project items, audio and video filters and transitions, and generators. See "Browser Window Icons" in Chapter 6 for descriptions of each type of item you'll encounter in a project.