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Using Easy Setups

An Easy Setup is a single preset configuration of multiple Final Cut Express settings: a Device Control preset, a Capture preset, a Sequence preset, and video and audio playback settings. The beauty of a preset is that you can configure all your settings correctly with a single selection.

You selected an Easy Setup as part of the initial setup process. Your selected Easy Setup becomes your default setup, so all projects and sequences use these settings until you change them.

Once you have an Easy Setup that works for your Final Cut Express system, you shouldn't need to change it unless you change your video hardware or video format. If you do use your FCE system with a variety of different cameras or with footage shot in a different DV format, Easy Setups make it simple to switch configurations quickly and accurately.

In this section, you'll learn how to choose the correct Easy Setup and how to switch to a different Easy Setup.

How to choose an Easy Setup

The Easy Setups window displays the currently selected presets for each setting—Sequence, Capture, and Device Control, plus Audio and Video Playback—that makes up your current Easy Setup, plus a brief description of when you should use the currently selected setup.

FCE's default DV-NTSC (or DV-PAL) setup will be fine for most FCE users, but if you check Show All and then click the Easy Setups pop-up menu, you'll see a long list of other setups to choose from ( Figure 3.2 ).


Figure 3.2 The Easy Setup window. Check Show All, and you'll find a long list of Easy Setups to choose from. Choose the one that matches the format of the video you want to capture.

When should you switch to another Easy Setup? The basis for selecting a preset is always matching:

  • You want your Capture preset to match the recorded format of the DV tape you're capturing. If the tape was recorded with 16-bit, 48-kHz audio, then the default DV-NTSC setup is fine. If you're capturing DV with 12-bit, 32-kHz audio, you'll need to switch to an Easy Setup with the same settings. If you're capturing DV that was shot in anamorphic (wide-screen) format, switch to a setup set that includes anamorphic settings.
  • Your Sequence preset must match the format of your Capture preset. All Easy setups in FCE take care of this for you.
  • Your Device Control setting must match the requirements of the video hardware you're controlling. Final Cut Express is pretty good at automatically selecting the correct device control setting, but if you're having trouble controlling your video device from inside FCE, check the Final Cut Express Qualified Devices page at . Your equipment may require a different device protocol or an additional helper script.
  • Your Video Playback settings must match the video format (DV or PAL) of the device you're outputting video to.

DV-NTSC, FCE's default setup, is designed to complement the recommended settings on most DV decks and camcorders. (The default settings are the same for the two video standards that FCE supports: NTSC and PAL.)

Here are the settings for DV-NTSC:

Sequence preset: DV NTSC 48 kHz

Capture preset: DV NTSC 48 kHz Capture

Device control preset: FireWire NTSC

External video for playback and print to video: Apple FireWire NTSC (720 x 480)

When an Easy Setup offers an alternative to any of these default presets, the alternative is listed in the Easy Setup's name. Figure 3.3 dissects one example.


Figure 3.3 An Easy Setup's name indicates which alternatives to the default preset are included. If a default preset is used, it's omitted from the name.

To switch to a different Easy Setup:

  1. Choose Final Cut Express > Easy Setup.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Check Show All to see the complete list of available Easy Setups.
    • Leave Show All unchecked to see a restricted list of Easy Setups.
  3. From the Setup For pop-up menu, select an Easy Setup ( Figure 3.4 ).

    Figure 3.4 From the Setup For pop-up menu, select an Easy Setup.

    A summary of your selected Easy Setup appears below the pop-up menu ( Figure 3.5 ).

    Figure 3.5 A summary of the Easy Setup you chose appears below the pop-up menu.

  4. Click Setup. The new Easy Setup affects only new projects and sequences and doesn't change settings for existing projects and sequences.
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