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Specifying Playback Control Settings

FCE lets you change the settings that determine the image quality of real-time playback. The options help you strike a balance between the number of effects you can see in real time versus the visual quality of the playback. An overview of these settings follows; for more information, see Chapter 18, "Real Time and Rendering."

To specify Playback Control settings:

  1. Choose Final Cut Express > System Settings.
  2. Click the Playback Control tab. On the Playback Control tab ( Figure 3.13 ), modify the default settings for any of the following and then click OK:
    • RT: Choose a default image-quality level for the playback of real-time effects.
      • Safe: Final Cut Express limits real-time effects processing to a level that can be sustained without dropping frames during playback.
      • Unlimited: Final Cut Express allows real-time effects processing to exceed the level that your computer can handle without dropping frames during playback. Unlimited playback is useful when quick previewing is more important than image quality or playback integrity.

        Figure 3.13 The Playback Control tab of the System Settings window.

    • Video Quality: This option is available for DV and other codecs that support playback at multiple quality levels. Choose one of three image-quality levels:
      • High: Full-frame, full-resolution playback, which preserves video interlacing.
      • Medium: High-quality, quarter-frame-resolution playback of noninterlaced video.
      • Low: Low-quality, quarter-frame- resolution playback of noninterlaced video.
    • Play Base Layer Only (If Render Needed): Check this box to play only the base tracks (V1 and all audio tracks up to the real-time audio mixing track limit you set in General preferences) and cuts. Cuts will be substituted for unrendered or non-real-time transitions. Motion will not be applied to clips or sequences when played back in the Viewer. Play Base Layer Only is optimized to allow playback with minimal rendering. Unrendered sections will display the red render status indicator.
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