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Final Cut Express Tutorial

written by: Kitty Stevens•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 12/9/2010

Final Cut Express for Mac is an excellent tool for editing home movies. It simplifies the process and has several options to make your final product the very best it can be. In order to use this program you need a few basic tools to get started. Let's look at what those tools are.

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    Materials Needed

    Final Cut Express 4 Final Cut Express for the Mac requires only a few things to get started. Here are the basics that you need to get started using this program:

    • One Mac computer
    • Final Cut Express software
    • Video footage/video camera/FireWire cable

    If you already have video footage and you're ready to go simply power up and load Final Cut express by clicking on the software in your Applications folder. When the application loads Final Cut express automatically defaults to a new project.

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    The next thing to do is tell the program where to save your projects. The default save folder for Final Cut Express is in the movies folder. If you like you can make it save to another place on your desktop hard drive or in a folder that you choose. Once that is done all of the projects will save there. Make sure that if you want to change that location you do so before beginning your next project otherwise the default will be there when you reopen the program. In order to let the program know where you want to save your final project open system settings. Then simply choose the path to the folder destination that you will save the project to.

    Now you have to set up the scratch disk. This is the destination where Final Cut Express will save your audio and multimedia files in order to make a movie. Once you have chosen the destination for your project files click okay. Now you are ready to begin your project.

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    Importing Video Files

    You can import the video file by going to import and then navigating to the folder where your video files are stored. Another option is if you want to capture the video files that are on your video camera. If you need to do that simply connect your firewire to your camera into your computer and select capture by navigating to file. Next, simply select the file that you want on your video camera and it will automatically place it into the menu. One of the benefits of Final Cut Express is that it automatically detects the compatibility of your audio and video files with the software.

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    Organizing Your Audio and Video Files for Editing

    Final Cut Express saves your media, audio and video files in bins. Do not worry about exceeding the quantity of bin available. Final Cut express can store as many files that your hard drive will hold. When you begin to use your files in the bin you will find Final Cut express allows you to simply drag any file to any location that you want and it automatically renders as it should. If you want to view the detail of each one of your files that are in the bin then select view as list. You can also simply click on the top column view in order to select what order you want the videos and audio files to appear.

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    Final Cut Express is very efficient and simple to use for making your home media movies. This basic final cut express turorial will get you started. If you follow these steps then you can begin to have fun with those extra home movies. Who knows, you might even make something that can be shared with the public for a creative envedour.