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How to Use a PDF File in a Final Cut Pro Document

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/26/2010

Here is a basic Final Cut Pro tutorial for converting a PDF file for use as a still image in Final Cut Pro.

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    The PDF Format

    Oftentimes, the easiest way to get a digital version of a print document, a graphic of a website, or other visual items saved onto a computer is to save them to a PDF file. This PDF file is usually used for print documents on a computer, but they can be a temporary position before you change them to a different format. Final Cut Pro does not recognize PDF in the way that most people would like it to. Instead, Final Cut Pro takes each page of the PDF file and gives them each a frame. What you end up when first importing the PDF file into Final Cut Pro is a short sequence whose length is determined by the number of pages transferred into frames. Oftentimes, you will want to actually take an image of the PDF file for use in the film, especially since it can often be zoomed in quite a bit while still retaining the image quality. Here is a tutorial explaining how to use a PDF file in Final Cut Pro by turning it into a usable still image.

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    Importing the File

    You start by securing, saving, and naming the PDF file to the appropriate location on your hard drive. It is best to do this in your project specific folder in a sub section focused on photos. In your Final Cut Pro project you will go to File and Import, then look for and select your PDF document. Once it is in your Final Cut Pro Browser make sure to place it in the appropriate Bin with the rest of the still images to keep it organized.

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    Make a Freeze Frame

    Select thee PDF file and bring it into the Viewer. Go through it and find the exact page that you want to turn into a still image. What you are going to do is take a freeze frame of that image, turning it into a picture. Press Shift and N at the same time to take a freeze frame of that PDF image. Now you will have the still image up there for use that you can drag and drop into your Timeline. Now that the still image is there you are going to want to go to the Motion tab and begin altering it, especially since the size that was associated for the PDF file is not going to usually be standard for regular monitor or widescreen viewing. Here you can also add photo motion, crop the image, or add different basic functions that allow you to really alter it. Once you bring the freeze frame of the PDF file into the Timeline you will have to alter its length because it is usually set at a standard length that is much longer than conventionally used.