Getting Started

Final Cut Pro: Getting Started

This guide will give you step-by-step instructions to starting a new project in Final Cut Pro.


  1. Open Final Cut Pro from Applications or the TBM Applications shortcut in the Dock
  2. Set your Scratch Disks by following this guide: Setting Scratch Disks
  3. Final Cut opens with a blank untitled project setup for capturing and editing DV-PAL video with a frame aspect ratio of 4:3 and a frame rate of 25fps.
  4. If you are capturing or importing video or stills that you want to edit into a 4:3 PAL video, then you can skip to step 11. If not, you need to follow the next steps to change the setup to match your video:
  5. Choose File > Close Project and click No to saving it.
  6. Choose Final Cut Pro > Easy Setup
  7. To work with DV-PAL widescreen 16:9 choose these options:
  8. Or, to work with interlaced HDV (Canon HV30 HDV setting) choose these options:
  9. Or, to work with progressive HDV (Canon HV30 HDV PF25 setting) choose these options:
  10. Click Setup when done.
  11. Choose File > New Project
  12. Choose File > Save Project As to give it a proper name and choose a save location.


Q: What is DV-PAL?
A: DV is a standard definition video format used by DV video cameras. PAL is the European TV standard. A different standard (NTSC) is used in the USA and Japan.

Q: What is HDV?
A: HDV is a high definition video format used by HDV video cameras. It is further defined by the height of the video frame, whether it is interlaced or progressive scan and what its frame or field rate is. For example, HDV1080i50 is an HDV format with a frame height of 1080 pixels, interlaced scan, 50 fields per second. HDV1080p25 is progressive scan with 25 frames per second.

Q: What is meant by interlaced or progressive scan?
A: Whether each video frame is recorded as a complete whole (progressive) or as 2 separate fields (interlaced). Progressive scan has a smoother look which is more like traditional celluloid film.

Q: What are fields?
A: For interlaced formats, each video frame is split into 2 fields, one representing the odd lines of the frame and one the even lines. The 2 fields are interlaced together to display a complete frame.

Q: What is a frame aspect ratio?
A: The ratio between the width and height of the video frame. A standard frame is 4:3, whereas a widescreen (anamorphic) frame is 16:9.

Q: What is a frame rate?
A: The number of video frames (still images) played back per second to give the illusion of movement.

Q: What does fps stand for?
A: Frames Per Second.


  • Always save the project with a suitable name as the first thing you do, before capturing or importing any materials. This ensures that the contents of your scratch disks are organised with the correct project name instead of Untitled Project.
  • From the Help menu in Final Cut Pro, choose Exploring Final Cut Pro. This is a great way for new users to gain familiarity with what the application can do.
  • Follow the links below to watch video training and get support.


Resources for Final Cut Studio applications including links for video tutorials
Apple's Help Library for all the pro applications - check this out for quick answers
Apple's support page for Final Cut Pro
Final Cut Pro Forum - get answers from other users

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