FCP 4 - On Lining

May 17, 2004

Techniques: Tips for Successful On-lining

by Larry Jordan


Media Manager is a quagmire that can trap the unwary. It is way beyond the scope of this short article to explain all the tricks of Media Manager.

However, if you want to take an existing project that uses footage captured at low resolution and up-rez it, here are some tricks that will make it a whole lot easier.

Here's what to do:

  • First, if you have nested sequences, you will need to unnest them;
    Final Cut does not reliably handle on-lining nested sequences.
  • If you are only going to capture video (or audio) clips, but not both, select all clips in the timeline, then go to Modify->Link and UNLINK all the clips in the sequence.
  • Select the sequence you want to up-rez in the browser. If you have more than one, work with one at a time.



  • In Final Cut Pro 4.0.x or 4.1.x, go to Modify and "Make Sequence Clips Independent." In FCP 4.5, you should also UNcheck "Include Master clips outside the selection in the Media Manager dialog box. This is THE most critically important step.
  • With the sequence still selected, open File -> Media Manager.


  • Make the following settings:
    · Select "Create Offline" (#1)
    · Set Sequences to the codec you want to use for your final sequence. In this example, we are using: "Uncompressed 8-bit NTSC 48K" (#2)
    · CHECK "Delete unused media from duplicated sequence." (#3)
    · Set handles to 2:00 (or greater) (#4)
    · UN-CHECK "Include affiliate clips." (This is another important setting) (#5)
    · Unless you've renamed clips in the Browser, leave #6 alone

  • If you are using FCP 4.5, also UNcheck "Include Master Clips outside selection."

  • Click "OK" and give your new project a name (i.e. "Amtrak up-rez")
  • When Media Manager is done, close all projects (not necessary, but helpful)
  • Open your newly duplicated project
  • Open the Master Clips folder in the browser

This is the SECOND most important step:

  • Go thru each clip in the sequence you want to up-rez and make sure all reel numbers are correct. Correct any that are wrong by double-clicking the reel number and typing in the correct value (See "Fun Facts About Reel Numbers.").
  • Select all clips in the Media folder:
    -- CONTROL-click on the In and set all In's to Clear
    -- CONTROL-click on the Out and set all Out's to Clear

  • Sort your clips by reel number
  • If you need to set up each tape (i.e. bars and tone), go to step [A], otherwise, skip to step [B]
  • [A] Select all the clips on one reel
  • Load the reel and set it up (i.e. bars and tone)
    Skip to step [C]
  • [B] Select all your offline video clips
  • [C]Select File -> Batch capture

  • When the Log and Capture window opens, verify that all your capture settings, scratch disks and clip settings are correct
  • Capture your clips.

When you are done capturing the first tape, test the clips in your sequence to make sure they are playing OK and that in's and out's seem correct. If everything is working as you expect, capture the rest of your tapes for that sequence.

The reason for selecting "Make Sequence Clips Independent" is that it prevents Media Manager from capturing material that is not in your sequence (i.e. your original captures). This significantly reduces file size.

The reason for unlinking audio and video is that way, Final Cut won't be tempted to capture material you don't need.

The reason for setting all Ins and Out's to "not set," is that Batch Capture will then just capture the length of the clip in the timeline, plus handles. This, also, reduces the amount of excess, unneeded material that is captured.

Copyright 2004, by Larry Jordan. All rights reserved.

Larry Jordan is an Apple-Certified Trainer for Final Cut Pro with over 25 years experience as a producer, director and editor. Based in Los Angeles, he's a member of both the Directors Guild and Producers Guild. You can reach him at: larry@larryjordan.biz.

This article was first published in "Larry's FCP Newsletter." Click here to subscribe. Updated May 2, 2004.


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