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Speeding Up Your Overall Workflow With Markers In Final Cut Pro

How to enhance your workflow in Final Cut Studio using markers By Kevin McAuliffe

As everyone knows, markers, no matter what program you are using, are there for a reason. They mark something in your timeline that you want to keep track of. Well, in Final Cut Pro, markers can do that and a whole lot more.
Normally, once your project has been "locked," and what I mean by that is that the client will be making no more changes to the visuals, you are going to either send your project to audio post, or you are going to do the audio work yourself in Soundtrack Pro 2. So, let's add some markers into our timeline where we want our audio engineer to add some sound effects, and a big music change. As you can see from the image below, I've added three markers to my timeline by pressing the "M" key where I want the markers to be located. Make sure you don't have any specific clips selected when adding your markers. You want them added to your timeline, not your clip. As you can see below, I've added two markers for sound effects, and one for a music change.

Next, I'm going to assign these markers as "Scoring Markers" by moving my timebar to the first marker, pressing CMD+OPT+M to open the "Edit Marker" window, and selecting "Scoring Marker." You will immediately notice that <SCORING> has been added to the "Comments" section.

What I am also going to do is give each marker a name. I'm going to call them "SFX 1," "SFX 2" and "Music Change" respectively. Once you click "OK," seemingly nothing has happened, except we can now see that the name I gave the marker appears in your timeline. By clicking "OK" in the "Edit Marker" window, we not only added the name, but the marker has now been tagged as a "Scoring Marker" for Soundtrack Pro and Logic Pro. I'm going to go through my other markers and "promote" them to scoring markers, and then I'm going to export a Quicktime movie of my timeline. Once I have marked an in and out point on my timeline, and have navigated to FILE>EXPORT>QUICKTIME MOVIE, there is one important thing I need to do before I export, and that is to tell Final Cut that I want to export scoring markers, and that is done in the "Markers" drop down menu. Simply select "Scoring Markers," and press O.K.

Once the file is exported, you can open up Soundtrack Pro 2, take the QuickTime file, drag it into a new project, and you will immediately notice that our video appears and our markers have appeared in our project exactly where we had placed them in our FCP timeline.

This is an excellent way to give your engineer more information then they would normally have access to. That being said, creating chapter markers for DVD Studio Pro 4 and compression markers for Compressor 3 work exactly the same. Jumping back over to Final Cut Pro, we can select the first of our three markers, press CMD+OPT+M to open the "Edit Marker" window, and instead of selecting "Scoring Marker," we are going to select "Add Chapter Marker" for DVD Studio Pro 4 chapter markers or "Add Compression Marker" for Compressor 3 compression markers. Once you have your markers the way you want, you can navigate back to FILE>EXPORT>QUICKTIME MOVIE, and instead of selecting "Scoring Markers" in the "Markers" drop down menu, select either "Chapter Markers" or "Compression Markers" depending on what you need them for. Once you drag your QuickTime movie with included compression markers into Compressor 3, you will immediately see them appear in your preview window.

For users who are new to Compressor 3 and compression markers, what they do is tell Compressor (or DVD Studio Pro) to create an MPEG-I frame where the marker is located. You would use a compression marker if there is a very large visual change in your footage, like a scene change, for better quality encoding. The reason I included DVD Studio Pro when I explained compression markers is that some users may prefer to have DVD Studio Pro create their MPEG-2 files, and DVD Studio Pro will recognize compression markers, and act accordingly.

Now, I have shown the three different types of markers (Scoring, Compression and Chapter), and the process you use for exporting them, and having them act the way you want, but that doesn't mean you have to do things one at a time. Feel free to include all three types of markers, and even markers that don't have a specific function in your timeline to organize not only your Final Cut Pro project, but your compressing, sound mixing and DVD creation all at the same time!

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Kevin P McAuliffe is currently a Senior Video Editor working in HD post production in Toronto, Canada. He has been in the television industry for 12 years, and spends his days onlining on a Final Cut Pro HD. Kevin's high definition onlining credit list includes concerts for Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Snow Patrol, Sum41, Paul Anka, Il Divo and Pussycat Dolls, to name a few. Also, Kevin is an instructor of Advanced Final Cut Studio 2 at the Toronto Film College. If you have any questions or comments, you can drop him a line at

Related Keywords:video editing, NLE, video editor, final cut studio, final cut pro, editing workflow

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  • Speeding Up Your Overall Workflow With Markers In Final Cut Pro by DMN Editorial at Jul. 08, 2008 11:16 pm gmt

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