Final Cut Pro tip: Digital copy of the manuals

Every once in a while I like to check something in one of the Final Cut Studio manuals. They are stored as PDFs inside the applications themselves. It is possible to get inside the application using the Finder, but there is a simpler way.

I also like to look at more than one page of a manual at a time. That can be done with a spare digital copy of the manuals.

To get your spare copy, choose the manual from the Help menu:

The manual will open in Preview. Go to Preview’s file menu and save a copy of the manual wherever you’d like to keep it:

Manual highlights

Some information useful for Final Cut Pro users can be found in other manuals.

If you’d like more information on the generators installed when you install Motion, you can find more in the Motion manual. You can tell which generators are installed with Motion by looking at the Render generators. Those that use FxPlug technology came with Motion:

Information on their controls can be found on pages 968 to 983 in the Motion User Manual:

Even though you might not want to completely explore all the features of Soundtrack Pro, it might be worth your time reading parts of Soundtrack Pro’s ‘Effects Reference’ manual:

A compressor works like an automatic volume control, lowering the volume whenever it rises above a certain level, called the threshold. Why would you want to reduce the dynamic level? By cutting the highest parts of the signal (called peaks), the compressor lets you raise the overall level of the signal, thereby increasing the perceived volume. This gives the sound more focus by making the louder foreground parts stand out while keeping the softer background parts from becoming inaudible. Compression also tends to make sounds tighter or punchier because transients are emphasized (depending on attack and release settings) and because the maximum volume is reached more swiftly.

In addition, compression can help make a project sound better when played back in different audio environments. For example, the speakers on a television set or in a car sound system typically have a narrower dynamic range than the sound system in a theater. Compressing the overall mix can help make the sound fuller and clearer in lower-fidelity playback situations.

By default, the manuals open in Apple’s Preview application, but the search features of Preview could be better. If you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, you have better search. In Preview if you search for ‘Stop Analysis’ for example, you’ll be directed to every page with ‘Stop’ or ‘Analysis’ or ‘Stop’ and ‘Analysis’ anywhere on the page. If you use Acrobat Reader, it defaults to looking for pages with the specific phrase ‘Stop Analysis’ – much more useful (Pity the rest of Acrobat Reader is so bloated!).

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