Using Final Cut Pro for Live Recording

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the December, 2007, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Claes Jonasson, of Film & Company, LLC, writes:

I used to record live training sessions, with a quick turnaround to finished DVDs. To cut out the time spent capturing the footage off tape, I brought my PowerBook and a hard drive with me to the shoot and fed the firewire DV signal into the laptop. Then I used the capture now in Final Cut to capture the live video (not forgetting to make sure I had no maximum length set to capture now).


That meant that as soon as I was done, I could do the minimal editing (the hard drive with the footage could just be moved to my desktop computer) and be done. In my case, I ran 3 cameras through a DV switcher and also included audio from an audio board.


Frequently I would also do a backup recording to tape or DVD of the signal that the computer was recording, just in case something bad would happen.


Doing it this way saved on equipment, and allowed me to provide finished programs later the same day, or the next day.

Larry replies: While I do not, as a rule, recommend using Final Cut for live capture because if you lose that file on hard disk, you’ve lost everything; still, you have an interesting method which I am happy to share.

Claes then sent this:

I understand why you might not want to recommend as a general practice to record to disk through Final Cut, which is also why I would normally do a safety recording on tape.


You might be interested to know that at the church I attend and where I am part of the video team, we record the sermon live and transmit it to 3 other sites, each with a different delay (in the range of 2-5 minutes). Our setup is all Mac-based, with xRAID at the center. We record on one Mac (can’t think of the software we use for that–the same software is used by broadcasters for delaying/editing live events) and write the files to the xRAID. Then 3 other Macs are used for playback of that file, chasing about 10 seconds behind. When the message starts, each of those Macs, using Final Cut, gets cued to the starting point, and we edit in a bumper. Then when a site is ready to go, we use print to video to send the message to them. This system has been in use for a couple years now every Sunday and works quite well. Only on rare occasions do we have dropped frames.

Larry replies: Very cool. Thanks.


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