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Marking the correct out point for a ;30 TV Spot in FCP

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John Quick
Marking the correct out point for a ;30 TV Spot in FCP
on Oct 21, 2011 at 3:35:12 pm

This always seems to confuse me, but could someone confirm I'm correct here?

When exporting a ;30 second drop frame sequence from FCP at 29.97 fps for broadcast TV, what should my sequence timecode window read when my out point and sequence marker are perfectly aligned (assuming picture starts at 01:00:00;00)?

I believe the outpoint in FCP's sequence should be marked at 01:00:30;01 (i.e. When you navigate the timeline marker in the sequence using your arrow keys, the timeline marker and the outpoint should both be aligned at the sequence timecode of 01:00:30;01). See the image below that visually describes this:

I believe this is the correct way to export your sequence:


This seems correct, but I believe it is incorrect:


My confusion comes from when I bring this exported clip back into FCP and hit "mark clip" over the entire clip and see it's actually measuring "00:00:30;01" from in point to out point. Shouldn't it read "00:00:30;00?" When I lay the clip into the sequence, it shows up as a black frame at 00:00:30;01...so that's what leads me to believe I'm exporting correctly. I'm just baffled by the "mark clip" reading. It seems like the out point should be set at 01:00:30;00 because then the "mark clip" actually reads "00:00:30;00"...

can someone explain what I'm not understanding here?


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Mark Spano
Re: Marking the correct out point for a ;30 TV Spot in FCP
on Oct 21, 2011 at 4:21:57 pm

You have to take into account that setting an out point in FCP means "include this frame". So if I'm setting in and out in a timeline for a clip that I want to be exactly 30 seconds, and I'm in 29.97fps, starting at 1:00:00:00, then the out point should be set to 1:00:29:29. If you included the frame at 1:00:30:00, then the spot would be 30 seconds and 1 frame long.



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John Quick
Re: Marking the correct out point for a ;30 TV Spot in FCP
on Oct 22, 2011 at 2:06:45 am

Hmmm, I've actually heard the exact opposite from a couple different trailer editors recently. They were saying that the "out" is really where picture goes "out" (i.e. meaning, picture stops - or no picture). So for a ;30 second spot the out point should be placed at 01:00:30;01 if you want exactly ;30 seconds to be spit out and the last frame of picture to be at 01:00:30;00.

Might be good to hear a couple others as I'm still getting conflicting feedback.


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Mark Spano
Re: Marking the correct out point for a ;30 TV Spot in FCP
on Oct 22, 2011 at 4:46:01 am

I work in commercials. Commercial advertisers pay for exact amounts of time. That time is also dictated by the networks they advertise with. If a commercial is to be delivered as a thirty second commercial, it has to be 30.0 flat, otherwise it will at best be cut short and at worst be rejected. I would be laughed out of a job if I didn't know how to do this. Do a frame count, if you want to be clearer about it. 30 seconds, at 30 frames per second, is 900 frames. You can see this easily by setting those in and out points on your sequence (1:00:00:00 in, 1:00:29:29 out), switch to frame numbers, and note the duration. That's the last frame in a thirty second commercial.

There is only one right answer on this - it's not subjective. Anyone who tells you differently is misinformed.



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