Final Cut Pro Tip #047

The New Window Burn

Final Cut Pro has always had the ability to add a timecode window burn to a clip or sequence. The problem is, that took an extra step or two. The sequence would have to be rendered and then exported. Sure if you were going to tape this is no big deal, but lets face it you really don’t need a window burn if you are going to tape anyway. Usually clients want a DVD with there window burn.

Well QuickTime came and saved the day by allowing the user to view timecode right in the player itself. This is still a great solution and is even FCP Tip #45. But sometimes the client is just not savvy enough to use a Quicktime movie. Again, they want a DVD.

Well with the new version of Final Cut Studio (FCS 2), we can now add a window bun to a DVD, or even a QuickTime, quickly and easily.

First step is to make sure that your sequence is ready for export, and the timecode of the sequence is the timecode that you want to burn. Now you are ready to export. You can use whatever method you would like to get to Compressor, but I suggest selecting the sequence and export using Compressor.

Compressor will launch. Go ahead and select your settings as you would normally do. Once you have this part set up go to the inspector window and look for the filters tab.


Look for the Timecode Generator option and check it. Now you can setup what you want your window burn to look like. Go ahead and adjust the settings to whatever you would like. You will be able to preview the window burn in the preview window.

There are a few things to watch out for. First, the preview will not display the correct timecode. So you don’t have to worry if the timecode in the preview window is not correct. Once encoded the timecode will be correct. Second, do not check the box that says start timecode at 00:00:00:00, or your timecode will start at 00:00:00:00.

Now that you have all your settings setup go ahead and encode your video. The encoding will be done at the same time that the window burn is being added, saving a large step in the process. This is a great technique to use for review DVDs of rough cuts. Clients can make notes at particular times, and everyone stays on the same page.

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5 Responses to “Final Cut Pro Tip #047”

  1. 1 Dan Callahan Apr 22nd, 2009 at 6:35 am

    THANK YOU! This is exactly what I needed for a client who wanted a window burn on DVD/

  2. 2 Chris Wichterman Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:53 am

    I never liked the timecode generator in FCP because it’s specific to the length of a clip as opposed to an entire sequence.
    So I made a timecode movie in After Effects that runs 30 mins at 23.98 fps and I can simply overlay the movie in the FCP sequence, then export a sequence with the timecode burned in.

  3. 3 bo Aug 14th, 2009 at 10:45 am

    my inspector does not look like that. in v 3.0.5 or 3.5, am i missing something?

  4. 4 bo Aug 14th, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    nevermind, found it

  5. 5 Alan Nov 10th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Very nice. I’ve never looked into the filters in Compressor (always seemed like a really bad idea), but this is exactly what I needed.

    Combine letterbox filter (as a background for the text), timecode generator, and text overlay to show the clip name. Great way to have everything visible at a glance if you need to review long clips and log specific content.

    Chugging away on 128 clips right now … Thanks!

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