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Old July 15th, 2009, 12:25 PM   #1
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Find and use the FCS Help Manuals - Anytime

After being part of this forum for a few years I've come to realize that at least 90% of the questions asked about anything relative to FCS are actually readily available to the user via the built-in User Manuals and often the answers available are in much greater detail than those supplied by the forum user-base.

However there's a catch: You can't access those manuals unless the application - Final Cut, Motion, DVDSP, etc. - is actually running so you can get to the "Help" menu. In fact even though the manuals are in PDF form you can't even locate them by doing a FINDER search, because Apple for some goofy reason, has put them into a hidden place deep in the application resource folders, tucked away from Spotlight/Finder's probing eyes.

Note from Admin: manuals now available for download in PDF format -- see reply by Andy Mees below.

Here's my suggestion for anyone who often gets caught with a "how to" regarding the FC suite of apps: Use this info to find those manuals and copy them to a place you can access them *anytime*, even an external drive if needed. That way you'll have access to the information at your discretion without having to open any FCS application.

Here's how to find and copy the manuals - the process is the same for each application:

- Goto the FCS app file you want the manual for and option-click to open the options menu (or use the left mouse button) and click on "Show Package Contents" (see pic).

- Follow the path as shown in the second enclosed pic where you'll find the "Help" folder (the name duplicates the app you're searching for).

For example, FCP has 3 separate PDF's that make up the User Manual, Final Cut Pro User Manual, HD and Broadcast Formats, and New Features. Copy those 3 items to a place you can access them anytime.

Just like having the printed books (no longer published) you'll be surprised how powerful a resources these manuals are when you need more information, are stuck trying to solve a problem or just want to increase your knowledge of the application.

Enjoy.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 01:00 PM   #2
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Brilliant! Thank you! / Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team
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Old July 15th, 2009, 02:33 PM   #3
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Robert: GREAT. Thanks for sharing.

I must be one of the OTHER 10% because the manuals sit in the box next to my desk and I'll be darned if I can EVER find an answer to MY questions... Next to Japanese camcorder manuals, the manuals for FCP have to be among the worst written technical resources ever written. But at least they aren't in "Ingrish" like my Sony and JVC manuals...
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Old July 15th, 2009, 03:14 PM   #4
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The best part of having the manuals in PDF is that you can search for your related terms and get various results and find your answer quickly, including subjects that tie into your search. The Preview app is indispensable as a PDF viewer.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #5
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Agreed. And again, thanks!

I've never used "Show Package Contents" nor knew what it was for.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 04:16 PM   #6
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I just made an applescript application that did this, because it's really easy... and I'm lazy.

Code:
do shell script "open '/Applications/Final Cut Pro.app/Contents/Resources/English.lproj/Final Cut Pro Help/Final Cut Pro User Manual.pdf'"
Prebundled app is attached here. It'll work so long as FCP is installed in the main Applications folder... change as needed for any non-default location installs.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 08:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole McDonald View Post
I just made an applescript application that did this, because it's really easy... and I'm lazy.


Prebundled app is attached here. It'll work so long as FCP is installed in the main Applications folder... change as needed for any non-default location installs.
A note on this procedure: It will only work for FCP. The manuals for DVDSP4, Motion, Color etc. reside in the Package contents of *those* apps, so this code would need to be re-written for each app.

Honestly it would be easier - and safer for those not 100% familiar with Applescript - to simply use the step-by-step method described above.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 10:00 AM   #8
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Given a little more time, I could write an app with a selector for the app you wanted the help file from if y'all would like. I just spent a quick 30 sec whipping this one together...

The fastest way in the finder to do this would be to find the manuals once using the method above, then creating a new folder and making aliases (shortcuts - ctrl-drag) to the manuals in that folder. That folder can then be added to your dock for fast access.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 11:01 AM   #9
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There is yet an even simpler method - and one I forgot to mention in the original post:

Open the "Help" menu while in whichever FCS application you want and open the User Guide, which by default will open up in Preview (unless you've installed Adobe Reader and made that your default PDF app).

While the manual is open use the "Save As" command and simply point to whichever location you want (preferably a HDD that you can access all the time such as the main internal) and save it. This won't delete it from the default location but will instead make a copy into the new one.

Do this for all the manuals you want easy access for and voila, FCP help access anytime.
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Old August 11th, 2009, 12:13 AM   #10
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FCS (2209) : PDF manuals available now online

As expected, the manuals are now available for viewing/download in PDF form
Final Cut Pro Help
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Old August 13th, 2009, 05:42 PM   #11
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Thanks! Nice find.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 10:43 AM   #12
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Here's the home directory for the entire Help Library for FCS "3":

Help Library

Thanks Andy for the heads-up!
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