Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Pro HD: Troubleshooting external video issues

Learn how to fix the most common causes of loss of external video over FireWire.

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When Final Cut Pro opens, it automatically senses compatible video devices that are connected to the computer's FireWire port. When the external video monitor loses its connection, it displays a freeze frame or black screen. This usually indicates a settings or configuration issue. Follow the steps below to resolve the issue.

Before you begin
Make sure no other applications are open that might use external video devices, including iMovie or other third-party applications. Also, make sure that no extraneous video devices are connected, such as an iSight or other Web camera.

Software set up

  1. Check the following as outlined in the Final Cut Pro manual topic "Specifying External Video and Audio Settings":
    1. Choose Application > Audio/Video Settings.
    2. In the Summary tab, choose an option from the Video Playback pop-up menu, then click OK.
  2. Choose View > External Video > All Frames.

Hardware set up

  1. Make sure your camera or deck is connected and turned on in VTR/VCR mode.
  2. Check to make sure the computer is seeing your device by looking in System Profiler:
    Mac OS X 10.2 and earlier:
    1. Choose Apple > About This Mac.
    2. Click More Info.
    3. Click the Devices and Volumes tab.
    4. Under FireWire Information, check to see that your camera is being seen by the computer.

    If your computer does not see the device try a different FireWire port, and choose Commands > Update All Information.

    Mac OS X 10.3 and later:
    1. Choose Apple > About This Mac.
    2. Click More Info.
    3. If necessary, click the triangle next to Hardware.
    4. Click FireWire to see the devices connected to the computer's FireWire ports.

    If your computer does not see the device, try a different FireWire port and choose View > Refresh.
  3. For Final Cut Pro HD choose View > Refresh A/V Devices. For Final Cut Pro 4.1.1 or earlier, disconnect and reconnect your FireWire device to refresh.
  4. Make sure you are only using one DV device. You cannot connect both a deck and a converter at the same time.
  5. Try a different cable.


If these steps do not resolve the issue:


  1. Try quitting the program and opening it again.
  2. Try restarting the computer.
  3. Try deleting the preferences files.
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