FCP X: Secrets and Tips
[ These tips first appeared in my book: Final Cut Pro X: Making The Transition. ]
There are a ton of cool tips that aren’t complex enough to require an entire article, yet so helpful that they can’t be ignored. I’ve gathered some interesting ones into this article. (By the way, if you have a favorite secret or shortcut, add it to the comments at the end of this article.)
These tips are in no particular order.
OPTION PROVIDES OPTIONS
- Tired of having the cursor jump whenever you click in a clip? Press the Option key when you click inside a Timeline clip. This freezes the playhead in place so it doesn’t jump.
- Select the Trim tool, click in the middle of a clip and you can slip the content. (Slip means the duration and location of the clip remain the same, but the content of the shot changes.) Hold the Option key down to slide a clip earlier or later in the Timeline. (I don’t use slide much, but its worth knowing about.)
KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS CHANGED
Since it’s initial release, Apple changed several keyboard shortcuts as it updated the software. For example, when editing:
- Shift+1: Allows both audio and video from the selected clip in the Event Browser to edit into the Timeline.
- Shift+2: Allows video only
- Shift+3: Allows audio only
- Command+7: Displays, or hides, the most recently used video scope
- Control+Command+V: Displays, or hides, the Vectorscope
- Control+Command+W: Displays, or hides, the Waveform monitor
- Control+Command+H: Displays, or hides, the Histogram
ORANGE MARKS THE SPOT
Ever wonder what the orange stripe means on a clip in the Import from Camera window? It means you’ve already imported that portion of the shot. If you want to hide all the media you’ve already imported, check the “Hide Imported Clips” checkbox at the bottom of the window.
WHAT’S WITH ALL THESE STRIPES?
Wondering what all the stripes mean at the top of clips in the Event Browser? Wonder no longer:
- Green: Marked as a Favorite
- Red: Marked as Rejected
- Blue: Keywords applied by you
- Purple: Analysis keywords applied by FCP X
A fast way to rename a keyword is to select it in the Event Library and enter the new name.
A fast way to apply an existing keyword to multiple clips is to select all the clips you want to apply the keyword to and drag them on top of the keyword in the Event Library. This also adds those clips to that Keyword Collection.
SET AN OUT FASTER
You are creating a musical montage and want to create clip durations to match the beat of the music. Piece of cake. Set the In for a clip in the Event Browser, or simply select a clip in the Timeline.
Type Control+D. This turns the timecode display in the toolbar into a duration calculator. Enter the duration you want – you don’t need to use punctuation – and press Enter. The Out of the selected clip is automatically adjusted to match the duration you just entered.
COOL YET UNKNOWN WAYS TO EDIT
You know the standard keyboard shortcuts:
- E: Append edit
- W: Insert edit
- Q: Connected edit
But there are several more you may not know about:
- D: Overwrite edit. Put the playhead, or skimmer, where you want the clip to start and press “D” – the selected clip edits into the Timeline at the position of the playhead/skimmer and replaces any clips that are already there.
- Shift+D: Back-time edit. Set an In and Out for a clip in the Event Browser and select it. Place the playhead (I prefer the playehad to the skimmer for this edit) at the point in the Timeline where you want the select clip to end, and type Shift+D. The last frame of the Event Browser clip matches the position of the playhead. This is a HUGE trick for sports editing.
- Shift+W: Performs a back-time insert edit into the primary storyline.
- Shift+Q: Performs a back-time edit into a selected connected clip.
REPLACE WITH A GAP
If you select a Timeline clip and press Shift+Delete, or press the DEL key, the selected clip will be replaced with a gap with the same duration as the clip you selected. This is principally used for clips in the Primary Storyline.
In Final Cut Pro X, clips are replaced from either the start or the end of a clip.
- Shift+R: Replaces the selected Timeline clip with the selected Event Browser clip. If the durations of the two clips are different, the Timeline clip’s duration is altered to match the Event Browser clip. The match is made based upon the Start of each clip.
- Option+R: Replaces the selected Timeline clip with the selected Event Browser clip. The match is made based upon the Start of each clip. The Timeline clip’s duration does not change.
- There’s an unassigned keyboard shortcut allowing you to replace a clip from the End. Go to Final Cut Pro > Commands and search for Replace to assign it. This, also, does not change the duration of the Timeline clip. It is the equivalent of doing a back-time replace edit.
By default, the connection for a clip is placed at the beginning. However, if the connected clip actually relates to a different clip, moving the connection is a good idea.
Hold Option+Command and click the connected clip, or the dark-gray bar of a connected storyline, to reposition the connection at the point where you click.
By default, Auditions contain whole clips. They don’t recognize the Start or End of a clip. However, there’s a workaround.
In the Event Browser, select the region you want to use in the Audition for each clip and mark it as a Favorite. Then, display only Favorites in the All Clips menu. When you build the Audition, only the Favorite sections will be displayed.
These are just a sampling of the cool shortcuts inside Final Cut Pro X. Share your favorites in the comments section below.