Video Essentials

Final Cut Pro X: Three Tips from a Top Trainer

The Manhattan Edit Workshop has been getting a lot of calls for Apple Final Cut Pro X training, says Apple Certified Trainer Ari Feldman. That’s why it’s holding its first FCPX class, a hands-on intensive, on July 9th and 10th.

To prepare, Feldman has been spending a lot of time with the new software. “Man, is it different,” he says, praising its much faster performance. He also likes the new markers feature, which lets producers place to-do items within a project. Markers can be set as done or not done.

Much is missing, of course, like multicamera editing and XML export, but Feldman notes that Apple has promised to get those restored with an upcoming update.

Many experienced editors, including Feldman, are having difficulty adjusting to the trackless timeline. “That’s a new one on me,” he says, although he’s reserving judgment on whether or not he likes it until he’s spent more time with it

At the moment, the user forums “read like an angry mob,” says Feldman, something he predicts will blow over in six months to a year as Apple provides improvements. Until then, plenty of people, both experienced and new to Final Cut, will need training.

“It’s the most polarizing piece of software I’ve ever seen,” he adds.

To help you adjust to the radically new Final Cut Pro X, here are three tips that Feldman has discovered:

Scrub with the S Key
With FCPX, Apple has introduced a simple way to scrub through your footage without moving the playhead. Press the S key on your keyboard to turn the feature on. Then, you can move your mouse over your footage to scrub through the video. Press the S key again to turn the feature off. “It’s a faster way to scrub through your footage,” says Feldman. Afterwards, your playhead is exactly where you left it.

Reverse Your Ken Burns
Adding motion to still photos (the Ken Burns effect) is possible in Final Cut Pro 7, but Feldman especially likes how simple and intuitive it is with FCPX. Zooming in or out on a photo is a snap. But there’s also a Swap button on the interface that lets you reverse the effect you’ve created. This is a great timesaver when you change your mind or want to play with different effects.

Duplicating a Project
Creating duplicates of a project has baffled some users, since FCPX lacks a Save As menu item. The solution is to hit command-D to bring up the Duplicate Project window. This lets you create a duplication on another hard drive, duplicate a project and all of its clips, or duplicate a project and only the material used in the timeline. It’s the FCPX version of the Media Manger from previous versions of Final Cut, says Feldman.


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