So I entered into a Good Maker competition last month to raise a little money for my dream learning plan to formalize my skills in Final Cut Pro X and share the knowledge with others. Unfortunately I came in second place and didn’t earn the money. But I’m inspired by all of the people who voted for me, my friends and family and colleagues, and I’m still eager to formally learn Final Cut Pro X and get Apple certified, so I’m going to study the new software this summer and share my notes on my Tumblr. Yay for summer!
First Lesson in Final Cut Pro X: Looking at the new tools
Final Cut Pro X is a professional video editing software. You can edit video from tape, cards, DSLR cameras, and still images. It also allows you to tage clips to find shots you like and skim through footage, just like iMovie. (In the past, Final Cut Pro didn’t have instant playback, and you would have to render every shot to get it to play back at all. It was time consuming).
Your Event Library in the top-left corner is where you store and organize all media files you need for a video. To have the media files (audio, video, stills, etc) show up in the Event Library, they need to be saved in your “Movies” folder on a Mac.
In the middle of the top bar is your Event Library film strip view of the media you are using so you can click and select a segment from there and pull it onto your Timeline.
To the far right if “The Viewer” - a combination of a viewer and canvas in one screen. If you move your cursor over a clip in the Event Library film strip view, it will play back in real time in the Viewer window.
The Timeline: the graphical interface of your video story from beginning to end is along the bottom of the screen. If you move your mouse across the Timeline it will play back in the Viewer window. If you hit space bar it will start to play your clip in instant replay as well.
FCP X allows you to work on multiple projects at one time. Or to go back to earlier ones you may have worked on. To get to them, click on the button in the bottom left of the screen that looks like a small film canister and says ” Show the Project Library”. You can also get to your Project Library by clicking Command+0.
Toolbar: the center bar separating the Event Library from the Timeline. This is where you can input footage from a camera, rate clips, choose tools and enhancements, generate titles and add text.
That’s the basic screen layout.
Hidden tool features in FCP X you need to know about:
“Timeline Index” - in the bottom left corner next to the film canister button, this is the button for the Timeline Index, which gives you a list iTunes style of all of the film clips you have pulled into your Timeline. You can scroll through your clips this way to find a specific one you need (if you select it in the Index, your cursor will jump to it in the Timeline). You can also pick just to select keyword, titles, or audio clips.
“Inspector button” - On the toolbar on the right hand side there is an i in a circle. This takes you to the Inspector. You can also get there by clicking Command + 4. This is how you can find details about your media: it’s video and audio information.
“Camera button” - far right side, this gives you all the images in iPhoto
“Music notes button” - gives you iTunes music
“Time dropdown menu” - lets you speed up and slow down a clip, also on the right side of the Toolbar
“Magic Wand” = Enhancements menu, lets you work on color correction and audio correction
How to set your Preferences
Click on Final Cut Pro > Preferences in the top-left corenr
Most of the defaults are okay, but here are a few that were recommended:
Playback settings: If you have a lot of hard drive space, you will want to keep background render on but set it to something like 60-120 seconds so it’s backing up your material, but not too often. If you are on a laptop and have finite space, you will want to uncheck this and only manually render when necessary, because background rendering eats up your hard drive.
“Use Proxy media” - this is key. It allows you to pull low resolution files into your Timeline from your Event Library so the computer is more responsive. Ultimately when you export, FCP X will still use the highest quality media, either optimized or original media, but follow the directions and edits you did in the Timeline.
Turn off “Warn when dropping frames during playback”
Leave “Warn when frames are dropped due to hard disk performance” because when this happens, it might be a problem that your hard drive isn’t fast enough.
That’s it for lesson 1! I’m looking forward to watching some more videos and more lessons on lynda.com, and I’ll post all my notes here.