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Final Cut Pro X: Rough to Refined, Part 2

In the first part of this article, we explored various approaches that can help sculpt stories in FCP X and the tools that are at our disposal. We looked at basic tools and their application to this new workflow that characterizes the paradigm shift. In this concluding discussion we will explore the rest of the available tools that will help transform a project to the expected refined state.


Locking project duration

In part 1 we also discussed ways to check and verify a clip’s duration, as well as the total project duration. This helps the editor satisfy a project’s duration requirements, whether it is a 30 second TV spot or a 60 minute documentary. Using trimming tools the editor can lock in the required duration accurately.


Ripple editing

The ripple effect draws attention to how altering a clip’s duration impacts the project’s overall duration by making it shorter or longer depending on whether frames are added or removed. The results of which are displayed numerically in timecode in the dashboard.

The Dashboard.

The Dashboard.


Final Cut’s dashboard is analogous to a vehicle’s dashboard. It is strategically positioned right in front and middle part of the interface. The editor, like a driver, doesn't need to look far to stay abreast of changes or where the playhead is in the project. 

The project library (Command-0) allows you to browse existing projects on your system. Apart from showing you the name, you also get a summary of project’s properties including duration shown in timecode format like 30:43:00 as below.

The project summary.

The project summary.


Non-Destructive editing

Once the project duration has been locked in, FCP still provides ways to change a clip’s content or position without being destructive to the duration already locked in.

Legacy tools that got integrated into FCP X’s Trim tool.

Legacy tools that got integrated into FCP X’s Trim tool.


Reaching for the tool set

One of the paradigm shifts form Final Cut legacy was to streamline not just the interface at large but the number of tools and their assigned functions. You either had to know where a tool was, with some being tucked underneath others or had to invoke them by using varying commands.

FCP X has far fewer tools than the previous version and a tool like the Trim tool has multiple functions integrated in one.

The streamlined tool palette in FCP X.

The streamlined tool palette in FCP X.


Setting trimming feedback

The split window for trimming feedback.

The split window for trimming feedback.


When editing contiguous and connected clips, it's helpful to get realtime trimming feedback in context of neighboring clips. The split screen display helps an editor land on an exact frame for start or end points.


You can enable trimming feedback under Preferences > Edit > Timeline > Show detailed trimming feedback.


Enabling trimming feedback in preferences.

Enabling trimming feedback in preferences.


Slipping content

When a clip’s position is established on the timeline, in order to change the In or Out point you don’t have to take the long winded solution of reediting the clip. Final Cut offers the ability to change the In and Out by the same amount of frames resulting in slipping of content. This can be done from the convenience of the multifunctional Trim tool.

Press ‘T’ to select the Trim icon and click the middle of a clip. The yellow edge selections indicate Slip edit is invoked.

Before slipping clip.

Before slipping clip.


Three ways to slip : 

  1. Hold mouse down to refine edit by dragging left or right.
  2. Use < or > to slip one frame at a time.
  3. Type a frame numeric value preceded by a ‘-’ or ‘+’ .

After - slipping clip.

After - slipping clip.


How far you’re able to drag left or right is limited by the handles available on either side of the clip. A red edge selection indicates end of media.

Reached end of media.

Reached end of media.


Rolling an edit

In instances where timing of an edit needs to be adjusted to an earlier or later position rolling the edit will accomplish this. The reason rolling does not alter project duration is that while Out point is rolling, the In point of the adjacent clip compensates by a similar amount.

With the Trim tool still selected, click between two clips to select outgoing and incoming edges simultaneously. 

Roll edit.

Roll edit.


Here we can also use three methods to roll an edit : 

  1. Hold mouse down to refine edit by dragging left or right.
  2. Use < or > to slip one frame at a time.
  3. Type a frame numeric value preceded by a ‘-’ or ‘+’ 


Slide edits

While a roll adjusts an edit point, a slide moves a clip’s position without creating a gap. The targeted clip does not change, the two adjacent clips do instead, by one getting longer and the other shorter.

Slide edit.

Slide edit.


Three ways to slide an edit : 

  1. Still with Trim tool active, hold option down to invoke Slide tool. Hold mouse down to refine edit by dragging left or right.
  2. Use < or > to slip one frame at a time.
  3. Type a frame numeric value preceded by a ‘-’ or ‘+’. 


Precision editor

When adjusting the edit point between two timeline clips, you typically cannot see content in your available yet unused handles. An expanded view provided by the precision editor allows you to see available frames outside of the outgoing and incoming edit points. This provides a clear way to skim over available frames and make a choice for a different cut.


Enter the Precision editor

Double click an edit point to open the precision editor.

Enter the precision editor.

Enter the precision editor.


Inside the precision editor.

Inside the precision editor.


Exploring the precision editor 

Yellow arrows on grayed out clip portions represent available media.

Skimming is possible on either clips (orange line) and click on a different frame for a ripple edit. Drag center button in either direction for a roll edit.

       

Trimming numerically

Choose a clip edge, either Outgoing or Incoming edit points and enter a negative or positive value for a ripple edit.

Choose both edits and enter a negative or positive value to roll the edit numerically.


Exit precision editor interface

When done, located on the bottom right of the precision editor window is the close button highlighted in blue.

Close precision editor interface.

Close precision editor interface.


Conclusion

Final Cut X still shines with a streamlined interface while being adequately packed with the same powerful tools editors have come to rely on for those simple and complex editing operations.


Kiri C. Roberts

Kiri C. Roberts | Articles by this author

Kiri C. Roberts Kiri's journey started in Zimbabwe as a musician who had passion for computers. When he had opportunity to study in England he pursued a masters in audio production (Unvi. Of Westminster), and soon his interest gravitated towards sound design for film. He immediately latched on to Final Cut Pro version 2 as an editing tool and has been cutting video ever since. With his background in music, Logic Pro, Pro Tools and Soundtrack Pro became a staple in his tool set. The fascination in making things move on screen, especially to music and sounds made learning animation an enjoyable experience whether he's using Motion, Autodesk Smoke or After Effects. Kiri is right at home and can relate to composing music as much as compositing graphics or video - its all about blending elements that work well together - is his philosophy. He has pleasure in sharing knowledge as an Apple Certified Trainer and Smoke Trainer teaching across the USA at colleges, universities and training centers. He is also the founder of the Apple Trainers Worldwide - a group that has nearly 230 Apple Trainers from all across the world.

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