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Final Cut Pro X Tutorial: Creating the Rough Cut, Part 1: Appending clips

FCP 7 provided a number of basic editing tools with which an editor could build a rough cut. FCP X does the same and while there are some similarities there are also some differences. I'm going to take you through these differences and where they exist point out the similarities in a series of 3 Quick Tip articles on creating a rough cut in FCP X. This is part 1.

Step 1 - Starting Out

Lets begin by doing the equivalent of starting a new sequence. In FCP X create a new project File > New Project or press Command-N. A dialogue box appears asking you to name your Project.

Project Settings dialogue.

Project Settings dialogue.

Just to be clear on the difference between the FCP 7 and FCP X workflows, in 7 you created sequences inside Projects while in X you create Projects associated with Events. They're not the same thing really but for ease of transition think a of Project as you did a sequence. 

The Project Settings dialogue box also contains settings similar to the Sequence Settings menu in FCP 7 but for one thing it's simpler and for another the settings are project-specific, no more forgetting to change them when you start a new project. 

Video Properties.

The New Project dialogue box's Video Properties.

The Video Properties menu is equivalent to 'Easy Set-up' in FCP 7. In the case of this exercise leave the default of 'Set Automatically based on first video clip' as this means your Project's working format will be set by the first clip you edit, like the Open Source Timeline workflow in version 7. 

If you need to have a specific working format choose 'Custom' and you're into the Easy Set-up workflow again. FCP X still has an open source workflow, this makes it a little simpler I think. 

Step 2 - Building Foundations

Load a clip from the Event Library into the Event Browser and skim (scrub with the mouse or trackpad) to the desired first frame of your shot. Press to mark an in point at that frame. Skim again to the last frame you want and press O to set an out point. Your Event Browser should show a highlighted area like this:

Marked Clip.

Marked Clip.

Tip: Viewing your Event Browser Clips in list view brings up a really nice filmstrip for you to work with. To switch click on the List View button at the bottom of the Event Library as indicated in this image.

Tip: Viewing your Event Browser Clips in list view brings up a really nice filmstrip for you to work with. To switch, click on the List View button at the bottom of the Event Library as indicated in this image.

When using FCP 7, failing to get your playhead to the exact position where you want to drop the clip may introduce a slug frame mid-edit or trim the outgoing clip slightly. 

In FCP X  that risk has been eradicated by the 'Append the selected clip to the primary storyline' button. Pressing the Append button (or typing E) adds your clip to the end of the project on the timeline regardless of where the playhead is. This makes the flow of your first basic cut smooth and simple. 

Append Edit.

The Append Edit. Simple.

Try a quick edit yourself and see how fast you can cut a basic project using the Skim, I & O keys, and Append workflow. It's so simple to use.

A Growing Time Line.

A Growing timeline.

Find Part 2 on Inserting clips here on The MPV Hub.

In the meantime learn more about editing with these tutorials by editor and expert Michael Wohl: FCP X 103 - Editing in the Magnetic Timeline and FCP X 104 - Advanced Editing Techniques

David Smith

David Smith | Articles by this author

David Smith is Scotland's most qualified Apple and Adobe certified trainer. Having completed his education at Edinburgh College of Art's BAFTA winning Film School, David moved straight into TV production, first as a Vision Mixer then quickly becoming, at the age of just 24, a director of live TV studio productions. In 2001 he moved into Higher Education where he became a lecturer in TV Production, specializing in post-production and live studio production. During this time, and working with the support of the BBC, Channel 4 and independent production companies, David was instrumental in the design, development and implementation of industry-approved vocational courses across Scotland's Colleges. In 2006, after working closely with Apple Computers to create a unique multimedia studio for education at the Music and Media Centre in Perth, David became Scotland's first Apple-Certified Trainer for Pro Apps. This led on to David forming the first Apple Authorized Training Centre for Education, north of Manchester. In 2008 David made the move to full time training and joined the ranks at Academy Class, Ltd. where he continues to train industry professionals as a certified trainer across the Adobe Creative Suite and Apple Pro Apps range.


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