Practical FCPX Tutorials

by kesakalaonu on April 24, 2014


One thing I’ve always enjoyed about tutorials, is that they can teach you skills you wouldn’t have known unless by trial and error… or luck. I can honestly say that my skill set comes from what I’ve learned from various tutorials. However, many tutorial authors advise that you use skills you learn from their tutorials as a launchpad to real world and practical situations. Just because a tutorial can show you which buttons or commands to use in a program, doesn’t mean that it will teach you how to be a better storyteller. I do believe that there are people who offer practical tutorials for everyday, real world situations that you may encounter as an editor. In particular, I’ve come across many talented editors who have shared practical tips when it comes to using Final Cut Pro X, as well as Motion. Ever since its release, people have spent more time defending its editing capabilities, versus showing why it’s faster to utilize its workflow. I’m going to highlight some FCPX editors who have willingly shared practical tips and workflows when using Final Cut Pro X.

Chris Fenwick (Digital Cinema Cafe & FCP X Grill)

No one I know has put more effort in showcasing and highlighting how much depth Final Cut Pro X has more than Chris Fenwick. As the senior editor for Slice Editorial (and host of two of my favorite industry podcasts, Digital Cinema Cafe & FCP X Grill) Chris has created a plethora of practical FCP X tutorials he has discovered through his work and experimentation. Below are three tutorials that I personally found helpful in adopting the workflow of FCPX.

In each of these tutorials, you learn something that can be implemented immediately on any project. The “Poor Man’s” dynamic link, as Chris calls it, is great for folks who use After Effects for their motion graphics work and need a workaround for swapping out updated elements without doing a lot of importing. The multicam trick he shows using compound clips to achieve the CNN look, while still being able to cut to different angles like a technical director, is brilliant. Trying to do it any other way now would seem like a time consuming and a frustrating endeavor. Being able to swap out lower thirds, like Dustin Hoye does in the last video, is incredible. Knowing that I can type in the information I need for a subject, and change the look while maintaining the information with ease, is something that will aid in tight deadlines. Tips like these would convince me of the power and ease of a FCPX workflow.

Michael Garber (Garbershop)

Michael Garber is a talented freelance video editor with many years of using Final Cut Pro legacy, and he’s one of the foremost authorities when it comes to Final Cut Pro X. He has written many articles highlighting how his workflow has been accelerated, thanks to learning the features that FCPX has to offer. In this video below, Michael shares a tip for editing audio bits in the magnetic timeline by creating a secondary storyline. By using this technique, the audio segments you edit won’t shift should you need to add an additional piece of footage. Also, the secondary storyline acts as a placeholder for adding additional audio down the line.

Brett Gentry (BeatusMongous)

Brett is a Las Vegas editor/post production manager I discovered recently who cuts content for Telemundo. In his tutorials, he demonstrates techniques in Final Cut Pro X that allow him to cut multiple spots and commercials in very little time. In the two videos below, Brett showcases how utilizing Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5 workflow has allowed him get through projects at an efficient pace.

In the first tutorial, Brett shows us how he was able to emulate the look of a commercial for a law firm that aired in English utilizing the FCPX keyer, simple transitions/effects, stock footage, and custom Motion templates. I believe the only people who have done something on this scale are the folks of Ripple Training with their FCPX promo training course. In the second tutorial, Brett shows us how to create a keyer template effect for clients you may deal with on regular basis. He creates three effects to deal with the multiple camera edits of two tight shots and a wide shot. With these templates, Brett is able to cut similar segments of the same client in very little time. This technique is definitely something I wish I knew about when these programs were released. With the amount of green screen work editors deal with these days, knowing I can create something like this between Motion and FCPX would definitely convince a wayward user of the power of this workflow.

Overall, I believe these editors have provided some great tips and workflows for Final Cut Pro X that would have only been discovered through trial and error, or by purchasing a course. I’ve talked with FCPX editors who have told me how much faster they have become since using the program, but not many of them want to share tips like these gentlemen have. Maybe in time, the FCPX community will provide more practical tutorials like these to really champion how professional and timesaving the FCPX/Motion workflow is.

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Top 5 Favorite Features of Premiere Pro CC 7.1

by kesakalaonu on November 13, 2013


With the latest update of Premiere Pro CC and the rest of the Creative Cloud suite, users were given a slew of features to help them use the program more effectively than before. In total, there were over 150 features added to the video-centric applications. There were features within the Premiere Pro CC update that helped users with multi-cam operation, freeze frames, markers, and transitions. In this article, I will summarize my five favorite features of the program. Below is a video by post-production professional Josh Weiss of going over some of the new features of the 7.1 update.

More freeze frame options

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For the longest time, creating a freeze frame in Premiere was quite the hassle. Previous versions only allowed you to export frames from the Source or Program monitor, or with a blade edit proceeded by an enabling of the Frame Hold option. With the first iteration of Premiere CC, they added the option to export a frame and import it into the project browser. While this was a step in the right direction, it still took too many steps to create a simple freeze frame. With the 7.1 update, users now have the option to insert Frame Hold segments, as well as an Add Frame Hold. As summarized in the video above, these options either insert a freeze frame in the timeline, or freeze a part of your clip at the point where your playhead is parked. The best part about these options is that they can be extended for lengths longer than the original clip. With multiple options added to create freeze frames from multiple levels of the interface, the process is more streamlined.

Drag and drop 3rd party transitions

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This feature request has been popular among users for the last few years, and I’m glad to see it becoming a reality. One of the drawbacks of using Premiere Pro was that 3rd party transitions acted like filters, instead of transitions that you could drop between an edit point. This functionality is similar for users of After Effects and Motion. The laborious process of getting them to work discouraged many editors from using them. With the 7.1 update, 3rd party transitions from Noise Industries, Genarts Sapphire, and others now function the way they were intended. What’s even better, is that you can manipulate parameters in the Effect Controls panel, add keyframes, and save presets of your settings for later use. The only downside is the preset will not maintain the duration you set. In time, I see other third party developers getting on board for creating drag and drop transitions for Premiere.

Multi-cam options

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As shown in the video above, the multi-cam has been given more features as well. Users now have the ability to edit the cameras that are shown in the multi-camera monitor. The previous process would require you to disable the multi-cam nested sequence and rearrange your clips from the timeline level. With this new function, you won’t lose time deciphering which camera is which and you can keep cutting.

Copy and paste multiple transitions

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With the updated look of how transitions look in Premiere, one feature that still needed to be added was the ability to copy and paste a transition to multiple edit points. FCP switchers requested the ability quite frequently, and now it’s a reality. As illustrated in the video above, you would first copy your transition. Then, you would Command (Mac)/Control (PC) across a group of edit points and hit Command/Control +V to paste them on the selected edit points. This technique is definitely a timesaver for when you need to add the same transition across various edit points on different tracks.

Ripple markers

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Using markers in my edits was the cornerstone of remembering where to place media later, or to remember a particular frame. What sucked was that if I trimmed my footage, the marker would remain where it was and I would either have to delete it or reposition it manually. With the update, users now have the option to have the markers move when they make a ripple trim of clips in their timeline. You have the option to turn it on in the Marker drop down menu. Those are my top five favorite new features for Premiere CC 7.1. In my opinion, I believe within 2-3 updates, Premiere will be able to do everything Final Cut Pro 7 can do, if not better. Despite the feelings folks may have about the Creative Cloud, these updates have been very helpful in making Premiere my go to NLE. I’m the NLE Ninja with Audio Micro asking you to stay creative.

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