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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In today’s post we take a look at creating an event in Final Cut Pro X with the master himself Larry Jordan. Larry has a plethora of tutorials and webinars at his website Today we look at how to create and manage events in Final Cut Pro X as well as review a few tips on different hard drive configurations.

First of all, Larry begins with describing hard drive configurations in great detail, emphasizing the use of both SSD (Solid State Drives) and standard Hard Drives (IDE). In Larry’s set up he has a new iMac 2012 with a fusion drive for his main disk and a few external drives in a RAID configuration for video editing. This is important because it allows the operating system and Final Cut Pro to function snappy fast while allowing him larger storage options for his Final Cut Events. Keep in mind with Solid State drives that the price is definitely higher per gigabyte than standard magnetic hard drives, but you’ll benefit from insanely fast read/write speeds with no moving parts. Another quick note that isn’t mentioned here is that SSDs need not be very large for the Operating system and Applications. Something like a Crucial m4 128GB SSD will be more than enough for your Applications and OS.

Another thing to note on this importance is that with the new Final Cut Pro X, there are no scratch disks available. Which means no more dedicating separate drives to view your cached render files for a certain project or in this case an “event”. Instead you can only chose one hard drive initially to keep the event on. Larry explains further on how this works and how you can easily copy events to multiple drives, but this isn’t necessarily a permanent fix to the once very popular scratch disk option. This is what makes Final Cut Pro so dynamic yet revolutionary, in that Apple no longer believes you need multiple scratch disks but instead opt in for a RAID configuration.

The rest of tutorial explains a bit more about event management and how to manage and organize Final Cut Pro events accordingly.

Furthermore, going back to the idea of RAID storage poses an interesting challenge for today’s editor and the production environment.

RAID, which stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, is not a new technology and has been around for years. However it wasn’t until recently with the introduction of the Drobo series of RAID enclosures for production that RAID has become a viable and economical choice for editing media. Whether you’re a photographer, music producer, or video editor, storage arrays like the Drobo and other RAID enclosures have made it possible to easily set up a RAID with various hard drives to use in a production environment.

I could go on and on about RAID storage and how great it is, but until you’ve tried it yourself and tested it to its limits, there’s no way of ensuring how productive one can be with RAID for projects and other productions. The true advantage here is getting the speed of multiple scratch disks, but in one centralized and quick solution. Prior to Final Cut Pro X you could’ve easily selected 10+ hard drives for caching and storing your render files. But now it’s a different ballgame and the times have changed. RAID offers you maximum performance and maximum redundancy if configured correctly in a RAID6 or RAID10 for your production environment. In the case of Final Cut X events, all your media and associate files are stored in that event folder on a single disk. If you have RAID0 for example (combining hard drive space + read speeds) you can expect an extremely snappy playback even at full resolution, provided your CPU and operating system are up to task as well. By using the power of RAID and Final Cut events, one can truly be a master of efficient post production.

So now that all that technical jumbo has been digested, I’m sure you’re wondering what hardware I’m using with all this RAID vs SSD vs Hard Drive stuff.

Here are my top recommendations that I’ve tried and tested myself:

Best Hard Drives for Video Editing and Production

Solid State Drive: Crucial m4 256GB SSD
Hard Drives in RAID: 2x 2TB Western Digital Caviar Green
Hyrbid Drive: Seagate Momentus 7200 RPM 750GB Hybrid Solid State Drive
RAID Enclosure: Mediasonic ProBox 4 Bay Hard Drive Enclosure with USB 3.0 and eSata

Well that’s all for today’s brief overview with Final Cut Pro X events and the technology behind hard drives in the production environment. If you’d like a more detailed overview of RAID for the production environment let me know in the comments below or tweet Christian Hermida @chermida on Twitter.

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