FCPX Tips and Tricks Volume 2


One of the things I’ve enjoyed about learning the inner workings of Final Cut Pro X is how to work faster despite having a different editing paradigm. Getting used to the magnetic timeline was a struggle at first, but now I’ve become accustomed to it. I find myself trying to do things that are akin to the magnetic timeline that don’t exist in track based NLEs. However, I discovered new tips and tricks from users across the world that make my FCPX experience more enjoyable. I’m going to highlight a few tips that hopefully help you in your FCPX experience.

Connected Clip Tricks

In this episode of MacBreak Studio, the folks at Ripple Training show us how to deal with connected clips. As great as the magnetic timeline can be, dealing with connected clips can be cumbersome. Their first tip involves changing a connected clip to a different primary clip. Holding down the option key, Mark clicks on the bottom of the connected clip and changes the connect to a different clip in the primary storyline.

The next tip involves deleting a primary clip and leaving the connected clip in place, or creating a ripple edit. If you hold down the Shift key and press delete, the primary storyline clip will disappear and the connected clip will be placed above a gap clip. To get the ripple edit, hold down option + command+ delete to perform the delete selection shortcut.

The final tip involves slipping a clip in the primary storyline without moving the connected clip. Holding down the tilde key and pressing the T key, you can slip your primary clip while retaining the position of the connected clip in the secondary storyline. A bonus tip is offered which showcases how to have the override connections command in place until you turn them off. Holding down the tilde key and the command key, let go of the tilde key and the override command will be active until you press the command key again.

Overall, this collection of tips got me excited at how much faster I could move FCPX, and knowing how to navigate the tedious nature of the secondary storyline.

Fast Editing With Clip Skimmer

In another edition of MacBreak Studio, the folks at Ripple Training offer insight into using the clip skimmer to navigate the intricacies of the primary and secondary storylines. With clip skimming enabled and the main skimmer disabled, users can focus on clips solely in the primary or secondary storyline. Using the clip skimmer enabled and the main skimmer disabled, they are able to make targeted ripple edits in primary and secondary storylines without effecting the entire timeline. They also highlight how much easier it is to insert clips into the secondary storyline when the clip skimmer is enabled so that you can be a power user.

Starting Up FCPX

When you open FCPX from the dock or applications folder, it usually opens the last library or libraries you were working in. But what if you want to select which libraries FCPX opens upon startup? The folks at fcpx.at inform us that by holding down the option key at startup, you will be presented with a dialog box showing you all available libraries. Selecting one of the available libraries or using the Locate function to add another library will open that library in FCPX.

Another way to chose which library opens when you start FCPX is to use the inexpensive companion application, Library Manager. The application has the ability to create libraries from scratch and open libraries by themselves if you chose.

Overall, I’ve found these tips to be extremely helpful in getting much more knowledgeable about how FCPX functions. Learning these tips have given me a great appreciation for the application and has suppressed my frustrations I had when it first came out. Try these tips yourself and become the power user of FCPX that you want to be.

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Tips for Making Post Production Tutorials


I’ve been watching video tutorials for almost six years now, and making them for three. In this amount of time, I’ve been able to assess what makes for a good video editing/post production tutorial. There are many services that offer video training; such as Lynda, PeachPit, Digital Tutors, and others. However, some of the best training has come from random contributors who decided to share the knowledge to the masses. In the last three years, I’ve learned that there are quite a few ways to make concise and strong video editing/post production tutorials. In this article, I will highlight some tips you can use when constructing your own content.

Know your audience

This is obvious and very important. When you decide to make video tutorials, you have to know who you are trying to reach. Making a video tutorial and hoping for the best won’t yield the strongest results without understanding your audience. For example, Videocopilot makes visual effects and motion graphics tutorials for After Effects. They show you techniques and skills that you would have to go to film schools to learn. They receive many views and a strong audience by understanding that there are people who want to create cool stuff in AE, but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars. They also show you ways to get a better understanding of the software. Understanding your audience will help establish a direction for your video tutorial.

Show the audience the demo of your technique

If you want someone to invest their time watching your video tutorial, you need to show them what they are in for. That will make the difference between whether they watch the video from start to finish, or tune out within a few seconds. There is nothing worse than a tutorial author not giving you a glimpse into the final product, and you feel you’ve wasted your time watching something not beneficial. This After Effects/Cinema 4D tutorial from After Effects guru Eran Stern shows what the final result so that the viewer has the choice whether or not to invest more of their time.

This is a technique that I’ve used many times on my tutorials and have had subscribers make note of how beneficial it was to them. Overall, give your audience a reason to keep watching.

Inject production value

If you want to stand out from the crowd, inject your own brand of production value into it. Have an intro and an outro for your tutorial, insert a logo bug at the bottom third of your screen, and any other items that may enhance production value. It also helps to record with a good microphone (like one from Blue Microphones) and screen recording software (like Screenflow). Tools are important to your quality. Invest time in adding production value, an aesthetically pleasing look, and good hardware.

Maintain good pacing and focused presentation

In this day and age, a short and concise video is vital to getting a lot of views. People don’t want to watch anything over five minutes long… unless it has a lot to offer. Tutorials can bypass this rule if they show something intricate, like creating a lightsaber effect or a complex motion graphic. If you followed the aforementioned rule of demoing your finished result, you can get away with having a tutorial that lasts 10 minutes or more. You can generate more content by breaking up a long video into multiple parts. You can also turn a long lesson that may consist of 20 minutes of content into four separate five minute videos. This generates at least a month’s worth of content from one lesson. This is a technique used a lot by the authors of Lynda.com when there is training on a particular subject. Instead of one long tutorial, they break things up into multiple sections and a playlist worth of videos. Overall, these are just a few of the tips you can use to create strong post production tutorials. You can learn other tips by observing what successful authors have created, but if you plan to create your own, you should be aware of the following: know your audience, demo your skill/technique, inject your own brand of production value, and have a focused and concise presentation. I’m the NLE Ninja asking you to stay creative.

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