Six Tricks Every Final Cut X Editor Should Know

Final Cut X is perhaps one of the best video editing software there is. Though Apple provides great entry-level software in iMovie, it’s mainly for home videos and people who haven’t had experience in video editing. While Final Cut veterans initially didn’t care for the changes made in Final Cut X, as someone who is experienced in video editing myself, I can attest that I’m getting used to the changes.

In the world of video editing, speed is a must: every project should be done with a certain degree of haste without compromising quality. Regardless if you are doing it as a hobby or as your main source of income, you need to learn a couple of Final Cut X tricks to help you work faster and more efficiently.

Here are some cool tricks that I’ve learned in my time as a video editor:

Copy & Paste Effects

Copying effects on individual clips is made easy.

Simply click on a clip on your timeline which has effects and settings you wish to copy. After doing so, copy the footage by pressing Command + C. After doing so, select the clip you want to place the effects in and go to Edit and select Paste Attributes. The shortcut key is Command + Shift + V.

A dialogue box will then appear and you will be able to choose which attributes, effects and settings you want to add to selected clips. Here’s a video showing you how it’s done:

Assign Keyboard Shortcuts

Not only will this save you a ton of time: it will also save you a bit of energy. We understand that not everybody likes using shortcuts, but if you are one of those complaining about Final Cut X’s lack of shortcuts, you will be happy to know that you can now assign shortcuts to both simple and advanced actions.

To customize and assign keyboard shortcuts, click the Final Cut Pro tab on the menu bar then go to Commands and finally, Customize. A window which allows you to modify, assign keys to certain actions, and even delete command sets will be shown. You can also access this via a keyboard shortcut: Option + Command + K.

Tip: it’s unlikely you will memorize shortcuts at first (even the ones you assigned), so try to put up sticky notes to help you remember.

Export video faster

There’s nothing more irritating than having to wait for an hour or two before your project is exported. Long waiting times are unacceptable, especially if there are time constraints and you’re trying to meet deadlines.

You can export your project quicker by simply selecting the Faster Encode option instead of choosing Better Quality. If you’re worried about the video quality, don’t fret: there’s not much difference between them.

Using Optical Flow

This feature is pretty nifty, especially if you’re going for a dramatic, slow motion effect. By using this effect, your footage will appear like it was shot using a high speed camera. This feature doesn’t “slow” the video down, rather, it creates new frames and adds them between the actual ones. The result is a beautiful, crisp, and smooth video:

To use it, select a clip from your timeline and click on the Retime icon. Hover on Slow and pick between the existing presets. After which, click on the Retime icon again, go to Video Quality and finally, select Optical Flow. Be warned though, it will take time before the effect is rendered, so work on something else for the meantime.

Turn on background rendering

Rendering video files will usually take most of your time in front of your Mac. If you turn on background rendering, it’ll save you a ton of time and trouble, especially if you’re working on a high-profile project with a strict deadline.

By turning it on, you could work on other projects, attend a meeting, or go buy lunch downstairs. By the time you get back, you will likely have a rendered timeline, giving you an opportunity to work on your projects smoothly and without the long wait.

Name your cameras

In editing multicam videos, make sure that you assign names into the camera angles. Not only will this keep everything organized, but it will also come in handy if you’re planning to use shortcut keys.

This will also drastically reduce the number of errors on your projects. Remember, video editors are there to make sure the videos are primed, error-free, and ready for broadcast/viewing. It would not bide well for your career if somehow mix the camera angles up and make crucial errors.

In conclusion – keep at it!

There’s a reason why editors use Final Cut, and most will tell you that it’s the little productivity tricks that add up. Overall, these tips and tricks may not seem much, but they will definitely help out in your video editing career. Final Cut X is easy and intuitive – even for new users – but you will need some tricks up your sleeve to level up. Lastly, Final Cut presents new features at every update, so be sure to check them out and experiment them on your spare time.

Adapt and do everything to enhance your overall skills not only in the software, but also in the overall field.

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