Official Artist
Lawrence Benedict
Actor , Cinematographer / Camera Operator , Editor (Film)
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A Word about Final Cut X and some 1-Second Solutions in Final Cut Pro

Well, now I've had a chance to get some hands-on experience with Final Cut X, i am once again surprised by the emotional reactions by some editors to innovation.

Final Cut Pro X is fun. It's different and many menus, while there, are hidden so you have to explore a bit.

I'm not giving up Final Cut Pro Studio 3 for a while but I can now decide which application is best suited to the project at hand. What's wrong with that?  My bottom line advice would be hang onto Final Cut Pro or Final Cut Express, especially since FCP projects are not upwardly compatable with X.  If you're a filmmaker, wherever you make your movies, you still need Final Cut Pro Studio 3 in my opinion. But go ahead, have some fun with X. It's another tool in your arsenal and you will keep up with the editing evolution. 

So I'm going to keep talking about those great applications and as an instructor, providing whatever tips I can. The number of filmmakers over the world has exploded, thanks in a very large part to Apple and their Final Cut software.

Okay, so here we go!

I get panic calls about a few things that have incredibly simple one-second solutions.

Here's one: If you close all your projects in the Browser, Your Canvas and your Timeline will disappear. "Oh no! My timeline is gone my canvas is gone! You then think "No problem, I'll just click on the pull down menu labeled Window and click them back." But guess what? I do that and find them grayed out! Now what! Those of you who have worked with me, will recall one of my favorite phrases, "Don't overreact too soon."

The One-Second Solution: Open a New Project. (Shift, Command, N) The canvas and timeline reappear. This is an operation you will find throughout Final Cut. If something is not available to you, click on something that needs it, and it will appear. Ask and ye shall receive.

Suppose you have double-clicked an effect so it opens in the Viewer allowing you to change the attributes of that effect, (duration, border color, blur amount, whatever) the Viewer is no longer a Viewer. How do I see my video clips??? Double click a clip and the Viewer Pane changes back to a Viewer. The Viewer becomes a Viewer again. See the logic?

Here's one that one of my students had a panic attack over. The phone call went like this... "I just finished my whole documentary and it's gone! It's just gone! There is no video at all!" (Clue) "Is there audio?" "Yes the audio is there but the video is gone! Oh my God, all that work!"   

"You can see the audio tracks; they're green, right?" "Yes." "Is there a double gray line above the audio tracks? "Um, yes." " Click that and drag it down."


"Did you do that?" "Oh my God, it came back, it's all back!"

The double gray line is a divider that separates the audio and video tracks that you can drag up and down to allow you more room to work on audio or video in the timeline. If you're adding audio tracks, the video tracks can become hidden and vice versa. A clue is, if you see scroll bars on the right hand side of the timeline. Slide those scroll bars and your tracks will reappear.

I got a phone call from a post production house in Vancouver about the following:

"We are editing our episode on a deadline. Suddenly, we are unable to edit audio from the source to the timeline. We were doing just fine. Now we edit and nothing happens."

This was tricky but I will jump to the solution. They were trying to edit a single track of prerecorded voiceover.

What had happened was, they had inadvertently clicked and disconnected the source control button from the destination control button. Here's what the user manual says:

Disconnecting Source and Destination Controls

You can prevent specific video or audio source clip items from being edited into your sequence by disconnecting Source and Destination controls. For example, if you disconnect the video Source control prior to making an edit, only the audio source clip items are edited into the Timeline.

For example, if you want to edit the video clip item in the Viewer into your sequence, but you don’t want the audio clip item, you can simply disconnect all of the audio Source controls in the Timeline, leaving only the video Source and Destination controls connected..

 Performing an overwrite edit adds the video portion of the selected clip to your sequence, ignoring the source clip audio


They clicked it again, it reconnected to the destination control and they got their show out on time. This is one that bites a lot of operators because these pesky little separations are very difficult to see but very easy to click on.

One last one, for now anyway, and this can really make you think something bad happened. You have been working away, keyframing in the canvas, which can be a very labor-intensive operation. You access the upper right-hand oval where the "Image Plus Wireframe"  selector can be found, to perhaps, turn off the Title Safe overlay. You go back to continue editing and discover that your entire timeline is black. The video is gone. All of it. This can look really bad! This might be that horrible moment you always feared would befall you.

Nope. What happened was that you clicked on Wireframe by mistake. Correct your error and all your video, and all your hard work, will instantly return. Whew!

My next blog will be about the ,uses of XML in Final Cut Pro.   



over 8 years ago 0 likes  1 comments  0 shares
Rottendoubt a4 patrick
i don't edit film, but these are helpful tips. thanks!
over 8 years ago


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Languages Spoken
english, french
Location (City, Country)
Los Angeles, United States
Member Since
April 30, 2008

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