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Final Cut Pro 7

Final Cut Pro 7 – Tips and Tricks – Part 1

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1. Personal Settings and Preferences

Working with Final Cut Pro, you soon learn how useful is to customize toolbars, layouts and preferences. All these customizations are stored in:

~/Library/Preferences/Final Cut Pro User Data/

If you want to reset Final Cut to its original settings, just delete all files contained there, except from the PLUGIN directory, which contains all the installed Final Cut plugins. If you plan to use Final Cut Pro in different machines, copy those files into a USB stick and bring them with you, copying them in the right place in the new machine before starting to work.

2. Focus on the Right Panel

To switch between the Viewer, the Canvas, the Timeline and the Browser, use the show/hide keyboard shortcuts and save yourself plenty of time:

Cmd-1 -> Focus on the Viewer

Cmd-2 -> Focus on the Canvas

Cmd-3 -> Focus on the Timeline

Cmd-4 -> Focus on the Browser

3. The three most common windows layouts

Sometimes you’re working on the Viewer. Other times you mainly work just on the Canvas. Some more times you want to see all panels simultaneously. Take five minutes of your time to set the three most common windows layouts as your custom layouts and use shortcuts to switch among them.

  1. Enlarge the viewer and save the window layout as your custom layout 1 (from the WINDOW menu). You can recall this layout at any time with: Shift-U
  2. Now enlarge the canvas and save the new window layout as your custom layout 2. You can recall it by hitting: Option-U
  3. Go back to the default view via: Ctrl-U

4. Scrubber quickly, easily!

You can use the J-K-L keys to play  a clip or a sequence backward of forward.

J -> Play backward

K -> Stop playing

L -> Play forward

J-K -> Play backward in slow motion

K-L -> Play forward in slow motion

K-tap J -> Play backward one frame at the time

K-tap L -> Play forward one frame at the time

Also, press SHIFT to use seconds instead of frames as basic measurement unit for movements.

5. Don’t scrubber audio, if you don’t need it

Use Shift-s to enable or disable audio-scrubbing.

6. Synchronize video tracks based on the audio

Save yourself hours in postproduction by installing the pluraleyes plugin (149$) to do this.

7. Avoid rendering during preview

Bored about the red bars on the top of the timeline which inform you that the video can’t be played without rendering? You’re probably working in Safe RT mode. On the top-left corner of the timeline, hit the RT button and select RT Unlimited. Also, adjust the remaining values to “Dynamic”. This will tell Final Cut to preview as many effects in the sequence as it can.

8. Moving in the timeline

Did you know that , when you are in the timeline, you can just start typing a number to move the playhead at that exact position? The number represents the number of frames you want to move by. If you want to use seconds, instead, just append a DOT at the end of the number.

5 -> 5 frames

5. -> 5 seconds

9. Delete clips without leaving a gap

This operation is known as “ripple delete”. Use the forward delete button (or FN + Delete if you’re on a laptop) to delete a clip and ripple the rest of the sequence. Toggle the ripple markers button (on the top-right corner of the timeline) according to the desired behaviour.

10. Preview in Full Screen

In the Final Cut Pro Menu, set the following:

View -> Video Playback – >Digital

View -> External Video -> All frames

Now you can preview your piece of artwork in full screen by hitting Cmd-F12.

Stay tuned for more Final Cut tips and tricks!

About Roberto Aloi

Software Engineer and Erlanger. Author of www.tryerlang.org.


2 thoughts on “Final Cut Pro 7 – Tips and Tricks – Part 1

  1. In regards to #10, I’m trying to be able to quick key toggle back and forth in the viewer, from full screen to regular edit mode while watching dailies and cutting. When I follow the steps in your #10 PREVIEW IN FULL SCREEN write-up, it just automatically puts the viewer into full screen. And my Command F12 does nothing but change the computer volume. Thanks for your post, but this is still driving me nuts.

    Is there a simple way to toggle in and out of full screen mode while working in the viewer?



    Posted by Andrew | October 26, 2010, 12:05 am
    • What you probably need is to setup a big custom viewer layout. See #3 to understand how you can do it.
      To use F12, you need to press the FN key and simultaneously the F12 key. Also, it’s a good idea to disable all OsX shortcuts while working on Final Cut Pro. You can do it from System Preferences.

      Posted by Roberto Aloi | October 29, 2010, 9:41 am

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