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.
- 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
- Now enlarge the canvas and save the new window layout as your custom layout 2. You can recall it by hitting: Option-U
- 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!