FinalCutPro Blog Posts

February 23, 2021

Select Clip Range

Sometimes I need to find the length of a particular clip in the timeline. Usually, because I want to trim the clip to a specific length.

The timeline under the preview only shows the position of the selection tool and nothing about the clip.

The only way to find out about the clip is to use the Clip Range tool.

Select Clip Range

Select Clip Range

Use the shortcut “x” and select a clip on the timeline. You’ll see the current length of the clip to the left of the movie duration under the preview window.

In the above screenshot you can see that the selected clip is 11:10 long.

February 16, 2021

Bright White Background Generator

Final Cut Pro has a lot of cool generators for some basic functionality. One of the categories is Solids where you can insert a blank color, useful for text background or something.

Right out of the box there are six colors: Custom, Grey Scale, iMovie, Pastel, Vivid and White.

Seven Shades of White

When you add the White color, in the inspector you'll see that there are seven options: Antique White, Beige, Bright White, Cream, Ivory, Mint, and Smokey.

Smokey is the default.

What if you wanted Bright White to be the default? Wouldn't it be great to always have Bright White available?

Make Any Color Solids

If you have Motion installed, you can easily make your own color the default. Here are the simple steps:

  • Right click on the White and select "Open a Copy in Motion"
  • In Motion, Click on the Inspector tab.
  • Under Projects, select "Bright White"
  • Under the File Menu, select "Save As..."
  • I would recommend calling it "Bright White"

Motion Color Generator2021
Highlighting steps in Motion.

Remove "White Copy"

So when you right-click to "open a Copy in Motion," Final Cut Pro automatically creates a copy of the file and places it in the Generator folder. Here's how to remove that file.

  • Quit Final Cut Pro.
  • Navigate to the Motion Template Folder: {{Home Directory}} / Movies / Motion Templates / Generators / Solids
  • Delete the folder labeled "Whites Copy"
  • Open up Final Cut Pro and Navigate to the Solids in the Generator category.

You'll see that only the "Bright White" and the rest of the preinstalled generated files remain.

Final Bright White
Here's what my solids section looks like today.

Other Colors

This is a good time to install other frequently used colors, such as company colors. I would recommend spending a few minutes now adding your own so you'll save time later when your working on the next big project.

February 9, 2021

RenderFrameAt Error

Have you ever gotten the following error when exporting a movie?

Render Frame At Error

The Share operation "Apple Devices 1080p: " Name.m4v" has failed.

Error: RenderFrameAt returned: 4 for absolute frame: 50362

I recently got this error and had to figure out why it was happening to me. I first went to the frame that was causing the issue. In order to do that I had to change the Time Display to show the frame count instead of the time.

Change the Time Display to Frame Count

It's pretty easy to change the Time display, the clock under the preview window, to show the Frame count. Here are the steps:

  1. Open up Final Cut Pro Preferences. (Use Command Comma as the keyboard shortcut.)
  2. Click on the pull down menu next to the Time Display
  3. Select Frames
  4. Close the Preferences dialog box

I then navigated the timeline to the 50,362 frames. I found that the video frame and audio were empty.

What Happened?

I created a Compound clip from two GoPro clips. Apparently, there wasn’t a 100% connection and that caused the error.

I removed that part of the clip.

Then I tried to export the file again and this time I was successful.

Lesson Learned

I need to figure out the best way to join GoPro clips. Especially when the clips are automatically split because of file size.

February 2, 2021

White Balance

White Balance is very importaint to maintain a quality video production. This is one way to keep colors the same between clips and cameras.

The key thing about dealing with White Balance is to adjust at the end of a project and not during the project. This is because the White Balance will add additional render time every time you make some alteration to the clip - including adding transitions.

Remember the best white balance set up is before production, not at the editing room. Make sure to learn how to set up the white balance on your camera. For most situations, the auto setting should be fine, but there may be times where you may need to make the adjustment before shooting.

White Balance Final Cut Pro

Manually Adding White Balance

Here are the steps to adjust any clip to use the Final Cut Pro White Balance:

  1. Select the Clip
  2. Click on Balance Color:
    1. Located under the Preview, click on the "magic wand" and select "Balance Color."
    2. Under the "Modify Menu" select "Balance Color"
    3. Use the keyboard shortcut: Option Command B
  3. In the clip Inspector, go to the Video Inspector (First Icon)
  4. Under Balance Color, you should see the Method is "Automatic." Click on Automatic and select "White Balance"
  5. Now in the Preview window, click on the area that should be white.

Not The Right Color?

After applying the Balance Color, you can use the Color Wheels to fix the color to what you think works best for your project.

January 26, 2021

Looping Audio

Last week I talked about using audio clips from iMovie. This week I wanted to use the "Playful.M4A" clip for the duration of the video that I was working.

This means that I had to figure out how to convert a 1-minute clip into 10 minutes. Unfortunately, there is no "loop" feature in Final Cut Pro.

Basically to loop this audio clip, you need to copy and paste it X number of times until you get the duration that you want. The problem with the "Playful" audio is that it fades in the last 2 seconds.

Five Things I Learned

The reason why I want to do this outside of Final Cut Pro was that I could create a new Audio file so I can reuse this in the future.

I looked into using ffmpeg, and someone had a solution over on StackExchange, but it was a lot more work for the simple task.

Apples' Garageband wasn't very friendly. I couldn't clip the final 2 seconds. I tried using Rogue Amoeba's Fission, but I couldn't get the copy clip to paste at the end of the clip.

Final Cut Pro Audacity
Audacity was the clear winner.

The best program that I found to clip and duplicate the audio is Audiacity. It was very easy to clip the final 2 seconds and then copy/paste the clip over and over.

I only needed 7-minutes, but I ended up creating a 10-minute audio file. This way I don't have to do this in the future.

Other Audio Clips

If your looking for alternative audio clips, similar to the Playful clip check out Fiver. A few years ago I purchased a couple of good audio collections that is useful for background music.

Chan Redfield - For $5 I was able to get 17 royalty free clips. Awesome deal now that he is selling some of the songs on an album for $28.

BasicPro - For $5 I was able to get 24 royalty free clips. Today Basic Productions is selling some of the individual songs on EnvatoMarket.

January 19, 2021

Getting iMovie Sound to Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro has a great collection of music and sound effects. The Final Cut Pro supplemental pack includes over 1300 royalty-free sound effects you can access from the Photos and Audio sidebar right in Final Cut Pro.

Even with all those sound effects and music, I still like the music from iMovie. I especially like Playful sound. It's great when you need a filler sound for when you doing a collage of video clips.

Seven Sounds of iMovie

These are the sounds that are available in iMovie:

Bright.M4A, Modern.M4A, Neon.M4A, News.M4A, Playful.M4A, Simple2.M4A, Travel.M4A

Lets Use them!

Turns out you can "mix rip burn" the sound from iMovie - if you still have it installed on your computer. You can import these into Final Cut Pro for all your fun projects

i Move Theme Music Location2021
Note the location of these files.

Getting the Audio

You can't use Spotlight search to find the "Playful.m4a" audio file. It's actually buried in the iMovie application. Here are the steps to find the audio include in iMove as the "iMovie Theme Music"

  • Go to the Applications folder and locate the iMovie applicaiton
  • Right click on the application and select "Show Package Contents"
  • Click on the "Contents" Folder
  • Click on the "Resources" Folder
  • Click on the "iMovie Theme Music" Folder
  • You should now see seven audio files.

You should drag and drop a copy of these files into another location. One option would be the Music application, so you can go under the Photos and Audio sidebar and use these files.

Just remember to copy the files, you don't want to lose the files in the original location!

Apple Music Tip

These audio clips don't have any metadata so when you are in Final Cut Pro it makes it hard to search for the clips that you got from iMove.

In Music, I selected the seven sounds, right-click, and selected "Get Info." I then added some metadata so that that it's easy to search:

F C Pi Movie Music
All I have to do is search for "imovie" and the sounds show up!

Apple Licence

Here's the legal info about using the media files in iMovie and if you're allowed to move them to other applications:

The Apple Software contains media content including but not limited to graphics, audio clips, video clips, and/or templates (“Media Content”). This Media Content is proprietary to Apple and/or its licensors, and is protected by applicable intellectual property and other laws, including but not limited to copyright. Except as otherwise provided, all Media Content included in the Apple Software may be used on a royalty-free basis in your own video projects but may not be distributed on a standalone basis (and audio Media Content may only be used for your own personal, non-commercial use).

January 12, 2021

Crop 4k to 1080p in the Timeline

So the advantage of taking footage at 4K is that you have more flexibility when you convert the video to 1080p format.  You can now crop the video so that the scene fits to your production.

This is particularly useful when you use a GoPro camera and you want to focus on a particular part of the video - such as a stage or a landmark.

Crop to 1080p

4k Crop Box
When you crop a clip make sure the Scale value is at 100%

Fun Facts

4k Image is 3840 by 2160, which is twice as big as the standard HD format of 1920 by 1080 - otherwise known as 1080p.

When you crop a video you want to make sure that the scale is at 100%. (As seen above.) This shows that you have a correct proportional crop.

If possible crop the video before putting in the timeline, this way it doesn’t downsample the video to 1080p and then crop it.

You can crop it to 100% at any place in the video - it doesn’t need to be exactly in the center.

January 5, 2021

Split Screen

Check out this video that I put together. It’s a side by side comparison of the GoPro 7 and the GoPro 9.

This was done using my own template thanks to Motion and Final Cut Pro.

How This Was Done

Final Cut Pro doesn’t come with any templates or effects to split-screen. I had a choice to go out and buy one or design my own using Apple Motion.

If you want to purchase a Screen Splitter effect, check out Screen Splitter 2 by FCPeffects: Final Cut Pro Plugins.

I decided to venture on my own - using some knowledge that I learned from watching some Udemy classes. Such as the Going Further With Apple Motion 5 class.

I created the design in Apple Motion and then imported it into Final Cut Pro.

Started in Apple Motion

The first thing I had to figure out was the layout. How can I properly display two videos side by side?

I figured that making the image at 48% of the original size was a good way to have them side by side with a border between the videos. The videos would be 941 x 529.

I added the top graphics and bottom text so the viewer knew what video was what.

I added the screenshot of the videos for layout purposes and converted the image to drop zones.

The video is 2-minutes long which seems a long time as there isn’t much going on in the videos. There is a way to be flexible on the duration. I just forgot about it.

Total time to get this up and running was about 20-mins.

Go Pro Side By Side

Getting To Final Cut Pro

Once I was satisfied of the template was in good order. I had to convert the project to the Title Generator section. This is done by going under the File menu and selecting "Convert Project To" and then selected Generator.

I then gave it a name and a new location in the Generator section.

Ready to Go!

Now whenever I want to compare videos for the GoPro, I just use the template in the Generator section. Its ready to go.

The only change I would make is to fix the duration so that I can make it longer if needed.

December 30, 2020

Best Final Cut Pro Blog Post

I learned a lot of cool things with Final Cut Pro. Here are 7 Blog post that I think are working checking again:

Final Cut Blog Desktop
Final Cut Blog Mobile

Best Final Cut Pro Posts

Logic Pro Effects in Final Cut Pro - (December 15) Description of each Logic Audio Effect in Final Cut Pro

Blade Tool Tricks - (November 24) Learn how to quickly cut multiple tracks

Transparent Background in PowerPoint - (October 20) How to make the background in Powerpoint transparent for Final Cut Pro. You can then use the Powerpoint movie in any Final Cut Pro project.

Trim Start and End - (October 13) Cool Shortcut to quickly cut out a clip from a certain point.

Adding Favorites Folders to Import - (September 15) Add your favorite folder to the Import dialog sidebar. This makes it easy to navigate to common folders.

Slow Motion Video - (September 8) Using the iPhone Slo-Mo videos in Final Cut Projects

Getting Live Photos - (August 18) How to get the Movies from Live Photos taken with the iPhone.

December 22, 2020

Color Wheel

You can change easily the color of a clip by using the Color Wheel option. The color wheel helps you adjust the clip's brightness and saturation levels on each side of the four-color wheels. You get an instant live preview of the adjustment.

Color Wheel Example

Five Thing I have Learned

The color wheel really helps me balance two different cameras that I use to film a church service. The cameras don’t exactly have the same white balance effect.

I find it easier to balance the colors of similar clips using the color wheel instead of the “Balance Color” feature.

There are controls on the bottom of the color wheels section that allows you to adjust for Temperature, Tint, Hue, and Mix. I really haven’t played around with these.

Usually the Master and Shadows are the only wheels I have to control. My shooting is inside and the lighting doesn’t change that much.

Using the colors wheels really help make using two cameras so much better. People really can’t tell that there are two different cameras being used.

Finding the Color Wheel

The color wheel section is located in the Color Inspector of the selected clip. Simply put the playhead on the clip that you want to be adjusted and type in Command 6.

Click on the “No Corrections” popup menu and select “+Color Wheel”

Start playing around with various settings to see what works best for your situation.

December 15, 2020

Logic Pro Effects in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro includes several Logic Effect tools. These tools help improve the audio in your Final Cut projects.

Final Cut Pro Logic Effects

Which audio effect works best for you depends on your audio needs. It might be tricky to figure out which effect does what.

Logic Pro Effects Tools

Here's a description of each Logic Effects functionality from Apple.com.

Adaptive Limiter - This is a versatile tool for controlling the perceived loudness of sounds. It works by rounding and smoothing peaks in the signal, producing an effect similar to an analog amplifier being driven hard. Like an amplifier, it can slightly color the sound of the signal.

This is great when you have a video clip that has several sound peaks and you want to boost up the other audio. This is a better alternative than using the Normalize feature in Fission and Audacity.

Compressor - This emulates the sound and response of several professional-level compressors. It tightens up your audio by reducing sounds that exceed a certain threshold level, smoothing out the dynamics, and increasing the overall volume - the perceived loudness.

Enveloper - This is an unusual processor that lets you shape the attack and release phases of a signal - the signal transients, in other words.

This can be used to help highlight some of the vocal sounds in a song.

Expander - This is similar in concept to a compressor, but increases, rather than reduces, the dynamic range above the threshold level.

Gain - Gain amplifies (or reduces) the signal by a specific decibel amount.

Limiter - This reduces any peak above the threshold to the threshold level, effectively limiting the signal to this level.

Multichannel Gain - Multichannel Gain allows you to independently control the gain and phase of each channel in a surrounding mix.

Multipressor - Multipressor (an abbreviation for multiband compressor) is a versatile audio mastering tool. It splits the incoming signal into different frequency bands- up to four -and enables independent compression of each band. After compression is applied, the bands are combined into a single output signal.

Noise Gate - This is used to suppress unwanted noise that is audible when the audio signal is at a low level. This effectively removes lower-level parts of the signal, while allowing the desired parts of the audio to pass.

Spectral Gate - This is used as a tool for creative tool design.

You can use this tool to muffle music so that it sounds like it's coming through the wall, or change a regular voice to sound like it was from a telephone call.

Surround Compressor - This is specifically designed for compression of complete surround mixes. It is commonly inserted in a surround output channel strip or in audio or aux channel strips -busses- that carry multichannel audio.

December 8, 2020

AC3 Audio in Final Cut Pro

If your shooting video with Sony or Panasonic cameras, chances are your shooting using the AVCHD Video Format. You'll see the video file end with ".mts" or ".m2ts."

There's nothing wrong with this format until you decide to synchronize video and audio files.

Problem with Synchronize Clips

One of the things I noticed when I attempted to synchronize a video clip with a separate audio file, is that it was taking Final Cut Pro a long time to generate a new file. When I decided to quit the synchronization, it would take a long time for the cancelation to complete. I would have to force quit the application.

I didn't encounter this issue with any other video source.

There's something about the mts format that is triggering some weird behavior with Final Cut Pro Synchronize engine.

It may have something to do with the AC3 Audio format (Dolby AC-3) as seen in the difference between the two converted files.

Ah Ha, I checked out Final Cut Pro Supported formats document and I can see that AC3 Audio is not listed.

Final Cut Pro A C3 Audio

Quick Solution

My quick solution was to convert the video file using QuickTime Player or Smart Converter Pro.

In QuickTime Player, I used the "Greater Compatibility (H.264)" settings. Export the clip as 1080

In Smart Converter Pro, I used the Apple TV 4 setting.

Once I converted the Video and Audio, I had no problems using the Synchronize Clips feature.

Not Using Synchronize Clips?

If you're not using Synchronize Clips, you may encounter problems with other audio functionality. For example Audio Effects or with the Auto Enhance Audio functionality.

Find Clips that Have AC3 Format

Here's how to see the Audio format of the clips that are in your Final Cut Pro projects:

  1. In Final Cut Pro make sure that the Browser is displayed and in List Mode.
  2. Right click on any Browser column, for example, Camera Name. You should see a drop down menu. Select "Codecs"(Third from the bottom)
  3. The Codecs column data list Audio and Video format for each of the clips being used.

Look for clips that have the AC3 audio format. When you find one, right-click on it to reveal in Finder.

Use the "Quick Solution" that I described earlier to convert it. I know it's painful to have to convert multiple files, but this should fix issues that you may be having.

December 1, 2020

Toggle Inspector Height

Sometimes the Inspector panel can take up too much room, here’s how to fix that.

Final Cut Pro Info Panel
Side-By-Side view of the Final Cut Pro window with the Inspector panel using the full left side.

If you see the Info Panel using up the complete left side of the Final Cut Pro window, and you have no idea what happens. This is because somehow you have the “Toggle Inspector Height” enabled.

You can enable/disable this feature by using the shortcut Control Command 4, or selecting the menu item under the View Menu.

This blog post came about because a few people have posted on a Facebook group about how to reduce the size of the inspector panel.

Toggle Final Cut Pro Help

Help Can Guide the Way

Check out the above image.

If you search for "Inspector" using the help menu, and then select the "Toggle Inspector Height" the help will guide you to where to find the "Toggle Inspector Height" section.

November 24, 2020

Blade Tool Tricks

Sometimes when I am editing, I want to do a complete scene cut. That includes multiple videos and audio tracks. In the past, I would use the blade tool on individual clips. Wasn't the best method - it would result in a long time editing the video.

There is a better way.

Blade Tool

Cut All Clips at the Skimmer

To do a "super" cut off all the clips at the current skimmer point. This is useful when you want to make a drastic change to that moment in time. Use the short cut: Shift-Command-B

Cut Certain Clips

It's super easy to cut specific clips at the current skimmer point. This is useful if you need a simple cut from two similar scenes. Simply select the clips or audio and then use the shortcut: Command-B to add a cut at the current skimmer point.

Useful Tips

I have been using Final Cut Pro for several months and this is the first time I hear about this shortcut.

November 17, 2020

Multiple Displays

Final Cut Pro is so much better with multiple monitors. You don't need two similar monitors, just two good ones. This is the layout that I have on my home computer:

Final Cut Pro Displays

The 20-inch Apple Cinema Display is a ten-year-old monitor, and it works perfectly well for me.

Setting Up Final Cut Pro

Here's all you do to get Final Cut Pro to use two monitors:

Connect a second monitor to your computer. (That's pretty obvious.)

Under the 'Window' Option you'll see a "Show in Secondary Display" this is where you select the content to display on the second monitor. When you select this the item is removed from the primary display.

You have 3-options:

Browser - This is all the media files in your project. Use this option when you're starting the project and trying to figure out what clips to put in the timeline.

Viewers - This is the preview window. I usually have my second display always set to this. Having this on the second display makes navigating the timeline so much easier. This is especially true when you have multiple clip layers.

Timeline - This is the video timeline. Useful if your second display is a wide screen.

FCP Second Display Selection

Quick Shortcut

In the top of the main window there is an icon that shows two computers. You can toggle using two displays simply by clicking on this icon. (Its the green box in the above screenshot)

I have found this to be a quick way to display Final Cut Pro to use the second monitor when I want to do something outside of Final Cut Pro, such as browse the internet or check email