FinalCutPro Blog Posts

November 10, 2020

Adaptive Limiter

One of the things I have learned is that using Normalize is not the best way to fix audio that might be too soft. Normalize is available in audio applications like Fission and Audacity.

The problem is that if your audio clip has one large pop, then Normalize won't work.

Apple's Logic has a powerful way to balance the audio and that's something called: Adaptive Limiter. Apple included the functionality in Final Cut Pro

Adaptive Limiter

Feature Description

Adaptive Limiter 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. You can use Adaptive Limiter to achieve maximum gain without introducing unwanted distortion and clipping, which can occur when the signal exceeds 0 dBFS.

Things I Learned

This can be found in the Effects section, check for Audio then Levels.

Simply drag and drop Adaptive Limiter to the audio that you wish to enhance and the audio will be enhanced.

If you want to make further Adaptive Limiter adjustments on the clip, go to the audio section of the clip, scroll down and look for Effects. You should see the Effects section.

You can make whatever adjustments you want, I would recommend maling slow adjustments and test the clip peaks and valleys.

There is an Advance Effect Editor UI for those audio pros. This is a powerful audio tool to play around with.

At the End of The Day

Using applications like Fission and Audacity is great for simple audio files. The audio functionality in Final Cut Pro is pretty powerful. There are a lot of audio effects built - 109 to be exact.

You shouldn't have to use a third party to fix audio issues. In most cases, it can be professionally cleaned in Final Cut Pro.

November 3, 2020

Lower Third

Today is election day in the United States and tonight many people will be glued to their TVs watching election results. You'll likely see lots of lower-thirds graphics. I thought looking at lower-thirds would be a good topic this week.

Lower-Thirds is a text graphic used most commonly on TV news stations. This is usually used to inform the viewer of the speaker or location that they are watching.

Example of a Lower Third

Lower Third Examples

One of the nice things about Final Cut Pro is that you can’t define a default lower third. What this does is any time that you want to use that template your simply type in the shortcut: Control - Shift - T

Final Cut Pro uses the default lower third when you apply the short cut, but it's really easy to change that.

Change the Default Lower Third

  1. Go to the Title and Generator Sidebar: Option - Command - 1
  2. Find a tile that you want to apply with the keyboard shortcut. (Note: It doesn't have to be a lower third, it can be any title.)
  3. Right click on the image and select "Make Default Lower Third"
October 27, 2020

Jump Cuts

When you have a long boring scene it might help spice things up by using jump cuts. They seem to be in all the rage with YouTubers. They seem to be very popular with Rebecca Zamolo YouTube Videos.

What Are Jump Cuts

Jump cuts are when you remove a set of frames with the intent to make the scene go quicker. In Final Cut Pro, you have the option to easily skip 3,5,10,20,30 frames. The more frames you remove the bigger the effect it has.

How to apply Jump Cuts

F C P Jump Cuts

In Final Cut Pro, you define Jump Cuts with markers.

  1. Simple mark where you want to apply a Jump Cut
  2. Select the "Retime" pop-up menu just below the viewer - the icon looks like a dashboard speed gauge. Then go all the way down and select Jump Cut.
  3. Note: If the Jump Cut option is not available, it is because you didn't select the clip to apply the jump cut to.
  4. Then select the number of frames to remove. I have found that "20 frames" works best in most cases.

After you apply the Jump Cut, you'll see a green bar on top of the clip, this is the Retime Editor. If you want to add additional Jump Cuts, you still have to follow the above steps. There are no keyboard shortcuts to add Jump Cuts.

October 20, 2020

Transparent Background in PowerPoint

While Apple makes it easy to create transparent movies from Keynote to Final Cut Pro, it's a bit tricky to get it to work with Microsoft Powerpoint.

Why use Microsoft Powerpoint?

PowerPoint has some unique transitions and effects that are not available in Keynote. If you have Microsoft PowerPoint installed it might be better to use that for some cool effects.

Using PowerPoint or Keynote might be better than using Apple Motion for simple tasks.

How to Export Transparent Background

To get a transparent background in PowerPoint you need to use the green screen effect. There is no way to control the export video type.

Example

This has all the transitions that are available in Microsoft PowerPoint. I used a green background and used the Keyer effect to remove that background in Final Cut Pro. (That’s how you remove the green screen. )

October 13, 2020

Trim Start and End

A common task that I have to do in Final Cut Pro is trim a clip. Usually, this is to just clean up the tail end of the clip that doesn't make sense to keep for the story, or when I need to end the clip smoothly.

The quick way to get this done is to use the "trim to end" short cut key:

Trimto Start Trim To End

How this Works

When you mouse over a clip in the timeline and use the above short cut, the clip will get trim from the point of the red mouse over and not the white preview line.

If you make a mistake, simply type in Command - Z to undo the last action.

Quick and Easy Tip

Once you start using this a couple of times, you'll see that this is such a time saver. This is so much better than adding a blade and then deleting the section.

October 6, 2020

Lower Third Overlay

If your building your own lower third from scratch, you may want to have an overlay guide to help you align text correctly.

I found the image overlay on Comedy Central to be very useful to properly laying out the lower third title. The image overlay has a logo placement helps to professionally align a logo on the bottom right of the screen.

Basically you add this image to your Title project and align your lower 3rd correctly. Once you are done simply remove it from your project.

Apple Motion Lower Third Guide

Steps to Add the Overlay in Motion

  1. Download the file from the Comedy Central's overlays website
  2. Open up any Final Cut Pro Title Project
  3. Import the overlay. (You'll see that the overlay fits perfectly into a standard 1920x1080 format.)
  4. You may need to move the Overlay layer below the text layer.
  5. Now adjust the text layer so that its below the lower third line.
  6. Hide the Comedy Central overlay image and continue working as normal.

Don't want to use the guide?

Simply turn on the ruler and look for the 200 on the left side. (See the above screenshot)

September 29, 2020

Apple Motion

Apple Motion is a powerful motion graphic toll that gives you - the creator - the ability to create Hollywood effects right from you computer. You can create cinematic 2D, 3D titles, fluid transitions, and realistic effects in real-time.

For about $49, you get a lot of power for not a lot of money. One instructor said, that "its highly under price for the capabilities that the application gives you."

There’s still a lot of things for me to learn about Apple Motion. Here are just some of the things that I learned so far.

Apple Motion Logo

Five Things I have Learned

  1. Apple Motion complements Final Cut Pro. They work very well together to help make powerful productive videos. Apple Motion does have a learning curve - just like Final Cut Pro.
  2. You can edit any Title, Effect and Transition in Final Cut Pro using Apple Motion. It doesn't matter if it came with Final Cut Pro or was purchased separately. Simply right-click on the object and select "Open a copy in Motion." This option is only available if you have Motion installed.
  3. Apple Motion is the only way you can create favorite titles. So if you like to use certain colors or text styles, you can save them in a custom Category so that you can reuse them over and over again. This is very useful when you won't use the same fonts or colors in all your videos.
  4. Apple Motion comes with 1,900 Apple-designed, royalty-free graphics. There's a lot of cool things you can do. With great powers come with great responsibility.
  5. Lynda.com Motion 5.3 Essential Training is a great way to learn about the application. I started learning the power of Motion by editing existing titles. Watching Ian Robinson really has helped me understand the capabilities of Apple Motion.
September 22, 2020

Color Correction Assistance for Final Cut Pro

My Olympus XZ-2 iHS doesn't handle white balance very well. I find that the videos that I take inside the church tend to be darker than the same video taken using the Nikon 5500 and the Sony DSC-HX200v. I am not exactly sure why this camera has problems.

The videos are good, just the colors are dark. They need to be touched up if I want to use the footage - and have the ability to use that camera in future shots.

Color Correction is a bit tricky in Final Cut Pro and I find that the "auto" balance color doesn't always work well.

Photolemur 3 to the Rescue

When I ran into this problem last week, I decided to export a frame of the video and put it through Photolemur 3.

What's Photolemure 3?

Photolemur is an absolutely automatic photo enhancer that uses Artificial Intelligence to apply all the enhancements your image needs, on its own. All you have to do is to import your image to the app, and the photo enhancer does everything else automatically from there.

My theory was to let the artificial intelligence tell me how the image should look. Then I can use the Final Cut Pro color adjuster to get the video to look perfect.

The results:

Color Correctoin Final Cut

The left side shows Photolemure 3 and the right shows the original image. You can see how the colors on the church's alter stands out in Photolemure than the original photo

When I select the "auto color correction" in Final Cut Pro it doesn't look like the left side.

You can learn all about how to adjust the color in Final Cut Pro in Apple's Use color correction tools in Final Cut Pro X and Motion document

September 15, 2020

Adding Favorites Folders to Import

You can easily add your favorite folder to the side menu of the Import dialog box. This will make it easier to connect to common folders that you may frequently use.

For example, it would be useful to put the "Download" folder in the Favorite section.

Apple doesn't really provide clear instructions on how to add folders to the favorite. Not exactly sure why that it.

Import Favorites

Steps to add a Folder to the Favorite Section

  1. Open up the Import dialog.
  2. Select a folder from the main listing and then drag it to the word "Favorites" in the sidebar.
  3. When the folder is over the "Favorites" text, the background color of Favorites should change.
  4. Release the Mouse to add it to the Favorites section.

Unlink from Sidebar

To unlink a folder, simple Control-Click on the item, and a popup menu should appear to "Remove from Sidebar."

Big Brother Watching?

One of the things I noticed was that when I performed the action, the light next to the FaceTime camera went on. I tried this a couple of times with different folders and saw the same results. I used some additional security software and can confirm that the microphone is also enabled.

This happens when you add or remove an item from the favorite sidebar.

What is going on? Why would the simple act of making a folder to a favorite cause the FaceTime camera to snap a picture and the microphone to record the audio?

September 8, 2020

Slow Motion Video

Question: When I take Slow Motion videos on my iPhone, how do I take advantage of the features in Final Cut Pro?

Quick Answer: When you put a clip that you know has a higher frame (240 fps), simply click on the clip in the timeline and then set the speed to "Automatic Speed." This will allow you to see the Slo-Mo effect as it was intended on the iPhone.

Retime F C P

iPhone Slo-Mo

When you record a Slo-Mo video on the iPhone, the first 3-seconds and last 3-seconds are normal speeds. The remaining time will be at 30% speed.

This is useful to know when recording a Slo-Mo clip. To get the best effect, start recording at least 3-seconds before the event and then stop it at 3-seconds after it's over.

ReTime

The menu "Retime" is short for Real-Time - it gives the Producer the ability to adjust the speed of the selected clip.

The "Automatic Speed" setting keeps the speed as intended on the iPhone.

The ReTime popup menu option is available below the viewer and in the Modify menu.

September 1, 2020

Bump Basic Title

Recently I was looking around at some different text plugins for Final Cut Pro X. I saw one that someone had that blurred out the background and had text in the foreground. The effect made the text stand out and the whole effect took about 8-seconds.

I thought it was a really cool way to present text in front of a video.

I decided against buying it, but bookmarked the website so in the future, I would get it.

It was a good thing that I waited. Turns out there's a built-in effect that works perfectly well for my needs. It's called, "Bump Basic."

Example Video

In this video, the "Worcester Express Train" is using the text effect that I was looking for. This is called "Bump Basic" and located in the Social Category.

Look Around the Text Options

One of the things I learned from this, is to play around more with the text options. I did search for "blur" thinking that it would be under that name.

There are more than 150 built-in titles to choose from. Each one having the ability to change the font style, color, and location on the screen.

August 25, 2020

Computer Setup

There's been a lot of talk on the Final Cut Pro Facebook group on the computer setup. As this is vacation week for me, I thought I use this time to highlight my computer setup.

This setup has worked very well for me. It seems to be the perfect computer setup.

Final Cut Pro System

Computer Details

ComputeriMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2019)
Processor 3.7 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5
Memory 40 GB 2667 MHz DDR4
August 18, 2020

Getting Live Photos

Did you know that you can use Live Photo videos in your Final Cut Pro projects? Each Live Photo contains a 3-second video clip. This might be all you need to help describe some events/places. It’s also useful if you want to create a montage of some event.

To get the video from a Live Video is a bit tricky. Once you get it, then it's just a matter of following the processes in the future.

Once you get the video clips, you treat them just like any other clips. These video clips will be in the 1440x1080 aspect ratio. Depending on your project, you will likely have to trip the clips so they fit in the aspect ratio that you are using.

Getting a Live Clip

There are three ways, that I know of, to properly get Live Photos from your iPhone into Final Cut Pro. Note: Live Photos movies will not export if you use AirDrop.

Using Apple Photos App

You can export videos from Live Photos in Apple Photos, but it has been done using a particular method.

After you select the images that you want to export, go under File and then Export, and then select "Export Unmodified Original..." This is important because if you used the "default" Export Photos option, you won't get the movies.

Pro Tip: Create a Smart Album for Live Photos, so that you know what you have available on your computer.

Photo Live Export

iMazing

iMazing is a great way to add/remove files from your phone. iMazing allows you to export the movie portions of the Live Photos, so your not missing out on the photos effects.

When you export a Live Photo image that has a movie connected to it, you'll get notified that there's a live photo. Simply check the "Include video files." to transfer the files.

iMazing Live Photos
Exporting Live Photos in iMazing

Just keep in mind that the "Include video files" is not checked by default.

Google Photos

Since March 2016, Google Photos properly saved Live Photos on backups. This means that you can access the video portion of a Live Photo.

When you download the Live file, the movies come along for the ride! To find all the Live Photos that you have backed up, a simple search for "Live Photos."

If you have used Google Photos for a while, for fun, search for "Live Photos 2016" to see all the old Live Photos.

Unzip the download and you'll see a Movie file along with the photo of the Live Picture. Simply add the movie to your

Sample Clip

This a quick clip that I put together from various Live Photo’s taken last year at the Encore Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.

August 11, 2020

Ultimate Transitions Pack

I have been checking out various add ons for Final Cut Pro. There are a lot of great third party options for transitions, titles, and audio. The Ultimate Transitions Pack from ajstudio.shop is a great collection of transitions at a great price.

Apple's Final Cut Pro comes with 95 high-quality transitions. With the 203 transitions in this pack, you can expand your available collection to 295 transitions. Now you'll have lots of options to make the video look awesome.

There are many "basic" transitions that I have been looking for that I used in Wondershare Filmora: Smoke, Warp, and Zoom. I have found all the transitions to be excellent quality and easy to configure. Most of the time, just a simple drag and drop works perfectly fine.

UltimateTransitionPack_thumb.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

Check out the page on ajstudio.shop for some animated gifs of all the transitions that you get with the package. There are some transitions that I don't see using: Shape Whipe, Comic, and Fire. But the overall package is still a good deal.

Pack Features

  • 200+ High End Transitions
  • Choose from 21 different Categories
  • Easy to edit in Final Cut Pro X or Apple Motion
  • Simple Drag & Drop
  • Up to 4K Resolution
  • Variable length
  • All values and colors are editable
  • Compatible with Final Cut X 10.3 or newer
  • Compatible with Motion 5.3 or newer
  • Works with Videos and Images
  • Video tutorials included

Limited Time Deal

The website is promoting the package deal for $23, or $.11 for each transition - certainly seems like a good deal to me. (Regular Price is $89) I would recommend getting it because you never know when you want a particular transition to help spice up a video.

The sale seems to occur every day. So I don't think you to rush to get this. Also, I notice that "The Ultimate Transitions Pack Final Cut Pro X"" also appears in the Videohive.net website for $35. This appears to be the exact same package deal.

August 4, 2020

Final Cut Duration

When editing clips, sometimes it's helpful to know what the length of a clip is. This information is presented in the info panel of the clip - along with other useful information.

Getting the duration of a Clip

  • Select a Clip.
  • Type in Command - Option - 4 to open the inspector - select the ‘Info Inspector' icon
  • You'll see the ‘Duration' as one of the fields on the left.

You can't change the value here, but you can in the timeline.

Info Inspector Duration

When You Modify a Clip

When you modify a clip, you see two values:

FCP Quick Clip Help

The left value is the current duration of the clip, and the right value is the increase/decrease of the modification that your making.