FinalCutPro Blog Posts

May 4, 2021

Screen Splitter 2

FCPeffects has a lot of great Titles, Effects and Transitions for Final Cut Pro. These are great additions to help make your videos look more professional.

One of their popular effects is the Screen Splitter 2, which gives you control over how a clip appears in the video. This is an easy way to make a side-by-side video clip.

FCPeffects currently sells the Screen Splitter 2 for $20 - you can get it cheaper if you buy multiple effects and apply their coupons.

Screen Split Effects

Six Things I have Learned

There are 123 Effects in three border type categories: No Border, White Border, Black Border. You can change the border color to anything you want - regardless of what effect you picked.

When using the effect it's helpful to enable the screen you are editing.

You can zoom in and out of a clip by using the inside scale. This helps center the clip content to the appropriate frame.

To get the Brady Bunch effect, you would use the 33 High 33 Wider with a Black Border.

Make sure to crop the clip to the right dimensions (16:9) before applying the effect. If you don't do that you may see some extra black space that can't be corrected using the Inside.Scale settings.

You can navigate through all the effect selections simply by searching for the size you need. So if you need a 100 Wide panel, save time and search for the "100 Wide."

Screen Splitter Choices

The above shows just some of the design choices that you have.

March 30, 2021

Favorites

When working with a lot of files in a project, it can get confusing trying to focus on the important images, videos, or audio clips. This is true especially in the Browser.

In a recent project this was a real issue. I had 20-30 photos and while they were all important, they just weren't important for the task I was working on at the moment.

My Favorite Solution

A quick solution to fix this problem is to use favorites. Simply tag the photos, videos, audio, Compound, and Multicam clips that you want to focus on. Then set the 'Clip Filtering' to only show favorite.

Easy to Tag

In the Browser, simply select the clip that you want to add to your favorite and click on the 'f' key. When you do that the white arrow appears to the right and when you expand it you'll see it tagged as a favorite.

Easy to Remove

To untag an object, simply select it and click on the 'u' key. It's instantly removed.

Change the Browser View

To change the browser view to only show favorite items, simply type in Control f.

To change it back to the "Show All Clips" simple type in Control C,

March 23, 2021

Audio Fade Shape

Did you know that you can change how audio fades in/out in Final Cut Pro?

You may know about the short cut, Command - A to apply an audio fades to the selected clip.

Did you know that you can control how the fade happens? Simply right-click on the white dot and a selection menu appears giving you some options on how the fade should work.

Custom Audio Shape

Now you can change the fade that makes sense for your clip. No more fumbling around with audio points to get the right effect.

Apple Document on the Shapes

Apple documentation explains the options you have with shapes. These correspond to the image that you see above.

  • Linear: Maintains a constant rate of change over the length of the fade.
  • S-curve: Eases in and out of the fade with the midpoint at 0 dB.
  • +3dB: Starts slowly and then moves quickly toward the end. This is the default setting and is best for maintaining a natural volume when crossfading between two clips.
  • "3dB: Starts quickly and then slowly tapers off toward the end.
March 16, 2021

Match Color

If you use multiple cameras to shoot a similar scene, one of the issues is dealing with different color shots. This is because every camera handles white balance differently.

Final Cut Pro has a way to fix the color mix match. It's a simple process, and the good thing is that you can always make adjustments to fix any strange color combinations.

Matching Color Steps

It's quite easy in Final Cut Pro to make two clips the same color. Here are the steps:

  1. Select the clip that you wish to fix the color.
  2. Type in Command-Option-M to open up the Match Color functionality.
  3. The viewer now has a split screen. Using the select tool, skim the clips in the timeline.
  4. Simply click once and then click on the "Apply Match" button.

Match Color Final Cut Pro

Three Things I have Learned

I have found that the Match Color works best when you have two cameras pointing to the same source at the same time. (Similar lighting and angle) If you use a different time for the match, you may not get the optimized results.

It doesn't matter where in the clip you click to get the best match. I would suggest near the entry point if you're merging the two clips together.

When you do a color match there will be no indication of the color change in the Color Inspector. In the Video Inspector, you'll see a "Mach Color" under the Effects section. You can enable/disable the effect here - very useful when you want to see how much improvement the matching color has on the clip.

March 9, 2021

Matching Crops across Clips

Have you ever wanted to crop two clips with the exact same crop dimensions? Perhaps these are two clips that were shot in 4k and you crop them to 1080p and have the crop location be the same.

You could use compound clips, but if the clips are being used in different parts of the video that doesn't help.

A good solution is to use the Crop info in the Video Inspector. Check out this snapshot:

Final Cut Crop Details

When you crop an image, the specific crop details are stored in the Video Inspector.

Did you know that you can just copy the configurations to other clips. The bad news is that there's no way to copy the configuration settings - Like a copy/paste function.

You need to manually type in the numbers such as 612.8, 1307.2, 509.8, and 570.2.

I tried writing the commands in BBedit with a tab between the numbers thinking that would make it easier. But Final Cut Pro won't accept that. I even tried with a return break after each value and that didn't work.

You would need to manually write down the values and enter them in each time you want the clip to match a particular setting.

March 2, 2021

Pan Audio

One of the cool effects that Final Cut Pro has is the ability to enhance audio. This is a creative way to slightly change video audio to give it more of a personal touch. (Think: Intro music!)

If your audience is mostly going to watch your video on an iPhone or iPad, with headphones, they won't really hear much of a difference. However, in the future, some people may watch the video on a TV system.

I would suggest exploring using the Pan Audio for the Intro music - just to give it some effect.

Apple Description

Panning audio lets you distribute sound across the stereo or surround spectrum to create balance or a special effect. For example, you can place more sound in the right channel of a stereo clip or less sound in the center channel of a surround clip.

Final Cut Pro includes a built-in surround sound decoder that lets you choose among several stereos and surround preset pan modes that you can apply to clips from the Audio inspector. Using the pan mode presets, you can dynamically re'create surround sound fields from the stereo source content.

Final Cut Pro Pan Audio
You can see the controls when you set the Pan option in the audio inspector.

Pan Options

Think of the options as to how a movie theater would be set up. These are the options that you have:

None - Keeps the audio the same style as imported into Final Cut Pro.

Stereo Left/Right - Focus the audio on the left or right speakers. Useful if you want to play one track on the left and another track on the right.

Basic Suround - Typical suround sound setup. All audio is evenly split between the speakers.

Create Space - Push the audio to some of the sound spectrum. Useful first step when experiementing with suround sound.

Dialogue - Sound is more focus to the center of the room where the video is. Great when you have mostly vocal audio.

Music - Even mix of sound to all the channels

Ambience - More sound in the surounding channels and not much focus on the front and center channels.

Circle - Focus the sound in one area. Useful if your doing keyframes to have the audio move around the room.

Rotate - Move the sound to focus to a different speaker. Useful if you have two people speaking and you want the audio attention to the left and right person.

Back to Front - Focus the sound on the front or back speakers. Use the slider to set the adjustment. Useful if your audio has a lot of background noise that you want to reduce.

Left Surround to Right Front - Pans the sound from the left to the right. Key frames would work great here.

Right Surround to Left Front - Pans the sound from the right to the left, again keyframe would be the focus here.

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.