FinalCutPro Blog Posts

June 8, 2021

Page Curl

Last week’s Media Monday video featured a cool Page Curl effect. If you haven’t seen the video, check it out.

I searched around to see if there were any generators and I didn’t find anything that would only take the page curl to about 20% and then reverse. I decided to create my own generated effect using Apple Motion.

Page Curl is one of the built-in effects. However, it's a bit tricky to create a slight page curl and then retreat.

Page Curl

Four Things I Learned

If you want to customize how the page curl works, you should turn off the Animate feature in the Page Curl Filter Inspector. This allows you to use keyframes to control the Page Curl to the way you want.

The Page Curl backside is just a mirror image of the front side. There’s no way to change the backside - at least I didn’t see a way to do it..

When animate is enabled the selected object that has a Page Curl connected, will peel away for the duration of the timeline. There is no way to pause it and then reverse with the animate enabled.

Use Page Curl percent as the keyframe. Set the percent to 0 at the start then to a certain point in the timeline change to some value. In my case, it was 50%. Then you can keyframe it to 0 at the end to get the full effect. (That sounds complicated. Just look at the image to get an idea.)

Download A Sample Page Curl Generator

If you want to create your own page curl flip effect in Final Cut Pro or Apple Motions, you can download my version of the Page Curl effect. You can completely customize it using Apple Motion.

Download the Page Curl Generator

To install it, simply uncompress the download file and put it in:

~/Movies/Motion Templates/Generators

To use it, simply drag it to the timeline as you would any media file. Select the generated clip and in the Properties panel, add the image/movie for the front and back.

You can also edit it in Apple Motion and change the effect of the Page Curl.

June 1, 2021

Apple Motion Duration

When you create a new project in Apple Motion, there may be times when you want to change the duration. It's really easy to change the duration.

Apple Motion Timecode

Steps to change the Project Duration.

See the attached graphic for locations.

  1. Select the Project in the Layers Panel
  2. Click on the Inspector
  3. Select the Properties Tab
  4. Change the Duration value.
May 25, 2021

Copy Timeline Video

Did you know that you can select a portion of the clip using the Range Tool and then copy/paste it somewhere else? You can!

Range Tool Copy Paste

Copy Timeline Video

Simply use the Range Tool (Keyboard Shortcut R) select the area that you wish to copy then use the Edit menu Copy/Paste to duplicate it elsewhere in your clip.

This is an easy way to reuse part of your video, for example, if you want to playback some of the beginning music at the end.

May 18, 2021

Crossfade Audio

In Final Cut Pro 10.4.9, Apple introduced a long-awaited feature - the ability to add audio crossfade. This makes it so much easier to create a smooth transition between audio clips.

Final Cut Pro Crossfade works very similar to how video dissolves work.

cossfade Audio

Adding A CrossFade

There are three ways to add crossfades:

  • Using the Modify Menu. Select the audio clips and then go to Modify > Adjust Audio Fades > Crossfade.
  • Use the Keyboard Shortcut: Option T
  • Apply a transition to a clip. Whatever transition you add, the audio automatically gets a crossfade.

Adding a Crossfade

To add a crossfade you need to select two or more adjacent audio clips or video clips that contain audio. (Note: the clips can't be overlapping.)

Use the Keyboard shortcut: Option T

My Thoughts

I saw some YouTube videos hyping this feature as something they have been asking for since version 10 came out. I wasn't all that impressed with how crossfade feature works. I think that crossfade should work regardless of where the two audios are in the timeline.

If you have two audio clips, You should be able to fade into the next clip very easily:

For Example: Like how a DJ will start playing the next song before the current playing song ends.

You would think that's how crossfade works, but it doesn't it just fades one clip until it ends and the second clip fades in. You do have some "dead air" time.

May 11, 2021

Record USB Cameras in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro doesn’t support using USB cameras as video import. In other words, you can’t just hook up a DSLR camera and record live video through Final Cut Pro.

The option to select the video won’t appear in the import dialog. Only the built-in camera will show in the import dialog. This prevents you from importing live video, from another webcam or from a USB device such as a VCR or legacy video camera.

See this Import Dialog with two USB cameras connected:

U S B Camera No Show

According to Apple's documentation:

Connect the camcorder to your Mac using the cable that came with the camcorder, and configure your device for remote control over FireWire, if necessary.

If your computer does not have a FireWire port but does have a Thunderbolt port, you can connect the FireWire cable using an Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter or an Apple Thunderbolt Display (which also has a FireWire port).

Note: For best results when importing from a tape-based camcorder, it’s recommended that you import the video using the same camcorder that you used to record it.

This apparently true for iMovie. You are not able to select any USB devices to record live video.

Works in Other Apps!

Quicktime Graphic Converter Filmora

I am able to access USB camera in other apps, such as Apple QuickTime, Wondershare Filmora and Graphic Converter.

What's Going on Apple?

I am not sure why Apple won't let users record from USB cameras in Final Cut Pro and iMovie. Hopefully, its something that will be fixed soon.

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.