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Category Archives: Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro Studio Tips, Tricks & Hip

thatpostshowLast week, I listened to a podcast as I was drinking my morning coffee and I could relate to these editors frustration. Check out “That Post Show Episode 7: A Market for Avid and Final Cut Pro” for a nice debate on the state of freelance editing today.

The Last few jobs that I have done are “save jobs”, I usually loath these jobs because they are usually old clients that have bypassed my services for a more affordable post guy aka the “hack”. Ironically they are double paying at this point because the client hired someone who didn’t know Final Cut Pro on a professional level, can’t edit in a Walter Murch sense, don’t manage media properly, can’t deliver on promises like graphic work or many other reasons; to put it simply the quality of the work was affected by their lack of mature work quality standards.

So, I decided to list out 5 thing that the Hack could do to save himself or at least help the people that pick up the pieces of there “work”.
(Feel like this post is going to have lots of “”)

1. Be consistently Hackfull.
Okay so you don’t know what your doing and you hack away a solution that is inefficient, tedious and mildly stupid. Please continue doing the same stupid technique throughout the project. The person who is going to fix your work will not have to decipher your mish mash of knowledge every time you decide that the last time built a lower 3rd, for example, was half -assed.  Make his or her life easier and its a good practice.

2. Try not to work more outside your realm (Sound Editing, Color Correction, Graphics)
I know it is hard because your a hack, but try not to take on more than you can chew. Hopefully, you know you barely get by as an editor. Don’t promise Color Correction, Motion Graphics or Sound design. These are all different skills that have their own hacks that are hacking away in their own special way.
You also look really stupid when you can’t deliver these elements because more people can judge bad sound and color.

3. Seek help, the Inter-Web is your friend. (Size of Composition, Graphics, Audio formats, Compositing)
This might save you in the 11th hour. This might even get you out of the realm of hack. Please don’t jump to the conclusion that it is a flaw in the software it is Final Cut Pro that is technically inept its you, your a Hack. So, Google it and you might just fine the answers on a message board or even a poorly shot YouTube video screen capture.

4.  Cover your Tracks. Clean up after yourself when it is passed on. Consolidate God Dammit!
Okay, your employer that you BS’d decides to got to, let’s just call him or her an non-Hack. When you hand over the project to the “Non-Hack”gather all your files and hand those to the Man or Woman who is going to fix your mess. Media Management is part of your job and you don’t want to constantly be contacted by your previous employer about where is this file or that. You can even try to “Media Manage” your Final Cut Pro Project and let the computer do the work!

5. Learn from your mistakes: a few keyboard shortcuts make you a better person, don’t say its impossible and be honest.
These tips might help you in the future from burning more bridges in the city you live in. If your working in house, you might want to learn some keyboard shortcuts so you are not spotted immediately as a hack. I am sure that your not stupid, learn from your mistakes. Don’t promise before you know that you can deliver, it makes it hard for the Non-Hack when he or she is trying to explain to your previous employer (who at this point is double paying for the job) to trust them, they know what they are doing.
Lastly, get back off the beaten track of Hackdome and be honest. It is so much easier and people usually understand it is a big technoworld out there and it take time to acquire all the knowledge. I know that I still learn everyday something new and it won’t stop but what make me a professional is these five things that I to make the clients feel like they are in good hands.

* Liked this post Hated this post, post a short comment to help others. Good Luck out there.

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keyboard-bagI was reading on the weekly tip newsletter from  The DV show site (you can and should subscribe to it under the tip section) and they posted  a very cool online version and a download-able PDF of all the major Final Cut Pro software packages shortcuts. (FCP, DVDSP, Color, Motion)

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It still amazes me when I go in professional environments and I see other editors work. I see the struggling “Mouser’s”, the relatively fast “Pen Tableters” who don’t have carpel tunnel and then “default” keyboarders. But, I rarely see the “Customized Speed Demon” Keyboarder, which is the Church I am a loyal disciple.

Okay, all methods lead to the same result and I have been know to go on a rant about how editing is too fast since the advent of digital editing. That being said, “Mouser’s” are driving a Chevette with a77chevychevette top speed that barely breaks the speed limit and sometimes you need to be able to “drop the hammer”. So, as a professional the ability to edit as fast as you are brainstorming is a tool that may come in handy in certain situations. Moreover, if your an older editor you should/must adapt and keep up with the upandcomers from the video game nation that move at a lightning speed when it comes down to button combos.

The first few versions of FCP didn’t have customizable keyboards and that was one of the main arguments from the Avid editors. My Avid Teacher Ethienne showed me how important it was to move the keys to your liking and how much more productive your are when you don’t travel the keyboard distance or do pretzels with your fingers to access a common key that you use 100 times a day. One of the only things that I retain from this class was to travel with your customizable shortcuts. *

Now, if your already a Keyboarder your half way there your driving the jaguar but the seats are adjusted for a taller person and the mirrors are out of wack and your listening to Zamphir. So, take a baby_logos_jaguar3previewsecond, don’t be a sheep and let Apple dictate how you work and customize. Then, go to your Preferences folder on your home drive and copy the “Final Cut Pro User Data” folder to your ipod, memory stick or DVD media and bring it with you and drop them in the similar path folder before you work on a system that isn’t your own and then wow your new employer with your blazing speed!

Last thing, people are always amazed at how many shortcuts I use and how did I learn them all. I have a terrible short term memory and I am even amazed that I retain it; but it almost becomes reflex after a week of using the same shortcut. My advise is to learn 1 shortcut a week and move the tools that you use often to the main level of the keyboard, no “shift, command or control” button. Then don’t be scared to move the keys and try them in an new location, you will be surprised at the difference. (eg. the famous “J-K-L” keys are “S-D-F” for me, I find it opens up the keyboard and I move all my primary tools to my left hand.)
In a short amount of time you will speed up your work time.

Subscribe to Larry Jordan’s Blog tip of the day and then you don’t even have to open your FCP Manuals!
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Okay, I do admit that you should not always the keyboard because you will develop carpel tunnel syndrome and it hurts. So, occasionally when nobody is looking pick up your mouse or use more “natural” Pen tablet with customized buttons in the Timeline window for added velocity.

*Travel with your creative tools: Very important because when you do get use to your custom keys and you will look like you are Newbie if you try to use the default settings and your physical memory of the keys may make you invoke FCP actions that will puzzle you.

I sorta enjoy watching keynotes or presentations but taking time out of my busy day to go to a conference hall to listen to 10 different presentations and eat a continental breakfast is not always my idea of a productive time spent.
All that, to get to one 20 min featured product… a healthy alternative from the comfort of your computer.

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MacVideo.tv delivers tons of info and presentations on all aspects of Editing, Authoring, Motion Graphics and cameras. Lots of nice demos and previews.

Here is a quick way to get up to spead on the new video features in Photoshop.


I use After Effects a lot so I don’t think I would need these features.
Crazy thought: they should combine After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator… that seems to be the natural solution rather then integrating minor capabilities from all the apps.

Free Final Cut Pro Studio Plug-in site

4 or 5 freeware cool Apps for Final Cut Pro Studio… I tried a few, who can argue with that price!

If you ever wanted to line up a graphic consistently or just wanted some straight reference line DH_guides does the job or maybe you just wanted to overlay a simple grid, DH_grid is worth its free price + 40$.

However, I don’t want to complain, since these are free but you are limited to a 10×10 grid with the grid app … that is a little silly even for a freebie, but the only downside.

You can also get this cool widget Video Space for the geeks that aren’t too strong with numbers.
It calculates media storage.

Vimeo. Simple word, sorta sounds like Video but with a twist… Vimeo.

YouTube is good for watching old clips of your Childhood youth…

… but what do you do when you want to post up your work and you don’t want it to look like the Atari 2000.

I have my own Flash encoding recipe and I was taught by my “Flash Masta” how to embed something in my website but what if you don’t want to waste 12 hours learning Flash, Dreamweaver and FTP programs. Basically you just want to get it out there and it want it to look good.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vimeo is in Glorious HD! and at the very low price of Free!! Check it out.

Also, Check out my Color Correction Comparison between Apple Color and FCP Color Correction filters. Without Vimeo I doubt you could see the difference.

If you have been using Final Cut Pro since its first incarnation and you have diligently kept fairly up-to-date with the new features you have like myself maxed out on reading any books to find that little trick that makes your work just a little faster. I found this site, or should I say Google Reader suggested this site base on my RSS subscriptions, Larry Jordan’s Final Cut Pro tips.

I am primarily a “keyboarder” when I edit, and most programs, and when People watch me work they have often asked me how did you learn all the keyboard shortcuts?… Learn one trick (a.k.a. shortcut) a week and customize your keyboard.

This site will give you a daily tip on FCP when you subscribe to its RSS feed and save your wrists from all that “mousing” and basically make you a faster editor.

I stumbled upon a really info filled podcasts on fxguide.com
3 different podcast and one podcast dedicated to the Red camera (Red Center)

Lots of good information and good resource to more information.

The podcast lead me to a DV rebel, Stu Maschwitz, that doesn’t treat DV as a film stepchild.
Moreover, he is all about the practical filmmaking. Using “Prosumer” tools like After Effects to achieve HighEnd finish. His Blog ProLost has very great trick like how to do a mini crane shot/dolly without a dolly

Definetly an out of the box thinker. Also, he is involved with the Orphanage company.


Since I am between major aka exciting projects, I am going to pick up this book today and try some cool stuff out with my dv camera.

I was listening to one of my regular podcasts (Meet the Experts), a podcast about everything and anything geeky. The host had one of the reps from Red, good interview.

I hadn’t visited the site since I first heard that they were going to build this camera that looked like it belonged in Aliens 5.

There has been lots of talk about the now legendary Red 4K camera and soon to come 3K Scarlet and the 5K epic (they seemed to have run out of of Red like words

Check out the RED MYTHBUSTERS video shows you a basic workflow sorta cool and demystifies their concept.

Anyways, discovered lots of free Final Cut Pro Apps (Free), documentation on work flow and free support apps.

* Problem: you need a Intel Mac to benefit from all these goodies.
Well, time to hit the “books” aka (.pdfs) and buy an Intel Mac with 21.1 gigawatts of RAM.

Now where did I put that next job again….

Check it out and bookmark it, mxf4qt

In this day an age of P2 cards and XDcam footage this might make all our lives a little easier
An Add on QT component that let’s you view your footage and integrated within the OS X environment

Stumbled onto this via MFCPUG