How to start Video Editing [Final Cut Pro]

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  • First we understand the meaning of Frame Rates and Shutter Speed to make sure of high quality recording.

  • Once you have the footage, now it is time to process it in a Video editing software like Final Cut Pro.

  • We discuss the basics of Final Cut Pro that are just enough for you to start creating video content using Final Cut Pro.

Frame rate (fps) and Shutter speed

Higher fps - more smooth, faster

Lower fps - more cinematic, slower


  • It is the number of photos your camera takes in one second.

  • 20,24,30,60,120,240 fps.



  • Shutter speed is not the same as frame rate.

  • Shutter speed is the time the shutter remains open during each frame’s exposure.

  • If your camera is recording at 60fps and your shutter speed is set to 1/30th of a second, then you are only getting 30 individual images per second, instead of 60 images per second for 60 fps. What happens then is the 30 images will be duplicated in the frames.

  • Always keep shutter speed faster than the fps that you are shooting.


Project Frame rate and Creative frame rates

  • PFR - Frame rate of the entire project.

  • CFR - that slow or speed up. Manipulate to stretch out or compress in your project frame rate.

  • If you recorded at 60fps, and you stretch it out over a 20fps project timeline, the video will be slow mo, because you have too many frames for each second. In the same timeline, you put a video recorded at 12fps, the 20fps speed on 12fps video will appear as a fast video.

Why not shoot at high fps always and slow it down as required?

  • Math problem - Your video fps divided by your project fps = EVEN number

    • 30fps video / 24fps project = 1.25 frames recorded for every frame shown.

  • The problem this creates is stutter - it will look like some frames are missing - will look weird.

  • The base frame rate is generally where your camera will record the highest quality image. (24,25 and 30 fps)

What frame rates to choose when?

  • 0 fps - meaning an image - you can click images to create a fast moving sequence of images in a video.

  • 1-15 fps - to create a fast motion effect. You may choose this if you want natural motion blur in hyper lapse shot as it naturally makes a lot of blur when things move.

  • 24/25 fps -

    • When a person speaking so it should be in normal speed at real time.

    • Landscapes or anything with high detail and with very little motion, so there will be no need to slow it down.

  • 30fps -

    • For a little bit of slow motion fps - 80% of regular motion when you stretch it out on a 24p timeline

    • Creatively, to add smoothness to a shot.

  • 48-60fps

    • Normal slow mo. In movies etc.

    • People laughing, dancing, clapping

    • Singing in a music video - In the actual video,

      • you Play the song fast and the singer sings along to it.

      • You record the video at a higher frame rate - and

      • when you slow the video down - it fits the actual speed of the song and the lips sync up - but the moving body appears to be moving slowly.

  • 90-120fps

    • To create a “stopped-time” effect

    • Speed Ramp - to dramatically slow down the speed for normal speed to slow mo - upto 20% slow

    • To eliminate camera shake - For your videos that have a lot of shake, this fps is good as you can later slow them down and find little snippets that are perfectly stable.




If you desaturate Shadows, Mid Tones and Highlights, you will get Black n White

Final Cut Pro X - Project Settings

  • Create a Library

  • Create an event in the library -> You can use First video properties or go custom

  • Go Custom and set the Video Format and Resolution based on your footage. Frame rate default is 23.98 fps but you can change as per your need.

    • Audio - Stereo

  • After saving the project, you add the clips to it.

  • From the event library, click on the newly created project and go to info on the left to see project settings. You can click on “Modify” to change the project settings.

  • From the timeline, click on any clip and go to info on the top left to see the clip’s res and fps.

Adding clips to Timeline

  • Drop your files into the event

  • Crop your files now - Tap I (in) and then O (out),then move it to timeline

    • drag n drop or

    • press E (puts it at the end of the project) or

    • press Q (connect to primary storyline) above the timeline

    • press D to overwrite from the head position



Render Fast



  • Create Proxy media

    • Select all imported clips

    • Transcode Media>Create Proxy Media

    • Wait for it to transcode.

  • Optimize more

    • Right Side>View>”Better Performance”

    • View>Media - Proxy

    • Now you are editing proxy clips, which is a much more condensed format

  • Export as Orginal

    • Once you are ready to export your file, select View>Original/Optimized and then export as you normally would.


V - Enable disable any clip

M - Set Marks (with audio or video as well)


  • You can change decibels to increase or decrease the volume. 0.0db is the original level.

  • Don’t cross over red or yellow. Few yellows is ok but red will just distort the speakers


Moving Clips


  • Tap A or When you drag a clip and drop in between two clips, it will move all the clips forward- bad if you’ve already positioned your audio

  • Tap P - Position mode. This clips won’t move - it will just override.


  • Bowtie icon

  • Drag a transition between clips or at the start

  • Common ones

    • Cross dissolve

    • Gaugsian blur

    • Flash - YouTube

    • Fade to Color


  • Video and Audio

Twitch Effect

Bad TV Effect

  • Cut your clips as per music drops

  • Cmd 4 - Open Inspector

  • Transform -> Position -> Add a keyframe at the start of the clip.

  • Move two keyframes ahead in the clip and open the Transform tool.

    • Zoom in the clip and move the clip to the left

  • Again, Move two keyframes ahead in the clip and open the Transform tool.

    • Move the clip to the down

  • Make a copy of the clip and add it above the original clip

  • Add the twitch effect to the above clip

    • Effects>Stylize>Bad TV

  • Now cut the effect clip based on where the drop ends so you continue with the original footage in the timeline thats already there. That's why we made two copies.

Speed Ramping

  • Cut the clips into three where you want slow, fast and slow.

  • Clock option>Speed>Fast/slow

  • If you make a clip slow, try to use Video Quality>Optical Flow to make it smoother

Masking Effect

One clip transitioning to another clip

  • Keep the first clip above and transitioning clip below.

  • Effects> Draw mask - Drop it to above clip.

    • Click to add a control point - Make the window small to 50 or 25.

    • Select the area you want cut out and in the end go out of the frame and cut outer frame in black area and meet your start point.

    • Go to the setting of Draw mask - View -> Original to see the other clip.

    • Transform -> Position Add a key frame. You will see all points you added. Drag the points in the new frame. Adjust the key points if required

    • Keep checking the Changes to confirm you are doing well

    • In the end, keep the read outline completely out of the frame so you are sure you are not cutting anything out.

    • Effects>Draw Mask>View - Composite

      • Invert Mask

      • Cut the clip where you want original to end

      • Use Feather to feather out the edges of original.

      • Uncheck the draw mask and play original

      • If the transition looks very harsh, add a cross dissolve after original

Zoom Out Transition

  • Cut to the beat

  • Choose area where you wanna start slow zoom in and keep the head there.

    • Transformation>Scale

      • Add a keyframe

      • Now decide how fast you want transition. 3 to 5 frames to the left from the end.

      • Skalieren -> Move slider from 100 to zoom in.

      • Go to end of clip and zoom completely out to 100.

    • This will give it a slow zoom in and then a fast zoom out.

  • Now you want to Zoom in.

    • Go to the middle keyframe where you finished slow zoom in.

    • Command b -> cut.

    • Effects > Zoom -> drop it to the small little clip in between

      • Start of this small clip, Zoom Amount = Lower this amount to about 8

      • Go end and higher the amount maybe to 28 and set another keyframe.

  • Now you want to Zoom out the next different clip. So you need to the clip to start zoomed in.

    • Start of keyframe, Skalieren set to zoomed in.. Add Keyframe

    • Now same thing but zooming out. 3rd last frame, 100 Keyframe

  • Now we have to Zoom in to the third clip.

    • Go to the end of the keyframe. Zoom completely in.

    • This zoomed in clip, cut it and add the zoom effect to it.

  • Third Clip - Zoomin in. Slow zoom in

    • Last 3 frames, Transform from 100 to 130 or something.

Masking effect on Text

  • Hiding the text as the main object overlaps it

  • Cut the title where the object starts touching the text.

  • Draw Mask > Drop on the cut title.

  • Start adding the control points on the screen to cover the text and finely touch the object corners

  • Add a keyframe

  • Move to the next frame

  • Repeat.

  • Add feather to frames which show some distortion.

Letterbox Opening

  • Effect of start of a trailer

  • First Frame - Crop Top 50%, Bottom 50%. If you have 1080p, Top and Bottom will be 540 each.

    • Add a Keyframe

  • Move the head to 4 to 5 seconds, and set Top to 0, Bottom to 0

    • Add a Keyframe

  • Done. The clip will start like a letterbox opening up.

Color Correction

  • In the preview window, you have 3 options on the left of play button

    • Balance Color - Auto correct

    • Match Color -

    • Color Board - Saturation and Exposure

  • Apply effect from another clip that you have corrected to all - select the clip and Copy, then select all other clips and Command Shift V, Unselect Retiming and select “maintain”

Speed Up / Slow down a Footage

  • Clock icon


  • Square Icon

  • Transform - You stretch it, can make it zoomed in

  • Trim -

  • Crop -

  • Ken Burns - Usually done on Photos, to move from Start box to end box. Don’t make it too dramatic. Either

    • Keep space between two boxes very close

    • Keep the length of the clip longer

  • Distort - For youtube where you have you in the screen and want the video or picture to be like a monitor on the side

Record a Voiceover

  • Window - Record Voiceover

  • You can record your voice over any clip

  • When you play, your voice may not sound audible as your audios may be too high

Manually Adjusting Audio Levels via Keyframes

  • Click on the audio clip and Add a keyframe in the volume

  • Move the head to end position and add another keyframe

  • Now lower the db.


  • Top left, T icon

  • Wiggle effect on Title is “Earthquake” effect.

  • Use brush type fonts in travel



  • Always keep a master copy with full res. Export - Share - Master File

  • Settings - Use source one whatever that is

Saving a Project

  • Do not use FB, Vimeo and YouTube even if you want the video to be there, because sometimes it compresses it in weird ways.

  • Share>Master File (default)>Settings>

    • Format - Video and Audio

    • Video Codec - Here you choose the video quality. H.264 is less in size and quality should be good. If you are not happy with the quality, you can choose “Source Apple Pro Res 422” which will have a slightly better video quality but that will be a very large file.

    • Info    - At the bottom you can see all your settings and frame rate for your movie.

Installing Plugins

Save the plugins folder to Movies>Motion Templates> Paste in the appropriate folder depending on if the plugin is a Title, Effects, Transition etc.

If you don’t have these folders, you can create them. But you have to do one change once you create the folder

  1. Get Info of Folder

  2. Name and Extensions - The extension should be “.localized”.

    1. For Example, “Transitions.localized”

  3. Restart Final Cut Pro X.


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