100 Final Cut Pro X Questions Answered

These are questions asked before, during and after recent FCPX webinar
Scott Simmons
By Scott Simmons 07.17.11


Recently I hosted a Final Cut Pro X Hands On Tour webinar for FilmmakingWebinars.com. It was a great event with 90 minutes of FCPX for over 800 people attending. (An archive of that can be purchased btw). People often ask questions before, during and after the webinar. Here's 101 of them that were asked, answered to the best of my knowledge.

There were a ton of questions after this webinar ended. If your questions isn't answered here I apologize. It took quite a while to get through them all. Some questions overlapped so I placed them together when possible.

I certainly don't know everything there is to know about FCPX at this point (do we ever know everything about this kind of software?) so I tried to research some answer I didn't know, either in the application, the documentation or online. If I got an answer wrong, or there's a better answer out there, then fell free to post in the comments. I hope these are helpful!

1) is there an extend edit command for trimming?

Yes, shift + X will extend the selected edit to the skimmer or playhead. Also get to know Trim Start option + [ and Trim End option + ] as they are very helpful when extending edits as well.


These trim commands are important to know in Final Cut Pro X.


2) Can you save your own effect & title setups?

You can copy / paste effects but you cannot save a custom filter after it has been tweaked to apply again via drag and drop as you could in FCP7. Title setups can be saved as Motion templates that will then be available in FCPX but there is no way to save a title created in FCPX to an FCPX event right in FCPX. Titles in FCPX can be opened in Motion and further tweaked and saved. One work-around I've done is to create a single project that I'll often save titles into for later use.

3) How to work with multiple sources of audio, VO, DIA, SFX, MUS.

Audio sources can be imported into an Event just like any piece of media. I would keyword each audio source with its specific type and create Smart Collections for each of them. You could then create an audio only Secondary Storyline which would help to keep each of them organized in the timeline.

4) I want to know the difference between a project and an event, please.

A project can be thought of as a single editing timeline or sequence. An Event can be thought of as a Bin for organizing and storing media. Collections and Smart Collections are like another type of Bin that contain very specific keyword parameters for clips.

5) are they ever going to add edl and omf support?

OMF and AAF audio export is possible via Automatic Duck Pro Export FCP for $495. It works. Apple's answer to EDL support (from the FCPX faq) is "not yet." I would expect most of this type of support to come from 3rd party developers so there might be an additional cost.

UPDATE: Try X2Pro Audio Convert for OMF out of FCPX. Try EDL-X for CMX3600 EDLs.

6) SmartSound will have plugin for FCPX as they do for FCP7?

Not currently but they have addressed the issue on the SmartSound News blog

7) Can one switch in FCP X in two or more screens

Yes you can choose to show the Events or the Viewer on a second monitor display:


8) I regularly ingest long clips of archive footage. In FCP 7 I would select a long clip in the viewer and then throw my selections somewhere on the timeline. How do I handle this in FCP X?

You could work the same way in FCPX but the better way would be to use keywords and collections as they are the new organizational method in FCPX. You could have a keyword for selects and then all things marked as selects would appear automatically in that Smart Collection. Organization is one of FCPX's strong features.

9) Any info on the future of Soundtrack Pro now that more audio capability in FCP X? What about export to SP from FCP X?

Soundtrack Pro is only now available as part of Logic Studio. There is no direct export from FCPX to STP.

10) if every project shows up, wouldn't that get confusing in a teaching environment where there are lots of students?

Maybe. Projects can be organized into folders but the more Projects there are the more confusing it could become and the longer it can take to load the Project Library. Projects can be moved out of the Final Cut Projects folder (where all FCPX projects must reside) so a little organization at the Finder level could make this more manageable (though you probably don't want students poking around in the Finder).

UPDATE: Use Event Manager X to easily manage your FCPX Events and Projects so they don't ALL load. It's a must have tool.

11) Did you say FCPX is not professional enough for you to change over to? are YOU sticking with FCP X and are you confident it will be a solid replacement for FCP 7?

In its current state I would not use FCPX in a professional, client heavy environment. At this time I don't consider it an FCP7 replacement as it lacks so many features that I've come to rely on. It's a brand new piece of software so it will take years to mature into the full featured application that FCP7 is ... that is if Apple chooses to add back a lot of the features missing from FCP7. At this point in time I don't know when / if it could replace FCP7 (or Avid Media Composer or Adobe Premiere Pro).

12) Is it possible to set your export to 4 channel audio?

No. FCPX does include surround mixing as the default audio setting but all projects must be either stereo or surround. I haven't found a way to export any kind of split, 4 channel audio.

UPDATE: Use Roles to export multichannel audio which is now supported in FCPX.

13) How did you switch from the Project Library to the Timeline, or was it automatic?

Command + 0 will switch between the Project Library and the timeline or click Show Project Library in the bottom left of the timeline. Click and holding on the little arrow in the top left corner of the timeline will let you jump to an open project. Command + [ or ] will move backward and forwards in your open timeline history.


Click and hold the timeline history arrow to quickly jump to previously opened timelines.


14) Can you select i/o by entering timecode?

Yes. By hitting control + P you can move to a specific timecode. You can also + or - a time value to move the playhead. But it doesn't appear you can + or - a timecode value and move the playhead/skimmer in a source clip. The only thing you can seem to do is change the OUT point of a source clip selection by - timecode value. + value doesn't seem to do anything.


Control + P brings up + and - timecode value navigation.


15) Do the insert, overwrite, mark in, mark out, etc, keyboard shortcuts still work in FCPX?

I and O are still IN and OUT (Apple now calls it Set Selection Start and End since I guess IN and OUT are too confusing) though the insert and overwrite commands have changed. Check under the Edit menu for the new editing commands as there are some brand new ways to perform an edit including Connect and Append which each have keyboard shortcuts.

16) how do you set at timeline marker? , not a clipmarker

You can't as there are no timeline makers. All markers in a timeline must be set on a clip. Markers have taken a big step backwards as there aren't different color options and extended markers. In the timeline you can set To Do Markers as a reminder of tasks that need doing.


Markers are set on clips in the timeline but can't be set in the timecode ruler on the timeline itself.


17) Any Stereo 3D support?

Not at this time.

18) can you save your hotkeys?

Yes there is a full keyboard command editor under Final Cut Pro > Commands > Customize or option + command + K.

19) How do you insert a gap with the magnetic timeline?

Use the new Position tool to drag clips in the timeline as that can leave a Gap Clip (basically a black video clip) or use the Edit > Insert Gap command to insert a 3 second Gap Clip.

20) How do you do a J or L cut? With audio, can you do split-track editing?

You can separate the audio from its video clip (either permanently or temporarily) and edit them independently of each other to create a split edit.

21) are composite modes still available?

Yes, by selecting the Blend Mode of a clip in the Inspector. You can no longer select Blend Mode by right + clicking on a clip. They also seem to no longer be available by keyboard shortcuts.


The usual suspects of blending modes are available in the Inspector on a per clip basis.


22) Is there timecode overlay?

No. You can see source timecode when a source clip is loaded into the Viewer via the central timecode display window but there are no overlays to display source timecode of clips in the timeline.


The central timecode display will display source timecode. This is source code from a RED shoot, converted to ProRes.


23) Do you think Apple is moving away from the Pro Video market towards the wider prosumer market with FCPX.

Most definitely.

24) do you only have 9 keywords for the entire application? or is it 9 keywords per project?

There appear to only be 9 keyword KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS (viewable in the Keyword Editor) total and they stay no matter what Project or Event is selected. You can have as many keywords and keyword collections as you want. Each time you add a new keyword in the Keyword Editor a new keyword collection is created.


There's 9 keyboard shortcut slots for quickly adding keywords


25) what happens if you add more than one keyword to the keyboard shortcut?

You can have more than one keyword assigned to a shortcut and each will be assigned when executing that shortcut. If you have two keyword tokens in a keyword shortcut then the clip selection will save into two different keyword collections.


Control 8 will create and/or assign into a keyword collection called "slow fast" while control 9 will create and/or assign into two different collections, one called "slow", one called "fast".


26) Do you feel FCPX is conducive to quick onLocation cutting? How does this software handle stills/photos - or is this simply a cuts only software?

FCPX's ability to handle native media like DSLR H.264 would make it a nice on-set tool for quick review and basic rough editing to view on a laptop. Stills can be imported and animated so it is more than cuts only.

27) i do tons of interview based work. Projects can have 10 or more interviews. How do I create "bins" for each interviewee and then name each clip from the interview based on what they said?

You could create an event for each subject then use range based keywording for organizing based on what they said. It would actually be very good for organizing this type of media. I might create a single interview Event and then assign keywords for each interview subject and then further refine keywords for things they say.

28) can you cut/paste between events? (from one event to another)?

No but you can drag clips from one Event to another.

29) so all the individual clips are only in the event library? there's no way to organize individual clips within the event??

Organizing within an event is done by keywording, collections and Smart collections. It's actually a rather powerful way to organize for an edit. You might end up with a clip or parts of a clip appearing in multiple places since more than one keyword can be assigned to a clip or part of a clip. It will be important for the editor to be organized to take full advantage of FCPX keywording.

30) Is there a non-additive transition?

The Dissolve transition has a number of different options for how the images blend:


31) can you rate the clips 1-5 stars similar to iphoto? I saw a smart filter that sorted by rating

No. Even though the FCPX interface has a star icon those are for marking a clip or part of a clip as a Favorite or unrating a clip.

32) Is it possible to set a destination track?

No. There are no more tracks in the FCPX timeline but you can choose to edit only audio or video into the timeline.

33) Where is the slip tool? Is there one?

Yes, both the Slip and Slide tools are technically part of the Trim tool. When a clip selected with the Trim tool you'll see the cursor change to reflect the operation. In the middle of a clip it changes to the Slip tool, option to change to the Slide tool. At any point you can also hold down the T key to temporarily change to the Trim tool.

Up next: Questions 34 - 66

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