… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #890: Better Effect Previews

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Option-dragging previews adjusting the principal parameter before applying an effect.

Hovering over a Gaussian Blur effect.

Topic $TipTopic

Final Cut Pro X allows you to preview effects two different ways before you apply them to a clip. One you probably know, the other you probably don’t.

To preview any effect in the Effects Browser:

  • Select a clip in the timeline.
  • Hover the cursor over an effect in the Effects Browser.
  • The timeline clip will appear in the Viewer as though the effect was applied.
  • Next, press the Option key while hovering. This previews the effect AND changes the principal parameter for the effect as you drag; from not applied on the left to fully applied on the right.

NOTE: Try this using Blur > Gaussian to quickly see how this works.

This is a great way to see what an effect will look like, even after tweaking, before applying it.


To apply an effect, either:

  • Drag the effect on top of a timeline clip
  • Select one or more clips in the timeline and double-click an effect in the Effects Browser

To remove all effects from a clip, select the clip and choose Edit > Remove Effects.

Please rate the helpfulness of this tip.

Click on a star to rate it!

… for Apple Motion

Tip #878: Get More Space for Layers

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Adjusting Layer height is a simple way to help manage larger projects.

A composite showing the nested rectangle, then, below, the slider it reveals.

Topic $TipTopic

At the bottom of the Layers panel is a nested rectangle shape. Here’s what it does.

Click the nested rectangle (red arrow in screen shot) and a small slider appears.

As you drag the slider, the height of each layer in the Layers panel is scaled vertically.

Click elsewhere to hide this slider.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #873: The Magic of Auto-Ducking

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Auto-Ducking saves time with the mix, while still allowing changes at any time.

This composite shows the Ducking settings and the results in a music clip.

Topic $TipTopic

Auto-ducking is the process of automatically creating keyframes to reduce the level of a musical background when someone is talking. This is a relatively new feature in Premiere and the good news is that this creates settings which are infinitely adjustable, so if you don’t like the results, they are easy to change.

Here’s how this works.

  • Switch to the Audio workspace.
  • Open the sequence you want to adjust into the Timeline.
  • Select all dialog clips, then click Dialogue in the Essential Sound panel to assign the Tag.

NOTE: If you don’t see this button, click the Edit text button near the top of the panel.

  • Select all the music clips in the Timeline, then click the Music tag.
  • Once you’ve assigned both dialog and music Tags, select the music clip you want to adjust.
  • Check the Ducking checkbox to enable the feature. Leave the default settings as is until you see what this does.
  • Click Generate Keyframes and see how Premiere automatically adds keyframes to reduce the volume of the music whenever dialog is going on above it.


Review the Premiere Help files to learn the different options for this feature.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #874: A Faster Way to Add “Presence”

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Most sound effects are subtle. This setting helps sound reinforce the image.

The Creative > Reverb settings for Ambience and Sound Effects.

Topic $TipTopic

I was playing with the Essential Sound panel, looking for an idea to write about, when I discovered this: Reverb. This alters the reflections, or reverb, of a clip to more accurately sound like it is playing in a specific space.

NOTE: This effect only applies to clips that are tagged as Sound Effects or Ambience.

  • Switch to the Audio workspace and display the Essential Sound panel.
  • Tag a timeline clip as either Sound Effects (a short duration sound) or Ambience (a longer duration sound).
  • Click the word “Creative” to display this section of the panel.
  • Check the checkbox next to Creative to enable it.
  • Click the Preset menu to choose the style of reverb/reflectance that best matches the sound to the picture.
  • Vary the Amount slider until the effect sounds the best.

This is a fun effect to play with.

… for Codecs & Media

Tip #883: Don’t Turn Your Hard Disk Into a Camera

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Don’t panic. This problem is easy to fix. Just pay attention.

Image courtesy of pexels.com.

Topic $TipTopic

Warning! Don’t turn your hard disk into a camera. I was reminded of this today with an email from Jon G. who wrote:

“Sorry to bother as this is probably obvious but it surprised me at first….

“When I went to import from an external drive, FCP saw the entire drive as a camera, not an external device! And started to load all 5,000 plus items individually, not good.”

Agreed. The first time you see this, it can be VERY scary!

This happens when you copy the folders from a camera card directly to your hard disk without putting them into their own containing folder.

If this happens to you, create a new folder on your hard disk and move all the camera card folders into that separate folder.

NOTE: To make sure you find them all, mount a camera card to your computer and use that as a guide to indicate which folders you need to find and move.

Here’s a tutorial from my website that describes this process in more detail.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #875: The Slip Tool Simplifies B-roll

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Slip tool makes selecting the best B-roll fast and easy.

The Program Monitor display when the Slip tool is in operation.

Topic $TipTopic

B-roll, which are images that reinforce what the speaker is talking about, are essential to most documentary and feature films. While the person on-camera describes a situation, B-roll shows what they are talking about.

Becasue each B-roll image needs to fit within the very specific time when the speaker is talking about it, our challenge is to quickly find the best possible section of each B-roll shot.

That’s where the Slip tool can help.

  • Select the Slip tool from the Tool palette (Shortcut: Y). The Slip tool allows you to change the content of a shot, without altering its duration or position.
  • Click in the middle of a B-roll clip in the timeline and drag.

As you drag (see screen shot), the Program monitor shows:

  • Last frame of the preceding shot (top left)
  • First frame of the following shot (top right)
  • First frame, and timecode, of the slipped clip (left)
  • Last frame, and timecode, of the slipped clip (right)

I use this tool all the time to get the best possible section of my B-roll to fit in the time that I have.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #858: A Faster Way to Configure a New Project

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

“Import as Project” can be a big time-saver when you need to add effects to a clip.

The “Import as Project” button on the Project Browser screen.

Topic $TipTopic

Hidden in plain sight, “Import as Project” imports a movie file, then configures a project around it. This can be a big time-saver when you need to add effects to a clip. Here’s how it works.

  • Start Motion.
  • Then, from the Project Browser (which is what that opening screen is called), click Import as Project in the lower left corner. (See screen shot.)
  • This opens a standard file picker window, for you to select a file to work on.
  • Motion then imports that file, creates a new project to match the specs of the video file and adds the clip to the Layers panel.

This is a very fast technique when you need to add effects to a clip, such as green screen, motion tracking, or modify its visual look.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #853: Hidden Access to Photoshop Layers

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Merge All Layers is easiest, Sequence, though, tends to be more flexible.

The Import Layered File window in Premiere.

Topic $TipTopic

When importing Photoshop images into Premiere, you are given four choices. Here’s a description of what each of these mean.

At the top of the Import Layered File window (which is most often used for importing Photoshop documents) is a menu with four choices:

  • Merge All Layers. This converts the separate layers in the document into a single, flattened PSD image. This is a good choice when you need to be sure that the entire image is displayed.
  • Merge Layers. Like Merge All Layers, this creates a single, flattened PSD image, but you chose which layers will be combined. This is a good choice when multiple versions are stored in the same image.
  • NOTE: Most Photoshop images contain dozens of layers. The buttons on the right simplify checking, unchecking or resetting the status of all the layers in the image.

  • Individual Layers. This imports each layer as a separate image into a bin containing one clip for each source layer. This is a good choice when there is no relationship between the layers and you need to manipulate each layer separately.
  • NOTE: When you import one layer as a single clip, its name in the Project panel consists of the layer name followed by the original filename.

  • Sequence. This imports the image as a sequence where each Photoshop layer is a separate layer in the sequence and stored in its own bin. This is a good choice when you want to adjust timing or animation of each layer separately, while still keeping them together in a single place.
  • NOTE: You enable or disable the display of a layer by checking the appropriate box in this window.


Once an image is flattened, it can’t be “un-flattened.” Your only alternative to regain control over individual layers is to reimport it.

Here’s a tutorial with more details.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #856: Create a New Sequence Preset – FAST!

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Sequence presets are used to conform clips to match a standard.

Click the “stacked pancakes” icon to reveal a hidden timeline menu.

Topic $TipTopic

The problem with creating sequence presets is that you need to know a LOT of technical specs to accurately create one. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easier way? There is! Here’s how.

  • Create a sequence by dragging a clip with the specs you need – codec, frame size, frame rate and so on – onto the “folded paper” icon in the low-right corner of the Project panel. Most of us do this all the time.
  • Go to Sequence > Sequence Settings and verify those are the specs you need. (This step isn’t required, but it’s a good idea to double-check.)
  • Then, click the “stacked pancakes” icon next to the Project name in the timeline (see screen shot) and select Create Preset from Sequence.
  • The Sequence Preset dialog window opens, allowing you to name this new setting and add a description.
  • Click OK to save it.



The benefit to creating a sequence preset is that when you add clips to the sequence that don’t match the setting, they will automatically be “conformed” or transcoded to math the sequence settings.

This solves the problem of not having a clip with the right specs to initially configure a sequence.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #857: Customize Your Playback Controls

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Customizing playback controls simplifies proxy workflows, creating still frames and other tasks.

The Button Editor panel for the Program Monitor in Premiere Pro.

Topic $TipTopic

One of Adobe’s goals over the last several releases was to simplify the Premiere interface. (Because, truthfully, it was getting pretty darn crowded…) This simplification took the form of removing buttons. But… what if you need one of those buttons back? Not to worry – here’s how.

  • In the Program Monitor or Source Monitor, click the small plus sign in the lower-right corner.
  • This displays the Button Editor. (See screen shot.)
  • Hover over a button to read a description of what the button does.
  • To add a button to the control panel, drag it from the upper section into the blue controls box. For example, I added the Proxy button to the controls box to make it easy to toggle between Proxy and High-quality view.
  • To remove a controls button, drag it out of the blue box.
  • To reset the controls box back to factory defaults, click the Reset Layout button.
  • Then, when you are done, click OK.