… 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.

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… 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.

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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 #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 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.

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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.

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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 Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #850: A Quick Way to View Photoshop Layers

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Double-click a Photoshop image

A Photoshop image (top), with it’s layers displayed in the timeline (bottom).

Topic $TipTopic

One of the benefits to using Photoshop images in your projects is that FCP X allows you to access each layer in the Photoshop document separately. But how?

Double-click it.

Whether the image is in the browser or the timeline, the Photoshop image will open in a special section of the timeline, where each layer is displayed.

At this point you can:

  • Hide a layer by selecting it and typing V
  • Animate a layer, for example, to have it slide into the frame
  • Change the timing of when a layer appears by trimming an edge
  • Add transitions to a layer; for example to have a layer fade in at a specific time
  • Delete a layer by selecting it and pressing Delete
  • Scale a layer
  • Reposition a layer

The possibilities are endless.


If you adjust the clip in the browser, it will affect every iteration of that clip that is edited into the timeline.

If you adjust a clip in the timeline, it will affect only that iteration of the clip.

To “close” a Photoshop image opened into the timeline, open a different project into the timeline.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #854: A Hidden Search Feature

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Notes can be entered in the browser or the Info Inspector. (The Inspector is easier.)

The Browser Notes field. (It’s position is shifted left by several columns.)

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There’s a hidden feature in Final Cut that can make your searches more effective. However, it’s hidden in plain sight.

When you use the Search box at the top of the browser to look for a clip, it is actually searching in two places: the file name and the Notes field. By default, the Notes field is empty but you can add anything you want. Here’s how:

  • Switch the browser to List view (Shortcut: Option + Cmd + 2).
  • Scroll right until you find the Notes column.

NOTE: Columns can be moved left or right by dragging the column header. Reveal columns by Control-clicking any column header.

  • Click once in the Notes field. Wait a few seconds.
  • Click once, again, in the Notes field. Wait a few seconds.
  • The Notes field will open for editing. Enter any relevant text pertaining to that clip.


Many asset management systems allow you to add notes to a clip before importing it into Final Cut.

I find it faster to select a clip, then go to the Info Inspector and enter directly into the Notes field there. This bypasses all the waiting for the Notes field to open.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #855: Apply Common Keywords Faster!

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

You can create up to nine common keywords, each with its own keyboard shortcut.

The floating keyword palette, with common keywords displayed.

Topic $TipTopic There’s a hidden feature in the floating Keywords palette that makes applying keywords to selected clips, or ranges, much faster. Here’s how it works.

  • Type Cmd + K to display the floating Keyword panel.
  • Twirl down the small right-pointing arrow next to the words “Keyword Shortcuts.” This displays up to nine fields that you can fill with keywords you plan to use frequently. (See screen shot.)

NOTE: A Keyword can be more than one word, but they work best when phrases are kept short.

  • To enter a keyword, simply type it into an empty field.
  • To apply a keyword, type the keyboard shortcut listed next to it. For example, Control + 1 for “Exterior”
  • To remove a keyword from either a clip or the common keyword list, select it and press Delete.
  • To remove all common keywords, type Control + 0.


Remember, to apply keywords you first need to select the clip, clips, or clip range in the Browser.

You can only have nine keywords with keyboard shortcuts, but you can change these keywords at anytime without affecting any keywords already applied to clips.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #841: A Faster Way to Preview Effects

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Grid icon duplicates the Motion Viewer to simultaneously display multiple views of your project.

A split screen with 3D text on the top, with the Top view of a camera on the bottom.

Topic $TipTopic

In the top right corner of the Motion Viewer is a small “grid” icon. Ever wonder what it does? It’s pretty helpful…!

This button divides the screen into sections so that you can preview the same project from multiple views.

A common way to use this is as a split the screen (I generally use side-by-side images because I have a large monitor) so that I can see the finished version of my project on one side, with a top view of cameras and lights on the other.

NOTE: I used a top/bottom split for this screen shot because it fits better in this webpage.

While you can easily toggle between views in Motion, seeing both at the same time makes it easier to create an effect; especially involving multiple cameras.