… 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.

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… 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.)

Topic $TipTopic

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.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #834: An Even Faster Way to Change Clip Speed

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Rate Stretch tool is a fast way to change the speed of clip.

Select the Rate Stretch tool from the tools palette.

Topic $TipTopic

When you need to change the speed of a clip, you can use the Rate/Duration window. Or… you can use this tool – which is MUCH faster!

The Rate Stretch tool (Shortcut: R) changes the speed of a clip as you drag an edge.

Select it from the Tools palette, then drag the edge of a clip whose speed you want to change. The new duration is displayed next to the tool as you drag the edge of a clip.

Dragging a clip longer slows it down, dragging a clip shorter speeds it up.


The Speed/Duration dialog (Shortcut: Cmd + R) provides more options and greater precision, but for sheer speed, the Rate Stretch tool can’t be beat.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #838: A Visual Way to Animate Effects

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The timeline provides an easy way to add keyframes and animate effects.

Control-click the small Fx badge to display keyframe controls for a clip.

Topic $TipTopic

You probably know that you use keyframes to animate effects and that you can create keyframes in the Effects Panel. But… there’s a faster way, hidden in plain sight.

Control-click the small Fx badge in the top right corner of the clip you want to animate.

From the pop-up menu (see screen shot) select the parameter you want to animate with keyframes. The benefit to using the timeline to create keyframes is that you can sync them more easily with other clips located above or below the clip you are adjusting.

A thin, horizontal, white line appears in the selected clip.

  • Cmd-click to add a keyframe
  • Drag the keyframe up/down to change the value.
  • Drag the keyframe left/right to change the timing.
  • Control-click the keyframe to add curves or acceleration.
  • Control-click the keyframe to delete it.


Use the Pen tool (Shortcut: P) to select and change multiple keyframes at once.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #839: FX Badge Colors Actually Mean Something

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Badge colors can help you quickly spot which clips have effects applied.

The four colors of clip Fx badges.

Topic $TipTopic

Have you ever wanted to know which clips in your sequence have effects applied to them? Or, have you ever want to know which clips have specific effects applied to them? Well, there’s an easy way to find out – check the color of the FX badge!

  • Gray. No effects applied.
  • Green. A Motion effect (position, scale…) is applied to a clip.
  • Yellow. A speed change or keyframe effect is applied.
  • Purple. An effect from the Effects panel is applied.


I looked these up, here’s Adobe’s official list of badge colors:

FX badge color Denotes
Gray No effect applied (default badge color)
Purple Non-intrinsic effect applied (like, color correction, blur)
Yellow Intrinsic effect modified (like, position, scale, opacity)
Green Intrinsic effect modified and additional effect applied
Red underline Master Clip effect applied

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #835: Create a Favorite Import Location

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

There’s no limit to the number of Favorites you can create.

Drag the icon for a storage location on top of “Favorites” to create a link.

Topic $TipTopic

If you frequently go to the same storage location to import media, Final Cut has a handy shortcut that gets you there faster.

  • Open the Media Import window (Shortcut: Cmd + I).
  • In the center panel, navigate to display the drive or folder you want to make a favorite location.
  • Drag the icon for that location in the center panel on top of the word “Favorites” in the sidebar on the left.


I use this technique all the time.


  • There is no limit to the number of favorite locations you can create.
  • You can create a favorite folder which is buried layers deep on any attached storage.
  • To remove a favorite location, Control-click it and select “Remove from Sidebar.”

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #837: A Simply Useful Shortcut

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Double-clicking the title enlarges or shrinks the Inspector.

Double-click the title at the top of the Inspector to expand to full height.

Topic $TipTopic

This is one of those techniques that, if you know it, you say “Everyone knows that!” And, if you don’t, you say: “How come nobody ever told me about this?”

By default, the Inspector displays to the top of the timeline, so you have lots of room to view your edit.

However, if you double-click the name of whatever is displayed at the top of the Inspector, (“Youth Culture,” in this screen shot), the Inspector expands to full height.

Yeah, once I learned this, I use it ALL the time.


Double-click the top of the Inspector to shrink it back to half-height again.

SO useful!

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #823: Voice-Over Recording Settings

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The secret is to Control-click the mic icon for the track you want to record in.

The Voice-Over Recording dialog window.

Topic $TipTopic

Another hidden feature inside Premiere is the voice-over recording settings. Most of the time, when you need to record audio, you’ll do that outside Premiere. But, to quickly create narration scratch tracks, nothing beats recording directly in Premiere. Here’s how.

  • Control-click the small, white mic icon in the track header for the track you want to record on.
  • Select Voice Over Recording Settings from the pop-up menu. This displays the dialog shown in the screen shot.


  • Name. This names the clip you are about to record. As always, you can change the clip name later.
  • Source. The specifies which mic to use. I use an external headset mic, digitized using a Scarlet 2i2 A/D conveter.
  • Input. This specifies which channel the mic is on. A stereo input has two channels.
  • Sound cues. When you start recording, Premiere displays a countdown. If you also want the countdown to beep, check this box.
  • Preroll. When you start recording, this determines how many seconds to back up before starting recording.
  • Postroll. If you set an Out to determine the end of a recording, this determines how many seconds after the Out to continue recording, in case the voice talent’s timing isn’t perfect.
  • Click OK to accept the revised settings.

NOTE: The audio meters at the bottom display the input level of your mic. In general, set levels so that you are recording around – 12 dB. You can adjust these later during the final mix.


  • You can mark an In and Out in the timeline to specify where the recording will start and end. Or simply place the playhead where you want the recording to start.
  • Click the Mic icon again to start recording.
  • Press the spacebar to stop.


I rarely set an In or Out, most voice talent, including me, wants the freedom to make mistakes. It is easy to edit a recording later to clean up mistakes, or configure it to hit a specific time.