… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #262: Libraries: Combine or Split

Performance is better when libraries are smaller.

Library icons from Apple Final Cut Pro X.
Put the media you need to access in one library. Use multiple libraries for distinctly different projects.

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Figuring out the best way to manage media in Final Cut is always a challenge because there are so many options. As a recent example, Ron wrote:

I have a challenge with Library’s in FCP X. I have a client that we shoot 4 videos a month. They are only about 5 minutes each. We do this every month and I have one Library (for the year) that has all the months in it along with the usual assets.

This Library is now 450 GB and my question is: would it be more effect if I had a Library for each month rather than a yearly Library.

The short answer is: “Yes.”

If you are not sharing media from one library to the next, putting one month in a library simplifies file management and improves performance. (Keep in mind that libraries need to be open to be accessed.)

There’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, it simply becomes harder to manage the media.

EXTRA CREDIT

Here’s the general rule: Put the media you need to access into a single library.

Keep in mind that the bigger the library, the more RAM you’ll need.


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… for Random Weirdness

Tip #144: 4 Steps to Editing Better Interviews

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Don’t do everything at once

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After shooting and editing hundreds of interviews, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is: Don’t do everything at once. Rather focus on completing very specific tasks. This allows you to better concentrate on the story, rather than the construction.

Specifically, I build an interview in four stages:

  1. The radio cut. Build the foundation of the story by editing all the sound bites in order into the timeline. Don’t worry about the visuals. Create the best story you can first.
  2. Add B-roll. After the story is fleshed out, go back and add B-roll to illustrate what the speaker is talking about. (Adding B-roll before the story is complete just wastes time because the story you are telling keeps changing.)
  3. Add titles and graphics. With the story built and the B-roll in place, you now know where you can fit titles and which graphics you need.
  4. Finally, effects. When everything else is done, add effects. I’ve learned that effects will take as much time as you have between now and the deadline… plus an hour. Don’t get sucked into adding effects until the rest of your story is complete, you’ll run out of time to finish your story.

The benefit of this approach is that you are intently focusing on one element at a time, without wasting time creating, say, an effect for a shot that you ultimately decide not to use.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #145: Three Tips to Focus Your Editing

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

It is easy to get overwhelmed when editing non-scripted material.

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Editing a documentary, or even a simple interview, can quickly get overwhelming with all the different sound bites and B-roll you need to deal with. Especially if the story is still evolving as you edit.

Here are three tips to help you focus:

  • Prioritize your media. As you review your media make notes on which clips have the most interesting material. Put them in their own bin, or flag them as a favorite.
  • Get your media organized. Sketch out your edit on paper. Tag clips using metadata. Use colors, keywords, favorites or any other organizational tool your NLE supports. The key is to get a sense of where you are going before you make your first edit. Once you get buried in the timeline, it is hard to take a step back and see the whole picture.
  • Edit one sequence at a time. Break your project into scenes, then work on one scene at a time. Otherwise, it is easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated.

Feel free to share your own tips in the comments.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #152: Motion Templates Speed New Projects

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

A template is a master file with elements and animation already in place.

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Let’s say you need to create a new open every week for a program. While each open has the same elements, a few things change. While you could simply copy and reuse an existing project, templates are a better way to work.

Why? Because they store all the elements you need and prevent you from accidentally saving a revised project with the wrong name, thus erasing the older project.

Here’s how this works.

  • Create a new project or work with an existing project.

NOTE: While you can change project settings in Motion at any time, it is always best to set the duration before adding any elements. Changing the duration after elements are added is surprisingly tricky.

  • Modify the project as necessary.
  • When you are done creating, save your work. This is the critical step, choose File > Publish Template. NEVER simply save a template, that only creates a Motion project.
  • Give the template a name, then, if the category you want does not exist, click New Category. (A category is essentially a folder which is displayed in the Project Browser sidebar.)
  • Finally, click Publish. That’s it. You’ve created a new Motion template.

NOTE: You can store multiple templates in the same category. You only need to create a category once.

To access a template, look in the Compositions section of the Project Browser when you create a new project for Motion. Double-click the template you want to use.

Done.


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #162: Two Fast Ways to Change Project Properties

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Display Project Properties faster using these two shortcuts.

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Most of the time, once we create a project, we don’t need to change its properties.

But, all too often, I find myself needing to change something in a project after I’ve started editing.

While you could choose Window > Project Properties, here are two faster ways:

  • Type Cmd + J
  • Select the Project in the Browser

In both cases, the image you see in the screen shot appears in the Inspector.

Click the blue Modify button to display the Project Properties window. At this point, you can make whatever changes you need to make.

NOTE: You can change any project setting at any time except frame rate. The only time we can change frame rates is when a project is empty.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #130: Edit Without Touching the Mouse!

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

The secret is in the Source Monitor.

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Alex Macleod, writing in the Nov/Dec 2019 issue of KitPlus, pointed out this super-quick way to review and edit clips.

First, keep these keyboard shortcuts in mind:

  • Shift + 1. Makes the Project Panel active
  • Shift + 2. Makes the Source Panel active
  • Shift + 3. Makes the Timeline active
  • Shift + 4. Makes the Program Monitor active.

Second, remember you can load multiple clips into the Source Monitor by:

  • Selecting the clips you want to open in the Project panel
  • Control-click one of the selected clips and choose Open in Source Monitor

Third, as you review these clips in the Source Monitor:

  • Press I to set an In
  • Press O to set an Out
  • Press period [ . ] to edit the clip into the active track in the Timeline.

Everything you need to edit your clips without once touching the mouse.

NOTE: Learn more about the KitPlus Magazine here.


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #095: Apply Keywords Faster!

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Adding Keywords doesn’t have to be a drag…

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A faster way to apply an existing keyword to multiple clips in the Browser is to select all the clips to which you want to apply the keyword, then, drag them on top of the keyword in the Library List.

Poof! Instant keywords.

EXTRA CREDIT

This also adds those clips to any relevant Keyword Collections.


… for Random Weirdness

Tip #118: Walkie-Talkie Radio Codes

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

PremiumBeat decodes common on-set radio chatter.

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The folks at PremiumBeat recently published the basics of on-set walkie-talkie etiquette. (Smile… back “in the day” we used megaphones. Walkie-talkies are MUCH cooler.)

Here are some common radio codes you may hear during production:

  • Go to. This is a request to switch from the general communication frequency to a specific frequency for a longer conversation.
  • What’s your 20? What’s your location.
  • Copy and 10-4. Yes, I understand.
  • 10-1 and 10-2. Um, bathroom break.
  • Go again. Tells the other party to please repeat themselves.
  • Flying in/out. Bringing someone or something to or from the set.
  • Keying or Hot-micing. You are pressing the mic button and not talking. This will not make you any friends.

Share your own favorite codes in the comments below.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #041: Optimizing Premiere Transition Preferences

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Premiere’s defaults aren’t bad. But they aren’t very good, either.

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Preferences are exactly that – YOUR preferences on how the software should work. This means that you can set your preferences however you want. But, as a starting point to your own modifications, let me share some of my preferences with you. Use or modify these in whatever ways seem good to you.

Preferences > Timeline

The hidden “gotcha” with the transition settings are that they use frames to determine durations. Which is fine – until your frame rates change. At which point, all these durations need to change as well.

  • Video. I prefer transitional dissolves that last 2/3 of a second; a one-second transition just hangs on screen for too long. However, I also shoot mostly 60 fps material. So I change this to 40 frames (40/60 = 2/3).
  • Audio Transition. Most of the time, I like a 1/4 second fade-up, while for fade-outs, I prefer about one second.  Sadly, Premiere only allows me to pick one so I generally leave this at the default.
  • Still image. Here’s a cool tip. If you are building a still image montage set to music, figure out the duration between beats, then import all your stills to match that duration. This means you can edit stills into the timeline without setting an In or an Out.
  • Timeline Playback Auto-Scrolling. It takes more CPU power, but Smooth Scroll looks nicer. Use Page Scroll on slower systems, as it uses less CPU overhead.
  • Timeline mouse scrolling. Vertical allows you to quickly scroll up in projects that use many stacked clips. Most of my edits are five tracks or less, so I change this to Horizontal, so I can quickly move around the timeline.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #076: Save A Custom Search (Part 4)

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Smart Collections are simply “saved searches.”

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A Smart Collection is Apple’s way of saying “saved search.” In other words, you are saving the search criteria to use again in the future. Saving a search has two big benefits:

  • It is dynamic. As additional clips are added to the the library, the results of this search will update include those clips as well.
  • It is reusable. Smart Collections show up at the top of the Library window for each project. Once you create a Smart Collection, all you need to run it again is to click it.

To create a Smart Collection, open the Custom Search window, enter your search criteria, then click New Library Smart Collection.

Final Cut will save the search criteria, then, over in the Library List, prompt you to name it. Give it a name that makes sense to you.

Poof! Instant, reusable and highly-complex searches at your fingertips.