… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #724: Background Tasks Window

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

This window monitors everything FCP X is doing in the background.

The Background Tasks window, showing a Share operation in process.

Topic $TipTopic

The Background Tasks window is a great way to monitor what Final Cut Pro X is doing behind the scenes. Here’s how to access it.

Final Cut Pro X is designed to do a lot of its work in the background, so you can keep editing in the foreground without slowing down.

To see what’s happening behind the scenes, open the Background Tasks window by choosing Window > Background Tasks (Shortcut: Cmd + 9).

In this screen shot, I’m exporting two projects at the same time. To maximize system resources, Final Cut exports these sequentially; though from my perspective, I only executed one menu command.

If you need to cancel an operation, click the “Circle X.”

I most often use this to check on projects that can take a while:

  • Transcoding
  • Rendering
  • Sharing

Because this is a floating window, you can open it and move it wherever is convenient.

Please rate the helpfulness of this tip.

Click on a star to rate it!

… for Apple Motion

Tip #704: What Does 3D Transform Do?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The 3D Transform tool is the fastest and easiest way to rotate an element in 3D.

The on-screen controls in the Viewer when 3D Transform is active.

Topic $TipTopic

The 3D Transform tool controls element position and rotation in 3D space.

To select it, either click the “World” icon in the tool bar, or type the shortcut Q. Dragging an arrow changes position, dragging a white circle changes rotation.

3D uses the mnemonic: RGB = XYZ. Arrows and circles are color-coded so you know when way an object will move:

  • Red. Horizontal movement and rotation on the X-axis.
  • Green. Vertical movement and rotation on the Y-axis.
  • Blue. Movement to or from the camera and rotation on the Z-axis.

You don’t need to switch a group into 3D space to take advantage of 3D perspective.


When working with Z-space:

  • If the group is set for 2D, the stacking order in the Layers panel determines foreground and background.
  • If the group is set to 3D, an element’s position in Z space determines foreground and background.

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #658: Tips for Working with Photos

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Time spent prepping your photos before editing, speeds the editing process.

The Effect Control > Motion panel in Premiere.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Jason Boone, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is an excerpt.

Working with stills in Adobe Premiere Pro is a little bit of a different workflow than when you’re editing video. With images, you’re often dealing with a variety of resolutions and framing, you may event want to add some movement. Here are some tips.

Check the Resolution. Photographs come in all different shapes and sizes. Many have a vertical aspect ratio, while others are square or rectangular. If you plan to scale up a photo, you’ll want to make sure you have a high enough resolution to keep the image sharp, once it’s scaled.

Fit to the Frame. If you’re just looking to match an image to the sequence frame size, there’s a quick, easy way to do this. Once you have an image in your sequence, simply right-click, and select either Scale to Frame Size or Set to Frame Size.

  • Scale to Frame Size will actually resample your image, removing pixels and setting the scale to 100 percent. That means if you scale this image back up at a later time, you’ll be losing quality.
  • Set to Frame Size, on the other hand, will simply adjust the scale attribute so that the image fits perfectly in the sequence frame.
  • To change how Premiere Pro handles your photos by default, go to the Edit > Preferences > Default Media Scaling drop-down menu.

Position the Anchor Point. To reposition the anchor point, select the word “Motion” in Window > Effect Controls panel. This reveals the cross-hairs of the anchor point within the Program panel. With the cross-hairs visible, I can now easily move the anchor point.

Animate the Photo. Use keyframes in Effect Controls > Motion to add movement to your images.


The PremiumBeat article, linked above, has more photo tips and a video demo.

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #669: Add Subtitles to YouTube

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The best way to add captions to YouTube is to create the SRT caption file first.

The Upload captions button in YouTube Studio.

Topic $TipTopic

Adding subtitles to your clips on YouTube expands the number of people that can benefit from watching your projects. Here’s how to add subtitles and closed captions.

YouTube wants all subtitles in SRT format. The easiest way to do this is to use automatic speech-to-text transcription software. The highest quality is to get a human transcription service to do this for you. You can also do this yourself, but after you transcribe one project, you’ll want to find another way to do this. Transcription is slow, laborious and painstaking to get right.

NOTE: You don’t have to know every language to add subtitles. YouTube sends all subtitles out to Google Translate for other languages.

Here are the steps:

  • Go to YouTube Studio and select your video.
  • In the middle of the More Options page you’ll see a link to upload subtitles.

NOTE: Be sure to select the correct language for your subtitles.

Click the Download button.

NOTE: If you need to create or edit your subtitles, click the Edit on Classic Studio button.

Done. After a few minutes, ,your captions will appear for your video on YouTube.


Here’s an article I wrote that covers process this in more detail for Adobe Premiere Pro.

Here’s an article I wrote that covers process this in more detail for Apple Final Cut Pro X.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #649: Convert a Motion Project for Final Cut

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

You can convert a Motion project for Final Cut at any time.

The File > Convert Project menu in Apple Motion.

Topic $TipTopic

Normally, you need to decide when you first create a Motion project whether you want to save it as a template for Final Cut Pro X. However, there’s a hidden menu that gives you other options.

The File > Convert Project To menu converts any Motion project into an FCP X effect, generator, title or transition – even after you’ve already created the project. The next time you save the project, even if you’ve already saved it, Motion displays a dialog where you can name the template and determine which effect category to store it in.

This means that if you find yourself with a project you really like, creating a template from it is easy.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #672: Checkbox Widget in Motion

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Checkboxes provide an easy way to enable or disable a setting in a Final Cut Pro X template.

The Checkbox rigging control panel.

Topic $TipTopic

This tip originally appeared as an Apple KnowledgeBase article. This is an excerpt.

Checkboxes are a control structure, created in Motion, that allow an editor in Final Cut to toggle something on or off.

Checkbox widgets allow you to switch between two snapshots—that is, between two sets of parameter states. Typically, checkbox widgets are used to create an on/off type of effect, although you can store any parameter states in either snapshot, creating more of a toggle effect.

The activation checkboxes in the Rig Inspector and in the Layers list (beside the checkbox widget) have no effect on the constituent parameters of the checkbox.

Checkbox widgets contain the following controls in the Rig Inspector and Widget Inspector:

  • Checkbox: Use this widget control to switch between two snapshots (parameter states).
  • Edit Mode: Click the Start button to enable snapshot recording.

Checkboxes provide an easy way to enable or disable a setting in a Final Cut Pro X template.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #682: My Rocking Horse Move

Don Smith – www.donsmith.me

Connection Override allows moving Primary Storyline clips without modifying connected clips.

The Connection Override icon.

Topic $TipTopic

Connection Override allows you to move a Primary Storyline clip without moving any connected clips attached to it. Pressing the tilde key (~) while dragging a Primary Storyline clip enables Connection Override.

NOTE: The tilde key is located just below the ESC key, to the left of the number 1.

Pressing Command then tilde turns on Connection Override until you press tilde to turn it off.

With that as background, Don Smith writes:

I wanted to find a way to ‘lock on’ the Connection Override to have both hands free to make adjustments. By default, you have to press and hold the tilde key.

So, I started experimenting. At first, I found that if you press and hold the tilde key, press and hold the Command key, release the tilde key first, then release the Command key last, the Connection Override would stay enabled hands-free.

Then, the OS was updated and my method broke. But, with a modification, it still works.

Use the Option key in place of the Command key. So, for newer Mac OSs, do what I call my ‘Rocking Horse’ move (because your fingers are rocking back and forth on the keys) and hold the tilde key, press and hold the Option key, release the tilde key, then release the Option key.

In both versions, you only have to tap the tilde key when finished to release the Connection Override lock.

Larry adds: I was just testing this and, in Catalina with FCP X 10.4.8, tapping Tilde then Command locks this setting on, then tapping Tilde turns it off.

Thanks, Don, for writing this up. I had forgotten this feature was there.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #645: Update a Smart Collection

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

To update any Smart Search simply double-click its name in the Library List.

To modify any custom Smart Search, simply double-click its name in the Library List.

Topic $TipTopic Smart Collections are saved searches; though “Smart Collection” is a much cooler name.

Did you know you can quickly update them? Here’s how.

Smile… this is a very quick tip:

To modify any custom Smart Search, simply double-click its name in the Library List.

Make your changes, then simply close the search box.

NOTE: If you click New Library Smart Search (or New Smart Search), you’ll create a new search, as well as changing the old one.

… for Apple Motion

Tip #643: Change the Default Settings of an Effect

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The rigging, elements and effects in the Aged Paper effect, displayed in Motion.

Topic $TipTopic

Virtually all the effects in Final Cut Pro X were first created in Motion and saved as a template for Final Cut Pro X. This means that, in many cases, if you don’t like the default settings, they are easy to change.

For example, these are the settings for Aged Paper. You can change the look itself by adjusting elements on each layer.

However, if all you need is to adjust a default setting:

  • Twirl down Rig.
  • Select one of the widgets, like Mask Size.
  • Go to Inspector > Widget and adjust the settings to suit.
  • Save the file, give it a name that reflects your changes and save it in a category that makes sense to you.


… for Apple Motion

Tip #648: Keyframe a 3D Move

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Once you set a keyframe, whenever you change a parameter, a new keyframe is set.

Position and rotation keyframes are set in Inspector > Properties for the selected element.

Topic $TipTopic

Behaviors make it easy to animate text. But, many times, the behavior is just too manic – especially for 3D text. In those situations, keyframes are a better choice. Here’s a quick technique.

Keyframes are set in the Inspector. You can use the Record Keyframe control (the big red circle below the Viewer) but, I find that sets too many keyframes which makes editing harder.

Instead, to animate position or rotation:

  • Position and rotate the element to its starting position.
  • Position the playhead in the mini-timeline where you want to set the first keyframe.
  • Go to Inspector > Properties.
  • Twirl down Position and Rotation to review additional X, Y, and Z axis controls.
  • NOTE: I find Y-axis rotation to be the most effective way to display 3D text.

  • Click one of the gray gray diamonds. Gray diamonds indicate frames without a keyframe. Gold diamonds indlcate a rame with keyframes.
  • Change the position of the playhead (FIRST!) then reposition the element. New keyframes are created automatically.
  • Repeat until the move is complete.


  • Move between keyframes by clicking the left / right arrows in the Properties panel.
  • To change a keyframe, position the playhead on the frame you want to change, then reposition the element. Keyframes are modified automatically.