… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #695: Display the Event Viewer

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Event Viewer gives FCP X the ability preview browser images.

The Event Viewer (left) provides previews of browser images.

Topic $TipTopic

Hidden inside Final Cut Pro X is the Event Viewer, which allows us to compare images in the browser with images in the timeline.

To enable it, go to Window > Show in Workspace > Event Viewer.

Whatever clip you select in the browser, will be previewed in the Event Viewer.

  • To play a clip, click the image, then press spacebar
  • Set Ins or Outs in the browser.
  • All keyboard shortcuts that work in the browser also work in the Event Viewer
  • To change the size of both monitors, drag the vertical edge between them
  • If two-monitor viewing is enabled, the Event Viewer will appear on the same monitor as the viewer.


Go to View > Show in Event Viewer to see the different display options the Event Viewer provides.

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… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #696: What Does the Alpha Channel Show?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Alpha channels define the amount of translucency for each pixel.

When viewing alpha channels, black is transparent, gray is translucent and white is opaque.

Topic $TipTopic

Just as the red, green and blue channels define the amount of each color a pixel contains, the alpha channel defines the amount of transparency each pixel contains.

A pixel can be fully transparent, fully opaque or somewhere in between. By default, every video pixel is fully opaque.

NOTE: The reason we are able to key titles over backgrounds is that titles contain a built-in alpha channel that defines each character as opaque and the rest of the frame as transparent.

Using either the View menu at the top right corner of the Viewer or View > Show in Viewer > Color Channels > Alpha to display the alpha channel for whichever clip contains the playhead (or skimmer).

While we can easily work with alpha channels inside Final Cut, in order to export video that retains transparency information, we need to use the ProRes 4444 or Animation codecs. No other ProRes, HEVC or H.264 codec supports alpha channels.


The Event Viewer also supports displaying alpha channels.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #698: Playback Shortcuts

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

7 shortcuts that simplify preview and playback.

The View > Playback menu.

Topic $TipTopic

Hiding in plain sight are seven shortcuts that can making previewing and playing your projects a lot easier.

These shortcuts are located in the View > Playback menu – and, I’ll bet, you looked at these once then immediately forgot about them.

Shortcut What It Does
space Plays from the position of the playhead
/ Plays selection
Shift + ? Backs up the Preroll duration and plays until reaching the postroll duration.
Shift + Option + I Plays from the beginning of the browser clip or timeline
Shift + Option + O Plays from curent playhead position to the end
Shift + Cmd + F Plays the timeline full-screen
Cmd + L Loops timeline playback

NOTE: Preroll and Post-roll durations are set in Preferences > Playback.

… 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 Codecs & Media

Tip #691: Compare Post-Production Codecs

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Compare Cineform, DNx, ProRes, DPX and Uncompressed; all in one table.

Topic $TipTopic

This tip, written by David Kong, first appeared in Frame.io Insider. This is a summary.

The team at Frame.io pulled together a list of more than 50 of the most common intermediate codecs used in video post-production, so that you can compare codecs against each other.

This covers intermediate codecs, not camera codecs. Each company publishes their own specifications in different formats, but they scoured the Internet and brought them all into a single page. If you want to compare ProRes vs DNxHD, ProRes vs Cineform, DNxHD vs. DPX, or any other combination, this table can help you choose the right codec for your next project.

Click the link above to view the comparison table.

… for Codecs & Media

Tip #689: What Does Video Bit-Depth Determine?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Bit-depth determines the maximum number of colors in a video frame.

Image courtesy of VideoMaker.com

Topic $TipTopic

So, what is bit depth? Well, essentially it determines the range of possible colors your camera is capable of capturing. The higher the bit depth, the higher the number of possible colors your camera is able to capture, which means smoother gradations and less (or no) color banding. However, the higher the bit depth, the larger the files, which means a higher need for storage space and possibly a more powerful computer to handle all of the data.

Keep in mind, though, that even if you go with a camera whose file formats support higher bit depths, that doesn’t necessarily automatically translate to amazing image quality. There are many other factors that play a role in both gamut and color depth, including color sampling and data rate.

If you’re still confused about whether or not you need a camera that offers high bit depth, keep these things in mind.

  • Color banding is ugly.
  • Can you handle all that extra data?
  • Higher bit depth affords you more latitude during color grading.


Here’s a link to a VideoMaker presentation, on NoFilmSchool.com, that explains bit depth in three minutes.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #664: What is a Smart Collection?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

A “Smart Collection” is a saved search.

The default Smart Collection list associated with every FCP X library.

Topic $TipTopic

You see them listed at the top of every library: Smart Collections. But, what are they and how can they help us?

At its core, a Smart Collection is a saved search. If you double-click the name of any Smart Collection, it opens the Search Filter window, showing the criteria for that search and allowing you to change it.

You can easily create your own Smart Collections, but the interface is hard to find:

  • Click the magnifying glass at the top of the Browser.
  • Click the “slate” icon to the right of the search box.
  • This opens the Search Filter window.
  • Make whatever changes you want.
  • If you simply close the window, the current search is updated with your changes.
  • If you click the Save Smart Collection button at the bottom right, a new Smart Collection is created.


Tip #84
explains how to create a Smart Collection.

… 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.

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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.