… 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.

Poof!

I use this technique all the time.

EXTRA CREDIT

  • 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.”

Please rate the helpfulness of this tip.

Click on a star to rate it!

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #836: Automatic Keyword Creation

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Use folder names as key words to quickly find clips without manually creating lots of events.

Media is stored in clearly labeled folders. When you import a folder, the folder name is assigned to each clip as a keyword.

Topic $TipTopic

There’s a huge benefit to clearly naming the folders where media is stored before you import your clips. The reason? Keywords.

For example, in this screen shot, I gave each media folder an easy-to-read name.

NOTE: For your projects, pick names which help you determine which files are in each folder. Names need not be this simple, though shorter names are better.

When it comes time to import, select the containing folder (“Pond5” in this example), not just individual clips.

Make sure, in the Import Settings on the right of the Media Import window, that Keywords > From Folders is checked.

This means that, when you import the file, FCP X will assign a keyword to each clip with the name of the folder(s) that contained it. A mountain shot stored in the Scenic folder would be given “Scenic” and “Pond 5” as keywords.

These keywords make it VERY fast to find all the files stored in the same folder without having to create lots of extra events to organize them.


… 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.

EXTRA CREDIT

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

SO useful!


… for Apple Motion

Tip #819: Use Motion’s Motion Tracker

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Motion track is a great way to move text or pointing arrows in sync with something else in the frame.

(Footage courtesy of Jim Walker and Lobsters Gone Wild Productions.)
The key to tracking success is finding a clearly defined and not obscured tracking point.

Topic $TipTopic

Motion has an OK motion tracker built into it. It’s much better than Final Cut, which has none, but not as good as Mocha Pro. Here’s how to use it.

  • Import a video clip containing the movement you want to track; the shark in the screen shot.
  • Create a new layer with the object you want to move in sync with the first object; the text “Shark” in my example.
  • Select the text track and apply Behaviors > Motion Track > Match Move.
  • In Inspector > Behaviors, make sure the background clip (Shark) appears in the top image box. If not, drag it in.
  • Position the playhead where you want the track to start.
  • Drag the yellow dot from the center of the text clip and drag it onto a clearly identifiable point in the background clip.

NOTE: This is the critically important step. The tracking point on the “shark” video needs to be visible for the entire track, sharply defined and different from elements in the image behind it. Motion’s motion tracker gets easily confused. If you don’t get a good track, try a different position for the tracking point.

  • Then, in Inspector > Behaviors click Analyze.

The motion tracker will track the moving object – the dorsal fin point in my example – moving the text in sync with the shark.

EXTRA CREDIT

There are many configuration options with this behavior. Read the help files to learn more.


… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #821: Export a Sequence Range

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Premiere makes it easy to export full sequences – or just segements.

The blue line at the bottom of the Export Media window supports setting an In or Out.

Topic $TipTopic

When you need to export just a portion of a sequence, Premiere makes it easy – but not obvious. Here’s how.

  • Open the sequence you need to export.
  • Set an In and Out in the timeline to mark the section you want to export.
  • Choose File > Export > Media (Shortcut: Cmd + M).
  • In the export window, on the left, the In and Out are shown in the blue timeline at the bottom (screen shot, red arrow).

EXTRA CREDIT

If you select Export Media, and forget to set an In or Out, no problem. In the timeline on the left of the Export Media window you can set the In or Out by dragging a white triangle or typing “I” and/or “O”.

To alter or remove an In or Out, regardless of how it was set, drag the white triangle left or right. There is no “instant reset button.”


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #828: What is Hardware Acceleration?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Hardware is faster because it doesn’t have the latency and overhead of software.

Image courtesy of Pexels.com.

Topic $TipTopic

As media compression codecs get more complex, compression starts taking longer and longer. Hardware acceleration comes to the rescue, but… what, exactly, is it doing?

In computing, hardware acceleration is the use of computer hardware specially made to perform some functions more efficiently than is possible in software running on a general-purpose central processing unit (CPU).

Hardware is far faster, but software is far more flexible when it comes to handling change. Hardware is superior when performing the same task over and over and over again. This is because software has a processing overhead due to loading and interpreting instructions as well as data. Hardware, provided it is designed for that purpose, doesn’t have the overhead and delay associated with software. But, it is much more difficult changing hardware when the task it needs to perform changes.

An operation can be computed faster in application-specific hardware designed or programmed to compute the operation than specified in software and performed on a general-purpose computer processor.

Hardware acceleration is advantageous for performance, and practical when the functions are fixed so updates are not as needed as in software solutions. However, the invention of reprogrammable hardware (FPGSs) has allowed hardware to be more flexible because it can be reprogrammed as necessary.


… for Codecs & Media

Tip #829: Why Are Some Codecs “Inefficient?”

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

GOP compression yields smaller files, but those files are much harder to edit.

Topic $TipTopic

One of the key reasons for transcoding highly-compressed camera masters into an intermediate (or mezzanine) format is to make the media more “efficient.” But, what makes some codecs efficient and others not?

In general, there are two ways that media can be compressed:

  • I-frame
  • GOP

In I-frame compression, each frame in a sequence is compressed individually. The entire contents of the frame are contained in that compressed image. This means that to display that image, all the computer needs to do is uncompress that one frame.

In GOP compression images are compressed in groups; generally containing either 7 or 15 frames. The first image is compressed in its totality. However, for each remaining image in the group, only those pixels that are different in each frame from the preceding frame are compressed and stored in the file.

NOTE: GOP (pronounced “gop”) is an acronym for “Group of Pictures.”

GOP compression creates far smaller files because only portions of each frame are getting compressed.

However, in order to display a GOP-compressed frame, the computer needs first to find the first frame in the group and decompress it. Then, it needs to add all the changes stored in all the frames after the first frame and up to the frame the playhead is parked on.

While GOP compression creates very small files, the computer has to work VERY hard to display each frame as you jump randomly around in the timeline. This is especially true as multiple clips are stacked above each other. Each group needs to be decompressed separately.

GOP compression is perfect for playback, because the changes in each frame can easily be added to the currently displayed frame. However, video editing means that we are randomly jumping from one frame and clip to another. In those situations, I-frame compression is much more efficient because only one frame needs to be decompressed, not an entire string.


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #816: A Baker’s Dozen Better Shortcuts

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

If I were to pick my favorite shortcuts, these are probably it.

Topic $TipTopic

When you start doing the same tasks over and over, keyboard shortcuts can make you more efficient. Here are the keyboard shortcuts I use everyday when editing in Final Cut:

  • Control + Cmd + 1 — Toggle Library and Browser display on/off.
  • Cmd + 4 — Toggle the Inspector open or closed
  • Shift + Z — Fit image into Viewer or project into Timeline.
  • Cmd + 7 — Show/Hide video scopes.
  • Shift + I / O — Jump the playhead to the In / Out.
  • Option + X — Delete both the marked In and Out.
  • V — Toggle clip visibility off or on.
  • E — Perform a standard append edit into the Primary Storyline at the end of the timeline.
  • W — Perform a standard insert edit at the position of the skimmer/playhead.
  • D — Perform an overwrite edit into the Primary Storyline at the position of the playhead.
  • Option + W — Insert a gap into the Timeline at the position of the skimmer/playhead.
  • Cmd + B — Cut all selected clip(s) at the position of the skimmer/playhead.

BONUS

  • Shift + comma/period — Move selected edit point or connected clip ten frames left/right.
  • S — Toggle skimming on or off.
  • F — Flag a clip or clip range as a Favorite.

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #817: Here’s How to Consolidate Your Media

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Consolidate either moves or copies all library media into one place.

Control-click a Library name to reveal this option.

Topic $TipTopic

A hidden feature for any library in Apple Final Cut Pro is: “Consolidate Media Content.” You only see this option when Control-clicking the library name in the library sidebar (to the left of the browser). Here’s what it does.

If you, like me, tend to store media separately from the library when you are editing, you can end up with files scattered across your storage.

According to Apple’s Help files:

The Consolidate command places the files in the current library storage location. You view and set storage locations for media, Motion content, cache files, and library backup files using the File > Library Properties inspector.

The Consolidate command follows these rules:

  • When you consolidate files out of a library to an external folder, the files are moved.
  • When you consolidate files into a library from an external folder, or from an external folder to another external folder, the files are copied.

These rules prevent broken links from other libraries.

NOTE: If the media is already external, and no other libraries are using it, you can manually delete the original media after consolidating to save storage space.


… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #818: Change Media Storage Locations

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Storage locations can be customized for each library.

The Library Storage Locations window.

Topic $TipTopic

It used to be that Final Cut only gave us two choices when importing media: Leave it where it is, or move it into the library. However, now, we have new options.

  • Select the Library name in the library sidebar next to the browser.
  • Open the Inspector.
  • Click Modify Settings next to Storage Locations.
  • In the dialog illustrated in the screen shot, you can set a custom location for media, Motion templates, cache files and project backups.

These settings can vary by library.

In general:

  • Leave cache files on the internal drive for speed.
  • Store media to a separate, external location.
  • If you plan to share the project between editors, store all custom Motion templates in the library.
  • Finally, store backups in a separate location from the project file itself… just in case.