Final Cut Pro Tips and Tricks for Masterful Video Editing
Dec 1, 2022
Don’t @ us in the comments (or on our social channels), but we’re going to give some hot takes on how you can use Apple’s Final Cut Pro to become a video editing master. And yes, we know that many video editors today prefer Premiere Pro, or Avid, or DaVinci Resolve, but we believe that Final Cut Pro is a great option and absolutely worth exploring or sticking to it.
This is especially true if you follow some of the tips and tricks outlined in this video below by our own Final Cut Pro wizard Dave Maze. He’s about as expert as they come in the world of FCP and with his advice you can start whipping up your own magical edits in no time.
So, regardless of your familiarity or comfort level with Apple’s infamous NLE, let’s go over some of the best tips and tricks for mastering Final Cut Pro.
Also, watch the video as it goes much more in-depth into each tip and gives great insights and examples into why you should learn these different techniques. You can thank us later in the YouTube community comments :-)
This first tip is pretty straightforward but it’s also super important. And in truth, many of these basic functions built into video editing software apps like Final Cut Pro are there for a very important reason. In this case, favoriting is a great way to help save time and streamline your editing process.
For those who shoot along with editing your own footage, this process of favoriting can be a great way to keep tabs on which shots you really like and want to make sure make it into your final comps. With the favoriting tool you can also quickly designate and find these specific shots from your footage review and have them ready to quickly grab and use once you're quickly putting together your edit.
In the video above, you can see how Dave makes use of Final Cut Pro’s intuitive design as he uses the preview functionality as a quick and easy way to scrub through the clips and make fast selections on the fly. FCP has spent years developing ways to work very efficiently, making it a strong choice for those looking to edit on the go.
The slip cut is a pro editing move which dates back to some of the earliest days of linear editing. Also called a J cut, this editing technique is truly one of the core fundamentals of film editing. As its J cut name implies, the J or slip cut is an edit that cuts in the audio of the next shot before the visual part. (Conversely, an L cut would be the opposite — an edit that cuts in the video before the audio.)
In the examples demonstrated above by our host, the slip cut can be a great tool for speeding up your videos as well as make them feel more upbeat, tempoed, and watchable. Dave is a master of this technique as you can see he really understands the nuances of what makes a YouTube video feel snappy and fun.
Final Cut Pro in particular is also a great app for using these types of overlapping cuts between video and audio because of its unique magnetic timeline feature. You don’t have to do tons of reshuffling when working with slip cuts if you fully utilize these magnetic features for readjusting.
By the way, if you do find these tips and the video above to be helpful, our host Dave actually has a full course on speed editing in Final Cut Pro available on MZed.com. In particular, Dave’s tips are aimed at those looking to edit for YouTube and to cut together footage to turn around quickly. The course covers everything from start to finish including organization, color correction, adding titles and transitions, and — of course — adding music to your videos.
You can check out the full course here which you can either stream or purchase to own forever.
Moving on, we also have to talk about working with audio and music and your videos. (Because, of course, this is something we’re very good at here at Soundstripe.) However just because you might be able to find some of the best royalty free music out there, it still can be tricky to edit into your videos and projects.
In our featured tutorial tips video, we get a great lesson in how to work with different audio roles within Final Cut Pro. Specifically, we’re talking about assign audio roles and labeling audio sources in a way which can make many of the tricky elements of audio editing a cinch.
And truthfully this is great advice not only just for FCP, but also for other NLEs like Premiere Pro where you can also color coordinate your audio and video clips as a way to keep things organized. However, with FCP in particular, this audio role technique which Dave outlines can be the best way to keep your audio in order.
Finally, to wrap up our quick masterclass on video editing in Final Cut Pro, Dave outlines some helpful best practices for working with overlays and blend modes with your videos. For this video we utilize some great assets provided by our friends over at Tropic Colour to demonstrate just how cool and effective overlays can be for quickly making your projects that much more cinematic.
And if you’re enjoying some of the advice in this section of the video in particular, you can read more in-depth on how to edit LUTS, overlays, and different effects in this article here. Basically though, working with overlays comes down to mixing and mastering the effects with different blend modes.
The final results will always be up to you and your preferences though. So feel free to really get creative and have fun exploring how different LUTs and overlays look with different footage and effects. There are no wrong answers for this section, and Final Cut Pro is the perfect editing app to explore these VFX to your heart's content.
At the end of the day any Final Cut Pro tips should really be about helping you find the best workflows for this legacy editing software. Whether it be using different adjustment layers for multiple clips or creating custom keyboard shortcuts, this latest Final Cut Pro is a solid improvement from previous versions like Final Cut Pro X.
Hopefully you’ve found these tips and tricks to be helpful to you as you’re looking to level up your own video skills. As always, be sure to stay tuned to our Soundstripe YouTube channel for the latest videos and tutorials — and check out the Soundstripe blog for more tips and tricks.