Top 5 Secrets To Get The Most Out of Final Cut Pro X

By January 17, 2014Tutorials

Want to get more out of Final Cut Pro? These tips will help improve your editing workflow and allow you to make better videos with Final Cut Pro.

1: Export ProRes 422 –> Handbrake For Quick, High Quality Videos

Step One

From the Final Cut Pro X Export Screen, select  Apple ProRes 422. (422 has a target data rate of 145 Mbps, so is very high quality)

prores
For my 3-minute video that was HD 1080p 60fps, this took only about 30 seconds.

file-size
As you can see, my only 3-minute video is over 2GB! The point of the first step is to quickly get the video out of Final Cut. Now to step two.

Step Two

Download Handbrake Here: http://handbrake.fr if you don’t already have it. (It’s free)

Handbrake uses x264 to convert to h.264 quickly and efficiently. Open up Handbrake, and select your 422 video from step one. Below are the settings that I have chosen. Since I’m uploading this video to Youtube, I’ve checked the “Web Optimized” button. The only other setting you should need to worry about is the slider with the red circle around it— this determines the amount of compression. (More compression= smaller file size and less quality) Once you’re ready, just click start.

handbrake-2
For my 3-minute video, this process took only about 1 minute on my iMac. Here’s the final result:

compressed version
Not bad! 80.5 MB, and it still looks great. A lot of people prefer using Apple Compressor, but this method is easier in my opinion, and you don’t have to drop $50 for Compressor.

2: Simplify Your Timeline By Creating Compound Clips

Sometimes the timeline gets so complex with so many clips, titles, and audio that it’s just overwhelming. The solution? Bring clips together using compound clips. Here’s how:

Select all the clips you would like to combine, right click, then choose “New Compound Clip…”
create-compound-clip

Give it a name, then click Okay. Now, you have one clip to simplify your timeline. Breathe a sigh of relief.

compound-clip

Need to go back and change something in the Compound Clip? Easy. Just right click on the Compound Clip, then choose “Open in Timeline” and you can go back and make changes to individual sub-clips.

back-to-fcpx-timeline

3: Save space By Deleting Render Files

Final Cut Pro X eats up space. When you’re done working on a project, save space by deleting render files.

Delete Project Render Files

Open up the Project Library, then select the Project who’s render files you want to delete. Then go to “File” –> “Delete Project Render Files…” Then choose Okay.

delete-project-render-files

Delete Event Render Files

Just like deleting Project Render Files. Open up the Event Library, then select the Event who’s render files you want to delete. Then go to “File” –> “Delete Event Render Files…” Then select which files to delete.

delete-event-render-files

4: Copy Effects To Multiple Clips

This allows you to copy any attributes/effects from one clip to others. This is particularly useful if you’re doing color correction within Final Cut, and wish to copy the color effects to multiple clips. Here’s how: Select the clip in the timeline with the effects/attributes you wish to copy, then press Command-C to copy it. Then, select all of the clips in the timeline you want to add it to, then choose “Edit” –> “Paste Attributes…”

paste-attributes

From there, you can select which attributes you would like to copy. As you can see below, I’ve checked “Color” to copy my Color adjustments to the other clips. Then just click Paste!

paste-attributes-options

Use Professional Final Cut Pro X Templates

Using Professional FCP X Templates is one of the best ways to easily unleash the power of Final Cut Pro. An entire community has developed around Final Cut providing tons of incredible free and premium Final Cut Templates. They’re easy to implement, and look great.

Free Templates

We’d love for you to check out our Free Templates collection here: https://www.connerpro.com/category/blog/free-effects/

Premium Beat has a nice list of free templates here: http://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/the-big-list-free-fcpx-effects-filters-and-templates/

Zach King has a few free effects here: http://finalcutking.com/plugins-templates/

FCP.co has an awesome collection of free FCP X Templates from a variety of sources, along with helpful tutorials.

Pro FCP X Templates

Feel free to take a look at our Premium Templates here: https://www.connerpro.com/templates/

Check out Apple’s collection of Premium FCP X Templates: http://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/resources/plugins.html#effects

The FCP X Techniques section on Creative Cow: http://forums.creativecow.net/fcpxtechnique is a great way to get help and learn new things about Final Cut Pro X.


We hope you found these 5 tips useful! Let us know what you think in the comments section below, and be sure and leave us your best tips.

  • Brad

    Awesome! handbrake is a really great program…

  • db

    In #1, why not just use the YouTube (or Vimeo) export directly, rather than going thru Handbrake?

    • Hi, that’s a great way to do it, but Handbrake should be a decent amount faster, along with giving more control.

    • Jake Hodgman

      Using the YT or V export options can cause problems during the upload – and it won’t tell you until it’s done. Best practice is to export your ‘master’ from FCX in ProRes – this is much faster than it having to compress within FC (remember FC has usually already been optimising your footage based on ProRes) and then you have a ‘known fault free’ master copy that can be compressed into whatever you need. Quicker, more reliable, and no need to go back into FCX every time you need a new version – just use the master file.

      • Jake Hodgman

        Larry Jordan has some great advice re this – look up his articles to get his thoughts.

  • Lucas Blaise

    Really like you’re list. I’m a huge fan of Step 4. I’ve actually never used it and this will save some time for sure!

  • I’ve been using FCPX export to Master file then Handbrake for a while now, but in your example, you’re converting an original 1080p @60fps footage to a 1080p @24fps footage, which is quite a big quality loss (up to me). Even when keeping a solid fixed framerate, Handbrake should reasonably shrink the file size.

    Direct export from FCPX to YouTube has some pros, like multiple chained exports, the fact that human interaction is not needed once the process runs until the complete upload. Some mornings, I just send several 10mn-long 1080p 60fps footages to YouTube like that and they upload flawlessly while I’m away. I then receive a confirmation email from YouTube once it’s online.