The Definitive Guide To Acing Final Cut Pro X


Videos have become essential marketing collateral. Whether you’re a freelance videographer, a blogger, a YouTuber, or a member of a full-time agency, you need video content to stay alive digitally. But if you think that creating videos and editing in post-production isn’t that difficult, you probably haven’t tried making one in Final Cut Pro X.

Since its release in 2011, the software has received mixed reviews on its user interface and general functionalities. But we’ll have you know that 90% of the functions and features are just like any other movie editor. However, that 10% can be quite tricky. But that is why you have us and this perfect guide to get you started using and editing like a pro on Final Cut Pro.

Even if you have been using the software for some time now, the guide’s later sections will interest you. So beginners and professionals, let’s get started!


7 Steps To Editing In Final Cut Pro X

Let’s start with the seven simple steps to starting your editing process. By the end of these 7 steps, you will be equipped to start using and getting your final video.


Step 1: Create a new project or import media

When you open the application for the first time, you will notice that all the content is organized into three categories. Those are:



This is the highest-ranked category of your collections. But you would probably need just one library to store all your work. That is if you don’t have multiple unrelated projects going on. However, if you’d be using it for different client work, we’d suggest creating a separate library for each.



Events also operate similarly to a Library. You can store all your media content there. This can include your video clips, unedited cuts, graphics, songs, or even projects you’ll be working on.

In a way, it’s a subcategory of a library to keep your workflow organized.



Projects are where the real fun explodes! We mean that it stores all your editing process and revisions for a specific video.


FCPX-Step 1


The first time you open Final Cut Pro, it will automatically create a library or an event. However, if it doesn’t, you can create one for yourself from the top menu bar. After that, create a project and get started with these steps:

1. After you’ve opened the application, go to the top menu bar. File > New > Project and click on it to create your new project.

2. Type in a name for the project. Pro tip: Keep a simple name, so you don’t get confused later.

3. After that, go to the top menu bar again. File > Import > Media. Selecting this option will allow you to import all your media files. This can include all the audio and video files you want to use for that project.

4. After selecting the relevant files, press on Import Selected and close the Media Import window.




Step 2: Add clips to your video timeline

Once you’ve imported the media, it’s time to add them to the video timeline. To make things easier for you, FCPX displays thumbnails of all the media files that you import. This way, you can identify the ones you need quite easily.

So before you create the video, you will need to arrange the files in the order you need them. After that, you’ll have to trim them in the Timeline. The timeline also displays the previews and the file names of all the clips that you add. Again, a beneficial tool to keep you organized.




After that, follow these steps to add clips to the timeline:

1. Hold the option to select the In and Out points for each clip. You can also click on the thumbnail or drag the file to do that. A yellow outline will appear on the points you mark in the clip. This range represents the timeline of the clip that will be added to the video. So make sure that you set it right.

2. The order is displayed from left to right. So drag and organize the clips in the order you want them to be played. Our general advice would be to always start with an establishing shot instead of embarking straight into the subject. This could be a much shorter clip, but it allows the audience to connect with you. However, it works differently for different video types, so keep that in mind too.

3. You can trip the clips using the Trim Tool. Again, to adjust the clip timeline, drag it forward or backward from both sides.




4. Do this for all the clips.

5. Suppose you’d want to rearrange the clips or change the order, drag, and drop. However, make sure that you don’t end up dropping a clip on another one vertically.

6. Once you’re happy with the clip arrangement, see a preview of your video in the Viewer. You can use Space from the keyboard to play it instantly. Or else you can move the play head to the beginning of the timeline.


Step 3: Add the content; titles, headings, and text

Now it’s time for you to add titles to your video clips. You’d be happy to know that FCPX already has tons of titles available in the browser. You can quickly add those by dragging them into the timeline you’ve created.




Here’s how:

  1. Click the Titles and Generators Sidebar icon above the browser. Open it.
  2. Select the title you want for the specific clip and drag it onto the timeline. Make sure that the title is placed above the video clip. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to set the title.
  3. You can also trim the titles as you did with the clips. If you’re unsure, re-read the previous section once.
  4. If you feel that something is missing, you can make adjustments with the Title Inspector option at the screen’s top right corner.




5. When you’re satisfied, move the play head and play.


Step 4: Beautify by adding transitions & effects.

We’ve said this quite a few times before, and we’ll repeat it; less is more. This especially holds to adding transitions and effects.

You can always choose to make a bold hard-cut. However, it would be advisable to make the transitions smooth and subtle with the current marketing trends.




Here’s how to add a transition:

  1. Open the Transitions Browser icon.
  2. Select a Transition and drag it between any two clips. This will add that transition within those clips.
  3. You can also adjust the length and timestamp of the transition by dragging it inward or outward.
  4. In an instance where you want to customize the transition, open the Inspector to do it.


But hey! Don’t go gaga over transitions and end up adding them after every clip. Our advice would be to add transitions after a scene change. For instance, your first transition should come after the intro clip.




After that, follow these simple steps to add effects:

  1. Open the Effects Browser icon.
  2. You can browse through for the effects until you find the one you like. Do so by seeing a preview of the effects by skimming the mouse over the thumbnail.
  3. Once you’ve selected an effect, drag it onto the clip you want to affect.
  4. If you want to add an effect between two clips, drag it between them.
  5. For customizations, open the Inspector.


Step 5: Add the sound or music

After the effects and transitions, it’s time to add audio and liven up your video!

Now you can add your own music by importing media. Or you can choose one of the tracks from FCPX’s built-in tracks. These tracks are royalty-free, so you needn’t worry about copyrights or license issues.




Do this to add audio:

  1. Click the Photos & Audio Sidebar icon. Then select Sound Effects.
  2. Suppose you want to select a track from FCPX’s collection, type Jingles. Preview these sounds by pressing the small play button on them.
  3. Once you’ve finalized the track you want to add, drag it to the timeline below your video clips. You will see that a green waveform will appear, indicating the audio track’s progression.
  4. You can also shorten the audio as you please. Or for customizations, open the Inspector. You can adjust the volume and EQ using this option.
  5. And finally, if you want to fade out the audio, pull the Fade Handle at the end of the green audio clip.




Step 6: It’s time for color correction.

Have you ever looked at an excellent video with awful color balance? Yes, we’ve all seen that, and it just breaks your heart, doesn’t it?

So make sure that you don’t repeat that mistake with your video. Use FCP’s built-in Balance feature for color correction throughout the video. This will help remove unnecessary shadows, color casts, and imbalances. Thus, bringing out the perfect shade you need.

Do this for color correction:

  1. Select and highlight all the clips. Once you do that, you will see a yellow outline around them.
  2. Click the Enhancements icon below the Viewer.
  3. Select the Balance Color option and click on it. You will notice an improvement in the colors and contrast of your video.




Step 7: Save your video to share with everyone.

And just like that, you’ve done it. What seemed impossible, just a few minutes back, is now possible. So now it’s time to export your high-quality master file and share it or use it as you like.

Here’s how you export the file:

1. Click anywhere in the timeline.

2. On the top menu bar, select File > Share > Master File.




3. Then select a location on your device to save the file.

4. Rendering the final video in high-quality can take up a few minutes, so don’t worry.

5. When the rendering is complete, you can share the file anywhere. However, do bear in mind that this would be a large file, so don’t forget to compress it.




Additional Step: Get it reviewed online among your friends.

We know how embarrassing and disheartening it gets if someone doesn’t appreciate the result after much dedication. So before you post the video on YouTube, Instagram, or share the final results with clients, get their review first! Include your colleagues, teammates, friends, or even the end client to see what they think of your video.

And there’s no long 7 step procedure to make that happen. You can easily review your video content with GoVisually. With a blazing fast speed, your creative assets can be reviewed within minutes.

The best part? The reviewers don’t need an account.

So make sure you set yourself up for success with GoVisually!


5 YouTube Channels You Should Subscribe To Learn About Final Cut Pro X

Now that you know how to set your video up for editing, it’s time to bring it up a notch. Learning to use FCPX isn’t difficult. However, just like any application, it has its own intricacies and advanced features that you can’t expect to master overnight. This is why we have a list of the 5 best YouTube channels you should subscribe to.

Regardless of your expertise level, these channels will help you understand and explore the world of FCPX. So if you’re curious about editors and what their life looks like, let’s get a view of it.


Ben Halsall

Ben Halsall‘s channel has been active since 2007, even before FCPX was released. That’s because he is a full-time videographer, editor, university instructor & teaches Final Cut Pro X & Adobe workshops across Canada.



Most of his videos answer some of the most commonly faced questions or problems faced by film students or his subscribers. You can also drop a comment or leave him a message if you have a query.

His channel has 4,839,331 views so far, which is quite amazing, to be honest!


Matthew Pearce

Matthew Pearce‘s channel is active since 2009. Most of his work is around making videos on Mac, which is great for you. He has a total of 24,101,960 views on his channel.



He claims to be a ‘maker of things,’ and judging by the great quality of his content, we would agree. So if you want to learn how to add effects, transitions, and apply other features using FCPX like a pro, Matt’s channel would be the best way to go about it.


Final Cut King

Final Cut King channel presents tutorials by Zach King – an FCPX enthusiast and avid video creator. His channel has a staggering 351,112,732 views.



Most of his content is around shooting videos or tutorials with effects on FCPX. He also teaches Final Cut 7 and the entire Final Cut Studio 3. So if you’re looking to brush up your basic knowledge or go in-depth, this would be the channel we recommend!


Final Cut Pro Support by Jared

Final Cut Pro Support by Jared is all about educating video markers on using Final Cut Pro. The channel has 563,316 views.



From the basics of FCPX to more intricate and advanced learning, the channel has you covered from all fronts.


Dan Allen

Dan Allen is a short filmmaker specializing in the horror genre. However, he also has an entire playlist dedicated to educating his audience on FCPX use. His channel has 10,481,613 views.



If you love watching short films and learning FCPX, this would be an ideal channel to subscribe to.


5 Final Cut Pro X Effects & Filters To Use Daily & Blow People Away!

We understand how overwhelming video production can become, especially for a novice. There are tons of effects and transitions to choose from. However, if you keep experimenting for long, it might end up costing you views and audience. So to give you a headstart, we’ve listed down the 6 amazing FCPX effects and filters you should be using in your videos.

These will make your work dynamic and add that spark that you find missing in online videos.

The chances are that if you already use Final Cut Pro, you’d be familiar with these effects. However, if you’re not, or even if you are, using these will instantly charm up your video.

Here are the 5 effects:


Color Corrector

This will help you grade your video properly and remove any necessary casts or shadows. It also adds a thematic value to the video by creating a graded contrast.



This effect will bring out the sharpness in the video. You can use it for videos with dull images. However, make sure that you don’t overdo this effect, as it can make the video look a bit odd to look at. Just use it to bring out the features of the video content.



You can use this effect to alter the sound and resolve any audio issues. The background noise can be canceled using a compressor, which would make your audio better.



Again, it’s a sound effect that helps fix the imbalance in the audio.


Custom Generator

A custom generator can help you in several ways. But the most important use case includes adding overlays in the graphics.


If you’re a beginner and just getting started with FCPX or even an intermediate, we will strongly advise you to test out these effects. Use them and see the versatility you can bring. Once you start getting the hang of it, you can also include other effects to experiment with.


Fixing the 4 Most Common Problems In Final Cut Pro X

Do troubleshoot or problems while video editing annoys you just as much as most people out there? We wouldn’t lie and tell you that you should stay calm. But we will tell you that there’s a fix to every issue, especially an all-powerful and encompassing application like FCPX.

So in this section, we will be discussing the 4 most common problems that we’ve seen people asking about. Let’s put a rest to your questions and make video editing easier, shall we?


Problem # 1: A feature in FCPX is malfunctioning or not working at all

If this occurs repeatedly, there’s a high chance that you have possibly corrupted FCPX preferences. But don’t worry, it is a prevalent issue that most beginners or even experts face sometimes.

The simple solution is to reset the original preferences. If you don’t do that, sometimes the preference file can become corrupt and crash, prompting the software to crash itself. And we don’t want that, right?

We’d suggest adjusting your preferences using the FCPX built-in function. To do that, quit FCP X. Once you’ve done that, hold down the command-option and click on the icon. When you do that, a dialog box will appear. Click “Delete Preferences” on that, and it will automatically reset your preferences.


Problem # 2: Trouble with timeline rendering or crash during playback

There might be a widespread possibility that the FCPX generated render files are corrupted.

To fix that, select the project you’re facing the issue in and then choose File > Delete Generated Project Files.

After that, it should be good for you to start with the unused items. However, if the problem persists, we suggest deleting all the files before it worsens. Once you’ve done that, you can import media again and continue rendering. But in an instance where the problem continues, go to the Event and choose to Delete Generated Files for the Event. This should set up perfectly right.


Problem # 3: Final Cut Pro X is extremely slow

This is one of the most common queries we’ve read so far. And there might be a prevalent reason behind that; your Mac is old!

Don’t get us wrong – any Mac is built to support FCPX. However, if you want to make advanced edits to multiple files with an ancient Mac, that could be problematic.

So the most common solution for this would be to upgrade to a newer version and benefit from it. However, if that is not an option, you can also choose to upgrade storage and memory. This should ideally result in a boost of FCPX performance.


Problem # 4: Long edit sessions makes the application slow down

This one is probably a memory issue. But it could also be an issue with the app itself. Many have reported that the app slows down after hours of the editing process. In most cases, it has turned out to be a memory usage problem. However, some seem peculiar.

In any case, we would suggest a simple and effective solution. Save your progress, quit FCPX and relaunch it. This works all the time!

Final Word on Final Cut Pro X (no pun intended)

Editing isn’t an easy task, but if you’re willing to learn, you’ll get there. Just take it one step or one lesson at a time. As a beginner, you can start using the 5 effects we have mentioned earlier in your videos. And as you keep learning, progress towards the harder but more interesting parts.

We hope that this guide was helpful and you’re all set to start your Final Cut Pro X journey. If there’s anything else you’d like us to write about, drop down the idea or your question in the comments section below.

Alina Zahid Khan

Alina Zahid Khan

Alina Zahid Khan is a storyteller, brand strategist, and growth manager at GoVisually. She loves creating value-driven content for creative professionals.
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