The reason I started The Portland Company was to build a business that could fund film production. After nearly ten years, we're rounding that corner to begin actually filming professional major motion pictures. Yay! So today I was working on an introduction film for a friends Kickstarter project working within Final Cut Pro X for the first time. Although I've edited in previous versions, Adobe's Premiere Pro and Avid it's certainly been long enough that I've forgotten my groove (not like dancing groove! Like groove in the ground!). So I thought I'd make some notes to myself about first impressions. But particularly focusing on the things I expected as a user. As usual, I suspect there are others that would benefit from this but I guess we'll see!


Before I begin though, here are some things I hate about Final Cut Pro X.

  • When I install new fonts into Font Book I have to restart FCPX! Come on guys, that's ridiculous. What are you; Adobe Photoshop CS?


  1. Importing Video From iPhone - For this particular project, I shot the video on an iPhone 5, so I immediately wondered how to import this because it wasn't possible, directly in Final Cut, in previous versions. To my delight, upon connecting my iPhone, I discovered this was natively present from the Import menu.
  2. Detach Audio - Immediately upon importing video I wanted to detach and delete the audio associated with the clip itself. You can do this by selecting the clip, then selecting the Clip menu -> Detach audio. You can also select the clip and press Ctrl Shift S.
  3. Slicing Splicing Cutting - Next I wanted to splice or slice a video (as I called it). Turns out this tool is actually called the Blade tool and must be selected from the cursor icon that appears four blocks from the left of the vertical divider. You can also press CMD Shift B without switching to it and remaining selected on whatever cursor mode you are using.
  4. Linking Clips - After this I wanted to start linking clips together, particularly two audio clips. I stumbled across the answer while researching what "Storylines" are and how to use them. They're actually called "Connected Clips" and can be connected by placing one on top of another and select all of the clips in question and chose "Clip" -> "Create Storyline"
  5. Then I wanted to change the speed of a clip.
  6. Missing File - Then I migrated machines and encountered a missing clip issue after manually migrating the Final Cut Pro directories from within the Movies directory. Here is proper the solution.
  7. Fade - After I got my clips in order I wanted to start introducing fades. I right clicked expecting to see some sort of option their on the clip itself but nothing stood out. So I Googled and discovered that I have to select the "Transitions Browser" button which appear in the middle bar on the right of the screen. Then I can drag-n-drop transitions to my clips.
  8. Text - The trickiest thing I'm finding about editing video and creating animations is that there are not necessarily logical names for things. Trying to describe text that appears on the screen as if it was written is highly subjective! So while I'm Googling "flowy text fcpx effect" and crap like that I discovered that if I select the "Titles Browser" there is an effect in "Build In/Out" called "Ornate"... duh! ... not. But that's okay, having a background in programming I can comprehend how there isn't really a way to easily name these types of things. But some tags would be nice to search with!
  9. Modifying "Title Browser" Templates - After I located the effect I was searching for I quickly realized that I wanted to replace the template's artwork with my own. I was able to find actual documentation for this one.
  10. Adjusting Audio - At one point I wanted to set a keyframe in an audio clip so I could adjust the volume at different points. This is slightly less than intuitive because you have to place the cursor where you want it AND click the horizontal volume bar and then press Option K to place a key frame. Then place another key frame and adjust the to effect the volume on either side.