Post Production

Editor as Director in 360 Video with Final Cut Pro X

This Week on MacBreak Studio

This week on MacBreak Studio, Ripple Training’s Steve Martin shows us how the editor can be the director when it comes to working with 360 video in Final Cut Pro X.

360 video gives the audience the opportunity to look in any direction by either dragging in a magic window in a browser or moving their head around when viewing through a phone, tablet, or headset like Google Cardboard or perhaps an HTC Vive. It’s an opportunity, but it also poses a challenge for the filmmaker who usually wants viewers to look in a specific direction.

The viewer is limited to a specific section of that 360 sphere by the field of view. The default view is based on how the camera was oriented during filming. Usually the director positions the camera such that the primary action happens in this default view so that when the video starts, the viewer doesn’t have to look around to figure out what to look at.

However, sometimes this initial view is incorrect: perhaps the camera wasn’t oriented properly, or there was a change of action on set. Final Cut Pro X has a tool in its 360 toolset called “Reorient” that makes it very easy to establish a new default orientation simply by dragging on the 360 Viewer window. You also use this tool to correct for tilted horizon lines by dragging in the equirectangular view (I’d recommend enabling the very useful “Show Horizon” feature in the View pop-up menu under Overlays).

Now you can take this reorient concept further by animating the default field of view so that it moves over time. Doing so allows you to manipulate where the viewer looks without them needing to turn their head or drag in a magic window. As Steve shows us, you accomplish this by keyframing the appropriate axes – usually Y to pan left and right, but you may also want to tilt up or down on X.

Check it out above. If you missed it, check out our episode on removing people from 360 videos. If you are planning or already shooting 360 video and editing with Final Cut Pro X, you’ll also want to check out Steve’s new 360 Editing tutorial.


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Mark Spencer is a freelance producer, videographer, editor, trainer and writer based in the Bay Area. He produces Final Cut Pro X-related training and plugins for with his partners at Ripple Training. He is an…

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