Top 10 Final Cut Pro Tips and Tricks for Editors

A classic collection of quick tips and time savers

The following are my Top 10 Final Cut Pro Tips, with many thanks to the talented guru’s over at the (now defunct) ProAppTips. These tips have either made my life as an editor easier, enhanced the creative workflow process, or are just really cool. Here they are, in no particular order.

FCP BIG Keyframe Editor
Expand your Motion/Filters tab keyframing area to a much larger space for fine-tuning keyframes. Just drag the vertical line between the filters tab keyframe area and the filter stack to create more workspace.

FCP EZ Add Video Without Audio
Use Control-I and Control-O to effortlessly Insert or Overwrite video sans audio to your timeline from the Viewer.

FCP fit to window shortcut
We all do it. Fire off a few quick keystrokes to zoom the timeline…before realizing that the browser or canvas is selected instead. Fortunately the fix is just as easy to do…simply use Shift-Z to toggle the canvas/viewer back to “Fit To Window” mode and correct your mistake sans profanity.

FCP Open Bins in a seperate browser tab
Option+Double-Click on bins to open them in a new Tab.

FCP Moving a clip just a little in the Canvas
Single-pixel pan/crop motion adjustments are possible by activating the wireframe view, clicking on the clip in the Canvas, and hold down Option while using the arrow keys to nudge the clip.

FCP Creating a Multiple Filter Favorite Folder
Create a bin in your Filter Favorites folder that contains multiple often used filters or a “look recipe”. Just drag and drop filters from a clip to the bin to save their current settings for later reuse.

FCP using Motion scanline transitions in projects
Create a scanline transition in Motion 2, and utilize that as a transition in FCP. Project files here.

FCP Color Correcting Multi-clips already in timeline
Use Final Cut’s powerful Find feature to locate and multiple-select clips in your timeline that originated from uniquely named clips. Drop or paste correction filters or attributes, and presto-chango you are done.

FCP Shane’s Stock Answers
This compilation wouldn’t be complete without Shane’s extensive list of stock answers to common questions. Ranging from exporting a still from FCP to the differences between 24p and 24pA, there’s something for everyone here. Hosted at LFiHD now.

FCP fast timecode entry tricks
Get around the timeline faster with these tips for timecode navigation.

I hope that one or more of the tips on this list help you as an editor. They have all been helpful to me at one time or another. This list spawned a similar Top 11 Tips list from broadcast editor Scott Simmons, you can check it out here. For more reading on shortcuts and keyboard tricks, this article from Ken Stone’s FCP site is an excellent one. If you have something that other editors could use, consider contributing it in the comments.

This FreshDV classic article is licensed and republished at
ProVideoCoalition with permission.

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Matt Jeppsen is a DoP based in Sydney. Reel and contact info at www.mattjeppsen.com