FCP X Help


Make Music with GarageBand and Midi Files

posted May 31, 2016, 10:34 AM by Frank Maggi

Watch Below to see how you can really quickly make your own free music that can legally be used in your video projects using GarageBand and Midi files gotten from the web (make sure the maker of the midi file stipulates they are free to be used). To save you some time, I've collected a bunch that you can download hereHere is the site where these were gotten; there are many more than what I've provided. There are many more places on the internet to find midi files; let Google be your friend. The video is 7 or 8 minutes long, but once you know the procedure, you could have a new, high quality piece of music to use (legally) in under 5 minutes. Give it a try.


Here is a Google search I did with places to go for more free midi files.

Making Custom Masks in Final Cut Pro X

posted May 31, 2016, 10:32 AM by Frank Maggi

FCP X includes a very cool Effect called Draw Mask that allows you to mask player any way you choose. For an introduction to using that tool, watch the movie below.


FCP X: Intro to Animation

posted Jan 19, 2012, 8:34 AM by Frank Maggi   [ updated Jan 24, 2012, 10:14 AM ]

There is a lot of animation that can occur right inside FCP X. You can animate opacity, scale, position, rotation, cropping, color, filters, text parameters...there’s a lot you can do. So long as you understand the concept of Keyframing and work in a methodical way, your only limitation is your imagination. Below are the steps to complete a simple project that should give you the skills you need.




Fade In/Fade Out

  • Add a 7 second clip (any) to the timeline
  • Show Video Animation (above)
  • Hit Show Graph for Opacity (or double-click on the word)
  • Set fade in and fade out (works like this for Audio, too)
  • Space bar to play
  • Reset to original condition (we'll do something more interesting)
  • Hit Hide Graph for Opacity (or double-click on the word)
  • Close Video Animation (x)

Animate Crop in the Viewer

  • Click at the beginning of the clip to set the Playhead
  • In the Viewer, activate Cropping and set a Keyframe
  • Set Playhead at 1second (⌃-P; 1.=1:00; 1..=1:00:00 etc.)
  • Add a second Keyframe in the Viewer; leave it as is. 
  • Use the Previous Keyframe button to go to the first Keyframe
  • Note: always use Keyframe arrows to navigate to be sure you are on a Keyframe
  • Note: always add Keyframe, then change parameter
  • Drag the top middle handle to the center of the Viewer
  • Drag the bottom middle handle to the center of the Viewer
  • Click the Preview button to play your animation
  • Click Done

Add a Generator

  • Set Playhead at 1second (⌃-P; 1.=1:00; 1..=1:00:00 etc.)
  • Click on Generators tab
  • Click on Elements > Shapes
  • Drag Shapes to Playhead
  • Playhead to end of main clip; -1. to go back one second (deselect first)
  • Select Shapes clip at that point in time
  • ⌥-] to set Shapes out point
  • With Shapes selected, click Inspector button, then Generator tab
  • Set shape to Arrow

Animating Roundness (Shapes clip) in the Timeline

  • Show Video Animation
  • Clip > Solo Animation
  • Hit Show Graph button for Roundness 
  • Playhead at beginning; add Roundness Keyframe (Modify > Add Keyframe; ⌥-K)
  • Move forward one second (⌃-P; 2.=2:00); add second Keyframe; leave Roundness at 0
  • Use Keyframe back arrow to go to first Keyframe; set Roundness to 140
  • Set interpolation to Ease
  • Note: always use Keyframe arrows to navigate to be sure you are on a Keyframe

Animating Transformations in the Inspector

  • Place Markers (M) at 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 seconds of the Project; make sure they go on the Shapes clip (select first)
  • Go to Marker 1 [Mark > Next (or previous) > Marker⌃-; or -' ] and select clip
  • In the Inspector, go to Video
  • Add Keyframes for Position, Rotation, and Scale; leave as is
  • Go to Marker 2 [-']; add Keyframes for Position Rotation, and Scale
    • Then set:
      • Position: X=-56
      • Rotation=-90°
      • Scale=50%
  • Go to Marker 3 [-']; add Keyframes for Position, Rotation, and Scale; leave as is so there is a 1 second pause
  • Go to Marker 4 [-']; add Keyframes for Position, Rotation, and Scale
    • Set:
      • Position: X=17; Y=-34 (or any point, really)
      • Rotation=-90° (same)
      • Scale=50% (same)
  • Go to Marker 5 [⌃-']; add Keyframes for Position, Rotation, and Scale
    • Set:
      • Position: X=Off Screen right
      • Rotation=-270° (same)
      • Scale=50% (same)

Extra Credit: Animate Crop of Main Clip in the Viewer

  • Click at the end of the clip to set the Playhead
  • In the Viewer, activate Cropping and set a Keyframe
  • Activate the Timeline (⌘-2)
  • Set Playhead at 1second earlier (-1. > Enter); deselect clip first
  • Add a second Keyframe; leave it as is
  • Use the Next Keyframe button to go to the first Keyframe
  • Note: always use Keyframe arrows to navigate to be sure you are on a Keyframe
  • Note: always add Keyframe, then change parameter
  • Drag the top middle handle to the center of the Viewer
  • Drag the bottom middle handle to the center of the Viewer
  • Click the Preview button to play your animation
  • Click Done

Basic Color Correction in FCP X

posted Jan 19, 2012, 8:33 AM by Frank Maggi   [ updated Jan 24, 2012, 10:50 AM ]

Pretty good overview of the basics—from the Izzy tutorial page (lots of good stuff there)

Color Correcting in FCP X

There are 3 different approaches available for correcting color:
  •  Engage "Balance" if the clip has been analyzed; if not choose Clip > Reveal in Event Browser [⌘-] and then Contol-click on the Event version and choose Analyze and Fix
  • Match, where it attempts to get the same color balance as another clip of your choosing
  • Manual, where you have the most control and can target that control: 
    • Exposure
    • Saturation
    • Color
    • Each of those can be applied globally or just in the shadows, mids, or highlights
Use any or a combination of those techniques

Recommended Procedure for Manual Correction

  1. Show Video Scopes (Window > Show Video Scopes or ⌘-7)
  2. Set it to Waveform for measuring luminance values (light/dark).
  3. Fix Exposure
    1. Click on Exposure tab
    2. Move the Shadow slider until the darkest parts just hit "0"
    3. Move the Highlights slider until the brightest levels just hit 100
    4. Adjust the Midtone slider to taste
  4. Fix Color
    1. Click on the Color tab.
    2. Use the Global slider if it's obvious the image needs more/less of a certain color
    3. Move the Global slider to the color you want to increase/decrease
    4. Move the slider up/down in tiny increments by selecting the slider and then using Up and Down arrows to add/subtract that color. Often, just 2 or 3 clicks is enough. Don't overdo it.
    5. Alternatively, you have the option to use the Shadow, Midtone, and Highlight slider instead (any or all of them; often Midtones is the one you most need). This gives you more targeted control.
    6. If you want, change the Waveform scope to the Vectorscope to check
      1. Oversaturation (don't go beyond the Saturation Limit Boxes; see picture below; if necessary, you can fix in the Saturation tab)
      2. Skin Tones—the northwest dividing line represents skin tones for all humans. Tip: temporarily crop your image so only skin tones are present and then
  5. Fix Saturation
    1. Click on the Saturation tab.
    2. Again, you have a choice of using the Global slider or any/all of the Shadow, Midtone, and Highlight sliders. Or a combination (e.g. globally add blue to the image, but reduce the blue in just the shadows if it looks too strong).
    3. Also, a little goes a long way; use the Up/Down arrows to go in tiny steps to get what you like. Here, too, don't overdo it.
    4. If you want, change the Scopes to Vectorscope. Two important things:
      1. The saturation level for any color should never go beyond the Saturation Limit Boxes; usually it won't even be close
      2. Skin tones are important; they should always be along the northwest vector line, regardless of race or ethnicity. This is sometimes called the Skin Tone Reference Line. Tip: temporarily crop an image so that all (or most) of what's visible is skin. Check it against the skin tone vector.



Green Screen in FCP X

posted Jan 5, 2012, 12:57 PM by Frank Maggi   [ updated Jan 6, 2012, 12:50 PM ]

Green screening is a strong suit of FCP X. The built in keyer is robust and does a very good job. 

To apply a green screen effect, go to the Effects Browser, choose Keying and then the Keyer Effect. Simply drag that effect onto the clip you want to key. Usually, that's it. It does a terrific job without any help from you. But, unlike iMovie, you do have options, such as:
  •  You can put either the green screen clip or the background clip on the primary storyline; when you're ready, the missing clip is added above or below (yes, you can add clips under the primary storyline)
  • You can use Auditions with either the green screen clip or the background clip (or both) to preview different options
  • If you click on the green screen clip and hit the "i" button [for Inspector], you'll see the options to the left for refining your work (although you may not need to use them)
  • You can fine tune your key with the tools described below 

Green Screen Controls

Below is a brief explanation of the controls you have. A good way to get a sense how they work is to just play with them and watch how it affects your work. They can make a real difference.
  •  Reset Arrow—Curved arrow in the top right corner; if you screw everything up, click this to go back to defaults
  • Refine Key
    • Sample Color would be used if there were some green "crumbs" still left behind. Click on this and then draw a rectangle with the tool over the crumbs
    • Edges would be used if the keyed clip is having a hard time picking up the edge. Click on the tool and drag a line over the edge where there is trouble. The idea is to get one circle just on the outside, one circle just on the inside, and the line directly over the edge. Can be tricky to use.
  • Strength—Almost always you want this at 100%
  • Jump to Sample—If you used the tools above, use these arrows to go back/forward to where the tool was used
  • View—This can be really useful; three choices:
    • Final—All the green is gone and you see the background
    • Matte—Anything white will be visible, black will be hidden, grey will be semi-transparent. Your goal is to get solid black/white (unless there are things you're supposed to see through; then some grey is OK). The edge between black and white should be slightly blurred (see Edge Distance below).
    • Original—No effect applied
  • Fill Holes—If your white parts have some bleed-through, this may be able to get rid of it. As you drag to the right the holes will fill in (it increases matte density). Obviously, you don't want to go too far. Use judgement.
  • Edge Distance—Basically, this blurs the edge to get rid of stair-steps and make the edge more believable.
  • Invert—Flips the matte so what was hidden is shown and what was shown is hidden.
  • Mix—Here, too, you always want it to the far right (1.0) unless you have very special needs.

Auditions for FCP X

posted Sep 29, 2011, 12:28 PM by Frank Maggi   [ updated May 30, 2016, 1:21 PM ]

  1. Auditions (very cool)
    • Y = Open Audition
    • ⌃-Right Arrow = Next Audition Clip
    • ⌃-Left Arrow = Previous Audition Clip
    • ⌥-⇧-Y = Finalize Audition
    • / = Play selection
    • ⇧-/ = Play around playhead (3 or 4 seconds either way)
  2. Use Auditions for:
    • Previewing different takes of a scene
    • Previewing various clips as a cutaway or B-roll
    • Previewing different effects on the same clip (Duplicate as Audition)


Auditions

In Final Cut Pro you can organize related clips into sets, called auditions, from which you can choose one clip to use. You can create an audition composed of different clips to try out multiple takes, or you can create an audition composed of multiple versions of the same clip to preview different effects. Auditions appear in the Event Browser and Timeline as clips with an Audition icon in the upper-left corner.

Audition icon shown on a clip in the Event browser.

Audition icon shown on a clip in the Timeline.

The audition’s filmstrip displays the currently selected clip, called the pick. All other clips in the audition are referred to as alternates. You can open an audition to see the selected clip and the alternates.

Alternate clips shown beside the selected pick in the Audition window

Auditions allow you to preserve your alternate edits without affecting the other clips in the Timeline. When you’re not auditioning the clips in an audition, the audition functions like an individual clip. You can trim an audition, apply transitions between auditions and other clips, and add keywords and markers. You can keep your audition containing your alternate clips for as long as is necessary.

After you’ve reviewed the clips in the audition and decided which one works best in your project, you can finalize the audition, which dissolves it and leaves the pick as an individual clip in the Timeline. The pick retains the audition’s position in the Timeline and all keywords and markers applied to the audition.


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