In the world of digital video editing, there are a variety of software options available, but Apple's own Final Cut Pro application is one of the best. For many years, Final Cut has been a favorite of professionals and indie filmmakers alike, bringing Apple's flair for design and ingenuity into the editing space. So what is Final Cut Pro, and how can it be harnessed to edit incredible movies? Below, we've shared some basic concepts behind the software, including the magnetic timeline, libraries and keywords, and multichannel editing.
The Magnetic Timeline
Unlike many other editing timelines, Final Cut Pro X is designed so that new clips automatically fit into an existing sequence. For example, if you drag a new clip in between two existing clips on the timeline, the existing clips will move out of the way so that everything fits perfectly. Likewise, clips will fill in any extra space on the timeline, so that the gaps with no video are eliminated. Once your clips have "magnetically" snapped together, you can perform more nuanced edits.
Importing and Organizing Media
Final Cut Pro X makes it easy to import clips with the Unified Import window. Here, you can import media from virtually any source, including cameras, hard drives, and the web. Once footage is imported, it's sent to a library that can be accessed at any time. You can create multiple libraries so that content stays organized, and if you need a backup while working, you can save an entire library to an external location. Even more impressive, Final Cut analyzes clips as they're imported, creating metadata about the number of people, camera information, and other attributes that you can search for later.
Apple's clever approach to design has led to Final Cut Pro's Auditions feature, which allows you to test out different clips in a sequence, until it lives up to your vision. By placing a few potential clips on the timeline, you can quickly preview each one in the context of the scene. As you do this, the Magnetic Timeline will keep the sequence in sync, so that everything flows naturally.
Compound Clips and Connections
Lastly, Final Cut Pro allows you to combine clips (audio or video) into "Compound Clips", which you can save and reuse in other areas of your project. While working with b-roll and audio layers, Final Cut will also establish connections between related clips. This makes it easy to copy the entire segment of audio and video as one giant bundle, so that everything stays in place. Having a visual indicator that shows Clip Connections is extremely useful when collaborating with other editors, or if you take a break from working on a project and forget how the pieces fit together.