Book Image

Final Cut Pro Efficient Editing - Second Edition

By : Iain Anderson
5 (1)
Book Image

Final Cut Pro Efficient Editing - Second Edition

5 (1)
By: Iain Anderson

Overview of this book

Elevate your video editing skills with Final Cut Pro 10.7.1, the ultimate tool for efficient and professional editing, offering powerful new features to enhance your workflow and give your videos a stunning look. The second edition of this comprehensive guide covers exciting new features in FCP, teaching you how to streamline your workflow with customizable workspaces, shortcuts, and advanced trimming tools. Explore best-in-class titles and a comprehensive suite of visual effects in Final Cut Pro for dynamic videos, create a great-sounding mix with Final Cut Pro's audio tools, and utilize the magnetic timeline, multicam editing, and advanced color correction for every project. Whether you're creating content for social media, YouTube, or Hollywood, Final Cut Pro Efficient Editing, Second Edition is your ultimate guide to professional video editing. Get your copy today and take your video editing skills to the next level.
Table of Contents (23 chapters)
PART 1: Importing and Organizing
PART 2: Rough Cut to Fine Cut
PART 3: Finishing and Exporting

Hardware recommendations

As a final note for this introductory chapter, it’s worth looking at your computer. Technology will continue to advance, so I’ll keep this broad, but FCP can work on anything from a low-end laptop to a fully upgraded Mac Pro or Mac Studio worth more than most cars. What do you need?

A Mac

This one is obvious since FCP doesn’t run on Windows, but what kind? There are many options, but the most obvious question is laptop or desktop? — and the answer is simple. Laptop if you need portability, or desktop for easier expansion. A large second display is always helpful.

An important factor for video editing is the graphics power on offer, and while almost any Mac can deal with almost any job, the higher the resolution you want to work with, and the more effects that you want to be able to add, the more money you should spend. At this stage, I’d go for an Apple Silicon Mac, and at the time of writing, the Max and Ultra versions offer the best performance for demanding video workflows.

Note that Final Cut Pro is available for iPad, but the iPad version has been adapted for a mobile, touch-first experience, and is missing many features present on the Mac. The iPad version is still good, but it’s not our focus here.

Active media storage

You’ll need enough fast storage to hold as many jobs as possible, because you’ll be shooting and storing a lot of footage. There are several options, as follows:

  • Solid-State Drives (SSDs) are very fast and can be moved or dropped while in use, but are still somewhat expensive. The fastest Thunderbolt drives are more expensive than slightly slower Universal Serial Bus (USB) drives. If you can afford them, and you don’t need to store a lot of jobs at once, get a few of these. They might be your only choice if you work with really demanding media.
  • Spinning hard disks are big and cheap, but not hugely fast, and somewhat fragile. Available in portable and desktop versions, a desktop hard drive is larger and requires independent power, but is faster, usually cheaper, and potentially much larger. Get a few of these if you’re on a budget.
  • Between these two options is a Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) in which multiple drives (usually spinning disks) are combined to make a larger storage volume. A RAID usually includes redundancy, to partly protect against drive failure. RAID enclosures aren’t cheap, but they’re cheaper than SSDs, faster and more reliable than a single disk, and potentially larger than either. Get this if you regularly need to access a lot of jobs.

But hang on a second. Your Mac has a very fast SSD inside — can’t you just use that? Yes, you can. Many experienced editors will tell you no, but that’s partly because it used to be a very bad idea. Back when computers were slow, using the system disk could mean that an import or export operation failed when the operating system suddenly needed to access the same drive as your media. Modern SSDs are much, much faster and the same rules don’t apply. The only concern is that of space, and for that reason alone, an external SSD is often a better idea.

Backup storage

Backup is critical because any device can fail at any moment. Losing a hard drive is an inevitability, but losing the files on that drive is not — if you have a backup. (I’ve seen people knock over hard drives and lose thousands of photos in an instant; don’t let this happen to you.) So, how do you back things up? Ideally, keep three copies of your data, on two different mediums, and at least one copy off-site. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Time Machine is a built-in feature on macOS that takes a copy of your entire system hard drive every hour, keeping past versions accessible. All you need is a regular spinning hard drive, and to say Yes when you first plug it in. (You might also need to use the built-in Disk Utility app to format it as HFS+ (Journaled) or APFS first.)
  • Online backup (such as Backblaze) is an excellent option if you have fast upload speed because every direct-connected drive can be copied without you having to lift a finger, and at a reasonable price. This is a good solution for current work at least.


While a high-end MacBook Pro display does offer HDR capabilities, adding an external display will give you a much better editing experience, with more space for all your work and a big screen to view your final edit. Ideally, a 4K (UHD) monitor will let you see every pixel in 4K footage, and you’ll find a range of cheaper and more expensive options. Choose an In-Plane Switching (IPS) screen for color consistency and wider viewing angles, and a High Dynamic Range (HDR) and/or wide gamut screen (or even an OLED TV) if you plan to work with those kinds of footage. (If you’re not sure what HDR is, I’ll talk about it in Chapter 11, Play with Light: Color Correction and Grading.)


Self-powered monitor speakers are an excellent idea, allowing you to hear the details in the sound you’re mixing. PreSonus Eris and KRK Rokit are popular choices. Remember, though, that many people will be listening on regular computer speakers, and you’ll want to make sure your work sounds good on them too.

If you’re planning on recording your own voice-overs, you’ll want a USB-connected microphone of some kind, and there’s a huge variety of microphones and audio interfaces available. One tip is that some audio recorders (including some from Zoom and RØDE) can also function as USB microphones — two devices for the price of one.

Media card reader

If you’re shooting on a “real” camera, you’ll need to be able to import footage from its media cards, which could be Secure Digital (SD), CompactFlash (CF), or something more exotic. Not all Macs have SD readers built in, and not all cameras shoot to SD cards in any case, so pick up a fast card reader if you need one. Note that some brands perform better than others when paired with matching readers — check the fine print.

Miscellaneous USB gear

If you want to get fancy, you can use additional hardware (such as Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or MIDI controllers) with additional free software (such as CommandPost) to augment your editing experience. I really like using a Monogram Console and a Tangent Ripple for color grading, but this is definitely an optional extra.

Anything else?

The world of camera gear is endless, but after the shoot, your footage and a Mac are all you really need. Edit at a desk, in the field, or on a couch if you like — but stretch regularly, and make sure to keep your body comfortable and healthy by following ergonomic guidelines. You’ll appreciate a good desk and a good chair every day.