Final Cut Pro 10.3 Tutorial Round Up

Final Cut Pro 10.3 Tutorial Round Up

final cut pro 10.3.3 update

  • What’s new in FCPX 10.3.3
  • Tutorials for better editing in FCPX 10.3+
  • In-depth workflow resources for TV and Film

Final Cut Pro was recently updated to version 10.3.3 with some helpful improvements to the increasingly popular NLE.

This list highlights some of the new improvements in this fairly small dot update:

  • Ability to expand the width of the Inspector to view and adjust effect parameters
  • Fixes issues with updating older libraries
  • Faster redraw of audio waveforms when using clips that are being imported while recorded to disk
  • Diamond icon in the Timeline Index to show when the user has modified display of roles in the timeline
  • More colour options in the Role Editor
  • Support for Canon Log 3 and Sony S-Log3/S-Gamut3 log processing

For a lot more detail about the much larger update in the 10.3 version of FCPX, check out this massive round up of resources on making the most of the new features.

For a half hour reminder of what’s new in FCPX 10.3, here is the presentation that Luke Tristram, from Apple, gave at a recent LAPUG meet up performed on a new 2016 Macbook Pro with Touchbar.

For a 7 minute opinion piece on FCPX, from Sven Pape (This Guy Edits) check out the video above. If you’re considering giving FCPX a try, there’s never been a better time to do so!

The number one thing for me is the magnetic timeline. It’s scary when you look at it and you don’t understand it at first. It’s the hardest thing to learn on FCPX and it’s the biggest thing.

If you’ve seen the movie “Minority Report”, you might remember the scene where Tom Cruise is moving all these images around. Think of Tom Cruise as the magnetic timeline. You don’t have to decide on what track the audio will live for the video. It’ll find its spot.

All you have to do is focus on story.

For more wisdom from Sven, check out my interview with him here, or this post on Tips for Switching NLE, for help on making the leap into FCPX for the first time.

Tips on Using FCPX for the First Time

Editor and technology pundit Alex Golner recently shared this post commenting on assistant editor Chris Chapman’s extremely detailed post of his experience of working in FCPX, for a couple of weeks on a personal project.

This article is a written account of my hands-on experiences with FCPX over the course of two weeks, and details what I have found whilst experimenting and using the program. What I’ve included isn’t necessarily the only way to do things, and there will likely be things I don’t know or have gotten wrong, there have been sections already re-written after checking if what I remembered was correct; so if you as a reader believe I have anything wrong, please let me know.  And I hope you find my account of FCPX useful for anyone reading this. 

I thought I’d include it here as it’s always encouraging, when you’re attempting to use a piece of software for the first time, to hear how other folk are fairing and what their work-arounds were. Chris covers a lot of topics including how he organised and set up his media, interface functionality like scrubbing, colour coding etc, as well as many general editing topics like colour grading, transitions, exporting and more.

Alex suggests a good idea for editors who have a lot of experience in a specific NLE who are looking to try another FCPX for the first time:

When talking to those with a great deal of experience in another NLE, I suggest that they try Final Cut by doing a project that is very different from what they usually do. Feature editors should try to make a music video. Documentary videos should try to cut a short film. Fast turnaround editors should try to cut a short documentary.

That means they will be able to use Final Cut’s ways of doing things without constantly comparing them to they way they use Media Composer of Premiere every day.

One of the things that Chris found difficult was the ability to perform 3-point edits with any precision.

This appears to be very difficult also due to the requirement of ‘gap’, which as far as I’m aware is a main staple in most people’s editing arsenal.  FCPX allows you to put down in’s and out’s on the timeline but they have to be placed over existing media, or gap.  This makes accurate 3-point edits feel difficult for anything other than replacing clips which can be done easier by dragging a new clip over an old one.

I saw this tweet which highlighted a helpful tutorial from Ripple Training on how to do 3 point edits with ease in FCPX. So if you were wondering how to do them, now you know.

Chris’ whole post is well worth a read in detail here, and he will probably update it over time.

Alex is exceptionally generous to the FCPX community and gives away an astounding collection of free plugins on his site.

FCPX Tips and Training Tutorials

In this “tutorial” Charlie Austin demonstrates how to perform a versioning workflow using Roles in FCPX. The kicker to why you would want to spend the time setting up these Share Presets comes at about 7.27 minutes in.

This is also a great tutorial for anyone looking to learn how to create split-track masters out of FCPX, and how to re-arrange those track layouts for future use.

At about 8.40 Charlie also demonstrates how to use the new Roles based mixing functionality to achieve the same versioning workflow, leveraging sub-roles.

I’ve been doing this for a long time, and versioning is a pain in the butt. In FCPX it’s not a pain in the butt. It’s easy.

For a LOT more detail about the new mixing capabilities Roles bring in 10.3 check out this previous post which covers the new features in FCPX in epic detail.

using roles in fcpx

For a comprehensive written guide to making the most of Roles in all aspects of your editing workflow in FCPX, check out Nick Harauz’s post on

Nick covers topics including: what roles are and how they work in various parts of the interface, creating Roles automatically on import, audio mixing with Roles and exporting with them too.

If you select an audio lane in the timeline index, you can rearrange the order. You can also disable an individual lane, expand/collapse a lane to reveal/hide any sub-roles and focus on a lane to isolate audio from within one role, while minimising all the others.

For a handy tip for importing custom audio folders into FCPX 10.3.2, the Ripple Training series Final Cut Pro X – In Under 5 Minutes has you covered.

The purpose of this tip is to demonstrate how you can seamlessly access your personally collected library of sound effects or royalty free music, and have them appear in FCPX every time you need them.

The system folder you need to place your Alias links into is:

Mac HD > Library > Audio > Apple Loops > Apple > Final Cut Pro Sound Effects

In this short tip from the Macbreak Studio boys, you can learn how to record voice over into FCPX and have it appear in a specific audio lane and at a specific time in the timeline, in under 5 minutes. Useful.

While we’re on the subject of audio tips, in this MacBreak Studio episode Steve shares a great tip on replacing sections of audio with a segment of room tone in a couple of clicks. Being able to polish up your audio in this way saves a lot of time.

In another 10.3 tutorial Mark and Steve share a tip to remedy a problem with the new way the Delete key works in FCPX 10.3.

The keyboard command needed to delete a selected audio range is ‘Delete Selection Only’ (CMD+Option+Delete) although Steve chooses to reassign the D key for efficiency.

For a final tip from the boys Mark shares some custom keyboard commands he has added to the FCPX keyboard commands to improve the efficiency of working with audio in FCPX 10.3

Toggling the new audio lanes feature on and off. Normally, you need to first open the Timeline Index, then click the Show Audio Lanes button. But since there is a command in the Command Editor associated with this button, we can invoke it with a keyboard shortcut. I use Shift-L for this purpose.

Tony Gallardo has created a really useful custom Slate Title, which you can download for free from his site, to help keep your deliverables well labelled and comprehensible to those who receive them.

The Slate title is inside a Library, I have created a project that has the Slate title, some audio beeps and 2-pop along with a slug/fill. Total time is 5 seconds, adjust it to your needs. It has helped speed up my process and hopefully it will for you too.

In this short presentation from a recent LACPUG meet up, you can hoover up 10 tips and tricks when editing in FCPX 10.3

Tips include toggling on continuous playback, keyboard shortcuts for adding in fade handles, trimming connected clips, navigating clips via the keyboard and much more!

In this FCPX in Under 5 Minutes episode Mark Spencer shares a tip from his Ripple Training title Warp Speed Editing, on using Markers in your editing workflow. Which are especially handy for working through client feedback notes.

Thomas Grove Carter is seemingly one of the most interesting editors cutting in FCPX today and he’s going to speaking at NAB next week on cutting Ed Sheeran’s latest music video, which currently has over 152 million views on YouTube.

In the video above filmed in London as part of the FCPX World Tour, Thomas demonstrates how to ‘edit at the speed of thought’, and his general workflow when cutting in FCPX.

Alex Golner helpfully provided a time coded breakdown of the demo in the original Vimeo comments, which I’ve copied below:

Alex Golner: Great work – explains a lot in a very short time – including cutting down a 60 second TV ad with a complex soundscape down to a 30 second version in 3 min and 30 sec (starts at 18:51).

[1:55] – Final Cut Pro X doesn’t need bins – the benefits of clips appearing in multiple places depending on metadata.
[6:30] – The benefits of string outs without the string outs
[7:01] – Building a complex soundscape from scratch
[14:19]  – Audio lanes, no need for track-based audio organisation
[16:53]  – Cutting down a 60-second UK TV commercial to a 30-second version
[22:15]  – Playing back the 30-second cut

One of the big questions that Thomas often get’s asked is: What shortcuts are you using?

The thread of this tweet includes a helpful conversation about using the Copy and Paste Timecode functionality to find specific locations in projects, particularly when dealing with VFX notes which tend to be frame specific.

In-Depth FCPX Workflow Guide

Sam Mestman and Patrick Southern and Gergana Angelova from Luma Forge demonstrate an FCPX based-workflow presentation taking you from ingest to DCP delivery of a TV pilot called Off The Grid, all running from a Luma Forge JellyFish.

(Check out this post for a lot more detail on what the JellyFish is and why it’s so great.)

This 50 minute presentation will serve as a good overview of the 5-part article series detailed below.

If you want to take an exceptionally deep dive into putting a feature film or TV pilot through post-production then the epic 5-part Off The Grid series from Sam, hosted on, is the training you need to absorb.

The behind the scenes video above helps to layout the entire workflow in under 3 minutes.

The premise of the series is to share all of Sam’s intense workflow learning in the last few years that has helped him to spend less than 5% of what he spent in 2008, creating an independent production. And he hopes it can help you create the stories you want to tell too.

Here is what we were able to accomplish with Off The Grid (and you’ll be able to do this too after reading this series):

  • Work in 6k from native RED RAW footage and original audio with no LUT’s or dailies required
  • Automatically batch sync jam-synced sound and create synchronized/multicam clips and automatically apply sub-roles to multi channel wav files with Sync-N-Link X
  • Add the Script Supervisor’s notes to footage via Shot Notes X, making them searchable in the Browser.
  • Automatically batch re-name clips based on metadata
  • Start editing while importing footage and create same day rough cuts of scenes.
  • Easily work in FCPX in a shared environment
  • Create synced dailies for review in the cloud with
  • Easily flip between offline and online resolution with a click of the button
  • Automate a perfectly organized sound delivery with no track preparation with X2Pro
  • Manage the color pipeline for theatrical, web, and broadcast and Color Graded for the theater in DCI-P3 with an inexpensive broadcast monitor
  • Make a color accurate DCP, in-house for free
  • Retain connections to media when going between machines/collaborators
  • Pass VFX renders back and forth through the cloud in a mastering codec

Much of the speed and efficiency inherent in the workflow comes from the managing of metadata throughout the pipeline. Part 2 covers this in exhaustive detail and in many ways is a superb showcase of the functionality in FCPX that sets it apart from other NLEs.

I am convinced that it is significantly faster getting organized than it is with other NLE’s if you follow a few basic strategies. It is also exponentially faster finding the clips you’re looking for, as you get deeper into your edit, if you take proper advantage of some of the tools present in FCPX that simply don’t exist in other NLE’s.

Although much of the workflow relies on other third party ‘eco-system’ apps like Sync-N-Link or Shot Notes X, Sam also shares some insights on working with Custom Metadata in FCPX, without these apps, to batch rename his footage in seconds. (See the video below, or Custom Metadata in FCPX at the end of Part 2 of the Off The Grid series)

The entire 5-part series is well worth taking the time over, as are the embedded tutorial videos along the way. Check out the first part of the series on here.

Independent Feature Film Workflow in FCPX

In another fantastic article from co-writer/director and editor Geoffrey Orthwein, you can read up on his experience of using FCPX to edit and deliver independent sci-fi feature Bokeh.

Post-production began on version 10.1.4 and finished on 10.3.2. Part of what’s interesting to me about his decision making process in choosing to cut on FCPX is, the emphasise on what will be fun and joyful! It’s definitely something that should be considered more often.

I often get asked how Final Cut Pro X held up on the film. People want to know if I will use it again for another feature. I mentioned the fun part earlier, but there’s hard truth about independent filmmaking – post-production takes a looonngg time and you’re always racing for a deadline.

Rough cuts, polish cuts, fine cuts, sample cuts, VFX cuts. festival submissions, buyer screenings, picture lock, legal changes, preview screenings, reference movies for color grade, audio mix, foley, ADR, VFX, Blu-Ray discs and on and on.

You’re in a constant state of iterating for the next deliverable and that is where FCPX excels.

Whether its minor changes, full re-cuts, or just another reference movie, the speed and facility to go through this iteration process in Final Cut Pro X makes even these utilitarian tasks joyful.

The whole post has lots of great production and post production details that should inform and inspire you on your next project in FCPX.

Over-framing like David Fincher for a Centre Extraction in FCPX

In this final, 3-part find from, filmmaker Robin Moran shared the fruit of his R&D on re-creating the Fincher-workflow-favourite of over-shooting a much larger resolution image than he plans to deliver in to have greater creative flexibility in post.

By shooting at 6K (6144 x 3072) and delivering at 4K (4036 x 1706) there is plenty of room to either re-frame or post stabilise the image, for a silky smooth look.

You can get a lot more detail on this and other Fincher fun, in my Making of Gone Girl post here.

For Robin to achieve this process in FCPX he also had to do his own resolution specific calculations and figure out how to get the FCPX viewer to show an image that was bigger than the project for the ‘look around’. The answer to this turned out to be setting the Spacial Conform to ‘none’.

Part 1 details all of this and shows you how to re-create this workflow for yourself.

In Part 2 Robin followed up with some answers to common questions from readers on the process of moving the footage into Resolve and Pro Tools, as well as why he chose to use Pro Res instead of REDRAW and other things.

In Part 3 Robin covers the changes the 10.3 update makes to the workflow and a few other updates to the workflow.


  • Hey Ron,

    1A. Move the connection point to wherever you need it. Cut the last chorus, Move connection point to just fore that bit, cut whatever is ahead of it, move point, repeat. 1 click, and really flexible once you get used to it.

    1B, make compound clips from the synced takes, and use as source. skim in browser, cut in what you need, break it apart, and choose your take. Not exactly the same as a “pancake” in another NLE, but same thing and just as easy.

    5. Gotcha, but if you do it in the TL, you can just collapse the components… no clutter at all. A KB shortcut in inspector would be nice, but it’s one keystone to collapse/expand components so no big deal for me. Just my preference

    6. Honestly not something I do very much, so can’t speak to that. I know people who do it all the time and they seem to be OK with it FWIW.

    • 1A Will try to move the connection point before editing a section of the timeline. That may seem a good idea. I’ll see in practice 🙂

      5. I meant clutter when mixing. When you need to see your channels independently and only the ones you need.

  • Hey Ron, maybe others will chime in but here’s my thoughts:

    1- Put the music track in a secondary, and pin it to to the first frame of video. If needed, put a frame of gap at the head and pin it to that. MX stays put no matter what you do in the primary

    2- Nope (that I know of anyway), and there should be.. please add a feedback request. Should be able to create auditions from clips in the TL as well I feel.

    3- Yes and no… If the clip has audio, you can place the skimmer on the container in the Inspector and play it back. Clips with no audio you need to ShIFT-F and play. A “Solo Video” command would be nice.

    4- Nope, another thing to request. 🙂

    5- Yes, but needs a few clicks… C or click to select Clip, CNTRL-OPT-S to expand Components, CMD up or down Arrow to select component, V to Disable/Enable.

    6- If the Audio is discrete, set the Audio clips Dual Mono in the Inspector, Set Roles, Then make sync clips.

    • Hey Charlie,

      Thanks for your inputs. My comments on them 😀

      1. I already tried your method. You can therefore indeed use the primary SL (1SL) but the problems I usually face when cutting music videos in FCPX are the following.
      Problem 1A.
      If you first cut say the last chorus and it is timed well to the music. Then if you cut something before on the 1SL using the magnetic properties, you will unsync the last chorus from the music. If you don’t use the 1SL, well, you use 2SL … and it’s a little bit cumbersome to do your edits and inserts …
      Problem 1B.
      When there are dancers and or lip sync, you need to sync every bit of video to the music in an absolute way. In traditional NLEs, you can either do it using multicams or by stacking another window with a picking sequence (where you store all clips on their own track and synced to the music) above your assembly sequence. In FCPX, you cannot do the stacking sequences method. Therefore you need to use multicams, which can also be cumbersome for some edits … Especially because this is not a real multicam but a bunch of synced takes and there can be a lot of them.

      So I was wondering what was your best workflow in that case (for a dancing and lipped sync music video).

      2. Unfortunately that’s what I thought.

      3. Unfortunately that’s what I thought too

      4. same same

      5. With that one you misunderstood me. If you UNCHECK the channels you don’t want in the inspector, they DISAPPEAR from the timeline. Which is good to declutter it. If you DISABLE them like you suggested, they are grayed out but that’s a waste of screen real estate. Therefore I wanted to know if there is a keyboard shortcut to UNCHECK them in the inspector.

      6. About syncing clips … I don’t find FCPX handles them well to batch sync … 😛 hence my question. I also have issues with pluraleyes which do not create clips like it should. They have black frames before and after video if created via XML to FCPX. And you cannot create multichannel clips from pluraleyes to the Finder. Soooo … BATCH SYNCING clips (when timecode was not used on set) is still a missing piece in my workflow. 😛

      Thanks guys.

  • Hello Jonny,

    As this post is meant to be the final round up tutorial on FCPX, I would like to raise some questions that may seem silly at first, but still I think they have some relevancy … so here I go.

    1. As much as I looove FCPX and its magnetic timeline to cut a movie, I feel it is a little cumbersome when cutting a piece that must be timed to music (music video or commercial). Yes I know the position tool is useful to maintain timing in that case. Still, I feel all the advantages of the magnetic timeline are diminished because you’re forced to work most of the time in secondary storylines where you cannot make your edits/inserts as easily. What’s your take on that?

    2. Is it possible to drag n drop a range FROM THE TIMELINE on top of another clip and “replace from start” ? This is very useful when you have already the media you need in the timeline so that you don’t need to dig back in the browser to get it using shift+F (especially if needed multiple times).

    3. Is there a way to solo a VIDEO clip? (Not its audio, which alt+S does) I feel the skimmer is not enough when you want to play at actual speed a buried clip on the timeline (which may happen if you keep several options in your timeline). I feel solo should solo audio AND video of selected clip.

    4. Is there a keyboard shortcut (I mean without using the mouse at all) to move clips up/down to rearrange/shuffle them vertically?

    5. Is there a keyboard shortcut to enable/disable all audio channels (or anyone of them: nº1, nº2, …) of the selected clips without digging into the INSPECTOR? I want to do it in the INSPECTOR because for the clips you do it, doing it there instead of everywhere else make the audio completely disappear from the timeline should you expand all the clips components to mix your project.

    6. Say 4 mics were recording on set. What is your favorite way to sync video and audio in FCPX (or with third party tools) to create video clips with 4 audio channels (and knowing that most of the time, from the set you get 2 stereo files; i.e. 2 files of 2 channels).

    Thank you for your insights on this


    • Hi Ron

      I’m not sure what you mean by ‘the final tutorial round up’ on FCPX – it’s just ‘a’ round up rather than anything definitive! 🙂

      These are all really great questions, which will thoroughly stretch my tentative knowledge of FCPX. I’ll see if I can find some answers for you though.

  • I have a black box bug with color finale and film convert on my Macbook Air 13 (late 2014).
    Thanks for the update, Apple.
    Thanks to your blog, I choose to switch to Media Composer or Adobe Premiere + Da Vinci Resolve.
    I like you blog so much!

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